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The Comunicano for Friday January 27 2017

 

 
 
JANUARY 27 - ISSUE #10
Andy Abramson
It’s only been a few months since cableco Charter gobbled up Time Warner Cable, but now it looks the buyer may become the bought which becomes a big win for Charter’s largest shareholder, Liberty Media and John Malone. That’s because Verizon is reportedly in talks to buy Charter, largely as a defensive move against both Comcast. That’s because Comcast is rolling out wireless phone service and also due to AT&T trying to buy up Time Warner for all their entertainment properties. 

In other news we have good news for rural New York State when it comes to broadband; why video streaming is so easy;  a Facebook/MailChimp ad match up; a look at a lot of e-commerce tools; how to increase sales; plus those hotel thermostats and you, along with a short item on Starbucks and its customers.

Those stories are all in today’s Comunicano.

Verizon Watch
Speculation builds on a Verizon-Charter tie-up, no offer made
Verizon Wireless and AT&T see value perception decrease
Rural Broadband to Keep Growing (in NY)
New York to keep $170M to expand broadband access
Video Streaming Watch
5 Ways to Use Live-Streaming to Amplify Offline Events
Oscars 2017: Where to Stream the Nominated Movies
Marketing Watch
Facebook Ad Campaigns for MailChimp
Gorgias - E-commerce Stack. Top 100 e-commerce apps.
How Tech Companies Double Annual Sales with Three Words
Odds & Ends
It’s Not You: Hotel Thermostats Really Are Rigged
Starbucks: Crowded stores turned off customers

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The Comunicano for Wednesday January 25 2017

 
 
JANUARY 25 - ISSUE #8
Andy Abramson
Good morning. Today we have insight on what’s going on in the news world surrounding fake news and the rise of the citizen journalist as well as how the media is under attack. That’s just for starters. 

Down Under in the land of Oz, they’re finally getting in flight Wi-Fi. Well on one plane for now. News from Cisco about the new Spark Board, an acquisition, possible mergers, and some fund raising of note in Money Time, news from Google around I/O, some Apple Watching,  ways to be better Socially online in Socially Speaking, plus a few Odds & Ends surrounding SMS, the FCC and how Verizon is feeling the heat from other carriers. All those stories and more, in today’s Comunicano.

Facebook Live Is the Right Wing’s New Fox News
The Rise Of Fake News Amidst The Fall Of News Media
Wi-Fi Watch
For my friends in Australia, all I can say, is, you’re gonna love it. This is the same in-flight Wi-Fi service, or better, than what we have on Jet Blue and some Virgin America and United flights in the USA. 
Qantas introduces free inflight Wi-Fi to their Boeing 737
SparkWatch
Cisco entered the digital whiteboard space with a new Spark Board. ZD Net has some details and I’ve added my 2 cents to the story on VoIPWatch.
Cisco rolls out Spark Board, all-in-one cloud-connected digital whiteboard
Cisco's Sparkboard For Collaboration Here and There
Money Time
Cisco didn’t stop yesterday with their Spark Board news. They went out and bought a company that was about to IPO…… Pal Jamie Siminoff’s company Ring raised $108 million more for their crime preventing doorbell….HPE snapped up another IT company and AirBnB may be buying Tilt to have a payment platform of their own.
Cisco snaps up AppDynamics for $3.7B right before its IPO
Connected doorbell startup Ring raises $109 million from DFJ, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm, others
Report: Airbnb in talks to buy payment app Tilt
HPE to Acquire Cloud Cruiser to Bolster Consumption-Based IT for Customers
Google Watch
Google I/O 2017 will be held at Shoreline Amphitheatre May 17-19
Your home just got smarter with new Google Assistant partners
Why Google Killed 1.7 Billion Ads Last Year (And Kicked 200 Publishers Off Its Network)
Apple Watching
Apple's iOS 10.3 beta hits with cricket scores, 'Find My AirPods'
Apple is trying to limit how often your iPhone apps can bug you to give them a rating
Socially Speaking
8 Lesser Discussed Social Media Changes – What to Pay Attention to in 2017
Instagram's Live Stories: Available Globally
Odds & Ends
SMS is making everything old new again
Comcast, AT&T, and ISP lobbyists are excited about Trump’s FCC chair
Verizon rivals put squeeze on No. 1 carrier's growth

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Cisco's Sparkboard For Collaboration Here and There

Cisco's Spark Team has been hard at work redefining their idea of collaboration. While first thought to be a Slack wannabe, Spark is far more than simply a messaging platform. Today's news around the SparkBoard bears that out.

So what is SparkBoard? Think of it as the virtual whiteboard you always wanted. It’s a wireless presentation screen, a digital whiteboard, and an audio and video conferencing system all in one. The Cisco Spark Board helps teams collaborate in physical meeting rooms, but also securely connects to virtual meeting spaces to facilitate continuous workflow before, during, and after everyone has left the physical conference room. The Cisco Spark Board draws its power from the Cisco Spark service, which combines meeting, messaging, calling, and new white boarding capabilities on any Cisco Spark app-enabled device.

What's this mean? With SparkBoard you can present to a group of people who are connected to your whiteboard session, but who don't have to be in the same room. What's more, with the mobile app, people on the go can be part of the session, both observing and participating. 

This also means the idea of remote collaboration really is coming true. I don't know how many times I've watched a presentation, and wanted to write on the screen my thoughts as the presenter is making a point. Or, highlight something on screen for others to pick up on, that the presenter may not be going deeply enough into. With the Spark Plus app features, the app becomes a remote extension to the presentation, letting the viewer become the participant.

Looking at what the Spark team has done, shows that Cisco is integrating their hardware and software teams together. Think WebEx and Tandberg meets Tropos and a few other acquisitions that they have made the last few years.  

How successful will this be? Pricing is key to the success of any service so hopefully Cisco employs a razor blade strategy, giving away the screens, and selling the service so adoption moves quickly.  


The Comunicano for Tuesday January 25th 2016

 
 
JANUARY 24 - ISSUE #7
Andy Abramson
Happy Tuesday. Waking up to the news that one of the tech media’s best has left the building. Quentin Hardy, a fixture on the media scene in Silicon Valley, most recently with the New York Times, is joining Google Cloud.

This move continues the trend of media folks going corporate side.  In other news we have stories worth reading about Amazon, Google, Formula 1, Verizon, IBM, SNAP and AT&T. Those stories are all in today’s Comunicano.

A Big Change in the Tech Media
New York Times editor Quentin Hardy is heading to Google
Augmented and Intelligent
How Alexa Fits Into Amazon’s Prime Directive
From Jingles to Pop Hits, A.I. Is Music to Some Ears
GoogleWatch
Google Voice gets a new look for its first major update in years - The Verge
All Chromebooks debuting in 2017 and beyond will run Android apps | Ars Technica
The Axe Is Falling
Ecclestone driven out as Liberty Media completes Formula 1 acquisition
Verizon Lays Off Go90 Employees, Tasks Vessel Team With App Rebuild
IBM Touts Trump-Pleasing Hiring Plans While Firing Thousands - Bloomberg
Odds & Ends
How a concerned mother's lawsuit helped get Snapchat to crack down on media companies
AT&T International Pass Limits Phone Costs Abroad to $10/Day

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Sprint Buys Into Tidal-Music to Drive Brand

Sprint is taking a 1/3rd equity interest in Jay-Z's Tidal music service. With AT&T buying Direct TV, and Verizon stepping up to buy Yahoo (maybe), the face of the three telecom giants is quickly shifting from delivering voice and text into being the pipe that roars with content. All this is coming as 5G is around the corner and the battle for who has what on which service begins to rage on.

This move is designed in my mind to further push Sprint into the urban, Asian and Latin markets in the USA, especially with pre-paid, while Verizon goes for the corporate customer, AT&T aims to be all things to all people, while T-Mobile focuses on the consumer. The investment also comes at a time when services like Pandora and Spotify as well as Apple's iTunes all need to get an edge over one another. With Tidal, Sprint is staking its claim to secure some exclusive content that will only be available to its customers, or what's more likely, will be available first to their customers. 

Expect to see more of these types of investments and alignments as Comcast and Charter also start to toss their cash and stock war chests into the fray.


More Patents for 8x8

8x8 is a patent powerhouse when it comes to VoIP. Over the years I've been covering VoIP 8x8 has consistently filed for, and been awarded patent after patent at all layers of the VoIP stack. Today, the company announced that they have been awarded three more in the never ending battle to protect the turf they have established.

  • United States Patent number 9,473,452 titled, “NAT Traversal in VoIP Communication System,” was awarded on October 18, 2016.
  • United States Patent number 9,479,648 titled, “Intelligent Media Relay Selection,” was awarded on October 25, 2016. It is a continuation of U.S. patent number 9,148,519 awarded to the company on January 2, 2013.
  • United States Patent number 9,531,879 titled, “Networked Contact Center User Interface Approach,” was awarded on December 27, 2016 and is a continuation of patent number 8,972,885 awarded on August 29, 2008.

In their announcement they describe what each patent does and why it has value to them.  The first two address call control, or how calls are routed. Clearly, this is all about making sure that traffic is handled efficiently, and with the least amount of delays.

The patent related to network address translator (NAT) traversal in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication system (#9,473,452) covers an innovation that enables a call control server to use an algorithm to select from proxy servers to route a VoIP session between endpoint devices.

The second patent (#9,479,648) provides a system for a call control agent to intelligently select the appropriate media relay servers that are located at geographically disparate locations relative to each other and then route and maintain the VoIP call through the media relay server

The third is all about the interface and the experience. The key here though is how 8x8 is signaling a bigger effort in the call center space by smartening up the interface that support people see, but dumbing down how to get that done.

The technology in U.S. patent #9,531,879 details how communications systems involving networked contact center interfaces present data in a selectable, user-friendly format.