Amazon and Home Delivery -Winds of Change

So if you're an Amazon customer for a few years you likely have been noticing how many times a day a different delivery person shows up with your Amazon delivery. If you dig deep you'll see that the deliveries come via various delivery companies, some of whom are really giant logistics companies. Here in Southern California I've counted no less than five different delivery services who bring my Amazon orders, sometimes on-time, sometimes late, sometimes to my door, sometimes to the building office or sometimes in my mailbox. Let's first breakdown who delivers what (at least here)

  • USPS-aka the Post Office. They deliver Amazon Fresh to the door (sometimes or to my building).
  • USPS for Amazon Packages that are mailed or via FedEx Smartship and international shipments. Sometimes left in the building office. Sometimes in my mailbox or a key. Never to my door. No real clue a package is here except if I look at Amazon web site or receive an email and then need to hunt around for it.
  • On Trac - Packages that usually are fulfilled via a local Amazon Distribution Center (later in the day) To my door when home, to the office when I'm not with a door sticker.
  • Amazon Delivery - Packages that usually are fulfilled via a local Amazon Distribution Center-To my door when home or not regardless of signature required or not.
  • Amazon Prime Now-an on demand delivery team ala Postmates or Uber
  • FedEx-hardly ever.
  • UPS-to my door. Signature always. If I'm not home, note on my door, package in left in building office.

Hands down the best experience today is UPS that I've seen over the past year but I see that being challenged by Amazon's own delivery team.

Today with all these companies in the mix Amazon has a consistency problem, and it's what I think they are trying to address more and more with their own Amazon Delivery team. I say that because having conversations with the delivery team from time to time reveals a lot about what's going on. You can see a more UPS like approach evolving, and it's obvious Amazon is learning.

But to grow, Amazon is going to need to create its own infrastructure, not only buy airplanes and drones. This makes companies like OnTrac, a regional delivery company in the western states, an endangered spices, as the level of consumer complaints never seems to quiet down (do a google search). In essence, Amazon could easily hire away executives and a labor force from UPS, OnTrac and FedEx, and create their own supply, logistics and delivery business.  What's more, since Amazon is all about data, they can build one massive "when and how" to deliver to you database better than anyone. If they link up with Uber or Lyft they could even begin to offer "personal" delivery using the micro distribution centers for on demand, something Amazon Prime Now is deploying.

To me, Amazon is a company that really disrupts markets. They know how to do it, and do it with consistency and end up doing it very well, with real world trials, not concepts simply on a white board. I see delivery as their next big frontier.

 


Incompatabilities In The New Battleground in Telephony-Broadsoft vs. Cisco/Apple

Yesterday I wrote about Verizon's OneTalk, and the very pithy press release put out by Broadsoft to support the move into MUCaaS (mobile unified communications as a service.) After I posted it I did a bit more digging around and realized that Verizon Wireless' sales team is going to have a battle on their hands to get even Verizon's existing PBX customers to add on or switch to One Talk quickly. And that problem is Cisco.

Right now, Verizon has many customers running Cisco Call Manager and Call Manager runs a version of SIP affectionately known as Sip-Skinny for Call Control and, it's proprietary to Cisco so for customers this becomes a rip and replace vs. an add on.

But let's get past the Verizon customer fit, and look at what Broadsoft is really doing. They are. as I hinted in the post, chasing the mobile operators who have lacked an enterprise solution since day one of the first cellular call. Attempts to break into that market have largely been by underfunded startups. What Broadsoft is hoping to do is in essence be the mobile operator's Cisco vs. letting Cisco get into the space.

Cisco, with their Spark initiative is going in a whole other direction, playing the OTT game, and which may be far more cost effective for both them and customers.

My take-Broadsoft can win as long as mobile operators control the handsets. What Cisco and Apple are doing with their "enterprise relationship"with the opening up of the dialer has seriously challenged the ability for the mobile operator to keep that lock in. In turn with LTE becoming so stable, VoLTE has become as high quality for any VoIP provider with an app over the Verizon network. So as Verizon keeps touting their amazing network quality and footprint, they've paved the way for all VoIP providers to be able to ride on their highway at the same quality. 

Apple's CallKit is in essence "equal access" on mobile to any telephony provider. And just as "Equal Access" pretty much changed who we use to make calls, and impacted the likes of Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel and others, providing opportunity for Broadsoft and FreeSwitch, Apple and Cisco's Callkit efforts are going to do the same to Broadsoft.


Broadsoft Scores with Verizon Or Maybe It's Just BS

News came out a few days ago from Broadsoft that Verizon is using their Broadworks platform and its bMobile solution set to power OneTalk, so this news falls into the category of a carrier/mobile operator win for Broadsoft.  Congratulations.....

But in so many ways the solution set feels a lot like what Rogers had done a few years ago in Canada (and now cancelled out) with their One Number solution that was powered by Counterpath and Ericsson, but only for consumers. As a matter of fact there's more Deja Vu in this release than in others I have read in a long time, so thanks for the memories and a familiar ring(tone).

So let's start off by calling this what it is, MUCAAS-Mobile unified communications as a service. 

First of this is a pretty pithy news release, which is so full of self serving plaudits, and missing so many facts, that one would have the mucus coming up from the lungs, as you choke over the non news in the release..let's start here:

One Talk delivers advanced business features within the native mobile dialer, BYOD applications for smartphones and tablets, and on state-of-the art desk phones that seamlessly and securely integrate with the Verizon 4G LTE mobile network.

What advanced business features? 

Within the native dialer..UMM that's a function of the iOS and Android API and SDK of the devices. All Broadsoft (BS) did was hook into it. They and pretty much every funded, publicly traded or unfunded telecom startup with an app..Call that sentence what it is BSBS. It's a non - starter.

Already today, Dialpad and Telzio to name two business focused VoIP players, are delivering one number, one service, one bill and call connection to devices the same way but over ANY carrier, and any mobile device without the need to buy more hardware for the desk (oh more about that later). And that's including SMS, voice mail and more.. and they are working with the Native Dialer........ Call it BSBS....

Seamlessly and securely?  You mean to tell me that calls that business customers make that are not going to be using the Broadsoft Broadworks solution are going to be  insecure on Verizon...OMG, talk about creating customer insecurity.... when Yahoo just did that 500 million times.

Next, the puke inspiring quotes..

“BroadSoft bMobile capabilities are impressive and have been integrated in our custom-built business solution that delivers one service, one experience, one bill and one business number – all backed by America’s largest and fastest 4G LTE network. We believe One Talk is a game changer for businesses of all sizes,” said Mike Lanman, SVP, Enterprise & IoT Products, Product and New Business Development Team, Verizon. 

The statement "all backed by America’s largest and fastest 4G LTE network." is pure self serving hype which VZW's PR team likely insisted on...yes Lowell and team, we all know that. We hear the same line in your commercials. Get over it. This release is not about who is faster or bigger..let's call it what it is..It's message pointing, not detailing what, how or why this is so important for Verizon's business customers. Oh, maybe there's no demand or interest yet....(more on this later) which is why you have to fall back on the tag line..

What are the capabilities? What do they do? Where are those FACTS in the release???..MISSING. PURE BS from BS.

Heck, AT&T had one number service under EasyReach in the 80's and CallVantage VoIP service was doing the one number, one bill and with find me, follow me, allowed users to point their calls to mobile devices stuff ten years ago. So now it can be done in network finally...WTF, FMC (fixed mobile convergence has been a dream of many for over a decade but it was operators like Verizon who stood in the way for years......Oh and let's not forget Google Fi that is also one number, using a GoogleVoice like find me/follow me to...YAWN.....more BS from BS..

Maybe the game changer is really that Verizon themselves have woken up...and Broadsoft, this is not new. Counterpath whom I have advised in the past had this capability up and running for years....Oh wasn't Counterpath a Broadsoft partner? Doesn't Counterpath hold FMC patents that some of this stuff is based upon? Perhaps? Maybe? 

Next is how this is going to be sold in...how?? By who?

“Businesses need a productive mobile experience to succeed in today’s competitive climate, where every call is a missed opportunity,” said Sandra Krief, vice president of sales, BroadSoft. “Verizon’s innovative routes to market, with the ability to serve customers from their business sales teams, their retail stores, and their large partner community, provides a best-in-class sales and support experience for business customers.” --

EXCUSE ME...Innovative routes to market? Verizon's has regional sales teams who Sandra is referring to and they have been disincentivized to sell in new services recently and instead given meeting quotas. In years past they earned commissions and bonuses for bringing new products to market. So with OneTalk the sales team is again being incentivized to get the offering in front of customers, and for the most part they are targeting small business customers and clustered business customers with a few lines in each location. You call that "innovative routes to market"? It's typical carrier sales...MORE BS from BS.

The idea of the VZW sales team helping to get their customers up and running on something new will also take too much time and since making sure meetings are held with customer are how the sales people are ranked and rated and given how long of a sale this will be, do the math on what this means to either company's bottom line. The "innovative route" are now "salary men" and their bonus is they get to keep their jobs. I don't see the sales force jumping on the BS bandwagon but sources do tell me there has been training on OneTalk and Broadsoft recently, but part of this means the mobile sales force to also has sell in desk phones? They have been selling against that for years....How do they now tell that customer they need what last year they told them they don't need...UMMMM...

As for the partners Sandra refers to, unless VZW is going to give away the expensive deskphones, not charge any integration fees, and not charge for training, I don't see the partners jumping on board. As a matter of fact, this feels a lot like the Panasonic Broadsoft announcement from a few years ago. Ironically Panasonic recently told me, Broadsoft isn't part of a recently announced new VoIP based service offering.

Buyers buy on benefits, sellers sell on features.

The release neither outlines the features or the benefits. Maybe there are none to speak of..A missed call isn't a benefit. It's a loss. The benefit is now employees can be more easily reached. That's the benefit. But it's not a new one.

Why this Release?

In essence the announcement also appears to be written more to create pull through. In reality, it's more likely that in exchange for the permission to put out a press release VZW negotiated a better deal...and then VZW PR sanitized the news release down to where it was nothing but an empty piece...

One more quote to choke on..TWICE

Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer, BroadSoft, adds: “BroadWorks is a top IP-Multimedia System (IMS) Business Application Server differentiating itself by combining a full range of business services with direct mobile access. We are thrilled BroadWorks’ bMobile software capabilities are integrated in the nation’s first Business 4G VoLTE offering by Verizon – helping to deliver communications mobilization to Verizon customers.”  

"helping to deliver communications mobilization to Verizon customers"--what the....??? VZW customer weren't already mobile? Talk about another misaligned quote.

MORE SELF SERVING BS from BS...Business phone service buying customers don't know or care about IMS or an App Server. They want to know how are you going to save them money, give them better service and allow them to integrate into their company wide phone system.  Case in point, you need to go to the Verizon OneTalk web site and there you find...

"*One Talk-capable desk phone capable desk phone must be purchased from Verizon to support this feature."

So if the desk phone is to be used, it's not about using what is already in place, it's about buying another new phone, for more money, when in reality the hipster in the photo would never be caught dead using that phone when his or her life is all based upon the smartphone, tablet and PC...

Seriously....someone at Verizon really approved this release. No wonder T-Mobile is winning more customers. Legere gets it...and so does his marketing team.

Also missing from the news release was the customer quote from a company that was actually using this new Broadworks powered service..I guess none of the VZW customers have tried this yet...or wanted to comment..thus expect one of those next (likely with more silly quotes.)

And if this release was meant to attract other mobile operators, missing from it is the benefits for them too.

Oh, and what about the price? It was omitted...

Some digging reveals that the service costs an addition $25/month per user over the mobile plan, and that the customer needs to be on a business phone plan from Verizon. I wonder how that will spur adoption. It also seems that there's only some Verizon mobile plans can have OneTalk added:

One Talk can be added to lines on the following plans:

The MORE Everything® Plan For Small Business (up to 10 lines)

Small Business Plans (up to 25, 50 or 100 lines)

The Verizon Plan (up to 10 lines)

The new Verizon Plan (up to 10 lines)

The Verizon Plan for Business (up to 25 lines)

The new Verizon Plan for Business (up to 25 lines)

Flexible Business Plans

Nationwide for Business Plans (supported later in 2016)-THIS MEANS NO ENTERPRISE SALES FOR NOW.

 As someone who remembers and participated in th the Polycom-Broadsoft-Telesphere news from a few years ago, I've seen this script with Broadsoft before, and as the Led Zeppelin album is named, "The Song Remains the Same."

 


When The Giants Are Scared There's Opportunity

Over time in the USA, opportunity has created lots of wealth. Railroads. Oil companies. Transportation systems. But when it comes to broadband, the oligopolies in the country have always seemed to want to hold others back. 

In the dawn of the Internet, DSL came to fruition a few years ahead of cable modems. But DSL providers where tied to the legacy carriers who had to allow them to connect to the Internet. Those connections could take weeks or months for customers who were forced to pay for higher priced ISDN and T-1s. Over time most of the DSL providers evaporated or were rolled up to where they are now almost invisible. The telcos for the most part have stopped rolling out DSL, and instead, with only four real players in the USA left standing (AT&T, Verizon, Century Link and Frontier) pretty much trying to do with DSL what they did with land lines. Milk them for all they're worth before finally going all in on fiber (FiOS being the best example).

Enter muni-broadband. Perhaps it should have been known as muni-broadbad as the first attempts last decade were largely fraught with less "doing things the right way" and more of  "doing things the wrong way." That's what happens when big telco can sway thinking, influence the process and cause things to be done wrong through FUD. The approach is let others leave carnage and they'll come in and do it right. But something happened along the way. Cable broadband. As soon as @HOME came into being, the telcos and DSL providers had a real threat they couldn't reign in. The threat was not from some small group of upstarts, it was from some of their biggest customers on the data transmission side and from some of the richest media companies in the country. Cable broadband trumped DSL from day one. And today, it still does with speeds of up to 350 megs being offered and soon one gig. Along the way, Muni-Broadband got lost but it never died.

Today's New York Times writes about muni-broadband and it's as important as ever. The jockeying we're seeing in the courts isn't about what's good for America. It's about what's good for the telcos, and to some extent, the cable operators. While the latter is more in a back seat to the telcos, the reality is that Muni-broadband done right, is good for everyone, as it fosters competition. 

Our country was built by competition of newer technology replacing the old. The train replaced the stagecoach. The plane replaced the train. We were also built with local governments starting quasi-governmental authorities to deliver power, oil, water, gas which in time became private enterprise or public-private partnerships. Rural telcos need to work with government, support municipal efforts, and be cooperative so they can move their communities they serve forward, as without a cooperative approach, rural America will be stuck in the last century, not help drive us to the next. To me, broadband, unfettered and at the best speeds possible isn't a right, it's a necessity, and no court, law or organization should stop another group from moving it forward so those who made pioneering moves in the past could continue to hold the reigns.


Been Quiet Too Long-Time To Speak Up Again

Yes, I've been quiet lately. Perhaps it's the summer. Maybe it's just as Dean Bubley and I were talking over dinner in London. The world of VoIP, Unified Communications and Collaboration has hit a point of being a bit of the same or a repeat of what was originally envisioned finally becoming commonplace. In my view after almost 17 years in the space since I first learned what VoIP was, had my first VoIP client (Comgates) and have been writing about the sector since 2003, it's kind of old hat to me. Seriously though, it really takes something to get me excited to bang away with what the news means.

That said, I haven't exactly been silent. I've been penning a piece each week for my friends at Xceptional, the San Diego Managed Service Provider with a kick - butt team of real pros in more than just voice/video and collaboration. Founder Chris McKewon and I have been friends for 12 years or more and I've watched his biz blossom over the years. The team there are great at networking (the set it all up at my old house), Wi-Fi, cloud and more. And, what they don't know can't be done. If you need what they do don't look any farther.

So what has me excited these days? Well, API's and WebRTC for sure. There's so much that can be done and is being done with WebRTC by so many companies. API's are hot and getting hotter. When you think about it, they are a major part of the new tech led economy. I'm also high on bots and messaging platforms and apps.

The more I use Slack the less I like email. The more I use Telegram the less I like SMS. The more I use iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp the less I want to even be paying for SMS from my mobile operator. Oh, and the more I travel, the less I care about voice from any mobile operator, when I have Dialpad and Telzio each with VoIP calling over 4G/LTE...now I guess if I was in places without killer LTE an Wi-Fi I may feel differently, but both on my iPad, iPhones and even my One Plus Two Android, I'm not touching the PSTN to originate or terminate on my end.

Most of all what I'm looking more closely at remains the idea of Working-Anywhere. Over the past five weeks I've been on my second "workcation." A workcation is where you go someplace that feels like a vacation, allows you to do the best of that while still getting work done. The more I travel, the way I travel, the more I find the whole idea of people stuck in offices, having a daily place to call "work" so outmoded for those who are knowledge workers.

As long as you can run your calendar, schedule your day around your "work" you can have a "-cation" every day. In the course of a 15-18 hour day I'm enjoying more of life than those who fight traffic, deal with internal gossip, or have to be somewhere physically. It does take planning, but being connected and knowing when to disconnect is the key.

Alas it's Sunday here in sunny Portugal. Time to enjoy some of the "cation" time..

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Verizon Wireless "They're Watching You" as You're Now Their "Person of Interest"

As the hit CBS series "Person of Interest" winds down its run, the line "they're watching you" never rang more true that it does today, especially if you're a Verizon Wireless customer who has installed their mobile app so you can manage your account better.

Unfortunately, the app does more than that, and with the acquisition of AOL, all kinds of "marketing" led initiatives are starting to be unfurled by the telco giant. One of those is the "tracking" of customers physical movements. As one telecom attorney I spoke with about this said, "one would think after the super cookie issue they would know better." But nothing was as damning as the comment to me by a long time Verizon Wireless enterprise facing sales executive. "We know when Google folks visit Salesforce and who they are seeing. That gives us a good indication of what's about to happen." He then went on, "It's (i.e. the tracking) one of the most asked questions we're hearing from enterprise customers..how do I turn it off?"

I learned about this wandering by the Union Station Verizon store in Washington, D.C. two week ago. I was asked by the app what I thought about my experience today in the store. Only problem was I didn't go in the store. The same thing happened as I was having coffee in a cafe next to a Verizon Wireless store in Del Mar, and again after I had walked into the store to ask what they heck was up with the tracking of my movements.

The store rep said, "oh if you don't like to be followed, you can always delete the app." To me that was a stupid, untrained, and ignorant response, but also, pretty straightforward. I then called support and was told to turn off a few things in the app, but they already were. After the rep said she would turn off the marketing functions I checked my phone and found that one of the toggles that had been off, was now on. I immediately turned it off. Then I dug deeper into the Verizon app location setting on the iPhone app management inside the settings app, and there I turned off the actual link between the phone and the app

Candidly, a great app to manage usage and your plan, which was a nice service to have, has been ruined by wanting to know more about the customer than should be known. By forcing an opt-out vs. encouraging an OPT IN, this is a less than desired move by Verizon's leadership to allow this. If it was the first time I've encountered this type of thing from them, I would not be so concerned, but it's not. Back in the early days of data cards, they had Smith Micro create some type of tracking software that wormed its way into your Windows PC. Again, without telling anyone about it. 

Where is all this going? Beacons, sensors and apps on mobile devices can be a good thing. There's some  technology that's coming from companies likeQualcomm that work at the chip set level which could allow marketers to really be smarter in how they deliver messages to customers and prospects, and how employees of companies can be made to be smarter using AI, machine learning, big data and the cloud, but it needs to include some greater degrees of control by the user.  While using mapping software is great, I don't want my every visit to the gym known, or to the ice cream shop later because the next thing you'll see is ice cream being offered at the gym.....The same is do we really want Macy's knowing we were shopping at Bloomingdales, or that I was at the car dealer twice this  past week (with two different Audi's for annual servicing) as that could be misinterpreted as my having car trouble. Next comes the level of encryption of our "data" that's been collected. Of course if Verizon was using the data to install microcells where coverage isn't so great, that would be a useful outcome, but instead of "cells" for coverage they're more interested in what they can "sell" in the way of ads...

To be fair with Verizon, I did call their PR team. All three calls went unreturned..I guess they don't want to talk about it.


Dialpad--Life For Old iPads

 

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Like many of us, I have an iPad Air2 and an iPad Mini in storage. My current iPad is the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, with the keyboard and I find that in many situations I can do most of what I do on my MacBook with it, especially while traveling or sipping an espresso at a cafe. But, really, one iPad was enough, and the older ones became hand me downs or simply sat in the storage drawer. Well, not anymore.

Over the past few weeks, thanks to pal Craig Walker, founder of Dialpad and creator of GoogleVoice (GrandCentral), I was able to put the new DialPad app through its paces on the iPad while the new version of the app was going through TestFlight beta trials.  While I've used Counterpath's Bria and Skype on the iPad before as a way to make and take calls, I never really felt I was having a real "phone" experience. There was always something clunky about the way the call was being handled. Instead I would find myself reaching for the nearest smartphone, as they always seemed to ring first, even with SIM ring functions turned on, with GoogleVoice ringing every inbound number. Finally, I can stop that behavior.

The Dialpad iPad app is very different and may be the best softphone ever created bar none. First off, it rings at the same time as the SIM ring to my mobile phones. Second the audio quality is second to none. On a thirty five minute call with the CEO of a client yesterday not one pop, or drop or anything that one wouldn't have experienced on a cell phone call. Third is the ease of use and very clean, easy to use interface. It's natural and effortless, much like Skype was in its pre-Microsoft days. The consistency between the desktop, smartphone and iPad in look and feel makes it that way. If you are using the desktop app or plug-in, you'll have no learning curve as the UI (user interface) is identical. About the only drawback is the non-ringing when you have the app in the foreground, which is likely an Apple iOS notification issue. In many ways Dialpad's app on the iPad reminded me of the first experience I had with Gizmo, the company acquired by Google that was perhaps along with Truphone, the only real rivals to Skype. The Gizmo app always had this very natural, phone like feel to it, and also had the sound quality that was natural too. 

The fact that I was calling from a tablet reminded me why the old Samsung Galaxy Tab 1.0 with both calling and data was such a great device, just not a great form factor. On the call, I used my wired headset that I use on my iPhone. The call sound was full, rich, robust. There wasn't any hiss or popping. On the other end, not once did my client, ever ask me to repeat what I had said, and he was on a mobile phone in a noisy environment. The large buttons made it easy to hit the mute button, and because of the adjacent "Recent Calls" tab, I was also able to text people who were calling me to let them know I was on a call. 

Candidly, not having mobile phone service in the iPad prior to LTE was always one of the drawbacks, and I always felt Apple should have made the iPad a phone also, with the codecs and chips that would let it really be one. Well, Dialpad has made it just that good. 

About the only thing lacking is video. Dialpad is experimenting with that on their Mac and PC desktop service so my guess is that, and Apple TV integration are not far behind.

If you're using Dialpad on your iPhone, you'll love it on your iPad, and if you're like me, you'll finally be finding use for those older iPad's that are sitting in the drawer somewhere.....


The Comunicano Communique for Wednesday April 13th, 2016

 
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This week is best viewed as Facebook's Week. With their F8 conference they are setting things up for their next few years of growth. This basically means now that they have attracted enough of us to be regular "users" and we're "hooked" it's really time to make money. The two big themes coming out of the event are API's to work with Facebook and Live Video.  Thus Facebook is really going after the ability to be present in your life all the time. The series of stories below are a nice primer, so I encourage you to look at what they are up to and draw your own conclusions so needless to say, "the Times, they are a changing.

So read today's Comunicano Communique and get into the news.

Yesterday on Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski, we talked about the cool apps, sites and tools to make you a better entrepreneur. The three you can watch from yesterday were:

FastLane - gets you an Uber from your Mac.

Teleport - Uber for Groups. You book. They ride. You pay.

WeLive - WeWork For Living spaces. In NYC and D.C. now...

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Technology to Connect the World: F8 Day One Roundup

F8 2016 kicked off today, with a packed house of more than 2,600 people and hundreds of thousands of people watching via Facebook Live. Mark Zuckerberg kicked the conference off with a keynote detailing Facebook's 10-year technology roadmap, and the ways those technologies will help bring people together and give everyone a voice.
 
 

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Facebook Bets on a Bot Resurgence, Chattier Than Ever

To browse for a pair of brown loafers on Facebook Messenger, you can now text a message to the service to begin a conversation with the mobile shopping start-up Spring. Spring will ask you for a preferred price range for the shoes and show a smattering of what it thinks you might like.

 
 

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Live, local, late breaking: On Facebook Live, news outlets take a cue from TV (but don't call it TV)

Around 5 p.m. on April 1, everyone in our little office crowded around my desk, watching a live video of baby goats roaming inside BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank's office - a prank by staffers for his birthday. Would Frank be angry? Would the goats escape?? Would chaos ensue?!
 
 

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Facebook Opens Up Live Streaming API to Allow Streaming from Any Device

Facebook just took video streaming on its Live platform beyond the mobile phone: CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during his keynote at the company's f8 developer conference in San Francisco Wednesday that it is making its Live API publicly available. This will allow developers to integrate live streaming into third-party apps and devices.
 
 

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This is the first official camera for Facebook's Live Video: the Mevo

Facebook has made a huge push into live broadcasting recently, including putting a new video discovery hub right in the center of its app. And now Facebook has its first official hardware partner for live video, and it's a nifty camera from industry pioneer Livestream.
 
 

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Facebook launches "Agents On Messenger" platform with chatbots

Facebook will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, ecommerce guidance, content, and interactive experience through "Agents on Messenger", Facebook's term for chatbots.
 
 

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Inside Microsoft's build-a-bot strategy | ZDNet

Tomorrow, Facebook is expected to roll out new bot-related programming interfaces and possibly new chatbots of its own at its F8 developer conference. Microsoft recently used its own Build developer event to talk up our bot-centric future. In the couple of weeks since then, I've been watching recorded Build bot sessions and following various links to understand more about Microsoft's approach.
 
 

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Find time for your goals with Google Calendar

Whether it's reading more books, learning a new language or working out regularly, achieving your goals can be really hard. One day it's "I got called into a last-minute meeting." The next day it's "I have a friend in town." And before you know it, your goals are delayed or forgotten.
 
 

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Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers just went on strike

NEW YORK - About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walked off the job Wednesday morning after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago.
 
 

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How to Find the Customers Who Need Your Product

Aspiring founders who think they've developed an amazing offering often believe that their product will sell themselves. While there are occasional instances of unique apps, software, hardware, and services that were so valuable that they instantly made their founders famous, this is rarely the case.
 
 

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Building more accessible technology

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will have a disability during their lifetime, which can make it hard for them to access and interact with technology, and limits the opportunity that technology can bring.
 
 

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The Comunicano Communique for Friday April 8th 2016

 
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Good Morning. It's Friday and it's been a busy week. Our big client news was YipTV joining T-Mobile's BingeOn. For the New Jersey based company this is a major milestone and likely a harbinger of things to come......The news cycle this week has also been fast and furious as next week tax day looms on April 15th, so it "usually" slows down. We'll see.

What company is hot? Facebook. Why? Start with pal Stephan Rust's blog post from last Thursday and then read the following few stories about the social network giant and I think you'll agree that we all can begin to drop "social" from the description of Facebook. They are really cresting into an all everything company.

Then there's the "let's buy Yahoo" news. I bet shareholders are wishing they took Steve Ballmer's offer a few years ago now.....What is it about Pigs and Hogs? Of courseencrypted communications remains in the news. What'sApp did it this week (read what the EFF has to say). Signal is available to more now via the desktop (as announced on their blog). The Amazon Echo remains the hottest product on the market ,and as I have all three, I can say that first hand, having been a user and raving fan since the Beta over a year ago. Talk about a daily experience changer, the Echo is just that, all of which rolls nicely into the talk about Bots...yes Bots. Not Bats..

There's all that and more in today's Comunicano Communique, so grab your coffee mug, tea or chai and get on with the news.

By the way, don't miss the API event of the summer in Las Vegas. "All About The API"......

 
 
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Facebook leading the way in Mobile disruption

After digesting some of the insights from Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, it's becoming more and more apparent that Facebook, not Apple or Google, nor Ericsson or Cisco, and especially not Vodafone or China Mobile, is leading change in mobile.
 
 

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Facebook Messenger now lets you start a chat by scanning profile codes

Becoming friends with someone on Facebook Messenger just became a lot easier. In a new update that started to roll out Thursday, Facebook's chat app now has Messenger Codes - circular patterns around a user's profile photo, which can be scanned to start a chat with that person.
 
 

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Facebook Messenger may soon have more bots

Facebook Messenger will soon have more bots. According to a leaked slide deck, the company will announce a bot platform for its chat service at next week's F8 conference. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is seeding APIs to developers that allow them to build bots for Messenger and Web plugins for Live Chat.
 
 

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When do bots beat apps? When context and convenience matter most

 
  There's a question I've been asking founders when they pitch me their bots: "Why is this a bot and not an app or a website?" I've been fascinated by the explosion of developer interest and startup activity around chatbots and am pretty bullish on their potential as both a user and an investor, but it's important to take a step back and think about why we're all so focused on conversational interfaces.  
 

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Video game Olympics announced for Rio

A new eGames international gaming tournament will make its debut in Rio during this summer's Olympic Games. The event, launched as part of this week's London Games Festival, offers medals and national pride rather than cash prizes for the winners. The competition, backed by the UK government, will be run by the new International eGames Committee (IEGC).

 
 

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Verizon to Proceed With Yahoo Bid, Google Weighs Offer

Verizon Communications Inc. plans to make a first-round bid for Yahoo Inc.'s Web business next week, and is willing to acquire the company's Yahoo Japan Corp. stake to help sweeten the offer, according to people familiar with the matter. Google, the main division of Alphabet Inc., is also considering bidding for Yahoo's core business, a separate person said.
 
 

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Is That Email Really From Your CEO?

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week warned about a "dramatic" increase in so-called "CEO fraud," e-mail scams in which the attacker spoofs a message from the boss and tricks someone at the organization into wiring funds to the fraudsters.

 
 

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Taking Alexa for a ride

Alexa, the ever-present voice control assistant living inside Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot and Tap products, has been a useful addition to the CNET Smart Home -- our spot in the Kentucky countryside for testing out all sorts of connected gadgets and gizmos (the Echo, Echo Dot and Tap included).
 
 

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Amazon expands free same-day delivery to 11 mid-sized cities, increases coverage in existing metro markets - GeekWire

Amazon continues to increase the value of its Prime membership, this time expanding its network of free same-day delivery options for members. The retail giant announced today that same-day delivery options are available to Prime members in 11 new cities, bringing the service's footprint up to nearly 30 metro areas across the U.S.
 
 

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Reddit launches official iOS and Android apps

Remember when, in October 2014, Reddit bought the unofficial Reddit mobile app Alien Blue? Even though the app was quickly relaunched, that was the first step towards Reddit launching its own official apps. That moment has finally arrived. On Thursday, the official Reddit apps landed on Android and iOS (iPhone only).
 
 

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Now's your chance to try Signal's desktop Chrome app

The desktop version of Edward Snowden's favored end-to-end messaging system, Signal, is now available to anyone who wants to check it out. Open Whisper Systems announced the desktop version back in December, but until today it was invite-only.
 
 

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Tesla Proclaims Early Model 3 Demand A Victory For EVs

A week after the Model 3 unveiling, and Tesla is in the endzone doing a touchdown dance. A blog entry on the official Tesla blog boldly states that this past week was "The Week that Electric Vehicles Went Mainstream." Elon also couldn't contain himself and let the good news from the summary of reservations for the week overflow onto Twitter.
 
 

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Most Airbnb hosts flout SF laws, city report says

More than a quarter of San Francisco homes listed as vacation getaways on Airbnb violate the city's 90-day annual limit on such rentals, while the vast majority of Airbnb hosts have yet to register their properties, flouting a law enacted last year, according to a report released late Thursday by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office.
 
 

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YipTV Joins 'Binge On' Mix

YipTV said it has joined Binge On, T-Mobile's controversial optional service that delivers mobile video in 480p resolution and zero-rates the streams of its growing list of OTT partners. YipTV is a no-contract OTT-TV offering launched last May that's focused on Spanish-language video and features plans from more than 100 international and domestic live TV channels.

 
 

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YipTV, Dailymotion, others bulk up T-Mobile's Binge On streaming ...

International-focused streaming service YipTV and OTT provider Dailymotion are among a block of over-the-top providers and TV networks that have signed on to T-Mobile's ( NYSE:TMUS) streaming service, Binge On, setting a challenge to its primary mobile-first video streaming challenger, Verizon's ( NYSE: VZ) Go90 service.
 
 

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StubHub Will Use Virtual Reality to Let You Preview Your Seat

Like many companies, eBay is convinced virtual reality is the next big thing. But also like a lot of companies, eBay is trying to figure out just what that means for its business. On Thursday, the company is announcing its first small foray into the VR arena, as subsidiary StubHub offers Final Four ticket buyers the option to get an immersive, 3-D view of available seats.
 
 

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Regis McKenna's 1976 Notebook And The Invention Of Apple Computer, Inc.

At first blush, it appears to be an utterly unexceptional spiral-bound notebook. Manufactured in the U.S. by the National Blank Book Company of Holyoke, Massachusetts, it's got a light green cover and 80 sheets of narrow-ruled 8-by-10-inch paper. The first sign that its contents might matter is a request haphazardly rubber-stamped on the front: "RETURN TO REGIS McKENNA HIMSELF."
 
 

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The Hidden Economics of Porn

A gender-studies professor explains how the industry works.
 
 

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Andy's App of the Week - SENDERS

Back in the day, Rapportive was a great go to app to discover more about the person you were engaged in an email conversation. Then it was acquired by LinkedIn and its usefulness waned. Fortunately a new service has come out and it's awesome. I'm referring to Senders, which I talked about on Thursday's BusinessRockstars. Senders does for social and contact information what USA Today's bite size round-up stories did to the news. Makes it easy to know all you need to about someone in one place with their LinkedIn, Twitter, About, Angels List data and a quick search on Google all baked in.

Senders is still in beta, so expect a bug here or there, but after a day of using it, I can't live without it.

 


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Today on Business Rockstars

Today, along with Ken Rutkowski, the host of Business Rockstars, we spoke about:

Amazon Echo and all its siblings and what you can do with it.

Pipedrive, a very slick and easy to use CRM service.

Cloutex, a super easy to use plugin for Chrome that makes adding LinkedIn info to Pipedrive

Senders, a new in your email service that tells you all you need to know about the person sending you email

Here's the link.