The Next Few Months In VoIP

January is CES, the National Retail Federation and of course the run up to the Super Bowl. Not to be forgotten is the boondoggle of all boondoggles, the very well timed PTC gathering in Honolulu which is happening now, just before the NFL's Pro Bowl comes to the island.

February brings TMC's IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale, while March brings Enterprise Connect in Orlando.

Which shows are YOU going to be attending? Hit me up on Twitter @andyabramson so I know to find you..


Broadsoft Clears Another Merger Hurdle

On Friday the news came out that Cisco's purchase of Broadsoft had one more roadblock removed. That hurdle was the possibility of an anti-trust violation due to restrictive competition. In it's ruling the DOJ basically said they don't see this as restrictive in nature. With this decision the shareholders will vote on January 25th to approve the merger.

Once that's done it gets interesting with some of Broadsoft and Cisco's largest customers, the telecommunications carriers and mobile operators who for years have had both to play off against, or offer as different options. This merger creates a vacuum there with really only Microsoft's Skype for Business aiming to fill and according to recent conversations, customers are not exactly loving it, while eco-system partners are taking a wait and see approach to Teams as the kits to do the integration are still not there yet.

Fun times in telecom.

Fe Fi Fo Fum Fi and T-Mobile Are Data Down Globally but Not In The USA

How come none of the media who are paid to know what's what have connected the T-Mobile USA and Google Project Fi outages today on an international level?

After reading about the Fi outage, I Googled the words T-Mobile and outage. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to make the connection since Fi piggybacks off of T-Mobile.


My New Cable Box is a Chromebook and Chromecast

Over the past few months I've been using YouTubeTV and various streaming services like CBS All Access, Netflix, Showtime and more. As of this month, I've dumped my cable box, and the associated $90.00 a month bill that comes with it. And, I'm using a four year old Chromebook to be the cable box and streaming to my monitor via a Chromecast.


For starters, YouTubeTv is $35.00 a month. CBS is $9.99. I can get Showtime via Amazon Prime, as well as a few other networks like Cinemax, HBO and I'm not missing any sports except the local Fox Sports Net which I didn't have anyway as my ISP is a fiber provider, not the local Cable Company-Spectrum. But I don't just have to use a Chromebook. I'm able to stream from many apps from Android and iOS devices very easily, making the combination a natural cost saver and cable service replacement.

As services like YouTubeTV, Vue, YipTV and others all make access to first run programming easier, the idea of cutting the cord and ditching the box keeps becoming easier.

The Confusion Around CBDs, CBD Oil

I love reading about the confusion surrounding CBD's and CBD oil as well as the ill conceived attempts to keep people from living healthier lives. At the base of it all is greed by likely two things. First is big pharma, who lobbying efforts can rival, or even surpass, the cable companies and telcos efforts around net neutrality. The second is the so called moral majority who through either ignorance or simply a "no change" approach to life want to keep things status quo vs. see change arrive for the better. Don't be blinded by the legal battles. The real battles are about who distributes both the raw hemp, cannabis and the final consumer products.

In terms more closer to home, the attempts to control availability of CBD's and the recreational use of marijuana also reminds me of the neo-prohibition approach to wine, beer and alcohol we have in the USA with the three tier system and "tied house" rules that make the sale of spirits so challenging, and in many states really limit what is available due to the control by a limited number of wholesalers and distributors. Last is the lobbying efforts by the tobacco industry who really have so much to lose until they ultimately "buy" into the industry. 

As this doctor writes, there's a huge difference between getting high and getting healthy, and the CBD's and oils help you do the latter. And, in reality no one is against keeping people healthy, they just want their slice of the pie.

Make no mistake, the same organizations who are behind tobacco and alcohol distribution in the USA are also the same companies who want to eventually be the controlling distributors, producers and maybe even retailers of cannabis based products. For them, it's a new market opportunity, and they want to do it on their terms. Follow the distribution battles and you'll see who the players are or will be.

Let the games begin in 2018.


Cannabis Watch

I'm getting into the Cannabis world more and following it the way I did with VoIP in 2003. I'm not a smoker/toker, I've never enjoyed it, but the medicinal effects can't be pushed aside, and that's where I see great promise. So from time to time I'm going to bring my newseye to the topic and also begin to author some insight into what has to be seen as a "growth" industry that's starting to really bud. (sorry for the puns, but they are intentional.)

29 states now have various laws on the books to make sale of cannabis legal. It's legal in all 50 states to sell non THC based cannabinoids and that's a big lure....Massive.

According to Leafly, studies are starting to come out more and more about the direct medical benefits to often challenging conditions. As I've had friends who suffer from Epilepsy and some with children who are mildly autistic, this news hits home more than anything....

The Cannabist has a pretty cool summary of trends in the industry surrounding new products. The one I like most is the subscription box boom which likely will become the successful CBD version of Blue Apron....

Lastly, a breath spray from Hemp that has the effects of a hit that Denver's Westword reports on sounds very, um, tasty.

SFGate's Smell the Truth has the winners of the Emerald Cup for best strains of 2017 in what feels like a wine review and wine production story....


Freedom Pop Becomes an MVNE of Sorts

FreedomPop, the very interesting, low cost or even sometimes free provider of data connectivity, and some voice, has made a move that's to say the least intriguing. They have in essence by announcing the white labeling of their platform become an MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler) that is selling to brands who want to go out of footprint (market area) to offer wireless services.

What FreedomPop is doing, is offering brands the opportunity to be wireless network providers, much like what Twilio started to offer. While MVNO's have not been as successful in the USA as they have been in Europe, FreedomPop's approach seems very sound, and the results they are starting to show is backing that up.

Sparkling Move By AT&T and Cisco? Maybe

Why am I not surprised to see AT&T coming out with Cisco surrounding Spark. For years, as far back as the days of Bell South, Southwestern Bell and the regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC's) Cisco and they were thick as thieves, as the saying goes.

The RBOC's were always one of the largest integration partners around, so it's no surprise at all that Cisco Spark's first really large go to market partner is, AT&T

Spark has been an idea in search of both a market and a way to get to it. With AT&T Cisco now has a more reach. They core functionality will allow employees can start with instant messaging and transition to a phone call, audio conference or face-to-face video meeting in just one click. Whether colleagues are in the office, at home or on the go, they have easy access to each other," according to the release.

Gee, this sounds like service offered by my pals at Dialpad and other VoIP players who built this type of functionality in earlier.

Just sparkling....

My Newsletter The Comunicano

For the past few years I've been putting out a newsletter, The Comunicano. First I used Flash Issue, a very well thought out platform. But as we have all seen with technology, someone always comes along and builds something better. And Revue is that better platform. It's cheaper, easier and faster for me to produce what has become an almost daily ritual for me to share news that I've found interesting.

But there's something more about the newsletter. It's the open rate and click through rates.  Even on Thanksgiving the click through rate was over 30 percent, and the same on Black Friday. 

Those types of readership levels are really something to be thankful for. If you want to subscribe, click here.



Voxbone Goes Into Competition For Business Customers-IT Guy Required

Yesterday Voxbone, a former client of Comunicano's, and a company that always took a path of being the service providers' provider, made a move to compete with their own customers. They announced global SIP Trunking. And as they said in their news release:

Starting today, businesses will also be able to use Voxbone’s services to call fixed and mobile numbers around the world.

On face this says to their own customers who use Voxbone for telephone numbers but provide SIP trunking that they are now competitors. In many ways this reminds me when back in the 90s I used a provider Viatel to buy cheaper phone service. Then it was GTS, and another and another, each of whom offered better rates, as long as I wanted to manage my own access. Back then it was using access codes. Today, its software, and connecting your SIP trunk to your phone service.

So here's where it gets interesting. Twilio. Yes, Twilio. You see, Twilio is the Napa Auto Parts of Telecom. They sell pieces and parts for the do it your selfer. Unlike 8x8, Vonage Business, Dialpad, Ring Central, where you get the car fresh of the showroom floor, that stays fresh and frothy, Twilio is a seller of pieces and parts. So take a few parts Twilio add in some SIP Trunking from Voxbone and you have calling and texting...oh, and yes, don't forget the Web Services Tech, the Telecom genie and likely the IT Guy Required.

Back in the hey days of VoIP,  pal Thomas Howe was the king of the mashup and folks like Jay Phillips could have field days with situations like this, concocting all kinds of real world, one off solutions. But those solutions, born in software code, still needed someone to manage things to keep them up and running.

Voxbone entering the SIP Trunking world is great if you want to keep a telecom whiz on speed dial. For everyone else, well there's service providers who do that for you.