Microsoft Brings Back Skype For Business-Sort Of

Extra-Exta read all about it, Skype For Business is coming back...well it is soft of. Basically, Microsoft has recognized that the Skype name has more credibility than Lync does so they're renaming Lync, Skype for Business. That's the crux of the story, that's untold in my view. Given that, this is as much a marketing decision as it is a business and engineering one. At the end of the day this looks like a defensive move to counter Google Apps and give Office and Office365 users from jumping ship. To me this may be the right move, but it may be too late.

Since Lync already offers instant messaging and audio calling with Skype users, something had to be added to make it interesting, so Skype for Business will add video calling and the Skype user directory making it possible to call any Skype user on any device so let's hope this works the otherway too.

The big hook though is how Microsoft is using Office 365 and its own Lync/S4B integration going forward. It's designed to thus rival Google Hangouts, which means Office365 needs a Switch like service to marry up to it. Basically, Skype is that service, sort of.

To me this makes me think that Lync for Mobile, becomes Skype. And with LTE, the mobile enterprise extension is created best via Office365 adding Lync/S4B vs. a premise installation, as MSFT will keep the updates flowing (yes we know how often they happen.)

 


My Deskphone is My Chromebook

Back in April I posed the question "Is the Chromebook Your Next Deskphone" and now that Firespotter, the team behind UberConference has put Switch in the market, the value of my Chromebook as a regular part of my daily workflow just went up.

Two simple Chrome extensions plugged in is all it takes, and given the audio quality found in the Dell Chromebook, the question I posed is now answered. The quality of the calls on Switch is high, the interface clean and easy and the ability to move a call from laptop to mobile easy. Ironically, Gizmo was the first to have that feature back in the heyday of it hoping to rival Skype. 

When you look at the prices of Chromebooks, adding Switch makes it a very useful phione in addition to being a very good personal computer, especially if you lead a GoogleCentric life.


T-Mobile's CEO JohnLegere Gives A Damn About Social Media

Love him. Hate him, but give T-Mobile USA's CEO John Legere credit as he is astutely aware of social media and the power it has. And, he doesn't duck and hide like his peers at the competition. He rises to the challenge, takes the reins and engages. More importantly, when a problem rises, he's on it. Instead of the usual CEO ducking and hiding style and pushing things off to the PR team, Legere and team took action, got to the bottom of the problem(s) and now have a fix. Legere to his credit has been engaging with me this morning via Twitter. 

As a result of my post of last night  a call first thing this AM from his SVP of Customer Service came in. And on that call I didn't get the usual soapy, syrupy apologies and silly excuses. I got facts. Action and promises of things being made right. Try that with AT&T or Verizon and see what you get. Crickets would be the first thing you'd hear...nada, nothing...and maybe even more of the silent treatment, ignoring the customer. That's all old school telco. Legere and team and new school mobile and know that the GenX and Millenial market wants solutions, fixes or they're GAWN FAST.

This is now the second time in a few months where I've seen how well T-Mobile "listens" to their socially aware customers. Each time the person responsible for the issue, not the Customer Service team, dealt with the problem, owned it, and managed it. Honesly, in over 30 years of having a mobile phone, I've never seen such transparency, honesty, candor and a willingness to immediately correct the problem that wasn't mine, but which impacted me.

Hat off to John Legere and his team..they clearly get the point that your customers who care, don't hate you, they help you.

 

 


T-Mobile USA's John Legere Makes A Claim His Company Can't Fully Back Up

Today the news broke about AT&T locking the new Apple Universal SIM once a customer activates it. Over Twitter T-Mobile's charismatic and always pugnacious CEO John Legere tweeted:

@WaltBTIG iPads bought in Apple Store with apple sim, if activated on @ATT it locks, if @TMobile it doesn't..it stays flexible.

Upfront I've been a fan of what Legere and his team have done with growing the business, outfoxing AT&T on a merger deal, acquiring spectrum, buying up MetroPCS, refarming their spectrum to be more universal and roaming friendly, offering all kinds of "FREE" connectivity, staging promotions, pulling pranks and basically providing value to the customers. Under Legere T-Mobile's numbers are up and candidly, his style is refreshing in a industry that is stodgy at best, and where innovation on all levels comes from outside.

But, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and today, with his comment above Legere kicked sand in the face of AT&T while not yet having his own house in order. Here's why...

After picking up my new Apple iPad Air2 and reading about the AT&T move to lock the SIM and Apple's reaction to say "you can buy another Apple SIM" with the teenie weenie issue of them not really being available yet for sale (minor and created by AT&T's move no doubt) I made the decision to simply go with T-Mobile, thus giving Legere and the team there another net add (new subscriber addition.)  I got home, went through the activation sequence, got to the cellular data page, selected T-Mobile, and then went to the Doubler Your Data option, as an already existing subscriber to T-Mobile with a share plan. 

The Double Your Data deal means that for $10 a month more I can add 5GB to my existing plan and use that on the iPad vs. pay $30 per month through January, and then pay $40 a month for the same 5GB of data, but it seems to do that, you need a T-Mobile SIM...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The double your data plan would be in line with the Tweet above as to me the flexible nature of the Apple SIM is I can go just about anywhere, get LTE data without having to stand in line, buy a local SIM card, get top up, etc. But even with Mr. Legere's best intentions aside, if you're a T-Mobile customer you can't add the iPad to your existing T-Mobile account with the Apple SIM and get the deal. No matter what you try to do or who you talk to. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After three attempts of going through the on device activation, and receiving a sorry message, I followed the instructions/directions and called into T-Mobile support. The first person said to take advantage of Double Your Data he needed the phone number associated with the SIM. Well, given that it wasn't activated I couldn't provide what I don't have so he transferred me to activations, which operates out of a call center over in India or somewhere.

Once on the line with activations group they (wrongly) told me I already had too many devices on my share plan and they needed to refer me to another department to remove one. Forget the fact that I really didn't, and that one of the lines was a non-revenue on demand device that is long out of service as it was a 4G non LTE device that was replaced when T-Mobile upgraded to LTE and a new number created. That was back in the era where net adds meant higher valuation when Legere and the team were trying to sell T-Mo...but I digress again.

Once we agreed which number to deactivate I then was told I had to have the transaction approved by the Customer Retention Department. There I was transferred to a nice lady, now the 4th person I spoke to in Salem, Oregon who complained about my call quality. Funny, but I was on my iPhone6 using T-Mobile's WiFi service here at my house (100 megs of connectivity), and the issue wasn't the my call quality, but the fact that the call has been bounced all around the globe and back on T-Mobile contact center network. I even switched off WiFi and it only improved a bit, with awful latency, delays and packet loss, and that happened while the call was on T-Mobile's own LTE network to their switch, not because the network is bad here (it's not) but because the way the call was being handled, routed, and the way the media gets degraded with each handoff. When she called me back the call quality was perfect..But I digress more.

As she removed the on demand number from my account, she then said "I can't do anything about activations and wanted to transfer me back to that group, but after hearing that I had an Apple SIM--which she, like most of the people I spoke to at T-Mobile had no clue about, checked with an inside support person who instructed her to send me to Apple to get it resolved because the issue was the Apple SIM not T-Mobile's platform..well he was half right. It was good to send me to Apple because there I got someone who was a good sounding board and looking to eliminate the Apple SIM from the problem..as was I.

Over at Apple, Will became as perplexed as I, but we walked through the onboarding/provisioning process and I suggested when we were out of options that we try activating it as a Pre-Paid SIM on T-Mobile, which meant creating yet another account. With that, it makes T-Mo's PrePaid numbers and subscriber numbers look better, even though it really means one subscriber has two accounts, vs. another device on the network, but from an existing subscriber. Yes, I do remember that course in college too call stat 101, which those of us also named "how to lie with statistics"...and I never took it.

It worked, and T-Mobile now has me paying $30.00 vs. what should be $10.00. I then was transferred back to T-Mobile and spoke to Ceasar who insisted he knew what the problem was, that I didn't need to have taken any devices off (I know) and that he would explain to activations about it and the problem would get handled by them.

Honestly, at this point I felt like I was in the middle of "Who's On First" skit by Abbott and Costello. The call went back to Asia and there no one had a clue, but one person of the 12 or so people I must have spoken to said "we don't think the Apple SIM can be used with an existing account." Now this was two and a half hours into the ordeal when I should have been enjoying dinner with friends. At that point I asked for a supervisor in the USA, got transferred another know nothing in Asia, who then transferred me to someone who couldn't hear me in the USA, and where the DTMF tones also didn't work likely due to the number of transfers and the shift of the call off net to Apple and back most likely.

So I called back, worked my way up to a supervisor, explained the ordeal and got a very sincere we're sorry but still no resolution but was still being given a lot of partial knowledge from a "supervisor". I then said "how about this. Until you guys can figure it all out, how about a $20.00 credit on my monthly bill" which he did along with the promise of a Manager level call on Monday.

To me, he was the first person who came close to understanding the problem, but even his solution was also counter to Legere's slam at AT&T. To correct the situation at first he wanted me to put a T-Mobile SIM in the iPad so I could link it to my account. That's not really in line with "flexible" and the Apple SIM or T-Mobile's own value proposition that they have spent the better part of 18 months or so driving home externally as well as in theory internally.

Like I said, "people in glass houses......"

To me, Legere's comment about flexible today applies if you want to pay more for that opportunity, to make his subscriber growth in pre-paid look good, but in reality I don't think that's the way he really wants to go.

My honest view is he really wants to offer the flexibility that the Apple SIM brings to the market, but his company has let him down by not removing the offer for double data on the activation page or having the mechanisms in place to make it so. But the big falling down is the number of people working at T-Mobile who have so many different ideas of wrong, took so many of the wrong steps and all the way thought they are being helpful. 

This whole ordeal isn't over yet. But I for one don't like the idea of paying more than I have to.....especially when the online offers and claims made indicate I don't. Neither should you. Call up T-Mobile and ask for your discount if you have the same problem....

 


The Case For Wi-Fi Calling

I'm on the move. Well, in reality, I move around, alot. I have been a global nomad for more years than I can count, and I've also been a road warrior as well as a telecommuter since I was 14 when I started working in pro sports PR, dealing with the press and media at training camps, on the road at games, inside the press box, press room and from just about anywhere. Team buses. Hotels (my first office was in the late, lamented City Line Avenue Marriott in Philadelphia), so the idea of working in places where phones weren't always readily available, nor accessible, always challenged my ability to get the job done.

Knowing where the phones that could make a long distance call, a credit card call no less, was usually the first thing I tended to do when I arrived somewhere, and knew I needed to be in touch with the team's PR director, Sy Roseman (whom I credit with teaching me more than he ever knew he did) and then the media.

It didn't matter that at 14 I had a phone in my room, and at 16 my own phone with a very massive answering device from Bell of Pennsylvania that allowed remote access back in 1976, to me, the ability to phone from anywhere and stay connected to any of 30+ media outlets at any given time was paramount and drove my entire day as a high school student, and then as a college student, learning where every payphone was on campus before I was able to convince some friendly faculty members (thank you Dr. Michael Jackson at Temple University) to let me use their office at times as my own (in exchange for providing their graduate students internships under me and others at the Flyers while I was till an undergraduate.

You see, my life was never exactly, normal, and the work I was doing, what today would be called an embedded reporter or publicist, was really farther ahead of its time than I ever understood. I just did what was at the cutting edge, and still tend to.

That's why I need to state the case for WiFi calling so clearly.

For starters, for the next week or so I'm residing in a high-rise in Miami, 44 floors up. From my work in the past with BridgePort Networks, started by now F5 Wireless and Mobile Operator head Tom Carter, I know that unless a highrise installs a DAS, carrier specific or neutral, the chances of mobile service working really well that high up is limited. So while the mobile operators are doing their best to flood the coutry with LTE coverage and soon LTE-A, including in my own neighborhood, the challenges mobile network operators have is far greater than a wired network build out with Wi-Fi on the edge of it.

So while it may be ten years later, the vision that Tom Carter had is now a reality, and people like me who understand the value of Wi-Fi handover and network convergence are taking advantage of it.

On the 44th floor of the ICON Brickell, or even the 32nd floor of the Intercontinental Hotel in SF where I stay on average of two to three nights a month, and work out of, depending which side of the property I'm on, or how much traffic is driving by causes the Totem Pole effect for mobile networks to dictate just how good (or bad) my coverage is, and in turn the connectivity. And, for data, that is a big, big challenge. Thankfully the apartment here in Miami has its own HotWire provided fiber connectivity, and while it's only 50 megs down and 10 up compared to my own home of 100+ down and 20 up, its more than enough for working the way I do. 

Most importantly, using T-Mobile's recently upgraded Wi-Fi calling is working perfectly for me. It's giving me the constant connectivity on my iPhone 6 and basically preventing the dropped calls I'm seeing on my AT&T iPhone 6 Plus and Verizon iPhone 5. The one bar that I have on T-Mobile's mobile network means nothing to me. Nor does the sometimes two bars on the other two carriers which fades to one bar from time to time which has could cause calls placed or made to drop. Heck, I'm even answer calls on my iPads using the handover so once Yosemite comes out on the Mac I'll have the same fucntionality of people using Rogers One Number (powered by CounterPath which now has all of the BridgePort Networks IP in their offerings.)

To me, Wi-Fi calling has arrived, and in time. How this impacts global roaming is anyone's guess, but if past behavior on T-Mobile and Blackberry devices that had WiFi calling using a prior technology from Kineto called UMA at work, the need for local SIM's will be reduced, and the need for better, more stable Wi-Fi and broadband will only increase. 


Time To Switch To Switch

Take a little bit of GoogleVoice, throw in some Bandwidth.com, hook in some UberConference as the spice and you get--->SWITCH. perhaps the UBERphone for businesses of all sizes and the service that in my mind will wreck havoc with the likes of 8x8 and RingCentral to name a few. Right now it's in private beta and they are taking requests. To me, their "we're here" blog post explains a lot, and TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler has more details.

So with Switch Craig Walker, Vincent, T.R. and the gang have taken a swing at three of the giants in one time at bat. Let me tell you.....

Why (to) Switch?

For starters the guys and gals behind SWITCH know Voice and mobile very well. They have been doing it together since their DialPad days, and really did change the way people use phone numbers with GrandCentral. So, from a pedigree perspective, they get it. They also have funding from Google Ventures and A16Z, so together their collective insight into cloud, Google Apps and opportunity is well known inside the business. Lastly, and most importantly, the changes inside Google with GoogleVoice and Hangouts, as well as the API's around Google Apps, make this a timely market entry with a really well thought out mobile PBX play.

For starters, Google Apps/Works adoption is growing, and the defections are coming from the world of Microsoft Exchange thus making Switch (an awesome name by the way) a formidable rival out of the gate to Lync. What's more when you look at how many services via IFTTT and ZAPIER can interoperate with GoogleApps and then bring in SWITCH the degree of eco-system competency they will have is astounding, trumping Lync and Exchange out of the gate. But there's more reasons for this.

For starters Google Voice is limited to one user. Switch overcomes this in spades. How? imagine porting your GV number over to Switch and making it possible to transfer calls over between colleagues...next is the addition of video conferencing without hardware using Hangouts. To me, after Microsoft feels the pain comes the hurt to Polycom. For years Polycom has been chasing the ITSP to sell their solutions. They've partnered with Broadsoft for a cloud solution that was so expensive it was cost prohibitive to both the ITSPs and their customers  it was so costly that not many of the ITSPS really sell it much, and those that do aren't making any money. That makes the next loser Broadsoft. Can you call this move by the Firespotter team has made "the Broadsoft disConnection (a pun I came up with after talking to a now former Broadsoft partner.) That's three strikes to the competition all in one pitch.

So for Firespotter founder Craig Walker, who loves to coach his son in Little League skills, the opportunity ahead for him with SWITCH may just end up being his perfect game!

 

 

 


Skype's Days Are Numbered Take 2

I continue to feel Skype's days are numbered. All one has to do is look at history. AIM (AOL's Instant Messenger) and ICQ were once the kings of Instant Messaging (IM). And while they are still around, the best way of describing them, along with Yahoo! Messenger, is to say they are on life support. Beyond SMS and the cheap calling that's already available over mobile which has basically gutted the need for those apps, there's now newer and more robust apps like WhatsApp and Viber that have taken the mobile ownership away from Skype, as has Twitter and Facebook's Messenger. 

And now, with WebRTC becoming more and more a part of any web developer's toolkit, Skype's market share is beginning to erode as more discreet communications is being embedded into apps and web pages. 

Take a look at companies like client Temasys and their platform, and also some others like TokBox now under the leadership of longtime pal and former client at SightSpeed Scott Lomond, PubNub and &Yet to see what they're up to.  

These companies are the next Twilios and AWS' of the world, taking real time communications and making it easier for web and app developers and designers to put communications into just about anything. And that is where Skype gets eviscerated. Looking at what they have vs. some of the candy coated, wolf's in sheep's clothing offerings from the bigger boys is telling me why there's been a lot of FUD being tossed about WebRTC a few months back and has others hyping and drinking the kool-aid, like we're back in 1999 more about what's "coming" than what is here today and being deployed today.

Want to see this stuff in action? Take a look at Appear.InGetARoomTalky, Talko and BANG. Cast an eye in the direction of HipChat and their recent updates. Take a gander in the direction of VOBI.

WebRTC is also already alive and well in the likes of client iotum's Calliflower and pal Craig Walker's UberConference. Vonage already put WebRTC inside their mobile app and rumor has it that T-Mobile is playing around with it while client Truphone has demonstrated some neat tricks that makes calling someone without a phone number who you only know via social media, possible.

So, when you add it all up. Skype's days are numbered. And that's just fine.

Update: Wall Street Journal has a parallel story.


The Comunicano Daily for Thursday September 11, 2014

 
 
 
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Lots of interesting news on the front of innovation or maybe best described as "its time has come" today and reflects upon how much we at Comunicano have been in the thick of this over the past ten years.  Wi-Fi calling and in flight texting from T-Mobile.. Comunicano represented pioneer Bridgeport Networks, founded by Tom Carter, now at F5 where he's leading their wireless efforts worldwide, over ten years ago, and they were the pioneers in Fixed Mobile Convergence. Google Hangouts adding full blown GoogleVoice integration. Comunicano represented GrandCentral during their rise to acquisition by Google in 2007. Blackberry acquires a virtual SIM company that will allow more capabilities by carriers, enterprises and users. Comunicano helped launch current client Truphone's multi-IMSI technology back in 2009 at Mobile World Congress and continues to support policy and billing technology leader ItsOn which just raised more cash from Cisco. So as I look at the news, so much of it isn't "new" or revolutionary, it's more about the times catching up to the inventions...NOW ON TO THE NEWS.

 

 
 
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T-Mobile Expands Wi-Fi Calling to New Smartphones, Partners with Gogo for In-Flight Texting

Adding to an already busy week of mobile news, T-Mobile announced several moves today designed to help customers use their phones even when there's no cellular connection, including when flying the friendly skies. Dubbed the "Wi-Fi Unleashed" campaign, T-Mobile said going forward all of its new smartphones will be enabled for Wi-Fi calling and texting.
 
 

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Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

For the last few years, it has always felt like Google Voice, the company's VoIP calling solution, was on its way out. Instead, the video-centric Hangouts was getting all of the attention.

 
 

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Google Voice Is Dying and It's Beautiful

I am a huge fan of what Google Voice can do. That's why I've been calling for a mercy kill, so that its best features can thrive in something other than a limp husk of a service. And now that Google is finally beginning to merge Voice into Hangouts, the process has started in earnest.
 
 

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BlackBerry Acquires Virtual SIM Startup Movirtu

 
 

BlackBerry today announced it has acquired Movirtu, a UK startup that allows multiple numbers to be active on a single device. The Canadian company's hope is to boost its device management offerings in bring-your-own device (BYOD) and corporate owned personally enabled (COPE) environments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 
 

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A virtual assistant to help manage your on demand services sounds like a great idea. But honestly, those services are really best in high density, heavily populated areas. You won't see the demand for them as much in rural America initially, or small villages in Europe, but where you have a massive population, virtual work forces, transportation congestion and urban renewal, many of these services can aggregate people, products and services and deliver them more efficiently than many businesses doing the same thing for less. 

 

 
 
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Personal assistant service Alfred wins TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield contest

A group of venture capital and tech company execs chose Alfred as the winner of TechCrunch's "Startup Battlefield"contest here at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Alfred is a subscription-based service that provides people to do basic tasks for you, like picking up dry cleaning, doing laundry, getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, cleaning the house, and a lot of other tedious and/or time consuming tasks.

 
 

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On demand services being delivered by UBER can be here sooner than you know it. Already they have experimented with burger delivery and what they are are doing in Sweden is becoming another proof point on their road to hacking how consumers get better service and eliminate the old way of doing things.

 

 
 
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Uber pilots on-demand product delivery in Sweden -- powered by its new API

Today Uber announced a product delivery pilot test in Stockholm in partnership with Swedish ecommerce platform Tictail. Stockholm marks Uber's fourth city with large-scale on-demand deliveries, following Washington D.C., New York, and Santa Monica. The partnership coincides with the launch of Tictail's first iOS app.

 
 

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This is a dream come true for all shoppers of IKEA and other furniture stores where "assembly is required."  Assemble itself furniture is coming.

 

 
 
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In The Future, You'll Never Have To Assemble Furniture Again

If you've ever struggled to put together some tricky furniture, just wait a few decades and you won't have to deal with the frustrating process. In 15-20 years, your furniture will put ITSELF together.

 
 

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Here in California, Governor Gerry Brown basically upheld the First Amendment signing into law an agreement that comments in social media can't be restrained contractually directed at consumers and businesses. To me, the attempts to keep people from making comments about a bad experience always smacked of "prior restraint" so it's good to see this law get signed.

 

 
 
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Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill protecting consumers' online reviews

Californians offering online opinions or reviews of businesses will have new legal protection under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown .
 
 

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Sometimes success can mean failure. That was the case in a Kickstarter campaign that did too well for a Delaware Valley company outside of Philadelphia.

 

 
 
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Big Kickstarter Campaign Overwhelms Radiate Athletics

Many entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding campaigns to raise the profile of their nascent businesses and products, while also raising funds. But the tactic sometimes backfires when a startup isn't prepared for the demand that follows. Consider the plight of Radiate Athletics and its co-founder Kenneth Crockett Jr.
 
 

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As much as I love U2 it seems some Apple iTunes users didn't like the idea of being given free music but one of music's all time great bands. Part of this is really about the User Experience and how some people set their phones to auto-download or make excessive use of the iCloud music storage. To me the nay sayers are in the minority and the "bugs" or "warts" of the experience are really Apple's way of finding problems in user experience and fixing them.

 

 
 
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Why is U2's latest album on your iPhone? How to remove Apple's publicity stunt

Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2's latest album via iTunes yesterday: The album, titled Songs of Innocence, instantly became "the largest album release of all time," as Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on stage during the company's iPhone 6 event.

 
 

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Apple has created Reservation Pass. Gee this sounds like Craig Walker's Firespotter Labs service called NoshList that is deployed by restaurants. Oh, and about being on the forefront of technology that's ahead of its time, Comunicano supported Firespotter on its launch of Nosh, the food photo and what's on the menu app.

 

 
 
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A new digital reservation system could save you time in the iPhone 6 line

Hoping to buy a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the Apple Store next Friday but don't have hours to stand in line? You may not have to. 9to5 Mac reports that Apple Store employees received training documentation for a program called Reservation Pass.
 
 

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Twitter is getting back into the developer relations arena with their upcoming developer conference, FLIGHT.

 

 
 
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Twitter Announces Flight, An Annual Mobile Developer Conference

Twitter has announced Flight, a new developer conference focused on mobile. The conference will take place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on October 22, with a keynote from CEO Dick Costolo, followed by technical sessions aimed at helping mobile devs build. It's not the first developer conference Twitter has held.
 
 

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Comunicano is happy to be supporting and partnering with long time collaboration analyst and consultant David Coleman on the 2015 edition of the Distributed Collaboration Summit, otherwise known as DCS. This is the world's first virtual and real world conference ever staged for the collaboration industry. Contact me for details.

 

 
 
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Distributed Collaboration Summit Coming In January

A new kind of conference for a new kind of workplace DCS Dates January 15 - January 16, 2015 Time 8AM - 4PM Pacific Time Locations San Francisco, Santa Monica, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, New York, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Seattle DCS is a unique conference based on the growing trend of distributed teams and distributed work.

 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Wednesday September 10, 2014

 
 
 
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You would have to not be switched on to any form of media to not be deluged by the news from Apple yesterday. The new iPhone 6 and 6+ were the appetizer. The big news was Apple Pay and the dessert was the Apple Watch. And was the news around payments really interesting? Yes it was as it totally will compliment the existing retail and banking worlds both online and in the physical realms, but also it gives the whole NFC world a major boost....NOW ON WITH THE NEWS..

 

 
 
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Here's Apple Pay In Action

Apple has revealed its mobile payments play, and it features NFC and Touch ID, as many expected. The system works as fast as they joked it did on stage - which is why in our demo we ran through a number of different payment scenarios.

 
 

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Apple Said to Reap Fees From Banks in New Payment System

Apple Inc. will collect fees from banks when consumers use an iPhone in place of credit and debit cards for purchases, a deal that gives the handset maker a cut of the growing market for mobile payments, according to three people with knowledge of the arrangement.

 
 

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I referred above to the Apple Watch being the dessert. Not only was it good for Apple fans it was bad for the watch industry so much that even Wall Street is sensing it. Apple is about changing the markets and watch manufacturing brands need to realize that the Apple Watch will be sold in stores that do not carry Apple products usually. I say this due to the number of retail department stores that will take Apple Pay and already sell watches.  The two announcements together are very, very timely.

 

 
 
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Shares Of Luxury Watchmakers Fall After Apple Watch Unveiling

Shares of some luxury watch makers fell Wednesday morningafter Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced its smartwatch Tuesday afternoon. Shares of Swatch Group, whose 19 watch brands include Swatch, Breguet, Omega and Calvin Klein, had fallen 1.3 percent by mid-morning.

 
 

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Streaming media has been around since the 90's but yesterday's webcast by Apple had lots of problems. Veteran streaming media analyst Dan Rayburn has the details on why and how Apple made a rare mistake.

 

 
 
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Inside Apple's Live Event Stream Failure, And Why It Happened: It Wasn't A Capacity Issue

Apple's live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like myself having problems trying to watch the event.

 
 

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Apple may have Beats Music but the second largest music streaming service called Deezer hasn't been big in the USA ever. Now they are launching, and they're going after the high end audiophile via a partnership with SONOS and the new Deezer Elite.

 

 
 
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Deezer to Finally Launch in America as High-Quality Streaming Service

The world's second-biggest music subscription service is finally coming to the world's biggest music market. Deezer, which claims to have 5 million subscribers and 16 million monthly users over 180 countries, announced Wednesday it will launch in the United States on Monday the 15th via a partnership with home audio company Sonos.

 
 

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Over at CTIA in Las Vegas AT&T announced that mobile operators and carriers are working on VoLTE interoperability. This is really important to everyone, with SIP Trunking providers who will be in the middle of all this having a lot to gain from it. 

 

 
 
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AT&T's Rinne: Carriers Working on VoLTE Interoperability

AT&T's Kris Rinne says that the carrier is working with several other operators on enabling direct voice-over-LTE calls between their networks. Rinne, senior vice president of network and product planning at AT&T Inc.

 
 

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Just as the wireless world is seeing pricing wars, you can expect the same type of thing to come to the fiber based Gigabit speed Internet markets where AT&T is facing off against Google Fiber.

 

 
 
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Google Takes Fiber Fight to AT&T 

Take one moribund broadband market, add a disruptive new entrant as rich as Croesus, watch the explosion in competition that occurs when the old players bang into the upstart and, hey presto, you have the US fixed broadband market today.

 
 

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Wireless and broadband by cable/DSL and fiber aren't the only ways people can connect to the Internet. Satellite broadband is growing up faster and getting more users all the time.

 

 
 
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Hughes passes 1m satellite broadband customer mark in North America

 
 

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The FCC is thinking about putting mobile broadband under the same rules as wired connectivity. This would be much easier for everyone to understand, including the regulatory lawyers, broadband providers and the service providers who have to work with both.

 

 
 
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FCC may put mobile under same net-neutrality rules as wired broadband

Print|The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reexamining how it treats wireless net neutrality, in response to public comments on the agency's proposed Open Internet rules. Under the net neutrality rules the FCC set in 2010, wireless was set apart from wired access and mobile operators were given more leeway to treat some streams of traffic differently from others.
 
 

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First T-Mobile offered "contract free" in the USA and many more bells and whistles. Now Sprint which is battling to keep from losing customers is going with a new "iPhone" for life plan. On paper it sounds good but to me it's good for those who want the entry level iPhone with only 16GB of memory. That said, given how Sprint has updated their network, and how little traffic is on it, they may be the network of choice for speed demons.

 

 
 
 

Sprint's 'IPhone for Life' Plan Lets Users Upgrade Every 2 Years

 
  Sprint Corp. (S) introduced an "iPhone for Life" plan that lets customers get a new version of Apple Inc.'s smartphone every two years for $70 a month. The service also includes unlimited data, Sprint said today on its website.  
 

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If you're an Apple developer you can see iOS8 now and use it today. The final release candidate is alive and available....

 

 
 
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Apple releases iOS 8 GM ahead of Sep. 17 public release

Following today's announcements, Apple has released the golden master version of iOS 8. iOS 8 launches as an over the air update to iOS 7 on September 17th.
 
 

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Twillio has released TWIMLETS which works with Zapier and between the two some Twilio services just got easier to use.

 

 
 
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How to Build a Smarter International Phone with Twilio in Just 15 Minutes - Zapier

It sounds too simple to be true, so Twilio has you test it out. On the next screen, you can enter a message, then call your new number and hear it read back or have your new number call you and read the message aloud.
 
 

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The Comunicano Daily for Monday September 8, 2014

 
 
 
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Pal Ken Rutkowski, host of Business Rockstars, has been pushing Los Angeles as the rising tech hub for years, being so connected to the community at the grass roots level. He's right and finally the world is seeing it.....L.A. is not a tech hub in the normal sense. It's less about chips and operating systems and more about delivery of ideas to consumers and businesses, with the panache of Hollywood and commerce all rolled together. Now, onto the news..

 

 
 
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LA's Tech Startup Scene Is Coming of Age

After several decades of wondering when the Los Angeles tech scene would interact with the local entertainment business and generate new opportunities, things have finally come of age. Today, dozens of hot LA companies are gaining national and global notoriety, thanks to strong execution, distribution and customer advocacy.

 
 

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Part of the L.A. scene for many years has been Bill Gross of IdeaLabs and now he has another idea, IdeaMarket...and it may be one of the darlings of the crowd generation.

 

 
 
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Bill Gross, the guy who invented Google's business model, tries again with IdeaMarket

Bill Gross is far from being a household name - at least not in the sense that Mark Zuckerberg is, or Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates - but he came up with at least one idea that everyone knows about, even if they don't know who invented it: His company GoTo.com pioneered the pay-per-click advertising model that has made Google hundreds of billions of dollars over the past decade.

 
 

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While IdeaLabs is looking to change things in L.A. Andressen Horowitz (A16Z) is changing the game in Silicon Valley using a very similar model to Hollywood talent agencies.

 

 
 
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How Andreessen Horowitz Is Disrupting Silicon Valley

Just over the crest of the highest point on Sand Hill Road, amid a cluster of relaxed buildings that could easily pass as residential units, sits the offices of Andreessen Horowitz (A.H.).

 
 

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As new ways to fund companies and ideas come to market where does that put the Micro VCs? First Republic Bank has some perspective on just that.

 

 
 
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Where is the Micro-VC Market Going?

Micro VC funds have been the rage as of late. What's next? The following is a guest post by Samir Kaji (@samirkaji), Managing Director at First Republic Bank (@firstrepublic). Just over a year ago, I posted a blog post about the state of the " Micro-VC" market.

 
 

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Video conferencing cloud player Blue Jeans Network is getting big enough to go public.  If they do is up in the air as they may get acquired before that happens. Cisco would certainly be one of the likely buyers given the history of the founders.

 

 
 
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Blue Jeans Network Approaching Size to Go Public

Blue Jeans Network, the cross-platform video conferencing company, is in a state of high growth and approaching the size to go public, said a source close to the company. The company last year raised $50 million, bringing total raised funds to $98.5 million.

 
 

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The drumbeat to DreamForce, SalesForce.com's signature event, is starting and at the core is founder Marc Benioff, who is leading off the banging with tales of what it takes to improve productivity for sales pros.

 

 
 
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How to Improve the Productivity of Your Sales Force 

If you need to generate more sales, there are two ways to improve the overall productivity of your sales force. 1. Hire more reps. 2. Increase output per rep. According to Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce: "Hiring more reps is the way to go; assuming that you have already created systems and process that have allowed your current reps to achieve the goals you've set for them, that is."

 
 

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All of what Benioff is referring to is also impacting how technology suppliers market and sell.

 

 
 
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How Big Companies and Their Tech Suppliers Are Changing Together

Mobile devices and cloud computing are changing the work and the structure of corporations. That, in turn, is changing how tech companies behave. A few examples from the last week, from the cosmetic to the substantial, illustrate the shift. On Tuesday, Google renamed its now-substantial business in online creation and collaboration software Google for Work.

 
 

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I had fun watching the 1994 era AT&T commericials over the weekend. So much has come true but not all of it being AT&T sold, but certainly delivered.

 

 
 
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We live in the future AT&T imagined in 1994

Twenty years ago, AT&T ran a series of ads depicting the miraculous things information technology would allow us to do in the future. "Have you ever borrowed a book from thousands of miles away?" the first ad asks. "Crossed the country without stopping for directions? Or sent someone a fax from the beach?
 
 

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For a long time I've said GigaBit speeds need Gigabit Service. You can get the speeds today, but there's yet to be any new services designed for it.

 

 
 
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Two Cities With Blazing Internet Speed Search for a Killer App

A team of computer programmers here set out to learn how many cute kitten photos can be downloaded in one second on their Internet network, one of the fastest in the country. The answer: 612. A trivial pursuit? Perhaps.

 
 

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As a frequent flier who uses in flight Wi-Fi, I'm always on the GoGo. It seems GoGo has been playing with all kinds of pricing, based on airline, flight route, demands, etc....

 

 
 
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Gogo experiments with inflight Wi-Fi pricing

Think you know what a Gogo inflight Internet session is going to cost? You might be surprised at the number of different prices the company charges, even for the exact same offering. Gogo employs various tracking systems at its Itasca, Illinois headquarters. Among them is Gogo's real-time signups for the day, including pricing for the different products.

 
 

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Over in the U.K. the cellcos don't want national roaming. What this means is you could end up in parts of Britain without coverage depending who your operator is, or who your USA operator roams with unless they have multiple operator relationships.

 

 
 
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UK cellcos reject plans for 'national roaming'

Proposals by the UK government which called on the country's mobile network operators to share networks for 'national roaming' are said to have been rejected by cellcos, according to the Financial Times.

 
 

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As a logo junkie, our final story gives away some secrets.

 

 
 
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30 Famous Logos That Have A Hidden Message

Whether you're cruising down the aisles of the grocery store, or speeding down the freeway, you're guaranteed to come across a few famous logos. Take one glance at any one of these logos and you instantly recognize the brand, but did you know there's sometimes a hidden message buried in them?

 
 

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