The COMUNICANO for Thursday February 23 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 23 - ISSUE #29
Andy Abramson
 
 
Getting Quoted…and getting quoted regularly are two different things. So far this year I’ve been quoted three times. Last year over 40. Like the number of exits Comunicano has been involved in, now 42, this isn’t luck, chance or accidental. It’s all about having insight, perspective and opinion on subjects, and having the ability to articulate the answer so it’s reporter educational and friendly. 
So the first story about the fastest way through some airports, CLEAR, has my quote, but the background provided to the reporter is there too…that’s how you GET QUOTED…There’s also news about Amazon getting in some hot water, Facebook trying to play nice, faster mobile in the USA, Twitter getting more “personal”, Lyft adding more cities and more news you need to know, so now onto the news in today’s COMUNICANO.

Travel Watch
Now you can go through MSP airport security with a fingerprint or iris scan
Norwegian Air steps up transatlantic pressure with $65 fares| Reuters
Media Watch
Facebook Is Trying To Smooth Over Relationships With The Media
Amazon Watch
What 'Chime' is it? Amazon sued over name of its new online conferencing technology
Amazon resists US demands to hand over Echo audio in murder case
Ridesharing Watch
Google’s Waze Plans Expansion of Ride-Sharing Service
Lyft launches in 54 new cities, while Uber does damage control
Wireless Watch
T-Mobile Continues to Boost Capacity for Customers with LTE-U Launching in Spring 2017
GE, Intel, AT&T team up to put cameras, mics in San Diego
Why I am not going to buy a cellphone
Odds & Ends
Google's Perspective API Opens Up Its Troll-Fighting AI
Twitter tweaks direct messages for brands so they sound more human
How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World
How leaders of 9 billion-dollar companies stay productive

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The Comunicano for Wednesday February 22 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 22 - ISSUE #28
Andy Abramson
 
 
UPS, like Amazon, is fascinated with what flying drones can do for their business. For normally silent UPS, their efforts with drones seem to be “taking off” in Florida the way Uber is testing driverless cars in Arizona. We lift off today with three items about UPS and their lofty ideas surrounding drones….those stories and a lot, lot more are all in today’s COMUNICANO.

UPS tests drone deliveries, eyes future price changes
UPS Tests Residential Delivery Via Drone Launched From atop Package Car
SportsTech Watch
Exclusive: Facebook in talks to live stream one MLB game per week - sources
Amazon Watch
Move over, Amazon: Here comes Walmart
Amazon plans to sell beer and wine at its new high-tech convenience store
Wireless Watch
Verizon offers taste of 5G as it expands network trials
Some subscribers of Project Fi are getting access to VoLTE on T-Mobile's network
Odds & Ends
Israeli glass tech can help car windows show ads
An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source
Apple has kept Steve Jobs promises with its new HQ

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The Comunicano for Friday February 17 2017

 
Last night I dined out using Feastly for the first time. It was the way to book seats at a “pop up” dinners across the USA. The dinner was the debut of former Herringbone LA chef Jason Witzl, who is in the process of opening up his own Cal-Ital place, Ellie’s, in DTLA. Not only was Feastly a cool app/service experience end to end, but the communal dining experience made it easy to make new friends, hang with old friends, eat very well and of course BYOB. 

Alexa-can you come with me? So many times i wanted to take Alexa with me, so while Telzio had voice enabled access to my Amazon Echo first via their mobile app, almost a full year or so ago, there wasn’t a lot of use. Well the game just changed as Rain Labs has launched Reverb with apps for the Mac, iOS and Android. It’s all made possible by Amazon Voice Service.  As I wrote on the Xceptional Blog a few days ago, Amazon keeps looking more and more like a telco/information services competitor to AT&T, Verizon, H-P and more….
So with that, let’s dive into the news in today’s extended edition of Comunicano.

Facebook just changed its mission, because the old one was broken
Here are the details of Uber's disastrous public Q&A session with drivers on Facebook
App Watch
Messaging Tech Expert: The Year Messaging (Actually) Matches its Hype
White House Staff Are Using A "Secure" App That’s Really Not So Secure
23 Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business
Money Watch
Uber Gives Restless Employees a Way to Cash Out
Airbnb buys Montreal-based Luxury Retreats to bolster high-end vacation offerings
Verizon acquires Portland startup Skyward, a maker of drone management software
Daimler’s MyTaxi acquires Greek rival Taxibeat for undisclosed amount
Soundtrack Your Brand has raised $22 million for B2B music streaming
Apple Watch
Apple Vowed to Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t - Bloomberg
Apple may cut the (charging) cord completely with the iPhone 8
Cool Things
The Piaggio Gita Is a Futuristic Helper Bot From the Makers of the Vespa
A breakthrough in Alphabet’s balloon-based internet project means it might actually work
Private Astronaut Taxis by SpaceX, Boeing May Not Be Ready by 2019
Where is Zealandia? Geologists say they have discovered eighth continent
Odds & Ends
AT&T’s new, new unlimited data plan eliminates an annoying requirement
Jack Dorsey: Twitter Lacked 'Focus And Discipline' For Growth

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The Comunicano for Wednesday February 15 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 15 - ISSUE #23
Andy Abramson
HUMPDAY…….and there’s tons of NEW and that makes NEWSsurrounding new services releases that are making the rounds today from the likes of Facebook, Signal, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. They all have decided to unleash new “stuff” that changes the way we consume, communicate, create and deliver information today, and after a wave of non-news of late, it’s nice to see NEW back in the NEWS..

Let’s start with Facebook,
which is going to become a bit more “annoying” as they start with sound on within their video news content. Their claim is more people prefer that, but thankfully there are ways to turn the audio offMicrosoft makes its biggest move to take on Gmail with a more complete Outlook Premium offer…In some cases I’ve included the official announcement as well as a news item about what’s new, in an effort to provide deeper transparency and insight. 
After all that, there’s a few perspectives on the new data plan wars happening in the USA that’s waging between the mobile operators that will help you decide what plan and what changes are right for YOU….That and more are all in today’s COMUNICANO.

New Release Watch
New Ways to Watch Facebook Video from the Facebook Newsroom
Facebook is launching an app for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV
Outlook.com Premium Comes Out of Preview
Introducing Cloud Spanner: a global database service for mission-critical applications
Signal Adds Video Calls, Better Quality---And a New Privacy Tradeoff
Video calls for Signal now in public beta
Yahoo Mail now syncs photos across devices and IDs who's calling on the phone
Yahoo Mail Update: Never Guess Who’s Calling or...
Dataplan Watch
Expect T-Mobile to Continue Inflicting Pain on Verizon and AT&T
Experts warn businesses not to over-buy on unlimited data plans
Your complete guide to choosing an unlimited data plan
Unlimited plans comparison: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile
Odds & Ends
This sick Valentine's day ad shows people getting naughty with their phones
How To Create A Killer Logo-Two Experts Weigh In

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The Comunicano for Friday February 3 2017

 

 
 
FEBRUARY 3 - ISSUE #15
Andy Abramson
The big news, especially here in the Southland, is SNAP and their 3 billion dollar IPO. There’s lots of coverage on it, with some deep insight from the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern and the Business Insider as well as the L.A. Times. The stories around the story is also interesting so there’s six for your reading pleasure. 
Beyond SNAP, we have news about Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, the Sharing Economy, Microsoft and a bit more. 

Lastly, next week is IT Expo Week in Fort Lauderdale. I’ll be there so find me in the media room, or up on stage on any of my three panels.
That’s all in today’s COMUNICANO!!!

Snapchat company's IPO filing might be L.A.'s biggest ever
What’s So Great About Snapchat Anyway?
Upcoming Snapchat Lenses will be Able to "Interact" with Objects
Snapchat paid third cofounder Reggie Brown $158 million to disappear
Snapchat IPO: Inside Snap Inc.'s company culture
Snap S-1 Filing
Uber Watch
Uber C.E.O. to Leave Trump Advisory Council After Criticism
Sharing Economy Goes Mainstream in Business Travel — Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report
Odds & Ends
The Best Drone Photography of 2016
Amazon's advertising business is growing fast -
Facebook’s AI unlocks the ability to search photos by what’s in them
How Twitter took on Trump's bot army—and won
Why augmented reality will be big in business first
With Chrome 57, Progressive Web Apps will appear in Android’s app drawer, settings, more
Microsoft Outlook for iOS now supports add-ins like Giphy and Trello
Business Ops is the New Sales and Marketing Ops. Why Consolidation is Crucial to Your Bottom Line.
We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market
Catapulting Europe’s brightest FinTech startups from Singapore to Asia with The FinLab
Verizon Restructures Small Business Segment, Launches Verizon Business Markets

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The Comunicano for Friday January 27 2017

 

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

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

Those stories are all in today’s Comunicano.

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

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Cisco's Sparkboard For Collaboration Here and There

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

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

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

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

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

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


More Patents for 8x8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Alexa Text My Friend" --Amazon Echo to now text via AT&T

In a move that I would have thought would have come from any carrier  but AT&T (T-Mobile comes first to mind) , the mobile operator and Amazon have teamed up to make it possible to send a text message to any one of ten of your contacts using the Echo voice controlled device.

My take is this was an Amazon driven idea to get more retail distribution for the hot selling Echo devices and for AT&T it was a fit to create more stickiness for their wireless customers by bringing the sexiness of the connected home closer to their mobile universe. Had AT&T tied the Echo into their big push effort surrounding Direct TV and made it possible to toggle on recording of television programs, enabled the reading out loud what TV programming scheduled, told you what movies or sporting events are scheduled or airing in real time, and went one step farther and dove into the meta data of the program line up, it might even have been possible for a customer to ask Alexa to "tell me when the Flyers hockey game is on tv" or "let me know what tonight's NCIS episode is about" or "record this weekend's Rams game." If AT&T and Amazon would have done that, I would be impressed, as it would have shown that AT&T was really thinking about integrating the services that they are counting on to bring in bigger dollars. 

Known as the AT&T Send Message skill the effort is part of AT&T's move to be more integrated into the idea of the "connected home," the market they used to dominate in their heyday of the landline.  The effort with Alexa is part of a sales partnership between AT&T and Amazon where the different Echo devices will be sold through AT&T online web site and in their many retail locations. The way it works is very easy. First users of AT&T wireless need to have an Echo. Once in hand, they download the iOS or Android Alexa app onto their smartphone or tablet, enable the Send Text Message Skill, add or manage their ten contacts  and then speak to the Echo saying "Alexa, ask AT&T to text message <contact> where contact is one of the ten names on the contact list. Alexa then will prompt the user for the message.

Send_Text_Messages_from_Amazon_Echo_with_AT_TWhile this is a great way to "send" the text message, it's only a half-baked solution. Replies are sent directly to your phone not received and shared to the Echo for Alexa to read out loud if you want it spoken to you. UPDATED-If messages could be spoken out loud, some discretion may be needed, a point made to me by super analyst Dean Bubley via a Twitter Chat.

AT&T also say users need to have a compatible plan and that other restrictions apply, but they have not listed those on their web site.