Friday, April 28, 2017

Restoring Internet Freedom

From FCC Chair Pai:

Restoring Internet Freedom

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – WC Docket No. 17-108

Background: For almost twenty years, the Internet flourished under a light-touch regulatory approach.

[me] For almost 20 years there was actual competition. There hundreds of independent ISPs. That is why it flourished.

During this time, the Internet underwent rapid, and unprecedented, growth. Internet service providers
(ISPs) invested approximately $1.5 trillion in the Internet ecosystem...

[me] and then consolidation hit. The pie stagnated with stagnated wages for most Americans. We had that huge downturn in 2006-2008. Remember that? Oh, and Verizon spent $26B on FiOS - and didn't get the 50% return they expected. ILECs called for - and received in over 20 states - deregulation.

[me] You know where we are now? Cable is the incumbent voice provider to more than 60% of households. Yeah, the ILECs were fat and happy on rate of return and USF money and fighting with CLECs. They missed the cable threat.

[me] For Telco TV the telcos HAD to invest in their networks for the first time in ages! And the timing was awful.

[me] TV is OTT now. But it wouldn't be without a watchful FCC.

[FCC]The Internet became an ever-increasing part of the American economy, offering new and innovative changes in how we work, learn, receive medical care, and entertain ourselves.

[me] Again wouldn't have happened without competition and a vigilant FCC.

[FCC] The Commission’s 2015 decision to subject ISPs to Title II utility-style regulations risks that innovation, serving ultimately to threaten the open Internet it purported to preserve.

[me] Really, because that regulation didn't affect anything since it was enacted. NOTHING! And Title II didn't affect WAN or Voice development or innovation. You know what destroyed Innovation? Consolidation and Greed.

[me] Monopolists don't know how to innovate or compete except through litigation and buying regulation. Thanks for being a pawn! Bell Labs was a separate entity (like PARC was for XEROX) but that is where all the innovation happened. Nothing new since they sold it off to Lucent.

Best Headlines on Net Neutrality

ISPs Trot Out Old Lies to Defend New Attack on Net Neutrality

Throttling of websites and online services might help customers, FCC says.

The FCC will now take your comments on whether to kill net neutrality. [But the Chair won't listen.]

The Worst Lies From Yesterday's Anti-Net Neutrality Speech

Over 800 Startups Tell FCC's Ajit Pai Not To Kill Net Neutrality

FCC Falsely Claims Net Neutrality Took Away Your Freedom

US ISPs claim to love net neutrality while praising death of net neutrality rules
ISPs say they support net neutrality—but oppose FCC's authority to enforce it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

One Mission Statement Example

The mission statement of Najmtek, a hybrid IT company, is to change the way users interact with technology within their worlds. [source Gapingvoid]

What's your mission statement?

Gaping Culture

Hugh MacLeod at GapingVoid has been talking Culture this past month. Brian Solis and GapingVoid released a short ebook on culture (HERE)

Open, honest communication. Creativity and culture in the workplace come from the same place: A feeling of trust and safety in your workspace, with your team, and surrounding your mission. [source]

"You are going to spend more time at work than you will with your kids, so it had better have that deeper meaning," Nadella recalls. [source]

70% of employees are disengaged. That’s because 90% of companies have ill defined cultures.

HBR on Rethinking the Corporate Love Affair with Change

What is Your Culture?

A.I. Will Eat Your Job!

Robots are going to eat jobs. Already are, but it is going to accelerate. 40%+ of jobs are at risk of being automated!

4 skills that will stave it off: (1) code; (2) consultative selling; (3) problem solving; (4) creative thinking. Be a Linchpin.

"We have to prepare the next generation to be ready to work on their own, to use their brains to create every single day. All the other jobs -- those are being handed off to robots." [GapingVoid]

Broadsoft in Competition With its Clients

Interesting news from ADTRAN and Broadsoft: the launch of ADTRAN’s ProCloud UC powered by BroadSoft (BSFT). , so MSPs can white-label BSFT through ADTRAN.

"The addition of the BroadCloud call control platform to ADTRAN’s ProCloud Subscription Services Suite enables Managed Service Provider (MSP) partners to expand their cloud-based unified communications (UC) offerings." Truth be told if they wanted to white label it, there are a dozen options including Coredial, Momentum, PBX-Change, et al.

It seems more and more BSFT is competing directly with its customers in much he same way that ILECs and cablecos do. That won't be good long term for anyone. There are too many players in the UC game; most play the price game. Hard to compete with $15 per seat though from the manufacturer.

While I understand that BSFT has to sell seats to survive, doing it at the expense of its clients is crazy. Consider that there are about 2 million seats that are sitting out there unused and BSFT is NOT collecting maintenance on. Consider that as BSFT lowers the price to $15, its very own customers cannot compete so more seats end up unsold and maintenance payments slow down. Can BSFT make enough money selling directly to cover the losses soon to be suffered by its clients?

What type of VoIP is selling today? Most of the VoIP market is selling SIP trunks to replace PRIs and POTS lines. Hosted seats are tough to sell. Right now the UC market is shifting to Workflow and other siloed comms platforms like Slack or Skype4B. At Enterprise Connect, the keynotes were from Amazon (who launched a cloud contact center offering) and Twilio, not AT&T, not Avaya and not BSFT. What does that say about the future of UC?

One thing to think about is to "Give your employees less fragmented enterprise communications if you want them to collaborate better. Make the desktop more like the smartphone and enterprise experiences as good as consumer technology," writes David Carr at Forbes. Users are self selecting apps for comms including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, twitter DM and more. Most of it is outside the corporate umbrella. Many reasons for that, including you communicate with people in the easiest manner possible to get a response.

We'll see how this ends up.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Tidbits #2451

Charter was supposed to overbuild broadband as part of its merger with TWC and Bright House. The FCC reversed that idea. Competition is not a good idea, I guess.

John Malone's Liberty Interactive is buying Alaska's GCI. GCI is a cellular and triple-play consumer ISP. They are a big Metaswitch client.

Less than half of households living on under $20,000 are connected (to Broadband Internet) [Time]

A study on Remote workers from CIO mag: "The study revealed just how prevalent remote work is; nearly three out of every four employees surveyed say their company offers flexible working options and 32 percent of respondents say they regularly work remotely."

VZ merged AOL + Yahoo into a new company called Oath.

How Amazon's Connect Could Impact Twilio, Zendesk, RingCentral. Amazon is working with Vonage, Level3 and other companies with its Chime and Connect service offerings.

Extreme Networks does more M&A, buys Brocade’s data-center switching, analytics and routing business for $55M.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

VoIP Going Vertical

I was on the website for Square (the point-of-sale system) when I noticed that they have a page for many verticals.

Then I saw these 2 press releases:

Pick a VoIP Provider for your Restaurant.

Introducing the Best in Florist Business Owner VoIP Communications Tools, Thanks to Industry Leader, TieTechnology

Vertical markets. That's where the profit margin is!

Voice Assist for VoIP

In the last couple of weeks, Ihave seen how voice assistants are coming to the VoIP ecosystem.

SkySwitch, who uses the Netsapiens softswitch, has integrated Amazon Alexa to the platform. They provide executives with an Alexa device to play with -- and most like it.

"Evatel for Mobile Workforce is powered by a virtual assistant that manages calls like an executive assistant to make communications smarter, more mobile and safer on the road."

At Enterprise Connect nextweek, I wonder how much voice assistant noise there will be.


"Amazon is an extraordinary company. The former bookseller accounts for more than half of every new dollar spent online in America. It is the world's leading provider of cloud computing. This year Amazon will probably spend twice as much on television as HBO, a cable channel. Its own-brand physical products include batteries, almonds, suits and speakers linked to a virtual voice-activated assistant that can control, among other things, your lamps and sprinkler." And one of the company's big advantages is that investors are willing to let it get bigger and bigger without worrying too much about profits. The Economist

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Windstream on CenturyLink and Level3

Smartest thing Tony Thomas, Windstream’s president and CEO, said, "CenturyLink’s planned acquisition of Level 3 Communications presents both an opportunity and a threat to Windstream.... I think near-term it could be disruptive," he said. “Anytime you have M&A, people who bought networks that are carrier diverse suddenly they aren’t carrier diverse, so we have that opportunity. But at the same time, you know that you’re going to have that same company that over time will have resources, but we’re very much committed near-term to capturing the opportunity that comes through this integration work." [CPonline]

On another note, "Windstream is concerned that CenturyLink’s pending acquisition of Level 3 could create a larger carrier that will use its broader market power to engage in unfair billing and payment practices that could hinder Windstream's rural broadband expansion efforts." This is funny coming from a carrier with their own issues in implementation and billing.

I will be sad to see Level3 go. They are one of my biggest carriers. The history of Level3 starts in Omaha with coal mining. Read it HERE.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Telecom Conferences coming soon

There is at least one conference per week but some weeks there are a couple.

Enterprise Connect in Orlando is the next show I attend on 3/28-3/29.

Then I am off to WAN Summit in NYC on April 3-4. This is my first time attending but the agenda is relevant (pretty much SD-WAN all day) with GTT, Tata, GC and others. One topic dear to everyone's heart: Getting to the WAN - Challenges and Strategies in the Last Mile.

Channel Partners Expo in Vegas is April 10-13.

Cloud Comm Alliance has a Money Matters half-day in NYC on 4/27.

Let's meet for coffee. Schedule it HERE.

6 Good Reads

So Amazon opened a store to sell triple play bundles from Frontier and cable. They closed that store. The headline is great.

Why does a company with 50+ people need an HR office? Read Tech: It’s Time To Grow Up About HR.

Why do so many entrepreneurs hate their lives? Not many people know that Entrepreneurs suffer from depression and a high suicide rate (not as high as military veterans though). Good read.

The ROI of thanking your customers.

There is a high cost of disruption from running Slack and other IM/chat all day. This article does the math. We live in a world that thinks multi-tasking is awesome. It isn't. We don't really multi-task so much as work on but not complete a number of tasks through out the day.

Sales is Hard

Monday, February 13, 2017

Culture is the Cure

"If you want to make change, begin by making culture. Begin by organizing a tightly knit group. Begin by getting people in sync." Seth Godin

This slide deck, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast", while long (100 slides) does present the issue, What is Culture?, clearly.