Thursday, November 19, 2015

DSL Is Losing

"All told, cable companies added about 2,300,000 broadband subscribers during the first three quarters of this year, while telcos lost about 130,000 subscribers." DSLReports

DOCSIS 3.1 is rolling out with a potential for 2Gbps. can't happen fast enough for telcos.

Interesting comment from DSLR: "AT&T and Verizon added 305,000 subscribers via U-verse and FiOS during the quarter, but collectively lost 432,000 DSL subscribers during the same period. That's again because they're trying to drive these unwanted customers away to focus on more profitable (usage capped) wireless services."

In rural or non-competitive regions, DSL will work, but in competitive regions, I think it will depend - on the competition, customer service, price/speed ratio, customer type.

"Industry analyst firm Analysys Mason released research revealing that broadband speeds can play an important role in customer retention. While price is important to many, the researchers note that "customers who take higher-speed broadband services are both more satisfied and less likely to churn than those with lower-speed services." [Alianza's blog]

So speed is important but I would think they mean, not just speed, but real throughput (i.e., no buffering).

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

VoIP for Verticals

With 2000+ Hosted VoIP providers in the US, you would think a few would specialize. Sure, Masergy, West and ThinkingPhones chase enterprise and global accounts, but that isn't really specializing. Then is just chasing higher ARPU.

UCStrategies writes, "Weave had secured a $15.5 million Series B round of investment. Here’s why:"

Weave is a provider of integrated communications services tailored specifically to dental and orthodontics practitioners. Weave unifies voice, mail, text, CRM, and Electronic Medical Record applications. The company positions itself as a business communications platform, and has already signed up 2,000 practices in the United States and Canada.

Verticals, like Retail with PCI Compliance issues; financial with security and GLBA regulations; and healthcare with HIPAA/HITECH rules and worries, are ripe for specialists.

Other industries are a good target if you want to take the whole stack. RC buying Glip or ThPh buying Fuze were tocomplete a platform/bundle idea that management had. Taking the whole stack from email, CRM, voice, data, SMS and mobile seems like a no-brainer to me, since Managed IT is about protecting to the device.

I understand why bigger companies don't do this -- because they want all the revenue they can get their hands on - but slow, profitable growth is a good way to go, too.

Monday, November 16, 2015

RAD's Rants Video # 2

This is the second in a series of videos I did at Pete Ace's video studio in Clearwater, FL. This rant is on consolidation in IOT (internet of Things).

Listen in and I hope you like it.

RAD's Rants Video # 1

This is the first in a series of videos I did at Pete Ace's video studio in Clearwater, FL. This rant is on consolidation in telecom and price compression.

Listen in and I hope you like it.

Greater Tampa Bay Data Center Space

According to this article, "In the Central Florida area centered on Tampa Bay, 23 facilities house 267,000 square feet of servers, air conditioners and generators designed to protect companies' networks and information from everything from hackers to hurricanes, according to 451 Research, an information technology research and advisory company."

  • Former Qwest Cyber Center leads the pack, but there are others. 
  • Peak 10 has 3 facilities in Tampa; 
  • Hivelocity just opened a former LSI/Qwest POP near US 301 as a new data center; 
  • Hivelocity has a data center in the beer can building;
  • Downtown Tampa houses a couple of DCs;
  • Colo5 in Lakeland is now Cologix;
  • Level3 has a couple of colocation spaces;

Looking for data center space - colocation, VPS, PAAS, IAAS - in Florida [Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami] or elsewhere in the USA? Give me a call. I work with over 200+ data centers in the US. 813-963-5884 RAD-INFO INC

A Visit Inside Netflix

IN this article, you can look inside Netflix at the software they use; the software systems they use (AWS, EC2, S3); and the culture they have about people and work. It is heavy on the software and systems they use, including open source projects. Take a look here!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stuff You May Have Missed

Having some trouble with thelistserv. It was fixed last night. (So you might have received a bunch of emails. I apologize.)

Here is what you missed.

FCC is working through Connect America Fund (CAF) and Special Access reform. (HERE)

Is this the beginning of a HPBX Price War? (HERE) BTW, a little VoIP comparison pricing from pcmag.

Broadsoft intends to raise $175M; of which, $60M to re-purchase debt and $25M to buy back shares. “The remainder of $90M will be kept for general corporate purposes, with the only explicitly mentioned one being the acquisition of or investment in complementary businesses, products, or technologies.” [ramblings]

More than half of small rural video providers saw an increase in programming costs of 100% or greater in their latest contract negotiations --

The reason that AT&T wanted to buy DirecTV? (HERE)

“Average stuff for average people is getting ever more difficult to sell.” – Seth Godin

You are selling Change? Are you?

An article on MSP Valuations. It is all about EBITA.

Where Is The Value In The Tech Stack? by Fred Wilson

Monday, November 09, 2015

What are Necessary Marketing Tools?

I was asked on twitter about what marketing tools are necessary. Marketing starts with the foundation, the basic elements:

  • Who do you target?
  • what are you offering?
  • why should they care?
  • why should they buy it from you?
  • how will you contact them?

A website is absolutely necessary today. A current, informative one. Buyers are doing 60-70% of their research BEFORE contacting a vendor.

There are so many elements to marketing: website, pay-per-click, SEO, email, social media, PR, advertising and so much more. That is a lot for anyone to keep up with. It is different for B2B and B2C. You have to know where your target is.

I have seen what a Marketing Director has been tasked with in our industry -- and quite frankly they are set up for failure. It isn't possible for a single person to handle all aspects of marketing, communications - internal, external, partner channels - and events. Doing both branding and direct marketing -- one with an ROI; one with an immeasurable impact. (see here) Huge challenge today.

I get asked, "Do you need collateral?" Maybe. What is the purpose? What do you hope to happen when someone takes it with them or a salesperson leaves it behind? How do you get the

The ability to get Attention is diminishing at the same time that word of mouth and connection are increasing. Makes for a marketing dilemma. How do you increase WOM and connection?

Engagement, valuable and/or interesting content, and target your best audience have become important to the marketer. Those are the objectives. The platforms and tactics will be specific to your target.

Branding is very different from direct marketing - or lead generation, which is what most folks mean when they say marketing. They don't want top of mind; they want leads now. Different strategy, thus tactics.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

4 Decent Links

Just sharing some articles I read this week that were interesting.

Employee/Team Engagement via the Naval Cyber Warfare Center./p>

Interview with Jeb Blount, Author of Fanatical Prospecting. "These superstars view prospecting as a way of life. They prospect with single-minded focus, worrying little about what other people think of them. They enthusiastically dive into telephone prospecting, email prospecting, cold calling, networking, asking for referrals, knocking on doors, following up on leads, attending trade shows, and striking up conversations with strangers."

An interview (podcast) with John Sculley, who now is at Obi Worldphone.

INBOUND 2015 Keynote: Seth Godin

Thought for the day.

Are you following me on twitter? @radinfo

Are you getting my emails and blogs? Email me to get on the list.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Customers and Softswitches

There is this discussion about softswitches going on (again) on Voiceops. Someone has a laundry list of features and conditions and doesn't want to pay per seat licensing. The discussion sidetracked into the viability of open source. There is overhead on open source too.

We had a great discussion about open source in a service provider's world at ITEXPO in 2 panels with Dialogic, XO and Netsapiens (see summary here). We are doing it again at ITEXPO in Ft Lauderdale in January. Join in.

On all discussions about softswitches, VoIP providers kind of skip the step of WHAT IS IT FOR? The switch is just a tool, right? If you boil it down anyway. It is the techie fun part, but it is irrelevant to the customer. The Customer just wants dial-tone and the service as you promised. Period.

Now you can back that up and say that the Customer just wants a cheaper replacement than POTS/PRI, which explains the 2 million plus SIP trunks that Windstream and XO have on BSFT, but it has more to do with the way we sell and how the industry has been. Since the dawn of the TA96, this industry has been about arbitrage - same service for less - all the way from dollars per minute to less than pennies per minute.

Education is still a huge component of the Cloud Comm sales process. You have to extol your value against the other 2000+ Hosted VoIP providers, the cable guys, the PBX vendors, Miscorsoft and Cisco - and the guy down the street running an Asterisk box. If you can't (or won't) do that, then just sell dial-tone replacement and shut up already. Seriously. It isn't easy -- and we are lazy.

CLECs are pissed because they had Integrated T1 and were printing money with that (and with UNE-P) and pissed both opportunities away. Get over it!

Today, you have to bundle better, tell a better story, align with your market and educate them that you are the expert - or you are screwed. Period.

Pick a softswitch that matches your market. Fact is, most people use very few features. Also, no one needs 20+ call forwarding options. What they do need is a learn how your system will help them achieve their business goals - and that has nothing to do with the price of the seat.

The advertised price of the service online is rarely what you pay (see here). You have to educate the prospect on this. 60% don't buy on price alone. Talk to the other 40%. If you think that the consumer should know all this stuff - and the difference in value between you and RC - well, you are deluded. Consumers don't care about this stuff. They just have to have it as a tool for their business.

This mentality during this discussion might point out the fact that penetration of HPBX some 12 years after it launched is less than 20%!

from Seth Godin today: "The magic is this: As soon as you stop acting like you need every single vote, you can earn the votes of the people you seek to serve."

Today's Cable Bill

This is why there is cable cutting: too many fees and most of them are just BS.

$20 for a DVR?! $4 for channels that we already pay for?! And one is BHN's own local sports channel that I never watch. This explains the lighter channel bundles like Sling TV from DISH, Boingo, VZ and more.

When you take a that is $115 and it comes to $175 consumers start cutting back - after feeling ripped off.

I know that telcos do the same thing, but when I see fees I know are just profit, it is annoying.

Imagine going to the store to buy pants. They charge you for the dressing room, to ring you up, for a bag, for the credit card fee, for the a/c and lighting. That's what it feels like.