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.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Some Mergers Have Closed

Verizon closed on XO. XO is now XO, a Verizon Company. It will be business as usual for XO for a little while. Yet Verizon did re-org, according to CRN. "Telecom giant Verizon has revealed a newly restructured business unit geared toward reaching more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Verizon Business Markets. Verizon Business Markets (VBM) was formally known as Verizon Small Business, according to the business unit's new LinkedIn page. Janet Schijns, vice president of global channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, is now leading the new unit as chief channel executive and vice president for VBM."

"TPG Capital finished up its acquisitions of RCN and Grande from ABRY for $1.6B and $650M, respectively. TPG is combining the two companies into what will be the 7th largest US cable company and plans to expand and enhance operations across the combined footprints." It will still be the 7th when VZ buys Charter.

"Strome Fiber Holdings, LLC announced today that it has acquired all of the network and colocation assets of AF-Southeast, LLC. The acquired network and colocation assets consist of a contiguous dark fiber network, constructed along secure private right-of-ways, that extends from Atlanta, Georgia to Miami, Florida including interconnection to key data centers in both markets and strategic access points in between." [source]

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Google, WebRTC and UC

Interesting look at Google's deal with RingCentral. It involves WebRTC to power voice and video calls through the Google for Work productivity suite.

Dialpad is Craig Walker's latest venture. It was formerly known as before Walker bought the rights to the name and domain for dialpad back from Yahoo. He was an investor in Dialpad which sold to Yahoo in 2005. Walker was also the co-founder of Grand Central that Google acquired in 2007. It became Google Voice in 2009. Now Google is trying to revive Google Voice - and Walker is trying to revive Dialpad.

I actually didn't know about Jotspot or Springboard or Google Sites (slide 8). Interesting concept that they should market better.

BTW, Google Voice now has a separate mobile app from Hangouts. See more here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Hype Jacking

TeleComp reports, "A Maine based WISP, Redzone Wireless, is seizing on the marketing hype generated by the move to 5G, launching a fixed broadband wireless service and calling it 5Gx. The service uses a proprietary method for aggregating licensed 4G LTE spectrum and unlicensed 5.8 GHz spectrum on a single tower to improve broadband speeds and performance." Brilliant move actually to hijack the hype and the acronym.

Value Prop (part 301)

It seems like I have written about Value Proposition or USP or Positioning at least three hundred times (out of the 6000+ blog posts I have written!) GapingVoid simplifies it in this post. "In order of importance, you’re selling: (1) Who you are; and (2) What the product is." Sales is emotional. Sales requires Trust. The prospect has to trust the salesperson, the company delivering the service and that the service is going to work.

UCaaS Components

Taken from Forbes article about Workflow.

Soft Skills Are Immeasureable

Seth Godin has an article about soft skills on Medium.

"Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Lou Solomon reports that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees." Despite Unified Comms or Workplace as a Service or Slack coupled with email, text and phone calls, communication is NOT occurring well.

"Culture defeats strategy, every time." Pay attention to culture. Pay attention to interactions between employees, managers, teams, departments. I have seen many rifts between sales and practically every other department. And rifts between support and other departments. It isn't healthy.

"We know how to measure typing speed. We have a lot more trouble measuring passion or commitment."