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Story About My Boy Alec – Kids Don’t Use The Phone Anymore November 4, 2008

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Today Alex Pham of LA Times wrote a story about the iphone and games.  She quoted me talking about my son (my boy) Alec.

She writes … Within days of buying his iPhone, John Furrier discovered that his 13-year-old son, Alec, was sneaking off with the device and downloading games. To reclaim his phone, Furrier had to buy his son an iPod Touch, which Alec quickly filled up with Pac-Man, Magic 8 Ball and dozens of other games.

“When he’s not playing on his Xbox 360, he’s playing on the iPod,” said Furrier, a 43-year-old entrepreneur and blogger in Palo Alto.

What I want to expand on is the new user trend for Digital Natives – they hate talking on the phone.  They are a generation of asynchonous users.  Screw talking just SMS or wait for the next incoming message or signal.  I polled 10 kids in middle school – 8 out of 10 admit they don’t use their phone – only to call their parents.

80% !! Granted this is Palo Alto, CA – but it is a leading indicator that the new definition of portable isn’t phone – opps sorry all you Unified Communications nutjobs out there.

It’s data not voice.  I’ll just leave it like that.  The iPhone phenom will continue to disrupt and now Android will accelerate it.

Valdiation For The Real Time Web – Cisco Weights In With Jabber and XMPP September 19, 2008

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Cisco just announced that they are buying Jabber. GigaOm has a post on it. What does this mean?  What big trend is this validating?

REAL TIME WEB – It’s a hedge against the so called Unified Communications sector.  Wait — it is Unified Communications.  Why?  XMPP

Jabber is based on Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), the same protocol being used by several open-source IM implementations. Services like Twitter use XMPP. Jabber also operates with Google Talk, and with the AIM Gateway from Jabber, it can be used to communicate with AOL users. Jabber also communicates with users of Microsoft Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

All the major action going on revolves around these Jabber like markets – presence, virtualization, networking, live video, real time conversations (aka social media), social graphs…etc – This is a leading indicator of what is really going on… an infrastructure evolution – From DNS to the applications on the Iphone and everything in between.

Just this week at VMWorld things like Cisco’s Virtual Switch is a indicator.  Cisco has found a way around all that bothersome metal and plastic used to make its networking gear. The company has concocted a virtual switch that it’s selling in tandem with VMware, the leader in virtualization software and a close Cisco partner (says the NY Times).

How about Amazon’s recent announcement on their CDN.  Here Amazon announced a new content delivery offering under development that they expect to make widely available before the end of the year. While the initial content delivery offering won’t compete with the major CDNs like Akamai and Limelight when it is released, it has the potential to down the road if Amazon adds some specific product functionality.

Now Jabber – hmmm  – Hello Real Time Web or Unified Communications paradigm shift.

We are seeing a convergence of web 2.0 and infrastructure change that certainly is changing what people thought Unified Communications was 2 years ago.

Twitter’s Business Model – Real Time Alerts and Keywords July 30, 2008

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Ok way back when we had the tsunami, then the London bombing, and today earthquake in SoCal. Why does it take a disaster or potential disaster to wake up the masses.

Hey people Twitter is real or should I say the twitter’s value proposition is real. MG at Venturebeat has a post nailing the real time nature of Twitter. Big Biz Stone at Twitter opens the curtain to show us the stats (Biz we love stats – keep them coming).

What came out of the blue was David Dalka (one smart guy in Chicago) who brings in his perspective to the Twitter business model question.

David writes: “Graphs and/or alert spikes of user defined keywords – ie ones that are important to oneself personally or to one’s business or clients. I would dare to say this might actually be business model that could lead to meaningful monetization – I think alot of web services haven’t thought this through nearly enough. Organizing real-time data for useful decision making as a business model worked out OK for Michael Bloomberg if I recall correctly. Some might say Google Trends does this already from a search perspective, but it doesn’t break down the word clusters to core words with “sidekicks” and is not the leading indicator that Twitter is by an uncertain but definite time margin.”

The triple net is this: take MG’s post, Big Biz, and David’s and you have the Twitter business model. It’s a communication system about real-time but with asynchonous logging as well. It’s a data mining “quantjock’s” dream. Expect some real innovation around this new twist on Unified Communications.

That is why convergence is happening around presence and why I believe that the Unified Communications (covered on my other blog BroadDev.com) sector may be a pipe dream if presence paradigms like twitter continue to provide real time and non-linear value.

The Quiet Google Microsoft Battle – Unified Communications Front June 25, 2008

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With the recent Salesforce Google announcement among other recent moves, it’s clear that Google has a full on push to get a position in the Unified Anything market – Unified Communications.

I sat down with Eric Swift, Senior Director, Microsoft Unified Communications team where he answered the question on how Microsoft views to compete with Google.

Here is Eric’s answer – a video post at BroadDev.com

Technical Skill Gap? NOT. Instead It’s A Vendor Train Wreck – Problem Is Not How To do But What To Do June 24, 2008

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When I read this story from Joe O’Halloran at computerworld (Unified Communications benefits threatened by skills gap), I was thinking that maybe he was still celebrating (drinking) from Celtics parade :-) Then I realized that he was on to something here with his post. I thought no way how can there be a skill gap. Technology skills are becoming more standard around IP, cloud computing, web services, ..etc. Plus the market on the mobile side is crazy with Nokia buying Symbian.

There’s tons of talent out there that can deploy the technology involved in UC. Then I realized that Joe was on to something. It’s not how to deploy skill set, but instead a what to deploy skill that is in need.

In talking to many resellers, consultants, and vendors the problem seems to be in the competing platforms for the vendors. Each one competing for the implementation architecture. Even worse add new types of web 2.0 functionality and you have more confusion.

Joe points to a survey by Psytechnics, a provider of voice and video performance management solutions for IP operations. Nearly three quarters believe that UC requires an IT operations workforce that is knowledgeable in both networks and voice and video applications. However, 60% of UC specialists do not believe that there are enough skilled technical staff to deal with the expected demand in UC deployments.

Just over a quarter of the survey (26%) was split as to whether technical expertise in networks or applications is more relevant.

Commenting on the results Psytechnics CEO Anthony Finbow said, “The results of our survey should act as a wake-up call for those in the industry and enterprises who are relying more and more on IP-based communications. Many have found VoIP performance management to be more difficult than expected, but voice is just the tip of the iceberg and with more applications like video conferencing coming into play towards a full UC rollout, it is vitally important that the quality of the user experience is managed. Employing the right experience management tools will help to offset staff costs and skills shortages, but it’s up to the communications industry to ensure enterprises are fully equipped to reliably operate what will be a multi vendor unified communications environment.”

Here we go again more VoIP centric thinking. VoIP is only one piece of the Unified Communications market.

I see many vendors pushing why to many silo’s solutions. Skill gap? No way. We have a train wreck on the vendor side. If a vendor has good solution then the tactical skills will acquired in a NY minute. We need a solution that motivates customers and gets people excited.

More UC blog posts at www.BroadDev.com

New Blog – Unified Communications, Virtualization, Security, and Web 2.0 June 23, 2008

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Last week I launched a new blog around Unified Communications at BroadDev.com. BroadDev stands for Developments in Broadband or Broadband Developments. I’ve been interested in Unified Communications for sometime and see it as the ‘real web 2.0′. With mobile, voice, cloud computing, virtualization, security, and web 2.0 (twitter, ..etc) a new paradigm is emerging around presence, identity, web operating systems, service based software applications, video, and voice – unified communications.

It’s an open project that takes the collaboration of a bunch of my friends who are bloggers and matches up with top conversations and analysis in the area of Unified Communications. This is a growing and confusing area. We will do our best to track it and provide navigation and discovery around this growing market of 2.0 convergence.

I’m partnering with UCStrategies.com, Alex Lewis, and a handful of bloggers to call them as we see them in Unified Communications.

We’ll be producing social media, covering news, and laying out opinion pieces at BroadDev. Feel free to join and contribute.

I will continue to write opinion stories on technology here at Furrier.org

Come collaborate and comment on Unified Communications, Virtualization, Security, and Web 2.0 at BroadDev.com.

Unified Communications is the Web 2.0 Trend for Telephony – Bill Gates Microsoft Innovation Speech at Microsoft CEO Summit May 14, 2008

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This is Bill Gates last CEO Summit. Here is the link to his keynote speech where he talks about innovation.

Here at the UC Summit I just sat through a talk by Eric Swift, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Unified Communications, where Eric talks about the innovation of software in the Unified Communications area. This is ironic because Bill Gates has been talking about the impact of software all the time he has been at the helm of Microsoft. Now it seems that Microsoft is poised to move those advances into new emerging areas like Unified Communications. Unified Communications is the Web 2.0 trend in the telephony sector. It’s big.

Eric goes on to say that presence and identity are at the heart of all their software advances for Unified Communications for users and enterprises. He notes that the biggest challenge is the network problems – loss, latency, jitter, delay, connectivity, security, etc…

Eric Swift highlighted the two biggest trends for adoption of Unified Communications – 1) opt-in for users (verses the brut force implementation practices by enterprises), and 2) the massive adoption of ‘hosted’ services.

Note: I asked Eric to talk about how he sees Live Mesh (vis a vis Unified Communication solutions) – He gave a non-answer; It’s clear that Live Mesh is great solution for consumers and possibly much stronger for Small Medium sized Enterprises verses the deep and heavy Microsoft Unified Communications solution. Microsoft has some positioning to do on Live Mesh and their Unified Communications solution.

Overall I was impressed with the notion of software being the major advance for this new trend. I hope the network guys can solve the software problem around DDOS, delay, jitter, loss, connectivity, and security… Until the network issues are resolved video is a pipe dream in Unified Communications.

Siemens Being Bought?? Unified Communications Keynote at UC Summit 2008 By Mark Straton of Siemens May 13, 2008

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UC Summit is an exclusive conference of leading vendors, analysts, consultants, and opinion leaders in the growing area of Unified Communications (post from cofounder Blair Pleasant on day 1 of the UC Summit). Here we have the opening keynote by Mark Straton Senior Vice President of Siemens Enterprise Systems. Mark delivers the keynote speech at the Unified Communications Summit 2008 – UC Summit 2008.

In this talk Mark talks about the role of software in Unified Communications. More importantly Mark addresses the growing opportunity around consolidation. It has been rumored that Siemens is spinning out or selling its software enterprise group. Candidates include Microsoft, Nortel, IBM, and Cisco.

UC Summit 2008 is the first conference for UCStrategies.com – a growing authority blog on the vertical of unified communications.

Founder of UCStrategies, Jim Burton, comments on the state of Unified Commications. He says “Unified Communications has moved beyond the IP PBX and the soft phone on our PC. Very significantly, its reached the point where end-user behavior has created the need for more flexible communication tools and access to information at any time from anywhere. Going from “what will the customer do with it’ to “how will technology meet the changing communication patterns of the end-user” was a twisty road. But here we are – at a point where the narrow, twisty dirt road is about to widen and become a busy 6-lane highway!”

The interesting think from Mark Straton speech is the speculation that a major consolodation will happen nad that Siemens Enterprise (Unified Communications software group) will be bought in the next 60 days by a major player. My guess it will be someone who values software. The only name Mark didn’t mention in his keynote is Nortel.

If Nortel is the candidate to buy Siemens unified communications division what does this mean to their Microsoft relationship?

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