Some of my early conversations about the M2M and IoT space with carriers had them explaining to me how they love these growing markets because they allow their legacy networks to be utilized to generate additional revenue. In addition, M2M products didn’t come with customer service costs associated with retail customers.
Fast forward some years and the case is now being made that it is smarter to roll out M2M and IoT solutions on LTE networks. The reason? Basically, legacy networks eventually get mothballed and when they do your sensor network may need to be upgraded. This can be a colossal pain in the rear so it is obviously better to plan a bit more upfront and have less headaches down the road.
For many years I have met with Altair Semiconductor and they would explain their position on the future of networks. They believe 4G LTE only chips are the way to go.
Here is my history covering the company... If you go far back enough - they were once focused on WiMAX chips - in 2008 and in 2009. Then when LTE won the war, they refocused and touted wins in 2013. Earlier this year they told me IoT will be an important part of their future.
The company certainly has done well with its LTE strategy and based on this track record, their ideas are certainly worth consideration. Here is my interview with Eran Eshed from the recent ITEXPO M2M Evolution event in Las Vegas where he details the company's vision for success in the M2M and IoT spaces.
Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
What would you do if you started to Google your name and Google was to suggest you complete the query with the word scammer, fraud or crook?
While Google contends with lawsuits around the globe relating to autocomplete suggestions which are deemed libelous, one has to wonder if it isn’t possible to easily set up a campaign to smear anyone or any company. Google argues that features like autocomplete can’t be libelous because they utilize an algorithm which uses information from Google+ and user searches.
The obvious question which hasn’t been addressed however is if one can get away with fraud in the advertising business, why not in the autocomplete business? In fact if you have networks at your disposal which are responsible for manually clicking on search results and ads, you can bring these same assets to bear when pulling off autocomplete fraud.
Moreover, automated botnets could be used to assist in such an endeavor.
The point here is whether the “algorithm defense” should be allowed if the data is at best imperfect.
This question will have to be sorted out by courts and if you are interested in learning more, check out this article about how the legal system in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong have addressed the Google autocomplete libel issue already.
I reached out to Reputation.com to get their take on this issue but couldn’t immediately get a response from their PR department. It is vacations season after all. I then decided to reach out to Carrie Majewski (pictured) who heads up TMC’s ContentBoost division to get her take. She has this to say, “When it comes to protecting your brand against an auto-complete smear campaign, your best line of defense is to have a fully-baked content marketing strategy. Compelling custom copy is your first weapon against negative brand chatter. If you inundate cyber space with insightful, thought leadership-worthy content pieces (i.e. blogs, videos, white papers), you increase your likelihood of positive phrases being associated with your brand in the auto-complete query.”
What Carrie suggests makes a lot of sense but puts the onus on each of us – company, person, etc. to ensure we are pushing out lots of positive information about ourselves to minimize the chances that someone can target you through autocomplete fraud. Likewise for negative Yelp and other reviews of your establishment. Just as importantly, there is bound to be negative and positive information relating to everyone and every company. Very few people haven’t done something at some point which they don’t want shared publicly. Once again, pushing out the good is the best defense for now. Perhaps one day, it will become easier for people around the globe to delete data from Google’s autocomplete database.
BTW, the Content Boost team is utilized by many companies in the tech space - we are the back-end of their social media, white papers etc. We even write many stories which you read as contributed stories on other industry sites!
It's not just tech companies though, we work with organizations of all types. Once again, here is a sampling of what they do... Hope you enjoy.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10 two-in-one touchscreen tablet/laptop may be the ultimate device for students and consumers. In short, it offers all the good of a PC meaning you can run full Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel and at the same time it is a touchscreen tablet which can be used for media consumption. It runs Flash so all the challenges many other tablets have with this Adobe creation aren’t a problem. It is fast. Much faster than you would expect from a device that starts at $350. It is infinitely configurable as a media consumption device as the tablet inserts into a keyboard both front and rear-facing and can also be used in a tent configuration.
There are drawbacks… The laptop has on 2 GB of memory but in tests of opening many apps with 10+ browser tabs open, this didn’t prove to be a problem. The tablet is heavier than the keyboard which means the device can tip backwards on occasion. The $350 price gets you only 32 GB of storage, $400 gets you 64 GB but you can insert a USB drive in the keyboard, a Micro USB drive in the tablet and/or a Micro SD card to add more memory. Having said that, hours of research haven’t shown me how large a capacity Micro SD drive the device will support but one commenter in a forum said they used a 128GM model. The company did not respond to my request for this information – I will update if they do. It’s also worth noting there are myriad cloud services you can use for extra storage as well – including one Acer provides.
Battery life is another issue as real-world testing pegs it in the 5-6 hour range (the company claims 8). Moreover, the screen does need to be on a very bright setting to be easily read meaning you may not get away with dimming the screen to extend battery life.
When compared to an iPad or Android tablet or even a Chromebook, this device wins in most every case where productivity is needed. The reason is, you get full Microsoft Office with all the keyboard shortcuts which make you that much quicker at working. The iPad version of Office is extremely limited and Google Docs still aren’t at the level of polish as what Microsoft delivers. Moreover, on an iPad you could pay up to $100/year for the honor of using Office since you have to purchase an Office 365 subscription. Moreover, this is a recurring annual fee. On the Switch, Office for Home & Student is included.
It’s worth noting there are far fewer apps in the Microsoft App store as opposed to Google or Apple. This is in a large part offset by the ability to run all websites – those with Flash included.
This brings us to competition with a laptop.
The Macbook Air is a premium laptop for education but if a user is familiar with Windows, there is a learning curve which is required for what many believe is an easier OS to navigate. It’s also expensive at a starting price of $900. To make up for the premium, there is tight integration with iOS which is great for FaceTime and iMessage users.
The downside is no stylus or touch support on Macs.
Windows 8.1 is not perfect… It is like having a computer with multiple personalities. Perhaps though, this is the point. For many productivity apps you can use it as a Windows 7 machine but when you want to use touch apps, you can access the app store and take advantage of a different interface. It isn’t that unlike what many people do when they create documents on a laptop and then take a break to play Angry Birds on a phablet or tablet.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this device is the price. The computer can come bundled with Office Home & Student and starts at $350 meaning you are paying only $210 for a full-powered touch-enabled 10” laptop/tablet/hybrid which runs Flash and Office applications. The weight is also amazingly light at 2.6 pounds and the tablet is just 8.9 mm in thickness (thinness?). The iPad Air is 7.5 mm thick and costs $599 for the 32 GB model. Add another $100 or so for a solid keyboard which means you are paying the equivalent of Acers.
Even if you can afford a $900 Macbook Air, by the time you factor in software, you can buy almost three Aspire Switch 10s! Some might say there is just no justification for spending the extra money for the Macbook unless you must have the longer battery life. Ditto for the iPad Air. Moreover, if this is truly a post-PC era thanks to Apple, then doesn’t that mean touch interfaces have won out over non-touch? Why would a non-touch computer need to cost so much more?
There are a few other things to point out. Asus really invented this category with its T100 Transformer device which is similar, has a bit better battery life but doesn’t have all the viewing and configuration options. I anticipate Asus will have a Switch killer in the near future. Also, the processor the Acer uses is the Intel Atom Z3745 processor (1.33GHz/1.86GHz w/Burst technology), not a core i3 or Core i5, etc. If you are a processor snob or plan to do video editing then this could be a deal breaker for you. Then again, if this is the desired use-case, you should be looking at another class of machine anyway. But as a consumer device – for the kitchen table, for grade school, high school or even college, this a great product.
If you are thinking about using it in your office, the downside is Outlook 2013 is not included and would likely suck up too much memory to make the device as useful. The included email client does work fine and if you are a user of Gmail or another cloud service, this may not be an issue.
Very few products made by Acer were real breakthroughs… The company has generally been a conservative tech producer. While the Aspire Switch 10 isn’t very revolutionary, it has helped change the value proposition for the entire tech market. I truly believe that the Chromebook, Ultrabook and iPad space should take a hit because this device exists. It’s that good and offers that much of a value.
A few weeks back Dan Borislow passed away from a heart attack after a soccer game. Dan gave me one of the most gracious interviews I ever had. It was years back and I remember it like it was yesterday. His passion for what he was doing was like few others and you could see he was one of those people who could almost will themselves into success.
As CEO, he was a pioneer in popularizing MagicJack to the masses through ridiculously low pricing and controversial infomercials. He was truly a visionary in the IP communications market and brought low-cost communications to many millions around the world. Dan too was controversial as he has been said to "never sugar-coat anything."
As far as my relationship with him goes, he was a fantastic person and great to deal with.
RIP Dan Borislow, you will be missed and remembered. Here is more about his unfortunate passing.
While speech-technology has come a long way, we still haven’t entered the world of Star Trek reruns where the computer can do truly useful things through voice interactions. A big step in the right direction comes from a new app from N.L.P. LLP called HER. Yes, Siri works well for many things but if you tell it you want to buy an iPad Mini with Retina Display, it tells you to check out Apple.com which isn’t the best mobile experience if you want to buy something quickly.
The company’s website is humans-first.com but in the app stores the app HER is listed as being from N.L.P which stands for for natural language processing. The company bases its innovative app on its own ColdSmoke SaaS platform which maps natural language to web services APIs. They also provide a Software Developer Kit (SDK) to quickly bring new NLP-based apps to market.
In testing, results were generally good. When I first asked to purchase an iPad Mini with Retina display I immediately got to see iPad Minis from Amazon.com. Subsequently the same query sent me to Best Buy and showed me iPad Mini cases and accessories. Then again, this is what could happen when you search on the site of Best Buy or Amazon using a keyboardl. I just wonder how the service nailed it on my first try.
How to book a flight with HER
Searching for a hotel in Vegas worked flawlessly. Still, we aren’t talking “Star Trek” or “Jeopardy” smart as when I asked for the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas, it returned the same results as my initial search.
Quite often, one service excels at a specific task while another isn’t as good. For example, some mapping apps are more accurate than others due to their up-to-date database while others are better at showing traffic alerts.
HER (Google Play, iOS) is something you should consider putting on your list of apps to try when you want to make a hotel reservation or buy something on the go. As it evolves, I hope that one day it will be a service that truly reminds us of Star Trek.
This is the first opportunity the world will have to meet him. If you run a data center or manage telco operations or deal with the back-end of a HFT operation or CDN, you'll want to be there.
Likewise for media, analysts and bloggers.
Hope to see you at the conference.
Tuesday, August 12, 10:45-11:30am.
Related tags: fiber mountain
With an aging population around the world, the potential for strokes, falls and other medical problems which leave a person unable to reach help, only increases. As a result, the need for a device you wear all the time – something small and light increases as well.
This category of product in fact is likely one of the first in the M2M space otherwise known as IoT.
I recently had a chance to try out the Securus eResponder Mobile Personal Emergency Response System, a device name which apparently is designed as a filter. If you can remember it, you likely are young enough not to actually need it.
But joking aside, falling - breaking a bone and being stuck, is no laughing matter and many of us, including me, have family members who have suffered through such a problem.
My job, as a reviewer was to try it out and see how well it worked.
Based on the T-Mobile network, the device allows instant connections with a central office which can help you through emergencies. In my testing, I left it uncharged for weeks and occasionally pressed the panic button to see what would happen. I always reached someone immediately, told them there was no emergency and tried to get off the line quickly so people with real emergencies could get through. Call quality was great and it was loud enough for someone who is hard of hearing.
The pendant is about as small as an ice cube and perhaps lighter and is shower-safe... No, I didn't shower with it. It can last up to two months on a charge according to the company – although mine didn’t last quite that long.
User information is stored in the call center which is helpful. They always mentioned my name when I connected. In addition, to help responders, users can provide emergency information like allergies, medications, preferred hospitals, and lockbox entry codes as well as five emergency contacts.
The biggest challenge with the device may be there is no way to tell how much battery life is left. Instead, the service itself is designed to alert you through email or phone if battery levels are low. In fact, eResponder automatically collects battery level and cellular strength every 24 hours.
Below is an email you might receive if the battery is low as well as a look at the battery report from my device.
In a world where everything of value is to be connected to the internet, devices like these protect some of the most important assets we have… Our loved ones.
BMW is working to build a charging network and unlike Tesla who is using proprietary tech, they are utilizing the SAE Combo 1 plug inlet that American and German automakers have adopted for quick charging. Using this system, a battery will reach 80% charge in 30 minutes which is still way too-long when compared to gas. Still, if you believe electric cars are the future, then the proprietary versus open debate will likely be important to you. Typically it is the open system that wins.
Expect adapters to eventually be available to plug any car into any charging station. For now though it seems you'll have to hope the charging station near you, works with your particular vehicle.
Here is an excerpt from a related article on the matter from Wired worth reading:
The 24 kilowatt BMW i DC Fast Charger, developed with Bosch Automotive, can charge the i3’s battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Compared to other chargers on the market, the BMW version is quite small: 31 inches tall, 19 inches wide and 12 inches deep. It weighs just 100 pounds, light enough to be mounted without reinforcing the wall or pouring extra concrete.
“It’s more or less standard technology,” says Cliff Fietzek, BMW North America’s manager for connected e-mobility, just in a smaller package. The tradeoff is the lower voltage (24kW instead of the 50 or more other quick chargers offer) and a slightly longer charge time. Fietzek says the reduced weight and cost are well worth it.
That’s because a broad charging network is key to BMW’s long-term plan to sell electric cars; developing a lightweight, cheap charger is the way to do that as quickly as possible, says Rob Healy, BMW’s EV infrastructure manager. That’s true even though the i3, with a claimed range between 80 and 160 miles (depending upon whether you get the internal combustion range extender, which makes the car something like a Chevrolet Volt), is meant to be used for daily commuting, not long distance trips. While most owners will charge overnight at home, its reassuring (and convenient) to have the option of charging on the road. “The visibility and availability of public chargers really helps from the customer perspective of range anxiety,” Healey says.
IoT and M2M developers - here is some exciting news.
It Isn't that often that you can develop something for what is supposed to be one of the largest market opportunities ever and at the same time get the support of a major telecom carrier. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention you could also get $5,000 in the process and a Samsung tablet.
Fast Pitch sponsored by AT&T takes place Wednesday, August 13, from 2pm-4pm in Las Vegas at M2M Evolution which is collocated with ITEXPO.
AT&T; judges will listen to three minute pitches at booth 601. Two winners will be chosen to receive $5,000, a Samsung Tablet, and invaluable feedback from the company. There will be a judges choice winner and an audience choice winner. A lucky audience member will receive a Samsung tablet just for participating!
There is still time to Register.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is watching the price wars in mobile from the outside as he hasn't been able to compete in the latest round of price reductions being led by T-Mobile.
"We're balancing strength of the network versus how quickly we have to move," he said in a CNET interview.
The challenge the company faces is stock analysts say their valuation is high and if they lower prices without getting a large number of new customers, they end up hurting themselves from an earnings perspective.
Here is a good excerpt from an article worth reading on CNET:
Bottom line: When the network is ready - in other words more competitive with other providers on a nationwide basis, expect the company to more aggressively compete for new customers through lower pricing. Until then, Sprint is in a tough situation. That is, until the potential merger with T-Mobile which could take place in one month from tomorrow.
Something fascinating is happening in the world of tech. It would seem that based on the comments of some, the entire industry is racist and has somehow avoided lawsuits. As a result of high-profile accusations, Twitter like others in silicon Valley has recently posted that they will start to increase their diversity. They explain they will be more proud of themselves if they are more diverse. Moreover, they will do better financially if more women are in charge.
In order to meet these goals they have a plan to actively recruit more minorities and women to their company.
Here is the challenge though. Is Twitter intentionally discriminating against minorities and women today? If so, this is illegal and we should see some lawsuits shortly as their diversity numbers are now public.
If not and they currently hire the best person for the job regardless of other factors, then what Twitter is telling us is whatever they did to get the company to this point – an extremely successful social media company, will change now. In other words a white male who is qualified for a job may lose out to a less-qualified candidate.
If in fact as Twitter explains, “women in leadership roles produce better financial results,” is the implication not that a qualified man is now less likely to get a job?
The challenge here is this whole line of reasoning is discriminatory. It implies a male and female equally qualified will not produce equal results.
I could see men who aren’t hired as Twitter managers now suing as a result of such comments.
Here is another one from the post which caught my eye:
We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity — and we are no exception.
Is it possible the reason for this lack of diversity has to do with choices potential job candidates are making? I covered a while back that Twitter's lack of diversity may have more to do with the fact that tech is considered nerdy. After all my tech classes in engineering school had few women but there were many Indian and Chinese students. This is the norm.
Silicon Valley and in fact most every tech company has almost the same ratio as college courses.
Tech is not interesting to everyone. I have seen many female workers leave the tech field for areas of actual interest such as fashion or decorating. Likewise for men, some will leave tech to work in sports or other areas which they are more passionate about.
It is illegal to not hire people based on skin color, religion, home address, sexual orientation and age already. But if a company isn’t doing anything illegal, does it make sense for them to focus on "actively recruiting" people who may or may not be the best hires?
Moreover, is this focus – noble as it sounds, discriminatory? Finally, will it hurt shareholders if less qualified people get hired as a result of such initiatives?
- HOTEL & TRAVEL
- AGENDA / SESSIONS
- KEYNOTE EVENTS
- DEMO EVENT
- NEWSROOM / MEDIA LIST
- EXHIBITOR LIST
|FAST||Wearable Tech Expo||Wearable Tech Expo|
INCLUDED WITH YOUR WEARABLE TECH EXPO REGISTRATION
Tuesday, June 22:
11:00am - 8:00pm: Registration
1:00pm: Pivothead Keynote
1:30pm: adidas Keynote
2:00 – 3:30pm: Conference Sessions
3:30pm: Visit Exhibit Tables
4:00 – 6:15pm: Conference Sessions
6:45pm: Deloitte Networking Reception, Visit Exhibit Tables
Wednesday, June 23:
9:00am – 9:15pm: Registration
Thursday, June 24:
8:00am – 5:00pm: Registration
9:30am: Pivothead Keynote
THIS WEEK AT FAST & WEARABLE TECH EXPO
WEARABLE TECH SESSIONS
FAST SPONSORS INCLUDE:
Tags: conference, expo, javits center, new york, technology, wearable computing, wearable tech
Related tags: conference sessions, visit exhibit, exhibit tables, sound clash, networking reception, wearable
The premise of the scam was that a company is likely in need of the service you are fictitiously billing for, so there is a high degree of likelihood they will pay because the bill is too small to check.
Similarly, scammers are able to rely on implicit familiarity to generate revenue from the unsuspecting. For example, many people know the yellow pages directory but the name is not unique… In fact there are many companies who leverage this name in order to trick customers. A small bill from the yellow pages may seem as innocuous as one from a snow plow company in fact.
In 2005 I wrote about Yellow Pages scams, specifically warning people not to fall for companies offering them free listings. Almost a decade later, the scam is still going strong costing small businesses millions of dollars. When I wrote about the problem, it was based on scammers sending a check to companies and in fine print it would commit those organizations to pay for listings.
Now these companies are using telemarketing and voice recordings to get their victims to pay. Here is how it works. They call to verify your address and other information and record the call. They then send a bill for a listing your company never authorized. If you call to inquire, they then play back a doctored recording which makes it seem like your company requested the listing.
The FTC just went after a number of these companies operating in Montreal. A federal judge entered a $15.6 million judgment against the defendants and banned them from the directory business. The defendants are charged with law violations for misrepresenting that they had a preexisting business relationship with consumers, that consumers had agreed to buy directory listings, and that consumers owed them money.
The point here is look out for these scams. Companies apply the same principles when selling you on the "URL hustle" – scaring you by saying your web address is about to expire. I covered this in a post about the four scams you need to watch out for.
Another one I wrote about was backup DNS services – something you should toss out as soon as you receive such a bill. Finally there are SEO services – if you hire a company, please be sure they know what they are doing. Over the years, many of them have been hired and their method of operations caused them to load the web with crap comment spam. In other words they would find a review of a Honda Civic and at the bottom, place a comment like, “I just bought a new Samsung Galaxy S4 for $25 and you can too at cheapgalaxyphonesrus.com.” Search engines now penalize companies for these sorts of low-quality unrelated links and as a result, companies need to go and clean up the mess these “experts” left behind.
Bottom line: be careful – there are a lot of bad actors out there looking to help you part with your hard-earned money. Worst of all, there seems to be no jail time being given out here meaning the expertise at deceiving the public may just get transferred to others who will launch a bunch of new companies targeting the unsuspecting. Who knew that the idea behind the snow plow scam would still be working really well so many decades later?
Here are the names of the people and companies involved in this case:
- Francois Egberongbe
- Robert N. Durham, Sr.
- 7051620 Canada Inc.
- National Business Advertising
- Nationwide Marketing Bureau Inc
- National Biz Ads
- Yellow Business Ads
- TransUnion Credit Bureau
- Regional Debt Recovery
- RDR Collections Inc.
- Donovan B. Hinds
- Ernest Baxter
- Carl Jenkins
- Andrew Beitler
- Your Yellow Pages Inc.
- EBS Collections
- Rapid Pages Inc.
- Rapid Yellow Pages
- City Pages Inc
- City Yellow Pages
- Online City Yellow Pages
- EBS Collections
- Target Marketing
- Oniks Media
- 7095333 Canada Inc.
- Mohamad Khaled Kaddoura
- Derek Cessford
- Aaron Kirby
- Kaddoura, Cessford and Kirby
- Modern Technology Inc.
- Online Local Yellow Pages
- Strategic Advertisement Ltd
- Local Business Yellow Pages
- Dynamic Ad Corp.
- Yellow National Directory
- Yellowpages Local Directory
- Wisetak Inc.,
- Online Public Yellow Pages
- US Public Yellow Pages
- Online Public Yellow Pages
- US Public Yellow Pages
- Internet Solutions LLC
- Public Yellow Pages
- Yellow Pages Express Inc.
- Yellow Pages Express
- Yellow Pages Online Inc.
- Yellow Pages Online
- CessTech Inc.
- Yellow US Pages
- SEO Online Inc.
- Yellow Local Directory
- SEO Online LLC
- Public Yellow Pages
- SEM Pundits Inc
- Yellow Pages Online
- CC Recovery Corporation
- CC Recovery
- M&A; Recovery Inc.
- MA Recovery
In October 2010, the FBI determined malware, most likely from an intelligence agency of another country had snuck into the Nasdaq’s central servers.
The following facts are the most shocking:
- Several different groups were operating freely on Nasdaq computers, some of which may have been in the exchange’s networks for years, including criminal hackers and Chinese cyberspies.
- Basic records of the daily activity occurring on the company’s servers, which would have helped investigators trace the hackers’ movements, were almost nonexistent.
- The website run by One Liberty Plaza’s building management company had been laced with a Russian-made exploit kit known as Blackhole, infecting tenants who visited the page to pay bills or do other maintenance.
- The situation was so bad, one investigator referred to Nasdaq’s computer banks as “the dirty swamp.”
- There were indications that a large cache of data was stolen, though proof was scarce, and it was hard to see what was spirited out.
- A subsequent investigation showed systematic security failures riddling some of the most important U.S. financial institutions.
- Many of them were vulnerable to the same attack that struck Nasdaq. They were spared only because the hackers hadn’t bothered to try.
- By mid-2011, investigators began to conclude that the Russians weren’t trying to sabotage Nasdaq. They wanted to clone it, either to incorporate its technology directly into their exchange or as a model to learn from.
- Almost four years after the initial Nasdaq intrusion, U.S. officials are still sorting out what happened.
Bottom line is that companies still seem to be behind the curve in terms of protecting themselves from threats like these. Recently a hedge fund was infiltrated and its trading algorithms were slowed intentionally to make them ineffective. Hackers are getting as smart as the coders they target – oftentimes they are even smarter. And their motives vary, making an effective security policy almost impossible to put in place.
Amazon has made its name in ecommerce and cloud but its next frontier may be productivity applications and in the process, they may disrupt the entire enterprise software and cloud market. Zocalo is a new service from the company which allows the sharing of numerous document types with full version reviewed support and the ability to store files in specific geographical locations for compliance reasons. It works across devices (pretty much all of them), continents (files can be stored in the US and Europe (Ireleand) as of today) and can communicate with Active Directory if required. File transfers are encrypted and documents can be shared internally and externally.
The service is designed for workgroup communications and document preparation. Commenters on a document have their own color codes and users can quickly access the comments and the area of the document they correspond to.
Zocalo was designed to work smoothly with the Amazon WorkSpaces virtual desktop solution. Each WorkSpaces user has access to 50 GB of Zocalo storage, the Zocalo web application, the tablet apps, and document review at no additional charge. The Zocalo administrator can upgrade these users to 200 GB of storage for just $2 per user per month.
If you don't use Amazon WorkSpaces, Zocalo is priced at $5 per user per month, including 200 GB of storage for each user. Additional storage is billed on a per-GB, per-month basis using a tiered pricing model. See the Zocalo Pricing page for more info.
The competition here is SharePoint, Dropbox, Box, Huddle and a slew of other cloud vendors. Moreover, Amazon could be gearing up to take on Google and Microsoft in the office productivity solutions space. If this is the case and I believe it is, areas of strength in which Oracle and SAP play, won’t be spared. It's too soon to say that Amazon will be successful selling productivity solutions to corporations but they do have a way of proving their detractors wrong in market after market. A limited preview is available now.
Here are some screenshots of Zocalo in action:
The following diagram is borrowed from the substantial cranial database of TMC partner in WebRTC Expo and UC University, Phil Edholm who was a major tech driver at Nortel and Avaya for decades. It was modified a bit by me.
The state of the PBX market can be summed up by this chart showing existing vendors getting squeezed between Microsoft coming from the OS down, Cisco coming from the router out and cloud and open-source coming from the bottom up in terms of pricing. In short, it is a tough time to be a PBX vendor. This doesn’t mean that these companies can’t adapt – many are… ShoreTel is now a cloud provider for example.
In about six weeks, one of the largest US-based tech and communications trade shows ITEXPO will take place attracting an audience from around the globe. At this event, attendees will see everything of interest in communications and technology and one of the areas of tremendous growth which has generated lots of interest is FreePBX World from Schmooze taking place Aug 11-14th in Las Vegas.
This event had tremendous interest last year in Vegas and we expect it to get bigger.
Why? As the diagram above shows, open-source is putting pressure on PBX sales from below – at a time when companies have tighter budgets. Linux familiarity is only growing and success stories using this OS are everywhere.
Moreover, a system like FreePBX has taken an open source-platform based on Asterisk and turned it into a UC or unified communications solution. It also runs across endpoints ranging from hardware-based phones to mobile and even WebRTC-based clients.
But enough about the product – you can check the website for more. The conference of course is a great place to come learn about what the FreePBX ecosystem is capable of – and can do for your company. Moreover, be sure to come to be part of this exciting new ecosystem perfect for developers and resellers.
The event touches on some of the most important topics in the industry right now such as high-availability phone systems, software integration in small and large companies, localization for global customers, certification, hosting (cloud) pitfalls and more.
The speakers will be top notch and include Mark Spencer from Digium as well as Philippe Lindheimer of Schmooze. Mark as you know really popularized the open-source PBX movement about a decade ago. We have come so far, so fast.
Here is the bottom line… There is major disruption happening in the PBX market… This means new opportunities for customers to take advantage of things they likely didn’t have access to if their last PBX purchase was close to a decade ago or more. For example, open APIs, cloud-based access, SIP integration, WebRTC, mobile apps, HD voice, etc.
Open-source may or may not be for you but it is a smart thing to look at very seriously and there is one global event where you can see FreePBX in action. It's worth mentioning that quite often the solutions you buy from traditional telecom and tech vendors are open-source behind the scenes anyway. Amazing, huh? I am really looking forward to this event – it is great to see this thriving ecosystem continue to grow and evolve, integrating WebRTC and more. Hope to see you there.
Let me start off apologizing for writing about a non-tech topic and also for a somewhat sensational headline but I believe what I have to say here supersedes my responsibility to just cover the typical topics you come here to see. I have been traveling a great deal lately and as a result signed up for and was accepted to the TSA Pre check lanes at the airport meaning a more relaxed screening as shoes remain on, laptops stay in the bag, etc. The only issue is over the last few months, before I was accepted to the program, I have been chosen at random with hundreds of other passengers in Indiana, New York and Orlando to go through this line.
The point is, to be accepted in Pre you have to give fingerprints, submit to a background check, etc.
When people are randomly selected to go through the same relaxed security line, none of this applies. Of course it is a random occurrence – but nonetheless, if a terrorist organization wanted to be successful in carrying out an attack, they could simply send large numbers of terrorists at once, hoping to get one or more through the system.
I’ve been keeping this information to myself – not sure who to share it with. After all, it is a security matter… Do I go public, hoping the authorities button up the procedure at the risk of alerting people who may want to use this loophole to harm the US or not?
What triggered me to write about these experiences is a new initiative by the US and UK to shore up international airport security for flights coming into the US. The reason is, there are reports of terrorists trying to develop non-metallic explosives to bring onboard planes. It seems to me these explosives would be the exact kind that TSA Pre would NOT detect as these passengers only go through a metal detector and not a millimeter wave device which does a full-body scan and can detect the lint in the pocket of your jeans.
The only other thing worth mentioning is there has also been an increase in random scans for bomb making materials via bomb-sniffing dogs and explosive detecting devices reading the swabbed hands of many travelers which shows the government has been aware of the heightened bomb threat level for some time.
It stands to reason that if we are at a heightened security level with respect to airplane travel and we know the US border with Mexico is so pourus that children can come through by the thousand each day, we should be very concerned about the state of US airline security - not just in international airports. If the TSA Pre lane is designed to work in conjunction with a thorough background check, it shouldn’t be available to people who don’t go through this process.
Perhaps I am being paranoid or overreacting but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully this post helps increase the domestic security level at our airports.