AI Social and Contextual UC #411 – New Skype IOS App – New Godaddy Phone App – Actical Action Calendar App

 

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

August 18 – 2017 – Issue #411

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
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Best Sleep App
New Version Approved
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If you need an iPhone/iPad app, click on image.
If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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Skype iOS App First Look – Not Looking Good 

I love regular Skype using it for more than decade on my PC and often use the iOS app on my iPhone which generally works better than the PC version.  I was excited to try the new iOS version and my first look is a real disappointment.  Why do app developers turn simple smartphone apps into bloatware found in most PC/MAC apps.  As a developer it is really hard to NOT want to add

MORE and MORE but sometimes more is really less and this is the case so far with the Skype iOS app.  The biggest issue was in the old version it was really easy to change your Presence with many options like on the PC version.  The new version assumes you are ONLINE all the time and makes it really difficult to change your presence.  Click on either image for details on changing presence.
Bottom-line – Please tell me what I missed, you like, I was wrong about or anything else you want to say.

Approved for iPhone and iPad, SleepTracsPro has Sleep, Snooze, Snap Alert, Zoomlite, Journal/Diary and Actical-Action Calendar.  Click on image for iTunes.

Key features of SleepTracsPro are:

NEW – Actical-Action calendar with Acticons-action icons and first calendar with drawings. Add drawings and images to your calendar to improve tracking and performance.

– Dream Diary Journal with drawing pads, audio recording, pics and notes with social sharing feature

– Zoomlite – Siri-enabled magnifying flashlight, weather, camera, large format clock. Unlike iPhone/iPad flashlight you can just say “Hey Siri Zoomlight” the flashlight will turn on with large format clock, weather, and zooming camera.

– Snooze feature is designed to let you get your “power nap” or “cat nap” anytime; you can select your snooze time and a wakeup vibration or tone/tune or your own voice or that of a friend or child.

– Snap feature is a new feature not found in any sleep app we have found so far. Snap is really a “snap out of it” feature that you put in your shirt pocket and when no motion or limited motions are detected, it gives you a vibration or tune/tone. Designed to help you overcome falling asleep in class or on the job, it should not be used while driving.

– Sleep mode feature offers you a scheduling tool You can select your sleep time and a wakeup vibration or tone/tune or your own voice or that of a friend

 or child.

– Weather – current weather is displayed when user awakes.

– ZoomLite is an exciting weather center, camera, large format clock and 3-level magnifying flashlight app. You are able to see weather, large font clock, take a picture and easily read labels, meds bottles, check meds, cuts/sores, household issues and other fine print articles and other hard to read documents or any other reason to see something closeup with 3-step magnifying flashlight.

Dream Diary journal has unlimited notepads with multi-color drawing features, text notes, audio recording, backgrounds with pictures from camera or gallery and sharing features for email, social sites, gallery and other ways.

We have also incorporated extensive sleep research into our app. New articles on getting better sleep are added daily, click on image to help you get better sleep and wellness.

SleepTracsPro is one of the many apps such as SleepTracs, ZoomLite, Baseball Fans Club, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, HashNewsGram and many others from TECHtionary.com.
Click on image http://sleeptracs.com/for tips, applications and ideas and Appstore image for iTunes and get better sleep now.

 


Interview with Evan Kirstel
Here is an interview with Onalytica click on images for complete interview.
As a long-time expert and thought leader in the Cloud, Security, IoT, Big Data, AI and other technologies, I’ve been following their emergence in the health landscape with great interest. I believe we are on the cusp of an unprecedented convergence of technologies, one that could bring about sustained disruption and allow us to solve the most pressing issues in healthcare.
I was also drawn to the incredible energy of the health tech community here in Boston. Home to several premier teaching hospitals and prestigious universities, there is a vibrant community of health tech innovators here, as well as a natural test-bed to pilot these innovations in real healthcare settings.  Be it physician entrepreneurs, hospital leaders rethinking the entire patient care system, digital health startups and accelerators, public-private partnerships, or empowered patients and their vocal advocates, Boston is home to a world-class health tech innovation ecosystem and a growing digital healthcare industry.
I wanted to bring my technical expertise, industry experience, and social business know-how to help accelerate the growth of the digital health economy. To achieve this, I recently partnered with health tech innovation catalyst, patient experience expert, and former Google technology manager Irma Rastegayeva to form eViRa #HealthTech Strategies. Boston-based and globally-connected B2B experts, we are a trusted social media partner to clients across the health tech landscape. Whether it’s enabling startups to get discovered and introduced to potential partners and investors, guiding companies to expand their thought leadership, or helping clients to grow massive online audience and deepen user engagement, we are here to serve the health tech community.

WHAT AREAS OF HEALTH TECH ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

  • AI, Cognitive Computing, Big Data, IoT and predictive analytics – combination of these technologies will open up a new era of early diagnostics and disease prevention.
  • Telemedicine/Telehealth – this will become a mainstay of patient care delivery, vastly reducing costs.
  • 5G connectivity – this 5th generation of mobile technology will be a truly “disruptive innovation” and will offer much to fields of medicine and healthcare. One application of 5G I am excited about is rural hospitals collaborating with urban teaching hospitals to offer world-class training and care delivery. It’s important to note that 5G is an enabling technology, it will make the advancements of all the other technologies I mentioned possible.
  • Wearables 2.0 and Mobile Health – these improved medical wearables devices and drug delivery systems will be widely used, allowing remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, also reducing costs and improving patient comfort and clinical outcomes.
  • AR and VR – Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies will have a wide range of applications, including medical training, life sciences, real-time surgery assist, mental health treatment, and many more.

IF A BRAND WANTED TO WORK WITH YOU, WHAT OFFLINE / ONLINE ACTIVITIES WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN?

  • Social Media engagement, thought leadership, brand message amplification
  • Podcast/video interviews
  • Content development (e.g. short-form/long-form blog posts, feature articles, whitepapers)
  • Events (promoting, covering/attending)

WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST WAY FOR A BRAND TO CONTACT YOU?

Mobile: 978-761-1524 or Email: kirstel@gmail.com
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GoDaddy Telephone App
The world really doesn’t need another VoIP provider but GoDaddy introduced a new second line service but it really is NOT VoIP afterall, not even WiFi.  Click on image for more details and after reviewing the features is misses out on so many issues you wonder what were they thinking.
  • Can I use the app with either an iOS or Android phone?
    Yes, there are both iOS and Android apps available.
  • How good is the call quality with SmartLine?
    We use your phone carrier’s network, so the quality and reliability is the same as your personal mobile number.
  • Can I send text messages from my SmartLine number?
    Yes, you can send and receive texts from the app, so you don’t have to disclose your personal number to customers.
  • What happens if I go over my monthly allotment?
    Any minutes over your monthly allotment will be billed in 6-second increments at $0.03 per minute. Any texts over your monthly allotment will be charged at $0.01 per text (applies only to outgoing texts on the SmartLine Basic plan).
  • Can I make and receive calls from outside the U.S.?
    You can receive calls from any phone number, including phone numbers outside the U.S. At this time, you can make calls to U.S. phone numbers only.
  • Can my second phone number be toll free?
    Not at this time, but we will be offering toll free numbers soon.
  • Can I use my current number with the SmartLine app?
    Yes. In most cases, we can port (transfer) your current number. Call a SmartLine expert at (480) 505-8877 for more information.
  • Can I get a second phone number for personal use?
    Of course! SmartLine isn’t just for business. A second phone number is great for little league coaches, listing items for sale online and more.
  • Does SmartLine use my phone plan’s minutes?
    Yes. When you make and receive calls, SmartLine uses the minutes included in your cellular phone plan. Since most people have unlimited minutes, this is rarely an issue.
  • Does SmartLine use WiFi for calling?
    No. SmartLine uses your cellular phone network to make and receive calls, which helps ensure the best possible call quality.
  • Is SmartLine a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone service?
    No. SmartLine calls use your cellular phone network for incoming and outgoing calls.

Emojis Communications

As a long-time fan of hieroglyphics, the power of visual communications has always been of interest.  Snapchat may be onto something with “cartoon greetings that feature customizable avatars and can be inserted into any number of chat apps.” They go on: “Having a digital extension of yourself is a necessity,” creative director and CEO Jacob Blackstock says, “and we’re working to give people the best possible version.” But even in visually infectious cartoon form, negative expressions present a challenge for Bitmoji’s creative team, who might be thought of as millennial Cyranos-charged with helping the app’s millions of daily users bring just the right mix of wit, topicality, and emotional nuance to their online repartee.”
There is much more: “He’s spent more than a decade now thinking about cartoons as a visual language. As he sees it, the swiftly approaching merger of the real and the virtual will only make such tools more essential. “We’re in a world now where we live in these,” he says, lifting his iPhone from the table. “Not only am I always on it,” he says, growing more animated, “but in terms of everyone I know, I mostly see them here. If you’re going to live in here, you’ve got to make this a better place to live.” Click on image for complete article.
Bottom-line – As you will read in the next section, visual communications is evolving actually back to the first form of communicated communications – communications that can be understood by more than the creator.  The Egyptians pioneered this approach as they realized that people were not going to learn how to read but like any “stop” sign people can quickly understand concepts even complex ones rather quickly.

European Visual Communications

There have been industry wide calls to improve the quality of digital ad inventory and develop more robust digital measurement techniques. This is considered a vital step towards delivering ‘realistic’ brand exposure metrics. More accurate and consistent viewability measurement will help to establish a

more reliable digital ‘opportunity-to-see’, supporting the need for enhanced comparability with TV and progress towards digital ‘gross rating points’.
These Principles will help our industry to achieve the following macro goals:
1. To raise minimum quality standards in digital advertising measurement
for all stakeholders across Europe.
2. To measure digital ad exposure which is deemed a key step to increasing confidence in digital ad trading.
3. To enhance the (internet) user experience in the context of changing user expectations.
4. To improve confidence in the digital ad environment.
The European Viewability Measurement Principles apply to measurement tools reporting the opportunity to see in-page display and in-stream video
ad content in an online desktop browser-based environment (this includes PCs and Laptops) and not mobile advertising. Mobile advertising will be
covered in the next iteration of these Principles towards the end of 2017. These Principles currently apply to the measurement of viewability only.
The EVSG could however, also be a useful platform to discuss, develop or contribute towards solutions for other digital advertising priorities within
the European market. Such considerations would need to be in line with the shared goals and demands of all markets across Europe, again mindful of
their varied characteristics and priorities.
Bottom-line – You can see where this is going that visual communications standards and guidelines will help cross communications boundaries among countries which is something we need more, not less of.

The Top 10 iPhone Apps in the U.S.
 And a little trivia:

Blue Screen of Death
In case you haven’t moved completely to Apple, here’s a reminder of the plight of Windows users of something that has existed for decades and still to this day.  Can’t wait for Bezo’s to take over from Gate as the richest person on the planet so I won’t have to hear from that windbag again who should be jailed for the awful products Microsoft still makes.

If you make anything, sell anything, impacted by weather, traffic or other events driven by nature or man, you need a plan.  For purposes of this article, terrorism are events perpetrated by others against you and trust are events or efforts of goodwill or negligence/incompetency by you.  Recall communications occurs by what you make or sell to the public and need a plan to stop others from selling it and consumers from buying it.  There is one other category such as Katrina falls under trust because it’s about what you do when there is a crisis. We hear every day of hacker attacks but seem a bit blasé” about them until they impact you directly. Few would argue that Identity theft is certainly one of the new growth industries. There are also an increasing amount of gawkers, hackers, attackers whose profession is to ruin you. In addition, there are others like the person who caused the Tylenol poison scare in the 1986 yet still impacting the product today. It may also be blasé’ to say that privacy is gone and the more you use social media and indeed, the less privacy you have. It is also easy enough to understand is theft of credit cards and user account information perpetrated by evildoers.
It’s not that you will be attacked, you already are being attacked, your IT security staff and others are already at work trying to stop them. The question is when hackers succeed and the odds are they will, do you have a crisis strategy plan already in place to respond to it. Because the way you respond to the attack in the new social media, you may have already lost the trust of your customers. We worked on building a strategy process plan ahead of the crisis so everyone knew what do to when it did. Like a fire evacuation plan, except for any attack response plan.
As with the concept of terrorism, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. In fact, the problem is that if you are not speaking on the social media soapbox, then someone else is speaking and they may not be saying what you want them to say. Or worse, trust once lost is seldom regained. The price to regain trust is also more than the cost of the original mistake. Last summer we all watched millions of gallons of oil a mile deep everyday on nearly media source.
If you are not learning from and acting upon all the details and consequences from these instances of corporate negligence it will certainly happen to you. In addition, your own gross negligence and incompetence may be fatal to your career and also never forgiven. Remember the world is all in “ink” and it’s not a “dress rehearsal.” There are now great tools that track social media (Actiance) and provide corporate tracking of both internal and external media threads. Moreover, with an increasing amount of corporate compliance requirements, social media marketing must be in a position to respond in a crisis. Whether an attack on corporate systems or epic disaster such as BP or Exxon oil spills or other disasters, you need to anticipate and build plans or models to be ready for every social media situation. No one would doubt that Tony Hayward the former BP CEO who made the situation even worse with his comment about “waiting his life back.” The internet is also “ink” and everything will always be there and you can delete it, so plan your content and respond to your crisis carefully.
Click here to get immediate help with designing and building a push notification solution for business and crisis communications.
Bottom-line – You cannot wait until the “oil” is washing on the shore to react.  If you do, you will lose your CEO, your stock value and be another Wells Fargo, Target, BP and others who are yet another brand and stockholder “road kill.”

Chatbots Real or Surreal Contact Center Agents 
I really like what [24]7 does in their research as they get to the point quickly.  Since chatbots are the new way we will communicate with others as surrogates we need to be prepared for them taking over our lives.
Here are some highlights from the [24]7 research and you can click here for their short report for more.  “With chatbots, you don’t need to wait for a customer to contact you to resolve an issue. Intelligent chatbots can determine customer intent before a customer even types a question. For instance, a chatbot knows when a customer logs in to a company website to view a bill. The chatbot can then proactively engage with the customer with statements such as, “I notice your bill is higher this month than last month. I can help you understand why this is and how to avoid this in the future.” The customer no longer needs to speak with a live agent, saving your company costs while improving customer satisfaction and retention.
Another example: blocked credit cards. A customer logs in because his card has been blocked. An intelligent chatbot can know this and immediately help him unblock the card. First, the chatbot provides a visual view of suspicious charges for the customer to review and verify. If all charges are valid, the chatbot can unblock the card without the customer needing to call and speak with an agent.
There’s a big difference between simplistic chatbots that don’t understand intent and those that are intelligent (able to integrate with enterprise systems, leverage big data, and use artificial intelligence). For the greatest savings and overall results, employ an intelligent chatbot that can
– Present user-specific responses based on data from back-end systems.
– Emulate human conversation and understand context.
– Execute transactions on behalf of users.
– Handle complex intents.

– Expedite resolution through proactive service.

Bottom-line – Get your chatbot hat on and get going on this asap.  If you want get started Mastercard has an API for their chatbot, so here you go.

Skype for Business Topologies supported with Modern Authentication
As a SIP security expert I am always amazed when companies find a security solution like they were the first explorers on the moon.  What they don’t realize especially at Microsoft is the real reason why there have not been more SIP security attacks is frankly a shortage of hackers.  Hackers go for the gold like ransomware and until they find some gold to go after in SIP calls then they will leave it alone for now.  Meanwhile, MS added this to Skype for Business “can leverage security advantages of Modern Authentication. Because Skype for Business works closely with Exchange, the login behavior Skype for Business client users will see will also be effected by the MA status of Exchange. This will also apply if you have a Skype for Business split-domain hybrid. That’s a lot of moving parts, but the aim here is an easy to visualize list of supported topologies.”
Bottom-line – Click on the graphic for their article.  I can only say if what they are doing is the ONLY thing you are doing you are surely going to be hacked and they may end up getting the gold.
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Universal Communications Architecture
Click on image for White Paper on UCA.  Many factors are driving large enterprises to migrate their legacy voice infrastructure to IP-based unified communications.
AudioCodes’ Universal Communications Architecture delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for large enterprise voice modernization that
  • Consolidates SIP trunk connectivity across the enterprise
  • Reduces communications costs
  • Alleviates security headaches
  • Simplifies dial-plan and routing policy management
Click on image for complete white paper:

Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
Subscribe to newsletter – http://bit.ly/2hYsAis

Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Amazon Sparks UC
If you thought Amazon doesn’t want to be everything, have you buy everything and now socialize everyway you like, you missed the email.  Indeed, with Alexa listening to your every word and making telephone calls who knows what they will do with their new Spark social service.  With nearly 50% (Gallup) of workers working at home at least some of the time and more and more full-time at home, it makes sense that Amazon Spark with Alexa be part of your business life as well.  There is no doubt that there are many UC features that make sense and add-in expert systems tech you will find that when Amazon ships you a drone to fetch and your Alex or Alexa Robot to vacuum your floors.  When will they invent a robot to do the dishes and empty the dishwasher, clean the toilet, wash the windows and the real problems instead of annoying us with more “time-saving” read as time-wasting tech.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
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Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

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Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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AI Social and Contextual UC #410 – Emoji UC – European Visual UC Principles – Top-10 iPhone Apps – BSOD Still Reigns Supreme

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

August 11 – 2017 – Issue #410

 

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Advertising, social media, blog articles, webinars and other services available.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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iPhone User Forum
Best Sleep App
New Version Approved
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If you need an iPhone/iPad app, click on image. 
If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter 
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 We can help in developing webinars, customer studies, social media and salesmarketing

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Rewards programs are proven to increase revenues and customer engagement.

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Custom mobile app for rewards/loyalty programs

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Emojis Communications

As a long-time fan of hieroglyphics, the power of visual communications has always been of interest.  Snapchat may be onto something with “cartoon greetings that feature customizable avatars and can be inserted into any number of chat apps.” They go on: “Having a digital extension of yourself is a necessity,” creative director and CEO Jacob Blackstock says, “and we’re working to give people the best possible version.” But even in visually infectious cartoon form, negative expressions present a challenge for Bitmoji’s creative team, who might be thought of as millennial Cyranos-charged with helping the app’s millions of daily users bring just the right mix of wit, topicality, and emotional nuance to their online repartee.”
There is much more: “He’s spent more than a decade now thinking about cartoons as a visual language. As he sees it, the swiftly approaching merger of the real and the virtual will only make such tools more essential. “We’re in a world now where we live in these,” he says, lifting his iPhone from the table. “Not only am I always on it,” he says, growing more animated, “but in terms of everyone I know, I mostly see them here. If you’re going to live in here, you’ve got to make this a better place to live.” Click on image for complete article.
Bottom-line – As you will read in the next section, visual communications is evolving actually back to the first form of communicated communications – communications that can be understood by more than the creator.  The Egyptians pioneered this approach as they realized that people were not going to learn how to read but like any “stop” sign people can quickly understand concepts even complex ones rather quickly.

European Visual Communications

There have been industry wide calls to improve the quality of digital ad inventory and develop more robust digital measurement techniques. This is considered a vital step towards delivering ‘realistic’ brand exposure metrics. More accurate and consistent viewability measurement will help to establish a

more reliable digital ‘opportunity-to-see’, supporting the need for enhanced comparability with TV and progress towards digital ‘gross rating points’.
These Principles will help our industry to achieve the following macro goals:
1. To raise minimum quality standards in digital advertising measurement
for all stakeholders across Europe.
2. To measure digital ad exposure which is deemed a key step to increasing confidence in digital ad trading.
3. To enhance the (internet) user experience in the context of changing user expectations.
4. To improve confidence in the digital ad environment.
The European Viewability Measurement Principles apply to measurement tools reporting the opportunity to see in-page display and in-stream video
ad content in an online desktop browser-based environment (this includes PCs and Laptops) and not mobile advertising. Mobile advertising will be
covered in the next iteration of these Principles towards the end of 2017. These Principles currently apply to the measurement of viewability only.
The EVSG could however, also be a useful platform to discuss, develop or contribute towards solutions for other digital advertising priorities within
the European market. Such considerations would need to be in line with the shared goals and demands of all markets across Europe, again mindful of
their varied characteristics and priorities.
Bottom-line – You can see where this is going that visual communications standards and guidelines will help cross communications boundaries among countries which is something we need more, not less of.

The Top 10 iPhone Apps in the U.S.
 And a little trivia:

Blue Screen of Death
In case you haven’t moved completely to Apple, here’s a reminder of the plight of Windows users of something that has existed for decades and still to this day.  Can’t wait for Bezo’s to take over from Gate as the richest person on the planet so I won’t have to hear from that windbag again who should be jailed for the awful products Microsoft still makes.

If you make anything, sell anything, impacted by weather, traffic or other events driven by nature or man, you need a plan.  For purposes of this article, terrorism are events perpetrated by others against you and trust are events or efforts of goodwill or negligence/incompetency by you.  Recall communications occurs by what you make or sell to the public and need a plan to stop others from selling it and consumers from buying it.  There is one other category such as Katrina falls under trust because it’s about what you do when there is a crisis. We hear every day of hacker attacks but seem a bit blasé” about them until they impact you directly. Few would argue that Identity theft is certainly one of the new growth industries. There are also an increasing amount of gawkers, hackers, attackers whose profession is to ruin you. In addition, there are others like the person who caused the Tylenol poison scare in the 1986 yet still impacting the product today. It may also be blasé’ to say that privacy is gone and the more you use social media and indeed, the less privacy you have. It is also easy enough to understand is theft of credit cards and user account information perpetrated by evildoers.
It’s not that you will be attacked, you already are being attacked, your IT security staff and others are already at work trying to stop them. The question is when hackers succeed and the odds are they will, do you have a crisis strategy plan already in place to respond to it. Because the way you respond to the attack in the new social media, you may have already lost the trust of your customers. We worked on building a strategy process plan ahead of the crisis so everyone knew what do to when it did. Like a fire evacuation plan, except for any attack response plan.
As with the concept of terrorism, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. In fact, the problem is that if you are not speaking on the social media soapbox, then someone else is speaking and they may not be saying what you want them to say. Or worse, trust once lost is seldom regained. The price to regain trust is also more than the cost of the original mistake. Last summer we all watched millions of gallons of oil a mile deep everyday on nearly media source.
If you are not learning from and acting upon all the details and consequences from these instances of corporate negligence it will certainly happen to you. In addition, your own gross negligence and incompetence may be fatal to your career and also never forgiven. Remember the world is all in “ink” and it’s not a “dress rehearsal.” There are now great tools that track social media (Actiance) and provide corporate tracking of both internal and external media threads. Moreover, with an increasing amount of corporate compliance requirements, social media marketing must be in a position to respond in a crisis. Whether an attack on corporate systems or epic disaster such as BP or Exxon oil spills or other disasters, you need to anticipate and build plans or models to be ready for every social media situation. No one would doubt that Tony Hayward the former BP CEO who made the situation even worse with his comment about “waiting his life back.” The internet is also “ink” and everything will always be there and you can delete it, so plan your content and respond to your crisis carefully.
Click here to get immediate help with designing and building a push notification solution for business and crisis communications.
Bottom-line – You cannot wait until the “oil” is washing on the shore to react.  If you do, you will lose your CEO, your stock value and be another Wells Fargo, Target, BP and others who are yet another brand and stockholder “road kill.”

Chatbots Real or Surreal Contact Center Agents 
I really like what [24]7 does in their research as they get to the point quickly.  Since chatbots are the new way we will communicate with others as surrogates we need to be prepared for them taking over our lives.
Here are some highlights from the [24]7 research and you can click here for their short report for more.  “With chatbots, you don’t need to wait for a customer to contact you to resolve an issue. Intelligent chatbots can determine customer intent before a customer even types a question. For instance, a chatbot knows when a customer logs in to a company website to view a bill. The chatbot can then proactively engage with the customer with statements such as, “I notice your bill is higher this month than last month. I can help you understand why this is and how to avoid this in the future.” The customer no longer needs to speak with a live agent, saving your company costs while improving customer satisfaction and retention.
Another example: blocked credit cards. A customer logs in because his card has been blocked. An intelligent chatbot can know this and immediately help him unblock the card. First, the chatbot provides a visual view of suspicious charges for the customer to review and verify. If all charges are valid, the chatbot can unblock the card without the customer needing to call and speak with an agent.
There’s a big difference between simplistic chatbots that don’t understand intent and those that are intelligent (able to integrate with enterprise systems, leverage big data, and use artificial intelligence). For the greatest savings and overall results, employ an intelligent chatbot that can
– Present user-specific responses based on data from back-end systems.
– Emulate human conversation and understand context.
– Execute transactions on behalf of users.
– Handle complex intents.

– Expedite resolution through proactive service.

Bottom-line – Get your chatbot hat on and get going on this asap.  If you want get started Mastercard has an API for their chatbot, so here you go.

Skype for Business Topologies supported with Modern Authentication
As a SIP security expert I am always amazed when companies find a security solution like they were the first explorers on the moon.  What they don’t realize especially at Microsoft is the real reason why there have not been more SIP security attacks is frankly a shortage of hackers.  Hackers go for the gold like ransomware and until they find some gold to go after in SIP calls then they will leave it alone for now.  Meanwhile, MS added this to Skype for Business “can leverage security advantages of Modern Authentication. Because Skype for Business works closely with Exchange, the login behavior Skype for Business client users will see will also be effected by the MA status of Exchange. This will also apply if you have a Skype for Business split-domain hybrid. That’s a lot of moving parts, but the aim here is an easy to visualize list of supported topologies.”
Bottom-line – Click on the graphic for their article.  I can only say if what they are doing is the ONLY thing you are doing you are surely going to be hacked and they may end up getting the gold.
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Universal Communications Architecture
Click on image for White Paper on UCA.  Many factors are driving large enterprises to migrate their legacy voice infrastructure to IP-based unified communications.
AudioCodes’ Universal Communications Architecture delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for large enterprise voice modernization that
  • Consolidates SIP trunk connectivity across the enterprise
  • Reduces communications costs
  • Alleviates security headaches
  • Simplifies dial-plan and routing policy management
Click on image for complete white paper:

Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
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Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone. 

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)


(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

 

Amazon Sparks UC
If you thought Amazon doesn’t want to be everything, have you buy everything and now socialize everyway you like, you missed the email.  Indeed, with Alexa listening to your every word and making telephone calls who knows what they will do with their new Spark social service.  With nearly 50% (Gallup) of workers working at home at least some of the time and more and more full-time at home, it makes sense that Amazon Spark with Alexa be part of your business life as well.  There is no doubt that there are many UC features that make sense and add-in expert systems tech you will find that when Amazon ships you a drone to fetch and your Alex or Alexa Robot to vacuum your floors.  When will they invent a robot to do the dishes and empty the dishwasher, clean the toilet, wash the windows and the real problems instead of annoying us with more “time-saving” read as time-wasting tech.
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Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

 
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Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
 
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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AI Social and Contextual UC #409 – New Rules in Crisis Communications – Get Your Chatbot Agent Hat On

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August 4 – 2017 – Issue #409

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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If you make anything, sell anything, impacted by weather, traffic or other events driven by nature or man, you need a plan.  For purposes of this article, terrorism are events perpetrated by others against you and trust are events or efforts of goodwill or negligence/incompetency by you.  Recall communications occurs by what you make or sell to the public and need a plan to stop others from selling it and consumers from buying it.  There is one other category such as Katrina falls under trust because it’s about what you do when there is a crisis. We hear every day of hacker attacks but seem a bit blasé” about them until they impact you directly. Few would argue that Identity theft is certainly one of the new growth industries. There are also an increasing amount of gawkers, hackers, attackers whose profession is to ruin you. In addition, there are others like the person who caused the Tylenol poison scare in the 1986 yet still impacting the product today. It may also be blasé’ to say that privacy is gone and the more you use social media and indeed, the less privacy you have. It is also easy enough to understand is theft of credit cards and user account information perpetrated by evildoers.
It’s not that you will be attacked, you already are being attacked, your IT security staff and others are already at work trying to stop them. The question is when hackers succeed and the odds are they will, do you have a crisis strategy plan already in place to respond to it. Because the way you respond to the attack in the new social media, you may have already lost the trust of your customers. We worked on building a strategy process plan ahead of the crisis so everyone knew what do to when it did. Like a fire evacuation plan, except for any attack response plan.
As with the concept of terrorism, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. In fact, the problem is that if you are not speaking on the social media soapbox, then someone else is speaking and they may not be saying what you want them to say. Or worse, trust once lost is seldom regained. The price to regain trust is also more than the cost of the original mistake. Last summer we all watched millions of gallons of oil a mile deep everyday on nearly media source.
If you are not learning from and acting upon all the details and consequences from these instances of corporate negligence it will certainly happen to you. In addition, your own gross negligence and incompetence may be fatal to your career and also never forgiven. Remember the world is all in “ink” and it’s not a “dress rehearsal.” There are now great tools that track social media (Actiance) and provide corporate tracking of both internal and external media threads. Moreover, with an increasing amount of corporate compliance requirements, social media marketing must be in a position to respond in a crisis. Whether an attack on corporate systems or epic disaster such as BP or Exxon oil spills or other disasters, you need to anticipate and build plans or models to be ready for every social media situation. No one would doubt that Tony Hayward the former BP CEO who made the situation even worse with his comment about “waiting his life back.” The internet is also “ink” and everything will always be there and you can delete it, so plan your content and respond to your crisis carefully.
Click here to get immediate help with designing and building a push notification solution for business and crisis communications.
Bottom-line – You cannot wait until the “oil” is washing on the shore to react.  If you do, you will lose your CEO, your stock value and be another Wells Fargo, Target, BP and others who are yet another brand and stockholder “road kill.”

Chatbots Real or Surreal Contact Center Agents 
I really like what [24]7 does in their research as they get to the point quickly.  Since chatbots are the new way we will communicate with others as surrogates we need to be prepared for them taking over our lives.
Here are some highlights from the [24]7 research and you can click here for their short report for more.  “With chatbots, you don’t need to wait for a customer to contact you to resolve an issue. Intelligent chatbots can determine customer intent before a customer even types a question. For instance, a chatbot knows when a customer logs in to a company website to view a bill. The chatbot can then proactively engage with the customer with statements such as, “I notice your bill is higher this month than last month. I can help you understand why this is and how to avoid this in the future.” The customer no longer needs to speak with a live agent, saving your company costs while improving customer satisfaction and retention.
Another example: blocked credit cards. A customer logs in because his card has been blocked. An intelligent chatbot can know this and immediately help him unblock the card. First, the chatbot provides a visual view of suspicious charges for the customer to review and verify. If all charges are valid, the chatbot can unblock the card without the customer needing to call and speak with an agent.
There’s a big difference between simplistic chatbots that don’t understand intent and those that are intelligent (able to integrate with enterprise systems, leverage big data, and use artificial intelligence). For the greatest savings and overall results, employ an intelligent chatbot that can
– Present user-specific responses based on data from back-end systems.
– Emulate human conversation and understand context.
– Execute transactions on behalf of users.
– Handle complex intents.

– Expedite resolution through proactive service.

Bottom-line – Get your chatbot hat on and get going on this asap.  If you want get started Mastercard has an API for their chatbot, so here you go.

Skype for Business Topologies supported with Modern Authentication
As a SIP security expert I am always amazed when companies find a security solution like they were the first explorers on the moon.  What they don’t realize especially at Microsoft is the real reason why there have not been more SIP security attacks is frankly a shortage of hackers.  Hackers go for the gold like ransomware and until they find some gold to go after in SIP calls then they will leave it alone for now.  Meanwhile, MS added this to Skype for Business “can leverage security advantages of Modern Authentication. Because Skype for Business works closely with Exchange, the login behavior Skype for Business client users will see will also be effected by the MA status of Exchange. This will also apply if you have a Skype for Business split-domain hybrid. That’s a lot of moving parts, but the aim here is an easy to visualize list of supported topologies.”
Bottom-line – Click on the graphic for their article.  I can only say if what they are doing is the ONLY thing you are doing you are surely going to be hacked and they may end up getting the gold.
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Universal Communications Architecture
Click on image for White Paper on UCA.  Many factors are driving large enterprises to migrate their legacy voice infrastructure to IP-based unified communications.
AudioCodes’ Universal Communications Architecture delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for large enterprise voice modernization that
  • Consolidates SIP trunk connectivity across the enterprise
  • Reduces communications costs
  • Alleviates security headaches
  • Simplifies dial-plan and routing policy management
Click on image for complete white paper:

Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
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Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Amazon Sparks UC
If you thought Amazon doesn’t want to be everything, have you buy everything and now socialize everyway you like, you missed the email.  Indeed, with Alexa listening to your every word and making telephone calls who knows what they will do with their new Spark social service.  With nearly 50% (Gallup) of workers working at home at least some of the time and more and more full-time at home, it makes sense that Amazon Spark with Alexa be part of your business life as well.  There is no doubt that there are many UC features that make sense and add-in expert systems tech you will find that when Amazon ships you a drone to fetch and your Alex or Alexa Robot to vacuum your floors.  When will they invent a robot to do the dishes and empty the dishwasher, clean the toilet, wash the windows and the real problems instead of annoying us with more “time-saving” read as time-wasting tech.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
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Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

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Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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AI Social and Contextual UC #408 – Skype “Modern” Auth – Mitel Grabs ShoreTel – BMW Gets Skyped

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

July 28 – 2017 – Issue #408

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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iPhone User Forum
Best Sleep App
New Version Approved
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If you need an iPhone/iPad app, click on image.
If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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Skype for Business Topologies supported with Modern Authentication
As a SIP security expert I am always amazed when companies find a security solution like they were the first explorers on the moon.  What they don’t realize especially at Microsoft is the real reason why there have not been more SIP security attacks is frankly a shortage of hackers.  Hackers go for the gold like ransomware and until they find some gold to go after in SIP calls then they will leave it alone for now.  Meanwhile, MS added this to Skype for Business “can leverage security advantages of Modern Authentication. Because Skype for Business works closely with Exchange, the login behavior Skype for Business client users will see will also be effected by the MA status of Exchange. This will also apply if you have a Skype for Business split-domain hybrid. That’s a lot of moving parts, but the aim here is an easy to visualize list of supported topologies.”
Bottom-line – Click on the graphic for their article.  I can only say if what they are doing is the ONLY thing you are doing you are surely going to be hacked and they may end up getting the gold.
Mitel Grabs ShoreTel
During growing stages companies buy other companies so they can grow faster.  In declining markets, companies buy companies to delay the decay in their market.  Mitel should have bought something like Slack (too expensive) and some other growing like a “weed” company or bought a whole bunch of anything than buy ShoreTel.  Dumb idea in a market that is seeing Microsoft continue to grow at the expense of others. Here is what Mitel is saying, click on the image for the complete article:
Consolidation accelerates Mitel’s move to high-growth UCaaS market
  • Accelerates Mitel’s path to growth
  • Delivers attractive shareholder value with $60 million in expected synergies
  • Moves Mitel into a #2 position in UCaaS market
  • Expected to be accretive in the first year
Bottom-line – Expect more dumb moves by companies hoping that they will not die sooner.
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 BMW Gets Skyped
In case you are rich and famous you can now have Skype in your BMW.  Whoopee !

Universal Communications Architecture
Click on image for White Paper on UCA.  Many factors are driving large enterprises to migrate their legacy voice infrastructure to IP-based unified communications.
AudioCodes’ Universal Communications Architecture delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for large enterprise voice modernization that
  • Consolidates SIP trunk connectivity across the enterprise
  • Reduces communications costs
  • Alleviates security headaches
  • Simplifies dial-plan and routing policy management
Click on image for complete white paper:

Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
Subscribe to newsletter – http://bit.ly/2hYsAis

Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Amazon Sparks UC
If you thought Amazon doesn’t want to be everything, have you buy everything and now socialize everyway you like, you missed the email.  Indeed, with Alexa listening to your every word and making telephone calls who knows what they will do with their new Spark social service.  With nearly 50% (Gallup) of workers working at home at least some of the time and more and more full-time at home, it makes sense that Amazon Spark with Alexa be part of your business life as well.  There is no doubt that there are many UC features that make sense and add-in expert systems tech you will find that when Amazon ships you a drone to fetch and your Alex or Alexa Robot to vacuum your floors.  When will they invent a robot to do the dishes and empty the dishwasher, clean the toilet, wash the windows and the real problems instead of annoying us with more “time-saving” read as time-wasting tech.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
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Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

__________________________________________________________
Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
__________________________________________________________
Certified Training – Affordable, Available, Actionable & Tax Deductible
WebRTC-SIP Certification, Social Media Contact Centers, Sales Professionals and Business
Custom and Complete SIP Professional Certification Program
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TECHtionary Knowledge Source

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Click here for TECHtionary — World’s First and Largest Animated Library on Technology with more than 3,015 animated tutorials.

Lync is a Trademark of Microsoft.  Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum is an independent forum.

Advertising, Exhibiting, Training and other Marcom Programs, call 303-594-1694 or click here.

The User Forum provides classroom and webseminar training as well as a non-production environment for those IT departments without additional equipment, budget or time.  This allows planners and users to test ideas, dial in and dial back out, IM file transfers, remote desktop sharing, video conferencing, run scenarios, review logs, break linkages and learning about new telephony features and network access.  The User Forum is also designed for both the system integrator/consultant who wants to learn about tech without having to build their own system as well as the enterprise customer who doesn’t have the time, resources or knowledge to develop one.  Coming soon, User Forum Labs are designed to be “hands-on” or “over-the-shoulder” with experts available for Q&A and classes for feature-specific review.

About User Forum

The User Forum is a vendor-independent laboratory environment designed for learning, technical guides, knowledge resources and online “live” services.  The User Forum provides planning, project management, consulting, training, case studies, white papers, speaking engagements, market/customer research, network planning and other services.
Click here to contact.

(c) User Forum – all rights reserved.

SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum, 2525 Arapahoe E-4-313, Boulder, CO 80302
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AI Social and Contextual UC #407 – Amazon Sparks UC – Omni Channel Customer Engagement – Universal Communications Architecture – Smart Meeting Scheduler

 

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

July 21 – 2017 – Issue #407

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Welcome to the SIP, UC Apps & Cloud Communications Forum
@Techtionary Twitter account topped 15,900+ followers up 100 followers this week and if you are on Twitter, please follow and we will follow you back.  Get proven results in gaining-retaining Twitter and other social media followers – click here.

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Universal Communications Architecture
Click on image for White Paper on UCA.  Many factors are driving large enterprises to migrate their legacy voice infrastructure to IP-based unified communications.
AudioCodes’ Universal Communications Architecture delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for large enterprise voice modernization that
  • Consolidates SIP trunk connectivity across the enterprise
  • Reduces communications costs
  • Alleviates security headaches
  • Simplifies dial-plan and routing policy management
Click on image for complete white paper:

Amazon Sparks UC
If you thought Amazon doesn’t want to be everything, have you buy everything and now socialize everyway you like, you missed the email.  Indeed, with Alexa listening to your every word and making telephone calls who knows what they will do with their new Spark social service.  With nearly 50% (Gallup) of workers working at home at least some of the time and more and more full-time at home, it makes sense that Amazon Spark with Alexa be part of your business life as well.  There is no doubt that there are many UC features that make sense and add-in expert systems tech you will find that when Amazon ships you a drone to fetch and your Alex or Alexa Robot to vacuum your floors.  When will they invent a robot to do the dishes and empty the dishwasher, clean the toilet, wash the windows and the real problems instead of annoying us with more “time-saving” read as time-wasting tech.

Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
Subscribe to newsletter – http://bit.ly/2hYsAis

Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
_____________________________

Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

__________________________________________________________
Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
__________________________________________________________
Certified Training – Affordable, Available, Actionable & Tax Deductible
WebRTC-SIP Certification, Social Media Contact Centers, Sales Professionals and Business
Custom and Complete SIP Professional Certification Program
Follow us on Twitter

TECHtionary Knowledge Source

z

Click here for TECHtionary — World’s First and Largest Animated Library on Technology with more than 3,015 animated tutorials.

Lync is a Trademark of Microsoft.  Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum is an independent forum.

Advertising, Exhibiting, Training and other Marcom Programs, call 303-594-1694 or click here.

The User Forum provides classroom and webseminar training as well as a non-production environment for those IT departments without additional equipment, budget or time.  This allows planners and users to test ideas, dial in and dial back out, IM file transfers, remote desktop sharing, video conferencing, run scenarios, review logs, break linkages and learning about new telephony features and network access.  The User Forum is also designed for both the system integrator/consultant who wants to learn about tech without having to build their own system as well as the enterprise customer who doesn’t have the time, resources or knowledge to develop one.  Coming soon, User Forum Labs are designed to be “hands-on” or “over-the-shoulder” with experts available for Q&A and classes for feature-specific review.

About User Forum

The User Forum is a vendor-independent laboratory environment designed for learning, technical guides, knowledge resources and online “live” services.  The User Forum provides planning, project management, consulting, training, case studies, white papers, speaking engagements, market/customer research, network planning and other services.
Click here to contact.

(c) User Forum – all rights reserved.

SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum, 2525 Arapahoe E-4-313, Boulder, CO 80302
Sent by cross@gocross.com in collaboration with
Constant Contact

AI Social and Contextual UC #406 – Social Selling Strategy Now Available – Outlook Can’t Schedule Outside Your Company Approved Contact Can

 

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

July 14 – 2017 – Issue #406

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
_____________________________
Advertising, social media, blog articles, webinars and other services available.
 cross@gocross.com
_____________________________
_____________________________
Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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iPhone User Forum
Best Sleep App
New Version Approved
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If you need an iPhone/iPad app, click on image.
If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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 We can help in developing webinars, customer studies, social media and salesmarketing

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Rewards programs are proven to increase revenues and customer engagement.

Rewards/VIP App
Custom mobile app for rewards/loyalty programs

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Welcome to the SIP, UC Apps & Cloud Communications Forum
@Techtionary Twitter account topped 15,900+ followers up 100 followers this week and if you are on Twitter, please follow and we will follow you back.  Get proven results in gaining-retaining Twitter and other social media followers – click here.

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Kirstel Social Selling Strategy Announced
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases.
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
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Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
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Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Deep Learning Is About to Revolutionize Sports Analytics. Here’s How
Lucey recently described an approach for teasing player formation out of raw geospatial data in a paper he co-authored with other researchers from Disney Research and the California Institute of Technology, titled “Data-Driven Ghosting using Deep Imitation Learning.”
The central thesis revolves around the creation of a “ghosting” model that can accurately learn and subsequently predict how actual professional soccer players moved on offense and defense. The model was based on a recurrent neural network that was trained, in an unsupervised fashion, on 17,400 soccer sequences across of 100 games. The training it took several hours, according to the paper, which won second place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March of this year.
The visual nature of the ghosting system could provide direct benefits to teams that invest in it. Coaches and players would be able to watch a replay of a particular play, and see how the ghosts defenders respond to their opponent’s attack.
“Given an attacking play by a team, how did that team defend, or how should they have defended?” Lucey says. “How should they have moved to minimize the likelihood that that team scores? This is where we get into the realm of deep neural nets and deep imitation learning. It’s very similar to what Google and Deep Mind did for AlphaGo.”

According to Fast Company, “If Apple is diving into the category Amazon created, it may be less about taking on the Echo and more about building out its HomeKit connected-home vision.”  The picture is Apple’s version of Alexa or any other others.  Apple HomePod is a “late to the game” and recognizes that they are certainly “asleep at the wheel” in the innovation department when it comes to TV and many other fields. Alexa is the new “iphone” that Apple should have built and would have had Steve still be around as Apple cannot even keep up with needed iPhone features liked cordless charging, weather-proofing etc.  Meanwhile I hope they will bring out a more Siri-enabled Apple TV and speaker-iPhone unfortunately overpriced as usual.

AudioCodes Gets Your Huddle Game On !

AudioCodes has always been a leader in the UC game brings new Huddle room solutions.  Eric Bauer VP of NA Marketing noted, “The technology space is changing at warp speed and consumption habits are evolving at every turn.  As users, we look for high quality technologies that feature an intuitive interface and are available at an affordable price.  These consumer demands translate into the work place and how we collaborate.  With AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution (HRS), you can turn any space into a meeting space.  Transform your office into a professional meeting space with a high quality audio solution in a powerful and cost-effective package that is simple to operate and manage.  Available in 3 sizes, the AudioCodes HRS solution offers full integration with Skype for Business and centralized management and control to lower operational costs.”

Here are some other details and click on any image for more information.
– The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to 6 persons

– AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to fifteen-person small group meeting spaces

The solution delivers:

– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more

– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec

– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound

– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operations

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

Amazon Tackles Telephone Service with Alexa
This week Amazon added video conferencing to the Alexa calling feature with Alexa Show for $229 retail probably less with Amazon Prime and other promos they will have.  Due tell what they are really trying to do other than take all your money. Regarding, their more traditional product Alexa, GeekWeek said, “The system Alexa described in the patent would link an existing cellphone number with the Alexa device, and includes a provision for identifying authorized users by their voices. Alexa could let the user know a call is coming in, and then pick it up and route the call over its speaker when the user gives the go-ahead. Users could also initiate calls via Alexa.  Call charges would be billed through the user’s cell carrier, but once the call is routed through the Alexa device, the cellphone would be left out of the picture. Instead, the Alexa device would send the call to the carrier through a type of connection known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP.”
Amazon VC is already funding an home intercom solution call Nucleus for an outrageous price of $250 and if you need a family size you could put out a $800+ so this gets to be another ridiculous device homes really don’t need.

Cool company Dialpad used the Alexa SDK to build their own telephone network interface. Unlike a platform-specific communications system, Dialpad will eventually be compatible with multiple voice assistants, ensuring an excellent user experience no matter what other communications platform or virtual assistant your contacts are using.

Here are the Dialpad features available through Alexa include:
  • Place a call to a contact
  • Add a contact to the current call
  • Transfer the current call to another person
  • Place a call on hold
  • Record a call
  • Check Dialpad voicemail and text messages
  • Enable and disable Do Not Disturb
  • Transfer a call from device to device, for example, from Alexa to a mobile phone or a mobile phone to Alexa
  • Listen to Dialpad system reports, such as “total call volume for the current week”

They also say integration with Google Home is coming soon.  As they said, “Being a pure-cloud business phone system, Dialpad makes it easy for people to communicate via desktop, mobile, tablet-you name it. Integrating with Alexa, another cloud-connected device, takes business communications into the Internet of Things (IoT). Alexa is truly your personal assistant: instead of paging a person or pressing some complicated key combination on your desk phone, you just say “Alexa, transfer the call to the sales department.”

Bottom-line – Amazon Alexa is winning in all kinds of ways and portends to be an even more important solution for business offices, hospitals, fast food and any other situation where voice conversation takes place.  Adding telephony is a great way to extend their reach and make Alexa even more relevant to their customers.
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Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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Certified Training – Affordable, Available, Actionable & Tax Deductible
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Custom and Complete SIP Professional Certification Program
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Lync is a Trademark of Microsoft.  Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum is an independent forum.

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The User Forum provides classroom and webseminar training as well as a non-production environment for those IT departments without additional equipment, budget or time.  This allows planners and users to test ideas, dial in and dial back out, IM file transfers, remote desktop sharing, video conferencing, run scenarios, review logs, break linkages and learning about new telephony features and network access.  The User Forum is also designed for both the system integrator/consultant who wants to learn about tech without having to build their own system as well as the enterprise customer who doesn’t have the time, resources or knowledge to develop one.  Coming soon, User Forum Labs are designed to be “hands-on” or “over-the-shoulder” with experts available for Q&A and classes for feature-specific review.

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AI Social and Contextual UC #405 – Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Free Trial on Microsoft AppSource – Skype Business Lifecycle Management

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

July 7 – 2017 – Issue #405

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Advertising, social media, blog articles, webinars and other services available.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

_____________________________
iPhone User Forum
Best Sleep App
New Version Approved
_____________________________
If you need an iPhone/iPad app, click on image.
If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
_____________________________

 We can help in developing webinars, customer studies, social media and sales, marketing

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Rewards programs are proven to increase revenues and customer engagement.

Rewards/VIP App
Custom mobile app for rewards/loyalty programs

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Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

Here’s a new look at the way you deploy Skype for Business from Audio Codes.  User Management Pack 365 also consolidates and enhances the user management of cloud and on-premises users into a powerful yet simple web portal. This makes your Skype for Business operation more cost effective, by replacing the need for multiple management tools like PowerShell, Skype for Business control panel, and the need for on-staff masters.
  • Automates user life cycle management entirely
  • Increases productivity of IT staff
  • Lowers the TCO of Skype for Business operation
  • Reduces the requirement for advanced training courses
  • Simplifies the setup of hybrid voice over the Office 365 connector
  • Makes migration of users to Cloud PBX (Office 365) very easy
  • Provides full control over all Skype for Business user modalities including the Office 365 Cloud PBX users
  • Enhances user management by consolidating multiple tools into a single, powerful web portal
  • Improves security
  • Provides clear demarcation between customer environment and Skype for Business setup
  • Enables identity management over multiple forests
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Interactive Network Architecture

Here’s a new look at the way Cisco sees network architecture in an interactive diagram.
Easy Conference Scheduling for Skype for Business, Office 365, Cisco Spark and Avaya
Approved Contact has quietly but surely worked on getting their multi-platform scheduling and planning solution chatbot approved by Microsoft, Avaya and Cisco to speed staff scheduling and meetings. They ask a simple question – How much time do you waste going back and forth to schedule meetings? Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems.  Click on logo to contact Approved Contact.

Easy as 1-2-3, for Cisco users, compare open times on your calendar to open times on any of your Approved Contact’s calendars from right inside of Cisco Spark space
FreeTime – Compares available calendars from everyone in the space and displays up to the first 3 available times.
First, set up a new profile on Approved Contact
Second, sync your calendar into Approved Contact and invite your contacts to become your Approved Contacts
Third, add the Approved Contact BOT to any Cisco Spark space that you want to compare your free times to other’s in the Cisco Spark space.
Products supported
Office 365
Azure
Skype for Business
Outlook 2013 or later
Outlook 2016 for Mac
Outlook on the Web
Cisco Spark
Avaya
 Bottom-line – In the seminal work called Organizational Velocity written in the 1970s, the author spoke about the speed or velocity of business is dependent on the pace of collaboration.  He suggested the pace of technology ever slowly but surely increased the pace of organization work.  At the time IBM conducted a study that the average delay in scheduling a meeting and the meeting actually taking place with 5 people was about 5 weeks given other meetings, vacations, meetings already scheduled, and other factors.   Then it took hours just to complete the concalls just to check peoples’ schedules.  This has shortened a little with endless emails between principals and assistants.  Now this can be dramatically shortened to minutes at a fraction of the cost and most importantly, ease of access.   In a later book called Split Second Society, the speed of business was said most aptly like this – “Strategically, the faster you can communicate, the faster you can change and those corporations that change the fastest will be the most successful.”
Approved Contact may not have all the answers to the challenges of human communications but they are working on ways we can collaborate faster.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Podcasting Social Media Posting App
In a business meeting, want to interview a colleague, recording a key conversation, its easy with HashNewsGram 2.5.  Other new features include: Podcast-Music library – record music, songs, interviews, lectures, business meetings, presentations along with other recordings and easily post them to Twitter as well as share them via email, Gallery, SMS, Facebook and other ways.
Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
HashNewsGram 2.4 breaks the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings including pre-recorded music and audio from the HashNewsGram library, created freehand paintings or drawings using the drawing features and library, multimedia images called Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, BaseballFansClub, RewardsVIPClub, and others from TECHtionary.
Click on either image for iTunes. Click here for custom versions and advertising also available.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

Kirstel Report from #1 UCaaS Social Influencer
Check out and signup from Top Social Influencer

Follow Evan @evankirstel and get him to help you with these and other services:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Deep Learning Is About to Revolutionize Sports Analytics. Here’s How
Lucey recently described an approach for teasing player formation out of raw geospatial data in a paper he co-authored with other researchers from Disney Research and the California Institute of Technology, titled “Data-Driven Ghosting using Deep Imitation Learning.”
The central thesis revolves around the creation of a “ghosting” model that can accurately learn and subsequently predict how actual professional soccer players moved on offense and defense. The model was based on a recurrent neural network that was trained, in an unsupervised fashion, on 17,400 soccer sequences across of 100 games. The training it took several hours, according to the paper, which won second place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March of this year.
The visual nature of the ghosting system could provide direct benefits to teams that invest in it. Coaches and players would be able to watch a replay of a particular play, and see how the ghosts defenders respond to their opponent’s attack.
“Given an attacking play by a team, how did that team defend, or how should they have defended?” Lucey says. “How should they have moved to minimize the likelihood that that team scores? This is where we get into the realm of deep neural nets and deep imitation learning. It’s very similar to what Google and Deep Mind did for AlphaGo.”

According to Fast Company, “If Apple is diving into the category Amazon created, it may be less about taking on the Echo and more about building out its HomeKit connected-home vision.”  The picture is Apple’s version of Alexa or any other others.  Apple HomePod is a “late to the game” and recognizes that they are certainly “asleep at the wheel” in the innovation department when it comes to TV and many other fields. Alexa is the new “iphone” that Apple should have built and would have had Steve still be around as Apple cannot even keep up with needed iPhone features liked cordless charging, weather-proofing etc.  Meanwhile I hope they will bring out a more Siri-enabled Apple TV and speaker-iPhone unfortunately overpriced as usual.

AudioCodes Gets Your Huddle Game On !

AudioCodes has always been a leader in the UC game brings new Huddle room solutions.  Eric Bauer VP of NA Marketing noted, “The technology space is changing at warp speed and consumption habits are evolving at every turn.  As users, we look for high quality technologies that feature an intuitive interface and are available at an affordable price.  These consumer demands translate into the work place and how we collaborate.  With AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution (HRS), you can turn any space into a meeting space.  Transform your office into a professional meeting space with a high quality audio solution in a powerful and cost-effective package that is simple to operate and manage.  Available in 3 sizes, the AudioCodes HRS solution offers full integration with Skype for Business and centralized management and control to lower operational costs.”

Here are some other details and click on any image for more information.
– The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to 6 persons

– AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to fifteen-person small group meeting spaces

The solution delivers:

– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more

– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec

– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound

– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operations

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

Amazon Tackles Telephone Service with Alexa
This week Amazon added video conferencing to the Alexa calling feature with Alexa Show for $229 retail probably less with Amazon Prime and other promos they will have.  Due tell what they are really trying to do other than take all your money. Regarding, their more traditional product Alexa, GeekWeek said, “The system Alexa described in the patent would link an existing cellphone number with the Alexa device, and includes a provision for identifying authorized users by their voices. Alexa could let the user know a call is coming in, and then pick it up and route the call over its speaker when the user gives the go-ahead. Users could also initiate calls via Alexa.  Call charges would be billed through the user’s cell carrier, but once the call is routed through the Alexa device, the cellphone would be left out of the picture. Instead, the Alexa device would send the call to the carrier through a type of connection known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP.”
Amazon VC is already funding an home intercom solution call Nucleus for an outrageous price of $250 and if you need a family size you could put out a $800+ so this gets to be another ridiculous device homes really don’t need.

Cool company Dialpad used the Alexa SDK to build their own telephone network interface. Unlike a platform-specific communications system, Dialpad will eventually be compatible with multiple voice assistants, ensuring an excellent user experience no matter what other communications platform or virtual assistant your contacts are using.

Here are the Dialpad features available through Alexa include:
  • Place a call to a contact
  • Add a contact to the current call
  • Transfer the current call to another person
  • Place a call on hold
  • Record a call
  • Check Dialpad voicemail and text messages
  • Enable and disable Do Not Disturb
  • Transfer a call from device to device, for example, from Alexa to a mobile phone or a mobile phone to Alexa
  • Listen to Dialpad system reports, such as “total call volume for the current week”

They also say integration with Google Home is coming soon.  As they said, “Being a pure-cloud business phone system, Dialpad makes it easy for people to communicate via desktop, mobile, tablet-you name it. Integrating with Alexa, another cloud-connected device, takes business communications into the Internet of Things (IoT). Alexa is truly your personal assistant: instead of paging a person or pressing some complicated key combination on your desk phone, you just say “Alexa, transfer the call to the sales department.”

Bottom-line – Amazon Alexa is winning in all kinds of ways and portends to be an even more important solution for business offices, hospitals, fast food and any other situation where voice conversation takes place.  Adding telephony is a great way to extend their reach and make Alexa even more relevant to their customers.
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Google Assistant SDK Transforms UC via Conversation Actions
Transforming voice has been one of the key tenants of UC though much of the effort has been NOT on voice but other forms of communications especially chat.
Now voice is back ! With the vengeance of a tornado, Amazon-Alexa, Apple-Siri, Microsoft-Cortana, Google-Voice and others all want hear every precious word you spout off.  The issue has been and always will be the written work is not the spoken word and what we see and touch is not often what we would say.
More often the restaurant or coffee shop server misunderstands what you say.  Meanwhile, here’s the pitch from Google. Google calls them Conversation Actions which help you fulfill user requests by letting you have a two-way dialog with users. When users request an action, the Google Assistant processes this request, determines the best action to invoke, and invokes your Conversation Action if relevant. From there, your action manages the rest, including how users are greeted, how to fulfill the user’s request, and how the conversation ends.
When you build conversation actions, you define these major components:
– Invocation triggers define how users invoke and discover your actions. Once triggered, your action carries out a conversation with users, which is defined by dialogs.
– Dialogs define how users converse with your actions and act as the user interface for your actions. They rely on fulfillment code to move the conversation forward.
– Fulfillment is the code that processes user input and returns responses and you expose it as a REST endpoint. Fulfillment also typically has the logic that carries out the actual action like retrieving recipes or news to read aloud.
 
Bottom-line – If you home alone you may find all this very cool but if you can add other family members and even animals (love to hear how Alexa would react to a Parrot) who knows what kind of chaos could erupt much less a business office, train station or ball park.  It is not that the idea is flawed it’s like any application, it only works for a few use cases. Building voice technology into cars, homes, and even IoT devices again is another nice idea but not sure if you want to have a device listening to everything you do or have to argue with them until they understand what you are talking about.
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There are four stories – Cisco, IBM, Facebook Workplace Video with BlueJeans and Microsoft Huddle Room with Audio Codes. 
Due to the enormity and complexity of the issues of each system, let’s just say that each has some interesting features.  Integrating Watson into the IBM Cognitive Room is certainly an interesting idea, however, I would like to have hands-on experience before endorsing any of these solutions.  However, this gives you a quick glimpse at each system.
 

 

 Cisco Sparks Ideas

What really is upsetting that in either picture from Cisco they did NOT even read their own great book (Cisco Telepresence Fundamentals) by having a room next to outside windows (which means you get all the highway noise, changing sunlight conditions and heat and more problems).
Cisco Spark has a number of models including the Cisco Spark Board 55 a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 55-inch LED screen and the Cisco Spark Board 70 is a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 70-inch LED screen. Click on either image for details.

– Intelligent framing: We’re pushing the boundaries with a smart and effortless experience. It’s like having a TV camera operator in the room. We have had speaker tracking in our high-end systems – and now Cisco Spark Room Kits have it, too. The feature automatically detects who in the room is speaking and selects the best camera framing for that person. “Best overview intelligence” detects all people in the room and selects the best group framing when no one is speaking. If a large room has only two people, the camera intelligently frames those people.
– Analytics in diagnostic mode: Artificial intelligence can be pragmatically applied for resource planning. The Room Kits have a high-performing face-detection module that tracks where people are and the angle they’re facing. The system pinpoints the speaker through audio triangulation using the six embedded microphones. The system also counts the number of people in the room. You can send all this data to a management system for customized applications.
– Voice and face recognition: This is still in beta, but you’ll soon be able to place calls via voice commands and the system will recognize attendee faces and label them with their names. These pre-production capabilities present groundbreaking opportunities for both automated calling and content delivery based on a meeting’s participants.You can deploy Cisco Spark Room Kit in a small-to-medium-sized room, and Cisco Spark Room Kit Plus in a large room. Both options support one or two displays. I think you’ll want dual displays when you see how beautiful the white board looks when dialing into a Cisco Spark Board. Imagine the experience: You see the white-board content in stunning 4k resolution on one screen, connect with people in 4k on the other, and interact with the white board on your laptop or tablet.Bottom-line – Cisco has applied their enormous skills learned in building 1000s of telepresence rooms to this next-generation approach though as I have pointed out their need to re-read their books on telepresence rooms because video is really only as good as the room, lighting, noise, echo and many other factors that make video meetings even more difficult.

IBM “Wake Word” – HAL – World Without Walls

 

Wake words is the new term for initiating a conversation with a device.  Siri, Alexa and others begin listening and acting upon voice recognition though we all know how difficult it is to understand what you are already talking about.  Not to be out-gunned, HARMAN Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) today unveiled Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms. Click on image for more.

Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology and HARMAN AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, the companies bring highly connected experiences to medical facilities, corporate offices, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments.

In addition to the current in-market solutions, HARMAN is part of IBM’s cognitive collaboratories based in its $200 million Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich.
 In this facility today, HARMAN is demonstrating the capabilities of its in-room cognitive concierge in a conference room setting. At the same time the HARMAN team is also working with IBM designers, researchers and others to put IoT into the hands of enterprise customers.
Today IBM’s cognitive technologies are embedded into HARMAN soundbars and alarm clocks with other form factors being developed, that users can interact with using natural language. Now consumers can simply ask questions or issue commands with their voice when in a room.
These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with HARMAN’S technology to allow people to easily control their in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks and trying to figure the new systems out. For example, now when an employee enters a conference room they can start a video conference, launch a presentation and more using their voice. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically based on what the system has learned about the employee based on previous meetings.
These voice-enabled cognitive rooms also function as an in-room concierge that can answer general questions or site-specific questions developed by the facility and featuring custom answers created by staff. For example, a hotel guest could ask “What time is checkout? “or “Where is the gym?” while a hospital patient could ask “What are the hospital’s visiting hours?” or “Can you tell me more about my doctor?” Leveraging HARMAN’s expertise in API integration, users can even employ Watson for service requests, including amenity replenishments, restaurant reservations, late checkout, room service, shuttle service and more.
Leveraging key Watson APIs such as Natural Language Understanding and Speech to Text, these rooms also provide users with limited mobility and vision impairment a closer level of interaction with their environment. Now with
Watson, guests can speak naturally to the system without rigid syntax requirements, using simple commands like “would you turn off the lights?”

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms also feature enterprise-grade software tools that can help in-house technical and guest service staff members increase operational efficiency. For example, housekeeping staff can simply say, “Send up an engineer to fix the shower” in their native language. Watson’s multilingual capabilities enable organizations to accommodate a wide variety of users from different countries with an ever-growing list of supported languages.

Bottom-line – The virtual work space is taking hold as “work without walls” transforms the tedium of traditional meetings wasting time and often with little progress on the project at hand.  New non-meetings business methods will change the traditional broadcast style meetings of one person talking at a time to more of a cocktail party approach to getting things done.

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There’s meetings and then there’s meetings via teleconference:
Boring face-to-face = boring via teleconference
After your next meeting, ask a colleague “what did you understand that meeting was about”?   The principal feature of teleconferencing or conferencing technology is that it allows interactive communication and helps everyone get on the same page. Even though participants in a teleconference are geographically separated, they can still meet to “get their heads together.” Unlike unidirectional communication, such as a letter or a television broadcast, in which a person either sends a message without getting any cues from the recipient or is a passive recipient of information, interactive communication allows people to be both senders and receivers of information simultaneously. Interactive communications gives each person the opportunity to initiate and respond to information as the process unfolds.  Teleconference participants can converse, talk things over, negotiate, joke, see one another, and exchange numerical and graphic information. When people use teleconferencing to “meet,” a synergy of minds is created. Users find that a greater sense of involvement and trust develops among people who are using teleconferencing to carry out a project as compared to a project that relies upon unidirectional communication.
Teleconferencing lets more people participate in the decision-making process. Advantages of group decision making, compared to individual decision making, include the availability of a greater range of experience than that held by any one individual, a more diverse set of intellectual approaches and capabilities, and a greater tendency to subject ideas to scrutiny and debate. Decision making is improved with teleconferencing, because it encourages participation of those people who are not directly involved in the decision-making process of a particular project; for example, research and development engineers can participate in a conference about marketing. Teleconferencing also allows people, such as the administrative staff who would not normally attend a distant face-to-face meeting participate in the decision-making process. Their participation ensures that they understand the subject discussed, especially the nuances and overall thrust of the decision-making process, often not captured in a written report of a meeting.  This, in turn, means that the decision is more likely to be implemented efficiently and effectively.  Ultimately the reason why meetings suck is that the presenter is not organized, has no agenda and worse has not planned for gaining and organizing feedback as to what attendees heard or thought they heard.
Making Sure Communications Succeed
I have a saying that I have used for 40 years, “communications will always fail except by chance.”  We think we are communicating when; in fact, communications is a two-way, not one-way, process.  For me to communicate effectively I have to get feedback from you to let me know what you heard and what you think it means to you.
To that end, I appreciate the opportunity to help Boulder Phone, your provider of conferencing services and products, help you to do a better job at communications.  We can help you be less boring and more effective in your communications.  We can help you as a value-added service review your presentations, review your scripts or even help you write them.  Speaking of scripts, we know they work.  Writing a script helps you organize and rehearse your thoughts to help you speak more clearly and focused.  You may not need this kind of help but Boulder Phone wants you to know we can help you not just with the technology but with communications as well.
We offer you this indepth book if you really want to know more about the subject.

 

 
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Six Core Concepts for Social Media Influencer Program & Webinar

By Evan Kirstel @evankirstel & Tom Cross @techtionary

Abstract

IM-influencer marketing is the means to accelerate revenue, lower costs, organize corporate communications and extend company goodwill to name a few benefits. This article explores these issues and a preview of the webinar (click on any image for details on the webinar) with Evan Kirstel Top Social Media Influencer and Tom Cross.
Here are some of the key points presented and discussed in the webinar with Evan Kirstel along with other key topics including the CEO as the ultimate social influencer and “tweet meets” sales lead generation via social media. The term “influencer marketing” (IM) or key opinion leaders (KOL) is the term often used by social media leaders rather than celebrity or movie/sports/rock star endorsements and other leaders of any kind including business, religious and others. Celebrity or star endorsements are not new but certainly less pronounced in the tech space. If Steve Jobs had survived there is no doubt newer, more exciting and more diverse products would be coming from Apple. His role is not unique as the CEO sets the stage for each company. Yet many tech companies believe that their tech speaks for itself not recognizing the role of advisors, consultants and social media influencers on customer decisions. The role of IM and IM professionals is to help core clients look beyond their own silo of solutions to work with customers and others to build more global solutions. The impact can be significant in reducing sales cycles, improve customer service and ultimately vastly increase overall customer and global experience.
Here is a brief summary and analysis of six key points for IM:

Connections
– create and connect with other social media influencers and guide with monthly “tweetchats.” It is truly amazing how many CEO and others fail really fail to understand that social media is social not broadcast media. Social media almost by definition means engaging with others not just preaching to them. Twitter even more than Linkedin is ideal for connecting with potential customers and engaging with them to solve their needs. IM extends the process by educating and ultimately gaining and retaining them. Customers don’t call you anymore they tweet their grievances and if you ignore them the entire world knows that you don’t care and even more importantly, prospective customers can see that as well. Companies that don’t understand are like companies who didn’t have websites 20 years ago and don’t update them today. In other words, engaging with customers throughout their lifecycle is a must-have approach to business going forward.

Content
– turbocharge your content reaching hundreds of thousands of users on Twitter and tens of thousands on Linkedin.

Content and curation go hand-in-hand as content, rather data only becomes knowledge after a human has understood, analyzed, shared and hopefully used it in decision-making. Big data is often used to suggest that we have too much information or TMI and that AI-artificial intelligence will somehow distill, synthesize or somehow organize it for humans. Yet AI is not a panacea not likely to give you any deeper understanding of the issue than you have now. In influencer marketing (IM) the knowledge of the influencer is always at risk when content from any source big or artificial is used to answer key questions. An influencer of any kind whether sports, movie or tech star will never have enough information to make specific decisions only general assessments and observations. However, to help all those involved get “on the same page” can be accomplished via IM. There is much to-do about IoT-internet of things but will the smart car talk to the smart home and what protocols, terminology and user commands be common to both. This would be the role of IM to organize different and complex systems, protocols and industry forums can help those involved (influenced) build common solutions. Smart companies can use or build IM to build bridges between companies and players to solve customer issues more quickly. This means that constant content research and development should be part of any IM program.

Curation – review and curate company content, provide guidance and enhanced thought leadership via influencer team.

 Curation actually comes from the term caring and now is applied to anything gathered from multiple sources into one place to writing blog posts. Curators organize ideas to help viewers and users gain insights. Curation can come from articles, thought leadership, research and knowledge base sources. Influencer marketing comes from ongoing research into content curation ensuring its real and
not fake news or distorted in anyway, yet add serious analysis and what is often called thought leadership. Without this content becomes useless or worse can cause confusion and conflict. For curation to be effective the context of its use must also always be in-play. Knowing or context or how the content will be used not only aids but accelerates the use and further application as well as pursuit of further curation and the IM can be of value as a real content curator.

Collaboration – collaborate with internal and external social leaders.

Like said so many times, keep your friends close and enemies close most often attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Price is also filled with priceless concepts on management and collaboration. Collaboration is not just working together but realizing that there will also be a hierarchical approach to management as the CEO and other C-levels will always rule the roost as collaborative they appear to be. Ideas come in, they bubble up, muck about and if merit, a business case emerges. The role of IM in this process is to guide, validate, collaborate and be the “out of the box” viewpoint on the subject. This delicate role is not as arbitrator or buzz-killer but to give input or collaborate as needed.

C-Level
– assist and guide the CXO on their social media efforts along with gaining-retaining followers via CEO Twitter Scoreboard.

The ultimate social influencer is the CEO who as mentioned like Steve Job sets direction, goals and inspiration to insiders and most importantly to outsiders. If Steve Jobs came out with bottled water or fashion line, we would all be drinking and wearing it. The role of social influencer and the CEO should be aligned as the IM can be the ombudsman, foreign correspondent and advocate. As IBM, Huawei, Avaya and others are finding the role of IM helps them in many ways traditional marketing doesn’t and can’t. This is the ultimate value of the influencer to help the CEO in extending their message, bypassing traditional corporate communications with staff and increasingly manage crises.

Concern
– respond to concerns expressed by customers and build and monitor system for sales, supports, IR/PR and compliance issues.

Aside from other gaps in corporate marketing, the IM can also fill-in where others can’t. Notwithstanding regulatory restrictions, IM can be on the forefront in the media where often the business press takes the company to task. IM can be the independent view responding to complex situations such as layoffs, store closing, product failures and other negative situations.

Crisis
– provide crisis response team to address 7×24 tracking to avoid situations such as Target, Wells Fargo, Chipotle and other corporate devastating consequences with live “tweetchats” demonstrating responsiveness.   In case you missed the current political environment, foreign countries are cyberattacking not just political parties but nearly every company or institution that exists. One small school district (state withheld from security reasons) has been attacked by multiple foreign countries repeatedly. If you think you is not going to happen to you, think again. The role of the IM in this area is manage the mess and to guide and assist the client in “damage control.” You can never have enough friends when stuff happens and in the case of what is going on in presidential politics your company needs this more than ever as you may just be a tweet away from brand, customer and/or

stock crisis. That is, cybersecurity attacks are one thing but other political attacks could be much worse. This means you should have an IM team ready and monitoring your business 7×24 so you can wake up and manage any mess.

 

Summary – these and other issues will be presented by Evan and Tom during the webinar. If you need immediate attention, you can visit http://www.evankirstel.com/ or email cross@gocross.com 303-594-1694 to get started and be ready today.

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Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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AI Social and Contextual UC #404 – Forbes Top-50 CMOs Why Yours Should Be – Stop Office Interruptions – 10 Reasons for Media Gateway – Podcast Social UC App

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

June 30 – 2017 – Issue #404

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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Advertising, social media, blog articles, webinars and other services available.
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This “Do not disturb” light is ideal for open office workspace and cubicles. Deal with interruptions at work and increase workplace productivity easily with a busy indicator light.
Built-in speakers for audible call alert and phone ring light to avoid missed calls. Integrates with headset, desk phone or softphone and works as an on the phone indicator light.
Compatible with Skype for business, Lync, Cisco Jabber and more.
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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Free Trial –  BusyLight – Stop Office Interruption Insanity  
I really hate open space offices.  Aside from the smelly food and often smelly people,

constant interruptions cause serious office insanity.  Here’s a great answer BusyLight from Plenom and get your office sanity back.

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Easy Conference Scheduling for Skype for Business, Office 365, Cisco Spark and Avaya
Approved Contact has quietly but surely worked on getting their multi-platform scheduling and planning solution chatbot approved by Microsoft, Avaya and Cisco to speed staff scheduling and meetings. They ask a simple question – How much time do you waste going back and forth to schedule meetings? Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems.  Click on logo to contact Approved Contact.

Easy as 1-2-3, for Cisco users, compare open times on your calendar to open times on any of your Approved Contact’s calendars from right inside of Cisco Spark space
FreeTime – Compares available calendars from everyone in the space and displays up to the first 3 available times.
First, set up a new profile on Approved Contact
Second, sync your calendar into Approved Contact and invite your contacts to become your Approved Contacts
Third, add the Approved Contact BOT to any Cisco Spark space that you want to compare your free times to other’s in the Cisco Spark space.
Products supported
Office 365
Azure
Skype for Business
Outlook 2013 or later
Outlook 2016 for Mac
Outlook on the Web
Cisco Spark
Avaya
 Bottom-line – In the seminal work called Organizational Velocity written in the 1970s, the author spoke about the speed or velocity of business is dependent on the pace of collaboration.  He suggested the pace of technology ever slowly but surely increased the pace of organization work.  At the time IBM conducted a study that the average delay in scheduling a meeting and the meeting actually taking place with 5 people was about 5 weeks given other meetings, vacations, meetings already scheduled, and other factors.   Then it took hours just to complete the concalls just to check peoples’ schedules.  This has shortened a little with endless emails between principals and assistants.  Now this can be dramatically shortened to minutes at a fraction of the cost and most importantly, ease of access.   In a later book called Split Second Society, the speed of business was said most aptly like this – “Strategically, the faster you can communicate, the faster you can change and those corporations that change the fastest will be the most successful.”
Approved Contact may not have all the answers to the challenges of human communications but they are working on ways we can collaborate faster.

50 Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 by Twitter Followers 
Forbes put together a list of Most Influential CMOs, I went through the list to see how involved in Twitter they are. A bit surprising found that most CMOs are really not involved in Twitter.  If you look at the CEO Scoreboard (see below), CEOs are taking Twitter and really expanding the “marketing brand reach” of the companies they work for to new horizons.  It may be Forbes didn’t really explore CMO’s Twitter presence as part of their methodology which was “CMO influence is defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance corporate brand perception; broader marketing and advertising industry shifts and trends; and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price.”
Moreover, Forbes said they evaluated the CMO’s social media influence which may have not have had an impact on the overall rating of a CMO – “To assess influence, CMOs were evaluated based on brand performance indicators, such as engagement rate on brand posts on social media; personal impact on brand awareness, such as total direct and indirect Twitter mentions; and industry and internal influence, such as a CMO’s volume of LinkedIn connections.”
In comparison, CEOs are viewed like this:
From Jack Dorsey – “When a leader, CEO or someone in a leadership position takes to the platform they have the opportunity to humanise their organisation, make it feel smaller and relatable to people.”
The Winner in our CEO Scoreboard is !
The top Twitterer is Richard Branson @richardbranson with 10.9 million gaining 1.3 million followers and certainly the most engaged CEO with 3-Star rating.  As reported by Entrepreneur magazine, here are:
1. He connects on the most human of levels.
2. He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website.
3. He has fun.
4. He welcomes input from customers.
In today’s business-political-social world, you are measured by many factors including the number of Twitter followers you have.  In fact, many surveys have found that websites in general are perceived as passive customer communication tools with Twitter being a far more proactive customer-engaging tool.  These surveys have also found an increasing number of customers go to your Twitter account before they go to your website doing “due diligence” on you looking for call-to-actions, thought leadership and content useful in their purchasing as well as customer complaints regarding your solution.  Your client may not have a Twitter business account but they may have a personal account and their advisors may as well.  In some small way John Legere’s Twitter efforts have also impacted the price of the stock.
As noted Twitter expert Evan Kirstel just named Top B2B-Business-to-Business Influencer with 128K followers stated, “Twitter is not just way to meet new prospects and partners, it IS the way you run your company. If you aren’t engaged, your competition likely is!”
That is, CEO’s are beginning to see the real value of Twitter not just for their company but for their role as CEO in the company they run.
If you need help in gaining-retaining and having a major social media influence, contact Evan @evankirstel or click on image.
Bottom-line – CMO’s should get engaged with Twitter the same want they hope to do with their customers, otherwise customers will evaluate them on their own Twitter efforts which may not be a good thing.
Bottom-line – If you are asking why I added this and why this is important is that UC and every other technology is driven more by marketing than any other factor.  With more than 500 UC providers, there is only room for a few and those few capture the “minds of the customers” more than all the technology you may have.  So if your CEO and CMO do NOT have a presence on Twitter then likely you will fall farther and farther behind.

Podcasting Social Media Posting App
In a business meeting, want to interview a colleague, recording a key conversation, its easy with HashNewsGram 2.5.  Other new features include: Podcast-Music library – record music, songs, interviews, lectures, business meetings, presentations along with other recordings and easily post them to Twitter as well as share them via email, Gallery, SMS, Facebook and other ways.
Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
HashNewsGram 2.4 breaks the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings including pre-recorded music and audio from the HashNewsGram library, created freehand paintings or drawings using the drawing features and library, multimedia images called Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, BaseballFansClub, RewardsVIPClub, and others from TECHtionary.
Click on either image for iTunes. Click here for custom versions and advertising also available.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Twitter’s New Look – More of What?
Everyone changes their UI-user interface when they have nothing else to do thinking that people use their stuff because it’s cute.  Product managers delight in their artistic prowess when other really features are needed.  Here’s what Twitter is up to.
Here’s what you’ll see:

– Profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy – all in one place! A new side navigation menu and fewer tabs at the bottom of our app = less clutter and easier browsing. You told us you loved this change on Android last year and we’re excited to now bring it to iOS.

– Links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in the Twitter app so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into.

– We’ve refined our typography to make it more consistent, and added bolder headlines to make it easier to focus on what’s happening. Also, rounded profile photos make it clearer to see what’s being said and who’s saying it.

– More intuitive icons make it easier to engage with Tweets – especially if you’re coming to Twitter for the first time. For example, people thought the reply icon, an arrow, meant delete or go back to a previous page. We switched to a speech bubble, a symbol most know and love. We also made the icons lighter for more seamless interaction.

– Tweets now update instantly with reply, Retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening – live.

Also, you’ll see additional accessibility choices such as increased color contrast and the option to always open supported links in Safari Reader view for IoS.
Bottom-line – Terrible and ugly is what I think but what do I know.

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

Kirstel Report from #1 UCaaS Social Influencer
Check out and signup from Top Social Influencer

Follow Evan @evankirstel and get him to help you with these and other services:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

Deep Learning Is About to Revolutionize Sports Analytics. Here’s How
Lucey recently described an approach for teasing player formation out of raw geospatial data in a paper he co-authored with other researchers from Disney Research and the California Institute of Technology, titled “Data-Driven Ghosting using Deep Imitation Learning.”
The central thesis revolves around the creation of a “ghosting” model that can accurately learn and subsequently predict how actual professional soccer players moved on offense and defense. The model was based on a recurrent neural network that was trained, in an unsupervised fashion, on 17,400 soccer sequences across of 100 games. The training it took several hours, according to the paper, which won second place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March of this year.
The visual nature of the ghosting system could provide direct benefits to teams that invest in it. Coaches and players would be able to watch a replay of a particular play, and see how the ghosts defenders respond to their opponent’s attack.
“Given an attacking play by a team, how did that team defend, or how should they have defended?” Lucey says. “How should they have moved to minimize the likelihood that that team scores? This is where we get into the realm of deep neural nets and deep imitation learning. It’s very similar to what Google and Deep Mind did for AlphaGo.”

According to Fast Company, “If Apple is diving into the category Amazon created, it may be less about taking on the Echo and more about building out its HomeKit connected-home vision.”  The picture is Apple’s version of Alexa or any other others.  Apple HomePod is a “late to the game” and recognizes that they are certainly “asleep at the wheel” in the innovation department when it comes to TV and many other fields. Alexa is the new “iphone” that Apple should have built and would have had Steve still be around as Apple cannot even keep up with needed iPhone features liked cordless charging, weather-proofing etc.  Meanwhile I hope they will bring out a more Siri-enabled Apple TV and speaker-iPhone unfortunately overpriced as usual.

Social AI – Twitter Apple TV
According to Investopedia, “Twitter has been using AI to tailor ads and tweets to users. In a letter sent to shareholders in February, CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Machine learning is critical for us to better identify and personalize content that people want to see and deliver it to them, faster.”
AI is also being used by the social media company to prevent abusive behavior. In March, Twitter joined forces with IBM to improve its efforts to police controversial hate speech. IBM’s Watson AI technology, which is capable of monitoring various forms of text, is expected to make it easier for Twitter to stop nasty tweets and block repeated offenders. Twitter started making inroads in AI after acquiring image-reading technology specialist Magic Pony Technology.”  As an iOS developer we are pushing the Twitter API to the max and if Twitter wants to be even more relevant they should integrate even more their new Apple TV featureset.
Here’s the Twitter-Apple TV announcement which isn’t much so enjoy your own testing as I will.
Lastly, Twitter has also announced some cool new emoji’s like these:

Click on either image for more details.

Bottom-line – Twitter is trying but not sure what they are trying to be.  Just more integrations and some promise of AI will not solve their fundamental problem of audience relevance which still seems to elude them.  Even as a fan I am fraught with wonder and why I wonder what Twitter is all about and why I use it.

AudioCodes Gets Your Huddle Game On !

AudioCodes has always been a leader in the UC game brings new Huddle room solutions.  Eric Bauer VP of NA Marketing noted, “The technology space is changing at warp speed and consumption habits are evolving at every turn.  As users, we look for high quality technologies that feature an intuitive interface and are available at an affordable price.  These consumer demands translate into the work place and how we collaborate.  With AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution (HRS), you can turn any space into a meeting space.  Transform your office into a professional meeting space with a high quality audio solution in a powerful and cost-effective package that is simple to operate and manage.  Available in 3 sizes, the AudioCodes HRS solution offers full integration with Skype for Business and centralized management and control to lower operational costs.”

Here are some other details and click on any image for more information.
– The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to 6 persons

– AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to fifteen-person small group meeting spaces

The solution delivers:

– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more

– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec

– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound

– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operations

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

Amazon Tackles Telephone Service with Alexa
This week Amazon added video conferencing to the Alexa calling feature with Alexa Show for $229 retail probably less with Amazon Prime and other promos they will have.  Due tell what they are really trying to do other than take all your money. Regarding, their more traditional product Alexa, GeekWeek said, “The system Alexa described in the patent would link an existing cellphone number with the Alexa device, and includes a provision for identifying authorized users by their voices. Alexa could let the user know a call is coming in, and then pick it up and route the call over its speaker when the user gives the go-ahead. Users could also initiate calls via Alexa.  Call charges would be billed through the user’s cell carrier, but once the call is routed through the Alexa device, the cellphone would be left out of the picture. Instead, the Alexa device would send the call to the carrier through a type of connection known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP.”
Amazon VC is already funding an home intercom solution call Nucleus for an outrageous price of $250 and if you need a family size you could put out a $800+ so this gets to be another ridiculous device homes really don’t need.

Cool company Dialpad used the Alexa SDK to build their own telephone network interface. Unlike a platform-specific communications system, Dialpad will eventually be compatible with multiple voice assistants, ensuring an excellent user experience no matter what other communications platform or virtual assistant your contacts are using.

Here are the Dialpad features available through Alexa include:
  • Place a call to a contact
  • Add a contact to the current call
  • Transfer the current call to another person
  • Place a call on hold
  • Record a call
  • Check Dialpad voicemail and text messages
  • Enable and disable Do Not Disturb
  • Transfer a call from device to device, for example, from Alexa to a mobile phone or a mobile phone to Alexa
  • Listen to Dialpad system reports, such as “total call volume for the current week”

They also say integration with Google Home is coming soon.  As they said, “Being a pure-cloud business phone system, Dialpad makes it easy for people to communicate via desktop, mobile, tablet-you name it. Integrating with Alexa, another cloud-connected device, takes business communications into the Internet of Things (IoT). Alexa is truly your personal assistant: instead of paging a person or pressing some complicated key combination on your desk phone, you just say “Alexa, transfer the call to the sales department.”

Bottom-line – Amazon Alexa is winning in all kinds of ways and portends to be an even more important solution for business offices, hospitals, fast food and any other situation where voice conversation takes place.  Adding telephony is a great way to extend their reach and make Alexa even more relevant to their customers.
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Google Assistant SDK Transforms UC via Conversation Actions
Transforming voice has been one of the key tenants of UC though much of the effort has been NOT on voice but other forms of communications especially chat.
Now voice is back ! With the vengeance of a tornado, Amazon-Alexa, Apple-Siri, Microsoft-Cortana, Google-Voice and others all want hear every precious word you spout off.  The issue has been and always will be the written work is not the spoken word and what we see and touch is not often what we would say.
More often the restaurant or coffee shop server misunderstands what you say.  Meanwhile, here’s the pitch from Google. Google calls them Conversation Actions which help you fulfill user requests by letting you have a two-way dialog with users. When users request an action, the Google Assistant processes this request, determines the best action to invoke, and invokes your Conversation Action if relevant. From there, your action manages the rest, including how users are greeted, how to fulfill the user’s request, and how the conversation ends.
When you build conversation actions, you define these major components:
– Invocation triggers define how users invoke and discover your actions. Once triggered, your action carries out a conversation with users, which is defined by dialogs.
– Dialogs define how users converse with your actions and act as the user interface for your actions. They rely on fulfillment code to move the conversation forward.
– Fulfillment is the code that processes user input and returns responses and you expose it as a REST endpoint. Fulfillment also typically has the logic that carries out the actual action like retrieving recipes or news to read aloud.
 
Bottom-line – If you home alone you may find all this very cool but if you can add other family members and even animals (love to hear how Alexa would react to a Parrot) who knows what kind of chaos could erupt much less a business office, train station or ball park.  It is not that the idea is flawed it’s like any application, it only works for a few use cases. Building voice technology into cars, homes, and even IoT devices again is another nice idea but not sure if you want to have a device listening to everything you do or have to argue with them until they understand what you are talking about.
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There are four stories – Cisco, IBM, Facebook Workplace Video with BlueJeans and Microsoft Huddle Room with Audio Codes. 
Due to the enormity and complexity of the issues of each system, let’s just say that each has some interesting features.  Integrating Watson into the IBM Cognitive Room is certainly an interesting idea, however, I would like to have hands-on experience before endorsing any of these solutions.  However, this gives you a quick glimpse at each system. 
 

 

 Cisco Sparks Ideas 

What really is upsetting that in either picture from Cisco they did NOT even read their own great book (Cisco Telepresence Fundamentals) by having a room next to outside windows (which means you get all the highway noise, changing sunlight conditions and heat and more problems).
Cisco Spark has a number of models including the Cisco Spark Board 55 a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 55-inch LED screen and the Cisco Spark Board 70 is a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 70-inch LED screen. Click on either image for details.

– Intelligent framing: We’re pushing the boundaries with a smart and effortless experience. It’s like having a TV camera operator in the room. We have had speaker tracking in our high-end systems – and now Cisco Spark Room Kits have it, too. The feature automatically detects who in the room is speaking and selects the best camera framing for that person. “Best overview intelligence” detects all people in the room and selects the best group framing when no one is speaking. If a large room has only two people, the camera intelligently frames those people.
– Analytics in diagnostic mode: Artificial intelligence can be pragmatically applied for resource planning. The Room Kits have a high-performing face-detection module that tracks where people are and the angle they’re facing. The system pinpoints the speaker through audio triangulation using the six embedded microphones. The system also counts the number of people in the room. You can send all this data to a management system for customized applications.
– Voice and face recognition: This is still in beta, but you’ll soon be able to place calls via voice commands and the system will recognize attendee faces and label them with their names. These pre-production capabilities present groundbreaking opportunities for both automated calling and content delivery based on a meeting’s participants.You can deploy Cisco Spark Room Kit in a small-to-medium-sized room, and Cisco Spark Room Kit Plus in a large room. Both options support one or two displays. I think you’ll want dual displays when you see how beautiful the white board looks when dialing into a Cisco Spark Board. Imagine the experience: You see the white-board content in stunning 4k resolution on one screen, connect with people in 4k on the other, and interact with the white board on your laptop or tablet.Bottom-line – Cisco has applied their enormous skills learned in building 1000s of telepresence rooms to this next-generation approach though as I have pointed out their need to re-read their books on telepresence rooms because video is really only as good as the room, lighting, noise, echo and many other factors that make video meetings even more difficult.

IBM “Wake Word” – HAL – World Without Walls

 

Wake words is the new term for initiating a conversation with a device.  Siri, Alexa and others begin listening and acting upon voice recognition though we all know how difficult it is to understand what you are already talking about.  Not to be out-gunned, HARMAN Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) today unveiled Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms. Click on image for more.

Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology and HARMAN AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, the companies bring highly connected experiences to medical facilities, corporate offices, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments.

In addition to the current in-market solutions, HARMAN is part of IBM’s cognitive collaboratories based in its $200 million Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich.
 In this facility today, HARMAN is demonstrating the capabilities of its in-room cognitive concierge in a conference room setting. At the same time the HARMAN team is also working with IBM designers, researchers and others to put IoT into the hands of enterprise customers.
Today IBM’s cognitive technologies are embedded into HARMAN soundbars and alarm clocks with other form factors being developed, that users can interact with using natural language. Now consumers can simply ask questions or issue commands with their voice when in a room.
These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with HARMAN’S technology to allow people to easily control their in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks and trying to figure the new systems out. For example, now when an employee enters a conference room they can start a video conference, launch a presentation and more using their voice. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically based on what the system has learned about the employee based on previous meetings.
These voice-enabled cognitive rooms also function as an in-room concierge that can answer general questions or site-specific questions developed by the facility and featuring custom answers created by staff. For example, a hotel guest could ask “What time is checkout? “or “Where is the gym?” while a hospital patient could ask “What are the hospital’s visiting hours?” or “Can you tell me more about my doctor?” Leveraging HARMAN’s expertise in API integration, users can even employ Watson for service requests, including amenity replenishments, restaurant reservations, late checkout, room service, shuttle service and more.
Leveraging key Watson APIs such as Natural Language Understanding and Speech to Text, these rooms also provide users with limited mobility and vision impairment a closer level of interaction with their environment. Now with
Watson, guests can speak naturally to the system without rigid syntax requirements, using simple commands like “would you turn off the lights?”

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms also feature enterprise-grade software tools that can help in-house technical and guest service staff members increase operational efficiency. For example, housekeeping staff can simply say, “Send up an engineer to fix the shower” in their native language. Watson’s multilingual capabilities enable organizations to accommodate a wide variety of users from different countries with an ever-growing list of supported languages.

Bottom-line – The virtual work space is taking hold as “work without walls” transforms the tedium of traditional meetings wasting time and often with little progress on the project at hand.  New non-meetings business methods will change the traditional broadcast style meetings of one person talking at a time to more of a cocktail party approach to getting things done.

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There’s meetings and then there’s meetings via teleconference:
Boring face-to-face = boring via teleconference
After your next meeting, ask a colleague “what did you understand that meeting was about”?   The principal feature of teleconferencing or conferencing technology is that it allows interactive communication and helps everyone get on the same page. Even though participants in a teleconference are geographically separated, they can still meet to “get their heads together.” Unlike unidirectional communication, such as a letter or a television broadcast, in which a person either sends a message without getting any cues from the recipient or is a passive recipient of information, interactive communication allows people to be both senders and receivers of information simultaneously. Interactive communications gives each person the opportunity to initiate and respond to information as the process unfolds.  Teleconference participants can converse, talk things over, negotiate, joke, see one another, and exchange numerical and graphic information. When people use teleconferencing to “meet,” a synergy of minds is created. Users find that a greater sense of involvement and trust develops among people who are using teleconferencing to carry out a project as compared to a project that relies upon unidirectional communication.
Teleconferencing lets more people participate in the decision-making process.Advantages of group decision making, compared to individual decision making, include the availability of a greater range of experience than that held by any one individual, a more diverse set of intellectual approaches and capabilities, and a greater tendency to subject ideas to scrutiny and debate. Decision making is improved with teleconferencing, because it encourages participation of those people who are not directly involved in the decision-making process of a particular project; for example, research and development engineers can participate in a conference about marketing. Teleconferencing also allows people, such as the administrative staff who would not normally attend a distant face-to-face meeting participate in the decision-making process. Their participation ensures that they understand the subject discussed, especially the nuances and overall thrust of the decision-making process, often not captured in a written report of a meeting.  This, in turn, means that the decision is more likely to be implemented efficiently and effectively.  Ultimately the reason why meetings suck is that the presenter is not organized, has no agenda and worse has not planned for gaining and organizing feedback as to what attendees heard or thought they heard.
Making Sure Communications Succeed
I have a saying that I have used for 40 years, “communications will always fail except by chance.”  We think we are communicating when; in fact, communications is a two-way, not one-way, process.  For me to communicate effectively I have to get feedback from you to let me know what you heard and what you think it means to you.
To that end, I appreciate the opportunity to help Boulder Phone, your provider of conferencing services and products, help you to do a better job at communications.  We can help you be less boring and more effective in your communications.  We can help you as a value-added service review your presentations, review your scripts or even help you write them.  Speaking of scripts, we know they work.  Writing a script helps you organize and rehearse your thoughts to help you speak more clearly and focused.  You may not need this kind of help but Boulder Phone wants you to know we can help you not just with the technology but with communications as well.
We offer you this indepth book if you really want to know more about the subject.

 

 
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Special – Manager/Assistant Dashboard for Microsoft Skype for Business

FONCOMFORT QuickLink greatly improves call handling efficiency with 1 click actions to call, pickup and transfer calls. The Live Tiles allow users/ managers and admins to quickly see the presence status of their colleagues, if calls are forwarded and if given the rights, to see who they are speaking with. This rich information allows for intelligent decision making and if a manager/person should be interrupted or not when transferring calls.  Click on image for more details.


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AudioCodes Connects Any Closet to Cloud Communications

Read First: Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition makes it possible to connect any existing telephone circuit to Cloud PBX in Office 365 using a single server and minimal configuration. This allows for the user’s voice capability to be managed out of Office 365 while their phone calls continue to use their existing phone number, circuits and PSTN provider contract.

Microsoft’s recently announced Skype for Business Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling offerings continue to have a major impact on the voice ecosystem. However, many companies are hesitant to make an immediate and full transition to the cloud. Microsoft understood this challenge and implemented a strategy to offer a hybrid solution, where cloud-based PBX services are complemented by an enterprise’s existing on-premises PSTN connectivity.

The AudioCodes Mediant CCE Appliances for Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition integrate with Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition recommended architectures, providing on-premises connectivity infrastructure. Enabling integration with heterogeneous systems and legacy PBXs, which are critical for a smooth migration to the cloud, AudioCodes’ Microsoft-certified SBCs offer enterprise-grade security and reliability.

Additionally, AudioCodes’ SBCs can add value by delivering enhanced features such as advanced dial plan settings, high availability on incoming calls, support for analog devices and support for call recording from the PSTN side. The combined solution of Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition with AudioCodes’ infrastructure ensures a smooth migration for enterprise customers who want to move their users to the latest cloud unified communications platform from Microsoft Office 365, while preserving on-premises connectivity with their local service providers.
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Six Core Concepts for Social Media Influencer Program & Webinar

By Evan Kirstel @evankirstel & Tom Cross @techtionary

Abstract

IM-influencer marketing is the means to accelerate revenue, lower costs, organize corporate communications and extend company goodwill to name a few benefits. This article explores these issues and a preview of the webinar (click on any image for details on the webinar) with Evan Kirstel Top Social Media Influencer and Tom Cross.

Here are some of the key points presented and discussed in the webinar with Evan Kirstel along with other key topics including the CEO as the ultimate social influencer and “tweet meets” sales lead generation via social media. The term “influencer marketing” (IM) or key opinion leaders (KOL) is the term often used by social media leaders rather than celebrity or movie/sports/rock star endorsements and other leaders of any kind including business, religious and others. Celebrity or star endorsements are not new but certainly less pronounced in the tech space. If Steve Jobs had survived there is no doubt newer, more exciting and more diverse products would be coming from Apple. His role is not unique as the CEO sets the stage for each company. Yet many tech companies believe that their tech speaks for itself not recognizing the role of advisors, consultants and social media influencers on customer decisions. The role of IM and IM professionals is to help core clients look beyond their own silo of solutions to work with customers and others to build more global solutions. The impact can be significant in reducing sales cycles, improve customer service and ultimately vastly increase overall customer and global experience.
Here is a brief summary and analysis of six key points for IM:

Connections
– create and connect with other social media influencers and guide with monthly “tweetchats.” It is truly amazing how many CEO and others fail really fail to understand that social media is social not broadcast media. Social media almost by definition means engaging with others not just preaching to them. Twitter even more than Linkedin is ideal for connecting with potential customers and engaging with them to solve their needs. IM extends the process by educating and ultimately gaining and retaining them. Customers don’t call you anymore they tweet their grievances and if you ignore them the entire world knows that you don’t care and even more importantly, prospective customers can see that as well. Companies that don’t understand are like companies who didn’t have websites 20 years ago and don’t update them today. In other words, engaging with customers throughout their lifecycle is a must-have approach to business going forward.

Content
 – turbocharge your content reaching hundreds of thousands of users on Twitter and tens of thousands on Linkedin.

Content and curation go hand-in-hand as content, rather data only becomes knowledge after a human has understood, analyzed, shared and hopefully used it in decision-making. Big data is often used to suggest that we have too much information or TMI and that AI-artificial intelligence will somehow distill, synthesize or somehow organize it for humans. Yet AI is not a panacea not likely to give you any deeper understanding of the issue than you have now. In influencer marketing (IM) the knowledge of the influencer is always at risk when content from any source big or artificial is used to answer key questions. An influencer of any kind whether sports, movie or tech star will never have enough information to make specific decisions only general assessments and observations. However, to help all those involved get “on the same page” can be accomplished via IM. There is much to-do about IoT-internet of things but will the smart car talk to the smart home and what protocols, terminology and user commands be common to both. This would be the role of IM to organize different and complex systems, protocols and industry forums can help those involved (influenced) build common solutions. Smart companies can use or build IM to build bridges between companies and players to solve customer issues more quickly. This means that constant content research and development should be part of any IM program.

Curation – review and curate company content, provide guidance and enhanced thought leadership via influencer team.

 Curation actually comes from the term caring and now is applied to anything gathered from multiple sources into one place to writing blog posts. Curators organize ideas to help viewers and users gain insights. Curation can come from articles, thought leadership, research and knowledge base sources. Influencer marketing comes from ongoing research into content curation ensuring its real and

not fake news or distorted in anyway, yet add serious analysis and what is often called thought leadership. Without this content becomes useless or worse can cause confusion and conflict. For curation to be effective the context of its use must also always be in-play. Knowing or context or how the content will be used not only aids but accelerates the use and further application as well as pursuit of further curation and the IM can be of value as a real content curator.

Collaboration – collaborate with internal and external social leaders.

Like said so many times, keep your friends close and enemies close most often attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Price is also filled with priceless concepts on management and collaboration. Collaboration is not just working together but realizing that there will also be a hierarchical approach to management as the CEO and other C-levels will always rule the roost as collaborative they appear to be. Ideas come in, they bubble up, muck about and if merit, a business case emerges. The role of IM in this process is to guide, validate, collaborate and be the “out of the box” viewpoint on the subject. This delicate role is not as arbitrator or buzz-killer but to give input or collaborate as needed.

C-Level 
– assist and guide the CXO on their social media efforts along with gaining-retaining followers via CEO Twitter Scoreboard.

The ultimate social influencer is the CEO who as mentioned like Steve Job sets direction, goals and inspiration to insiders and most importantly to outsiders. If Steve Jobs came out with bottled water or fashion line, we would all be drinking and wearing it. The role of social influencer and the CEO should be aligned as the IM can be the ombudsman, foreign correspondent and advocate. As IBM, Huawei, Avaya and others are finding the role of IM helps them in many ways traditional marketing doesn’t and can’t. This is the ultimate value of the influencer to help the CEO in extending their message, bypassing traditional corporate communications with staff and increasingly manage crises.

Concern
 – respond to concerns expressed by customers and build and monitor system for sales, supports, IR/PR and compliance issues.

Aside from other gaps in corporate marketing, the IM can also fill-in where others can’t. Notwithstanding regulatory restrictions, IM can be on the forefront in the media where often the business press takes the company to task. IM can be the independent view responding to complex situations such as layoffs, store closing, product failures and other negative situations.

Crisis 
– provide crisis response team to address 7×24 tracking to avoid situations such as Target, Wells Fargo, Chipotle and other corporate devastating consequences with live “tweetchats” demonstrating responsiveness.   In case you missed the current political environment, foreign countries are cyberattacking not just political parties but nearly every company or institution that exists. One small school district (state withheld from security reasons) has been attacked by multiple foreign countries repeatedly. If you think you is not going to happen to you, think again. The role of the IM in this area is manage the mess and to guide and assist the client in “damage control.” You can never have enough friends when stuff happens and in the case of what is going on in presidential politics your company needs this more than ever as you may just be a tweet away from brand, customer and/or

stock crisis. That is, cybersecurity attacks are one thing but other political attacks could be much worse. This means you should have an IM team ready and monitoring your business 7×24 so you can wake up and manage any mess.

 

Summary – these and other issues will be presented by Evan and Tom during the webinar. If you need immediate attention, you can visit http://www.evankirstel.com/ or email cross@gocross.com 303-594-1694 to get started and be ready today.

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Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
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AI Social and Contextual UC #403 – See Approved Contact at Cisco Live – 10 Reasons for Media Gateway – Podcast Social UC App

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications Forum

June 23 – 2017 – Issue #403

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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This “Do not disturb” light is ideal for open office workspace and cubicles. Deal with interruptions at work and increase workplace productivity easily with a busy indicator light.
Built-in speakers for audible call alert and phone ring light to avoid missed calls. Integrates with headset, desk phone or softphone and works as an on the phone indicator light.
Compatible with Skype for business, Lync, Cisco Jabber and more.
Click on image to order direct or partners. 
 
Free 30 day Try and Buy program.
 
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Siri can’t open iPhone Flashlight but say
ZoomLite and you get Flashlight, Magnifying Camera, Large Format Clock and Local Weather – Free.

Best app for reading anything close up including restaurant menus and receipts.

Not a simulation – real screenshot.

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If you don’t understand Why Twitter is important !
Here are 4 simple reasons and 10 ways to be a good Tweeter
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SEE AT #CLUS Booth C10 – Easy Conference Scheduling for Skype for Business, Office 365, Cisco Spark and Avaya
Approved Contact has quietly but surely worked on getting their multi-platform scheduling and planning solution chatbot approved by Microsoft, Avaya and Cisco to speed staff scheduling and meetings. They ask a simple question – How much time do you waste going back and forth to schedule meetings? Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems.  Click on logo to contact Approved Contact.

Easy as 1-2-3, for Cisco users, compare open times on your calendar to open times on any of your Approved Contact’s calendars from right inside of Cisco Spark space
FreeTime – Compares available calendars from everyone in the space and displays up to the first 3 available times.
First, set up a new profile on Approved Contact
Second, sync your calendar into Approved Contact and invite your contacts to become your Approved Contacts
Third, add the Approved Contact BOT to any Cisco Spark space that you want to compare your free times to other’s in the Cisco Spark space.
Products supported
Office 365
Azure
Skype for Business
Outlook 2013 or later
Outlook 2016 for Mac
Outlook on the Web
Cisco Spark
Avaya
 Bottom-line – In the seminal work called Organizational Velocity written in the 1970s, the author spoke about the speed or velocity of business is dependent on the pace of collaboration.  He suggested the pace of technology ever slowly but surely increased the pace of organization work.  At the time IBM conducted a study that the average delay in scheduling a meeting and the meeting actually taking place with 5 people was about 5 weeks given other meetings, vacations, meetings already scheduled, and other factors.   Then it took hours just to complete the concalls just to check peoples’ schedules.  This has shortened a little with endless emails between principals and assistants.  Now this can be dramatically shortened to minutes at a fraction of the cost and most importantly, ease of access.   In a later book called Split Second Society, the speed of business was said most aptly like this – “Strategically, the faster you can communicate, the faster you can change and those corporations that change the fastest will be the most successful.”
Approved Contact may not have all the answers to the challenges of human communications but they are working on ways we can collaborate faster.

Podcasting Social Media Posting App
In a business meeting, want to interview a colleague, recording a key conversation, its easy with HashNewsGram 2.5.  Other new features include: Podcast-Music library – record music, songs, interviews, lectures, business meetings, presentations along with other recordings and easily post them to Twitter as well as share them via email, Gallery, SMS, Facebook and other ways.
Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
HashNewsGram 2.4 breaks the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings including pre-recorded music and audio from the HashNewsGram library, created freehand paintings or drawings using the drawing features and library, multimedia images called Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, BaseballFansClub, RewardsVIPClub, and others from TECHtionary.
Click on either image for iTunes. Click here for custom versions and advertising also available.

Top-10 Reasons for Gateway
 
Here are just some of the Top-10 reasons to seriously consider a gateway or premise appliance if you prefer.  Click on image for all 10.
Here are my favs:

4 – Simple to monitor and operate.

An easy to understand dashboard clearly shows you everything that’s happening and lets you configure your Mediant CCE appliance without needing to use PowerShell scripts. In addition, the appliances are natively integrated with the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC), so you don’t have to tie up financial and human resources in developing proprietary monitoring tools.

5 – Easy to update and upgrade.

The AudioCodes wizard and dashboard have automatic Cloud Connector Edition version detection and self-adjustment for forward and backward compatibility. This makes it easy to schedule updates and upgrades, including on a per site basis. Again, all this can be done without ever having to write a single PowerShell script.

6 – The AudioCodes Helpdesk and the Microsoft Office 365 Service Operations Center have integrated support procedures.

AudioCodes is certified by Microsoft to provide support for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition. This collaborative approach assures that any technical issues that might arise can be dealt with very quickly, bringing you real peace of mind.

7 – Effective High Availability (HA) configuration functionality.

The Mediant CCE appliances support HA configuration, which can be easily set up using the AudioCodes wizard. They also support SBC floating licenses. Importantly, the Microsoft live upgrade process does not negatively affect your service or traffic.

8 – Part of an advanced Cloud PBX Networking Solution.

The Mediant CCE appliances natively integrate with AudioCodes Routing Manager (ARM) topologies, enabling global call routing and policy enforcement to be centrally managed from a single location. The appliances also include support for the One Voice Resiliency (OVR) cloud resiliency solution, bringing you a level of dependability that you know you can rely on.
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Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Twitter’s New Look – More of What?
Everyone changes their UI-user interface when they have nothing else to do thinking that people use their stuff because it’s cute.  Product managers delight in their artistic prowess when other really features are needed.  Here’s what Twitter is up to.
Here’s what you’ll see:

– Profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy – all in one place! A new side navigation menu and fewer tabs at the bottom of our app = less clutter and easier browsing. You told us you loved this change on Android last year and we’re excited to now bring it to iOS.

– Links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in the Twitter app so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into.

– We’ve refined our typography to make it more consistent, and added bolder headlines to make it easier to focus on what’s happening. Also, rounded profile photos make it clearer to see what’s being said and who’s saying it.

– More intuitive icons make it easier to engage with Tweets – especially if you’re coming to Twitter for the first time. For example, people thought the reply icon, an arrow, meant delete or go back to a previous page. We switched to a speech bubble, a symbol most know and love. We also made the icons lighter for more seamless interaction.

– Tweets now update instantly with reply, Retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening – live.

Also, you’ll see additional accessibility choices such as increased color contrast and the option to always open supported links in Safari Reader view for IoS.
Bottom-line – Terrible and ugly is what I think but what do I know.

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

Kirstel Report from #1 UCaaS Social Influencer
Check out and signup from Top Social Influencer

Follow Evan @evankirstel and get him to help you with these and other services:

HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

#400
When I started this there was no iPhone, OCS-office communications server was really a beta and unified communications was like a waking dream.  Now there are 1+B devices on iOS, 500+M on Skype, close to 2B on Facebook and over 1,000 UC providers all over the world who can sell anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Twitter was just beginning, Facebook was on the rise, Linkedin was there but not really useful.  We now have Siri, Alexa, Google Home and next week certainly something cool from Apple.  Phones have morphed into cool tech we never have to touch just shout at to do our bidding.  Today, we have the confluence of technology and new “social media” society all striving for something no one is really sure what it is all about.  Having more technology faster does not improve communications, collaboration or decision-making.  I find that after doing this newsletter for a decade and 50 years in telecom, people are slow to change, prefer to avoid making decisions and still skeptical about any kind of overall real benefit to their lives.  Yes, voicemail in email is the great godsend of UC but after doing personal surveys with many users and even more managers, everyone is just overwhelmed and tired, not more joyful of what UC was supposed to bring.
Bottom-line – UC technology is frankly, as a result of distracted driver and pedestrians is killing and maiming more people than helping, so when you push this great stuff remember there are always consequences and seriously doubt you would want in your OBIT “died as a result of a distracted driver.”

Deep Learning Is About to Revolutionize Sports Analytics. Here’s How
Lucey recently described an approach for teasing player formation out of raw geospatial data in a paper he co-authored with other researchers from Disney Research and the California Institute of Technology, titled “Data-Driven Ghosting using Deep Imitation Learning.”
The central thesis revolves around the creation of a “ghosting” model that can accurately learn and subsequently predict how actual professional soccer players moved on offense and defense. The model was based on a recurrent neural network that was trained, in an unsupervised fashion, on 17,400 soccer sequences across of 100 games. The training it took several hours, according to the paper, which won second place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March of this year.
The visual nature of the ghosting system could provide direct benefits to teams that invest in it. Coaches and players would be able to watch a replay of a particular play, and see how the ghosts defenders respond to their opponent’s attack.
“Given an attacking play by a team, how did that team defend, or how should they have defended?” Lucey says. “How should they have moved to minimize the likelihood that that team scores? This is where we get into the realm of deep neural nets and deep imitation learning. It’s very similar to what Google and Deep Mind did for AlphaGo.”

According to Fast Company, “If Apple is diving into the category Amazon created, it may be less about taking on the Echo and more about building out its HomeKit connected-home vision.”  The picture is Apple’s version of Alexa or any other others.  Apple HomePod is a “late to the game” and recognizes that they are certainly “asleep at the wheel” in the innovation department when it comes to TV and many other fields. Alexa is the new “iphone” that Apple should have built and would have had Steve still be around as Apple cannot even keep up with needed iPhone features liked cordless charging, weather-proofing etc.  Meanwhile I hope they will bring out a more Siri-enabled Apple TV and speaker-iPhone unfortunately overpriced as usual.

Social AI – Twitter Apple TV
According to Investopedia, “Twitter has been using AI to tailor ads and tweets to users. In a letter sent to shareholders in February, CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Machine learning is critical for us to better identify and personalize content that people want to see and deliver it to them, faster.”
AI is also being used by the social media company to prevent abusive behavior. In March, Twitter joined forces with IBM to improve its efforts to police controversial hate speech. IBM’s Watson AI technology, which is capable of monitoring various forms of text, is expected to make it easier for Twitter to stop nasty tweets and block repeated offenders. Twitter started making inroads in AI after acquiring image-reading technology specialist Magic Pony Technology.”  As an iOS developer we are pushing the Twitter API to the max and if Twitter wants to be even more relevant they should integrate even more their new Apple TV featureset.
Here’s the Twitter-Apple TV announcement which isn’t much so enjoy your own testing as I will.
Lastly, Twitter has also announced some cool new emoji’s like these:

Click on either image for more details.

Bottom-line – Twitter is trying but not sure what they are trying to be.  Just more integrations and some promise of AI will not solve their fundamental problem of audience relevance which still seems to elude them.  Even as a fan I am fraught with wonder and why I wonder what Twitter is all about and why I use it.

AudioCodes Gets Your Huddle Game On !

AudioCodes has always been a leader in the UC game brings new Huddle room solutions.  Eric Bauer VP of NA Marketing noted, “The technology space is changing at warp speed and consumption habits are evolving at every turn.  As users, we look for high quality technologies that feature an intuitive interface and are available at an affordable price.  These consumer demands translate into the work place and how we collaborate.  With AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution (HRS), you can turn any space into a meeting space.  Transform your office into a professional meeting space with a high quality audio solution in a powerful and cost-effective package that is simple to operate and manage.  Available in 3 sizes, the AudioCodes HRS solution offers full integration with Skype for Business and centralized management and control to lower operational costs.”

Here are some other details and click on any image for more information.
– The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to 6 persons

– AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to fifteen-person small group meeting spaces

The solution delivers:

– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more

– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec

– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound

– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operations

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

Slack versus Teams
I don’t see this article or any article on Slack v. Teams to be a “one-off” definitive answer to the subject.  I see it as an ongoing discussion of the subject of team collaboration.   Cisco Spark is a rising star in the collaboration area and think I will explore how companies are dealing with this complex issue.  The companies I talk to have a very complex and mixed environment coping with migration of Avaya to Skype for some but not all functions.  Some have Cisco but use Microsoft understandably for many of their basic office functions.  Never hear much about Google but they are out there somewhere as well.  Here is one article I saw on the Slack v. Teams.
Then there is info from Slack directly on their integrations.  Admittedly, it will be really hard to test drive all their integrations nor find them interestingly enough to use.  Here are a few.  If anyone has used the Slack-Skype integration give me a shoutout and add your feedback.

Why Nectar Was Chosen as an IDC Innovator

Nectar has always been an innovator.  I have first-hand knowledge of their solutions and so it is cool they were named an IDC Innovation.  It is because its Unified Communications Management Platform (UCMP) software – offered through its Network Assessment Partners – provides unique and critical performance information. It focuses on critical areas for ensuring performance management for Microsoft Skype for Business deployments, including planning and deployment, network pre-assessment, monitoring, advanced reporting, analytics, and real-time diagnostics.
You can make up your own mind, click on the image for the detailed explanation.
Breakthrough Twitter 140 Character Barrier 
The problem with Twitter has always been the 140 character limitation.  If you want add a link that takes 20 characters and writing good English well that is another lot of characters including spaces.  HashNewsGram eliminates that problem.  Write your heart out and include a video, pics, audio recording and even an Acticon-action icon you can really get your message across.  Of course, Twitter doesn’t expand to fit posting long text or other ideas is not limited anymore.  Click on the image for the “how to” do it.
Winner iPhone User Forum
Best Twitter App
“We didn’t make Twitter, we made it better.” 

Click on image for iTunes

Key new features include:
– Search and one-touch save for the fastest-easiest access to Twitter news.
– Save your favorite Twitter accounts to your Folders/Subfolders with one-touch.
– New UI-user interface for faster-easier news gathering and tracking
“We didn’t make Twitter, we made it better.”
#HashNewsGram is a Free Twitter #hashtag gathering app for iPhone.
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Broadsoft Cloud Paas – Cloud Platform
Broadsoft has patiently and earnestly gained respect as a major UC service provider.  Now they are expanding their operations by opening up their technology to provide a full platform to others.  With BroadCloud PaaS, service providers have the ability to:
– Accelerate their innovation cycle with unprecedented control and flexibility to develop differentiated, on-demand cloud unified communication and collaboration services
– Gain a 50-75% time-to-market advantage delivering new cloud communications services based on the entire BroadSoft Business application suite
– Minimize non-strategic OPEX and CAPEX while moving to a consumption cost model that greatly minimizes the ongoing marginal costs for new features and capabilities
– Benefit from carrier-class reliability and BroadSoft data centers with physical, environmental and access level security
– Reduce operational complexity and costs with simplified and scalable packaging options
They also added this BroadCloud PaaS is an option available to service providers as part of the BroadCloud cloud platform powering BroadSoft Business, a fully integrated portfolio of enterprise-ready cloud, unified communications, team collaboration and contact center applications. BroadSoft Business can scale to all market segments, and includes three core applications: UC-One, Team-One and CC-One, with BroadSoft Hub providing contextual intelligence across the entire platform so users can access the information and apps they need in one place.  You can also get their Ebook on their platform.
Bottom-line – Broadsoft continues to expand their global UC operations.  Opening the planform ability to a wider range of users not just carriers will further aid their viability.
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Siri Likely Gets Smart Speaker 
According to Neowin, “According to 9to5Mac, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated in an industry report that the Siri-powered smart speaker will most likely be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2017 conference. The unit will be positioned as a much higher-end competitor to Amazon’s Echo, with a price to match, having “excellent” sound reproduction due to its seven tweeters and one subwoofer.  Leaker Sonny Dickson told Mashable that the Siri speaker would have a concave top where the controls would be (not too dissimilar to the Echo), a design that’s quite close to the ‘trashcan-like’ Mac Pro, and a similar mesh style to that of the UE Megaboom line from Logitech (pictured).”
Bottom-line – Apple is sitting on $250B in cash and also sitting on their hands in regard to innovation.  They are app fat with all that cash and don’t think they need to do anything to remain viable focusing on the iPhone their principal cash cow.  No doubt they have a lot to do but they could be doing a lot more and having smart home solutions along with car, office, space plane and any other place that humans or devices can occupy.  More and faster innovation is expected sooner than later.
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Amazon Tackles Telephone Service with Alexa
This week Amazon added video conferencing to the Alexa calling feature with Alexa Show for $229 retail probably less with Amazon Prime and other promos they will have.  Due tell what they are really trying to do other than take all your money. Regarding, their more traditional product Alexa, GeekWeek said, “The system Alexa described in the patent would link an existing cellphone number with the Alexa device, and includes a provision for identifying authorized users by their voices. Alexa could let the user know a call is coming in, and then pick it up and route the call over its speaker when the user gives the go-ahead. Users could also initiate calls via Alexa.  Call charges would be billed through the user’s cell carrier, but once the call is routed through the Alexa device, the cellphone would be left out of the picture. Instead, the Alexa device would send the call to the carrier through a type of connection known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP.”
Amazon VC is already funding an home intercom solution call Nucleus for an outrageous price of $250 and if you need a family size you could put out a $800+ so this gets to be another ridiculous device homes really don’t need.

Cool company Dialpad used the Alexa SDK to build their own telephone network interface. Unlike a platform-specific communications system, Dialpad will eventually be compatible with multiple voice assistants, ensuring an excellent user experience no matter what other communications platform or virtual assistant your contacts are using.

Here are the Dialpad features available through Alexa include:
  • Place a call to a contact
  • Add a contact to the current call
  • Transfer the current call to another person
  • Place a call on hold
  • Record a call
  • Check Dialpad voicemail and text messages
  • Enable and disable Do Not Disturb
  • Transfer a call from device to device, for example, from Alexa to a mobile phone or a mobile phone to Alexa
  • Listen to Dialpad system reports, such as “total call volume for the current week”

They also say integration with Google Home is coming soon.  As they said, “Being a pure-cloud business phone system, Dialpad makes it easy for people to communicate via desktop, mobile, tablet-you name it. Integrating with Alexa, another cloud-connected device, takes business communications into the Internet of Things (IoT). Alexa is truly your personal assistant: instead of paging a person or pressing some complicated key combination on your desk phone, you just say “Alexa, transfer the call to the sales department.”

Bottom-line – Amazon Alexa is winning in all kinds of ways and portends to be an even more important solution for business offices, hospitals, fast food and any other situation where voice conversation takes place.  Adding telephony is a great way to extend their reach and make Alexa even more relevant to their customers.
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Google Assistant SDK Transforms UC via Conversation Actions
Transforming voice has been one of the key tenants of UC though much of the effort has been NOT on voice but other forms of communications especially chat.
Now voice is back ! With the vengeance of a tornado, Amazon-Alexa, Apple-Siri, Microsoft-Cortana, Google-Voice and others all want hear every precious word you spout off.  The issue has been and always will be the written work is not the spoken word and what we see and touch is not often what we would say.
More often the restaurant or coffee shop server misunderstands what you say.  Meanwhile, here’s the pitch from Google. Google calls them Conversation Actions which help you fulfill user requests by letting you have a two-way dialog with users. When users request an action, the Google Assistant processes this request, determines the best action to invoke, and invokes your Conversation Action if relevant. From there, your action manages the rest, including how users are greeted, how to fulfill the user’s request, and how the conversation ends.
When you build conversation actions, you define these major components:
– Invocation triggers define how users invoke and discover your actions. Once triggered, your action carries out a conversation with users, which is defined by dialogs.
– Dialogs define how users converse with your actions and act as the user interface for your actions. They rely on fulfillment code to move the conversation forward.
– Fulfillment is the code that processes user input and returns responses and you expose it as a REST endpoint. Fulfillment also typically has the logic that carries out the actual action like retrieving recipes or news to read aloud.
 
Bottom-line – If you home alone you may find all this very cool but if you can add other family members and even animals (love to hear how Alexa would react to a Parrot) who knows what kind of chaos could erupt much less a business office, train station or ball park.  It is not that the idea is flawed it’s like any application, it only works for a few use cases. Building voice technology into cars, homes, and even IoT devices again is another nice idea but not sure if you want to have a device listening to everything you do or have to argue with them until they understand what you are talking about.
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West UC Challenges Us with Chat Bots 
West UC has issued a wide range of exciting blog posts include one that really outlines the issue with chat bots.
Here is what they have to say. “A bot is software that automates tasks you might do on your own manually, such as adding an appointment to your calendar, making a dinner reservation, or for simulating conversation. The last bot example describes call or chat bots – software that resides in calling or messaging apps and resembles human conversation and interaction. For instance, some fast food restaurants allow customers to order and pay for their meals through automated chat conversations. Other automated scheduler bots can take over the process of scheduling a meeting, complete with sending emails, notifications, and adding appointments into user’s calendars.

How do Software Bots Work?

A common implementation of bot usage occurs with hosted communications and cloud unified communications (UC). Software bots often assist with enterprise customer service. They are built into programs like Cloud Contact Pro, a sophisticated contact center platform that helps to boost rep productivity and enhance the customer’s experience. For example, bots integrated into West’s Cloud Contact Pro quickly provide contact center reps with detailed contact record information, using intelligent, skills-based call-routing, call flow, queue editing and dynamic agent scripting. Bots also help automate the connection process, assist with maintaining required PCI compliance recordings, and increase efficiency through workforce management solutions. Cloud UC solutions, like those from West, use bots to intelligently transfer desk phone calls to a mobile device, seamlessly and effortlessly.
Whether used to drive sales, offer client support, or conduct surveys, etc., bots help to formulate and improve features like advanced predictive dialers, proactive system monitoring and the capabilities provided by multi-channel communications. In fact, another common area for bot usage has been in the arena of social media. Social media tools such as Twitter use computer-generated algorithms to exhibit human-like behavior, such as automatically producing content and interacting with humans on social media (CACM). Bots are used as marketing tools on web sites, populating side ads and popups for recently visited sites, seeking to drive site activity and sales for companies. Bots can also be used in cloud UC tools like Cisco Jabber, through Presence and instant messaging (IM), to determine user availability, initial user contact dialogs and intelligent response. And when this type of technology is integrated with other UC tools, it works to enhance customer service, tailoring it specifically for each customer interaction.

The Future of Bots in Communications Software

Bot technology has been rapidly advancing over the last few years. Software bots are automating a great number of tasks across the web as well as in daily life. Soon bot programs may be doing our taxes! The popularity of Amazon Echo products and Google Home this year has shown how far bot technology has come, advancing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. Amazon Echo’s Alexa enables users to ask questions and do basic tasks such as making a grocery list, reading and writing emails, etc. Since both Amazon and Google have allowed 3rd party developers access to the device technology, the knowledge and capabilities of bots is steadily evolving, adding smart home capabilities/Internet of Things (IOT) such as turning on lights or closing the garage door. It’s not too hard to imagine that bots could control household appliances and provide guidance in an emergency, placing a call for an ambulance in the event that urgent medical care is required.
Bottom-line – If you are not building chatbots like a fire chasing you through a forest, your competitors may out-chatbot you out of business.
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Jabil Outlines Benefits of 5G for UC

 

This is only an excerpt from an exciting post on the rapid rise of 5G and its implications.  5G in many wants is a wireline killer and transformational technology for OTT-over the top broadcast network killer as well.

Real-Time Feedback Through Low Latency

By Paul Kite President, Jabil Kuatro – The time it takes for a signal to be beamed toward a tower and received by a device is its latency. In other words, the lower the latency the faster a device can respond. Low latency will potentially be a huge benefit for new possibilities through 5G. 4G networks have an average latency of 50 milliseconds, but with 5G latency is expected to go as short as 1 millisecond.
According to the PSB study, when thinking about what customers would like improved in 5G over 4G/LTE, they focus on enhanced speed and reliability. Low latency will be one of the key drivers that provides the reliability customers are seeking through new applications.
Connected, self-driving cars are one area low latency is absolutely critical. Relying on hundreds of real-time data sources, the difference between a latency of 50 milliseconds to 1 millisecond can be a matter of life or death. If self-driving cars can’t communicate with each other, collect and analyze data and make decisions real-time, then we’re getting ahead of ourselves with new technology our infrastructure can’t support.
An enhanced mobile bandwidth, expanded IoT functionality and low latency provide an expanded sandbox where we can develop new products and services, while vastly improving the ones currently in existence. But it is the intimate knowledge of both hardware and software that adds value for brands-the type of knowledge that comes with a manufacturing partner that can take tech innovations and spread them across multiple markets.
Five years from now, when we are expected to begin leveraging 5G in everything we do, we will look back and see how our lives have evolved with these new possibilities and how various industries have been transformed.
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There are four stories – Cisco, IBM, Facebook Workplace Video with BlueJeans and Microsoft Huddle Room with Audio Codes. 
Due to the enormity and complexity of the issues of each system, let’s just say that each has some interesting features.  Integrating Watson into the IBM Cognitive Room is certainly an interesting idea, however, I would like to have hands-on experience before endorsing any of these solutions.  However, this gives you a quick glimpse at each system. 
 

 

 Cisco Sparks Ideas 

What really is upsetting that in either picture from Cisco they did NOT even read their own great book (Cisco Telepresence Fundamentals) by having a room next to outside windows (which means you get all the highway noise, changing sunlight conditions and heat and more problems).
Cisco Spark has a number of models including the Cisco Spark Board 55 a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 55-inch LED screen and the Cisco Spark Board 70 is a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 70-inch LED screen. Click on either image for details.

– Intelligent framing: We’re pushing the boundaries with a smart and effortless experience. It’s like having a TV camera operator in the room. We have had speaker tracking in our high-end systems – and now Cisco Spark Room Kits have it, too. The feature automatically detects who in the room is speaking and selects the best camera framing for that person. “Best overview intelligence” detects all people in the room and selects the best group framing when no one is speaking. If a large room has only two people, the camera intelligently frames those people.
– Analytics in diagnostic mode: Artificial intelligence can be pragmatically applied for resource planning. The Room Kits have a high-performing face-detection module that tracks where people are and the angle they’re facing. The system pinpoints the speaker through audio triangulation using the six embedded microphones. The system also counts the number of people in the room. You can send all this data to a management system for customized applications.
– Voice and face recognition: This is still in beta, but you’ll soon be able to place calls via voice commands and the system will recognize attendee faces and label them with their names. These pre-production capabilities present groundbreaking opportunities for both automated calling and content delivery based on a meeting’s participants.You can deploy Cisco Spark Room Kit in a small-to-medium-sized room, and Cisco Spark Room Kit Plus in a large room. Both options support one or two displays. I think you’ll want dual displays when you see how beautiful the white board looks when dialing into a Cisco Spark Board. Imagine the experience: You see the white-board content in stunning 4k resolution on one screen, connect with people in 4k on the other, and interact with the white board on your laptop or tablet.Bottom-line – Cisco has applied their enormous skills learned in building 1000s of telepresence rooms to this next-generation approach though as I have pointed out their need to re-read their books on telepresence rooms because video is really only as good as the room, lighting, noise, echo and many other factors that make video meetings even more difficult.

IBM “Wake Word” – HAL – World Without Walls

 

Wake words is the new term for initiating a conversation with a device.  Siri, Alexa and others begin listening and acting upon voice recognition though we all know how difficult it is to understand what you are already talking about.  Not to be out-gunned, HARMAN Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) today unveiled Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms. Click on image for more.

Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology and HARMAN AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, the companies bring highly connected experiences to medical facilities, corporate offices, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments.

In addition to the current in-market solutions, HARMAN is part of IBM’s cognitive collaboratories based in its $200 million Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich.
 In this facility today, HARMAN is demonstrating the capabilities of its in-room cognitive concierge in a conference room setting. At the same time the HARMAN team is also working with IBM designers, researchers and others to put IoT into the hands of enterprise customers.
Today IBM’s cognitive technologies are embedded into HARMAN soundbars and alarm clocks with other form factors being developed, that users can interact with using natural language. Now consumers can simply ask questions or issue commands with their voice when in a room.
These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with HARMAN’S technology to allow people to easily control their in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks and trying to figure the new systems out. For example, now when an employee enters a conference room they can start a video conference, launch a presentation and more using their voice. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically based on what the system has learned about the employee based on previous meetings.
These voice-enabled cognitive rooms also function as an in-room concierge that can answer general questions or site-specific questions developed by the facility and featuring custom answers created by staff. For example, a hotel guest could ask “What time is checkout? “or “Where is the gym?” while a hospital patient could ask “What are the hospital’s visiting hours?” or “Can you tell me more about my doctor?” Leveraging HARMAN’s expertise in API integration, users can even employ Watson for service requests, including amenity replenishments, restaurant reservations, late checkout, room service, shuttle service and more.
Leveraging key Watson APIs such as Natural Language Understanding and Speech to Text, these rooms also provide users with limited mobility and vision impairment a closer level of interaction with their environment. Now with
Watson, guests can speak naturally to the system without rigid syntax requirements, using simple commands like “would you turn off the lights?”

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms also feature enterprise-grade software tools that can help in-house technical and guest service staff members increase operational efficiency. For example, housekeeping staff can simply say, “Send up an engineer to fix the shower” in their native language. Watson’s multilingual capabilities enable organizations to accommodate a wide variety of users from different countries with an ever-growing list of supported languages.

Bottom-line – The virtual work space is taking hold as “work without walls” transforms the tedium of traditional meetings wasting time and often with little progress on the project at hand.  New non-meetings business methods will change the traditional broadcast style meetings of one person talking at a time to more of a cocktail party approach to getting things done.

Facebook for Workplace on the Rise

 

Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft, Amazon or anyone else in the enterprise, Facebook is coming at business communications via video rather than telephony.  Essentially you can think about an office is one “virtual open space” (like their own approach to office conditions) where video from all meetings, locations and ideally worksites of any form including construction, home, mobile or mountain top are available anytime or anywhere in one or more locations.  At some point you don’t think about meetings you think about perceptual conversations or in the case of IBM “cognitive” meetings.

BlueJeans for Workplace provides businesses of all sizes with a self-service, professional-grade video platform to bring people together, create collaborative experiences, and broadcast them over Workplace by Facebook.

BlueJeans for Workplace combines the best of Facebook, with the engagement and face-to-face interaction that only video can provide.
– Broadcast meetings and company-wide events on the Company News Feed or directly to project, team, or multi-company groups. Videos are archived on their respective pages and made readily available for on-demand playback.
– Present From Any Device – Join from the full range of video endpoints, including room systems, computers and mobile devices, as well as phone dial-in.

– HD Video & Screen Sharing – Share slides, documents, pictures and pre-uploaded video in crystal clear 1080p resolution.
– Single Video Communications Platform – Need a platform to connect with employees, customers, and partners inside and outside the walls of your company?
BlueJeans is going in the right direction with their solution though Facebook is working on their own approach integrating VR-virtual reality into the mix which makes even more sense giving the increasingly mobile nature of everything we do.  Click on the image for FB 360.Bottom-line – Video is the new means for re-arranging how we think about how we communicate.  From paper memos, secretaries, dictation, telephones, email, chat and other means, video can show more of everything we do.  Though just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should and if you don’t know how to write you can’t really be a great novelist.  Then same applies to presenting yourself on video.  Acting classes might be a great way to get the new video skills you will need to succeed.

AudioCodes Adds Huddle Room Tech 

The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to six persons. AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to 15-person small group meeting spaces
The solution delivers:
– Familiar user experience base on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more
– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec
– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound
– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more
– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec
– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound
– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operationsBottom-line – Huddle spaces or quick meetings are key to faster communications.  Adding solutions to make these types of meetings more effective and efficient is always appreciated.
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Amazon Takes on Cloud Contact Center 
If global domination is not enough, Amazon Web Services wants to tackle contact centers.  Like with any major player they will find that being able to do something, does not mean you should. Here is what they have to say for themselves. Click on image for video. Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost. Amazon Connect is based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world to power millions of customer conversations. The self-service graphical interface in Amazon Connect makes it easy for non-technical users to design contact flows, manage agents, and track performance metrics – no specialized skills required. There are no up-front payments or long-term commitments and no infrastructure to manage with Amazon Connect; customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony services.
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Apple “Clips” Taking on Snapchat, Instagram and …

Well, yet another “pic” app which the world does not need.  Apple says “Introducing Clips. A new iOS app for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics, and more. One cool feature is Live Titles let you easily create animated captions – just by talking as you record. Choose from a variety of styles, all perfectly timed to the sound of your voice.

Bottom-line – Seriously too many pic apps and encouraging so many more bad pics and even more apps.
 
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Workflow Now Part of the Apple Orchard

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud Drive, and Health, to name a few.

For example, you can use Workflow to:
– Make animated GIFs
– Add a home screen icon that calls a loved one
– Make PDFs from Safari or any app with a share sheet
– Get directions to the nearest coffee shop in one tap
– Tweet the song you’re listening to
– Get all of the images on a web page
– Send a message including the last screenshot you took

– And so much more…

Your workflow creations can be launched from inside the Workflow app, from other apps using Workflow’s Action Extension, or from our new lightning-fast Today Widget. You can even export a workflow as a standalone app on your home screen.

Workflow opens up infinite possibilities of what you can do with your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned.
Bottom-line – Another app in search of a user, however, with the Big Apple Corporate buying them, well another app gets a nice new parent.  Seriously, has anyone used this app?
 
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Free Visual Traceroute
 
In case you don’t have one or need a new one, here’s a cool free one.

 
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Vonage Meets Alexa – “Alexa, tell conference manager to start my call.”

From Vonage Business, another cool evolvement of the Internet of Things, and it harnesses the power of the cloud (which is what we’re really, really, ridiculously good at). Vonage Conference Manager is actually pretty simple. It works like this:
  • Get an Amazon Echo.Each “smart” meeting room has an Amazon Echo placed in it permanently.
  • Sync the Echo. The Echo is mapped to the physical phone within each room and an organizational directory, which accesses calendars, meeting information and contacts, all through the cloud.
  • Enable Vonage Conference Manager. Once the Echo is synced, the Vonage Conference Manager skill is enabled once through an iPhone or at alexa.amazon.com.
  • Include the room on invites. When you schedule a meeting, be sure to add the room so it knows about the meeting, so you can use the Echo while you’re in the room.
  • Start talking. When it’s time for your meeting to start, just walk into the room and say “Alexa…” to begin. Bam! You’re all set.
Bottom-line – Cool idea can’t wait to try.

 

 

 
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There’s meetings and then there’s meetings via teleconference:
Boring face-to-face = boring via teleconference
After your next meeting, ask a colleague “what did you understand that meeting was about”?   The principal feature of teleconferencing or conferencing technology is that it allows interactive communication and helps everyone get on the same page. Even though participants in a teleconference are geographically separated, they can still meet to “get their heads together.” Unlike unidirectional communication, such as a letter or a television broadcast, in which a person either sends a message without getting any cues from the recipient or is a passive recipient of information, interactive communication allows people to be both senders and receivers of information simultaneously. Interactive communications gives each person the opportunity to initiate and respond to information as the process unfolds.  Teleconference participants can converse, talk things over, negotiate, joke, see one another, and exchange numerical and graphic information. When people use teleconferencing to “meet,” a synergy of minds is created. Users find that a greater sense of involvement and trust develops among people who are using teleconferencing to carry out a project as compared to a project that relies upon unidirectional communication.
Teleconferencing lets more people participate in the decision-making process.Advantages of group decision making, compared to individual decision making, include the availability of a greater range of experience than that held by any one individual, a more diverse set of intellectual approaches and capabilities, and a greater tendency to subject ideas to scrutiny and debate. Decision making is improved with teleconferencing, because it encourages participation of those people who are not directly involved in the decision-making process of a particular project; for example, research and development engineers can participate in a conference about marketing. Teleconferencing also allows people, such as the administrative staff who would not normally attend a distant face-to-face meeting participate in the decision-making process. Their participation ensures that they understand the subject discussed, especially the nuances and overall thrust of the decision-making process, often not captured in a written report of a meeting.  This, in turn, means that the decision is more likely to be implemented efficiently and effectively.  Ultimately the reason why meetings suck is that the presenter is not organized, has no agenda and worse has not planned for gaining and organizing feedback as to what attendees heard or thought they heard.
Making Sure Communications Succeed
I have a saying that I have used for 40 years, “communications will always fail except by chance.”  We think we are communicating when; in fact, communications is a two-way, not one-way, process.  For me to communicate effectively I have to get feedback from you to let me know what you heard and what you think it means to you.
To that end, I appreciate the opportunity to help Boulder Phone, your provider of conferencing services and products, help you to do a better job at communications.  We can help you be less boring and more effective in your communications.  We can help you as a value-added service review your presentations, review your scripts or even help you write them.  Speaking of scripts, we know they work.  Writing a script helps you organize and rehearse your thoughts to help you speak more clearly and focused.  You may not need this kind of help but Boulder Phone wants you to know we can help you not just with the technology but with communications as well.
We offer you this indepth book if you really want to know more about the subject.

 

 
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BusyLight – Stop Office Interruption Insanity  
I really hate open space offices.  Aside from the smelly food and people, constant interruptions cause serious office insanity.  The cool folks at Unified Communications sell BusyLight from Plenom and put together a very funny slide show presentation. You can click on any image for all their slides, here are a few highlights.

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Special – Manager/Assistant Dashboard for Microsoft Skype for Business

FONCOMFORT QuickLink greatly improves call handling efficiency with 1 click actions to call, pickup and transfer calls. The Live Tiles allow users/ managers and admins to quickly see the presence status of their colleagues, if calls are forwarded and if given the rights, to see who they are speaking with. This rich information allows for intelligent decision making and if a manager/person should be interrupted or not when transferring calls.  Click on image for more details.


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AudioCodes Connects Any Closet to Cloud Communications

Read First: Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition makes it possible to connect any existing telephone circuit to Cloud PBX in Office 365 using a single server and minimal configuration. This allows for the user’s voice capability to be managed out of Office 365 while their phone calls continue to use their existing phone number, circuits and PSTN provider contract.

Microsoft’s recently announced Skype for Business Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling offerings continue to have a major impact on the voice ecosystem. However, many companies are hesitant to make an immediate and full transition to the cloud. Microsoft understood this challenge and implemented a strategy to offer a hybrid solution, where cloud-based PBX services are complemented by an enterprise’s existing on-premises PSTN connectivity.

The AudioCodes Mediant CCE Appliances for Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition integrate with Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition recommended architectures, providing on-premises connectivity infrastructure. Enabling integration with heterogeneous systems and legacy PBXs, which are critical for a smooth migration to the cloud, AudioCodes’ Microsoft-certified SBCs offer enterprise-grade security and reliability.

Additionally, AudioCodes’ SBCs can add value by delivering enhanced features such as advanced dial plan settings, high availability on incoming calls, support for analog devices and support for call recording from the PSTN side. The combined solution of Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition with AudioCodes’ infrastructure ensures a smooth migration for enterprise customers who want to move their users to the latest cloud unified communications platform from Microsoft Office 365, while preserving on-premises connectivity with their local service providers.
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Six Core Concepts for Social Media Influencer Program & Webinar

By Evan Kirstel @evankirstel & Tom Cross @techtionary

Abstract

IM-influencer marketing is the means to accelerate revenue, lower costs, organize corporate communications and extend company goodwill to name a few benefits. This article explores these issues and a preview of the webinar (click on any image for details on the webinar) with Evan Kirstel Top Social Media Influencer and Tom Cross.

Here are some of the key points presented and discussed in the webinar with Evan Kirstel along with other key topics including the CEO as the ultimate social influencer and “tweet meets” sales lead generation via social media. The term “influencer marketing” (IM) or key opinion leaders (KOL) is the term often used by social media leaders rather than celebrity or movie/sports/rock star endorsements and other leaders of any kind including business, religious and others. Celebrity or star endorsements are not new but certainly less pronounced in the tech space. If Steve Jobs had survived there is no doubt newer, more exciting and more diverse products would be coming from Apple. His role is not unique as the CEO sets the stage for each company. Yet many tech companies believe that their tech speaks for itself not recognizing the role of advisors, consultants and social media influencers on customer decisions. The role of IM and IM professionals is to help core clients look beyond their own silo of solutions to work with customers and others to build more global solutions. The impact can be significant in reducing sales cycles, improve customer service and ultimately vastly increase overall customer and global experience.
Here is a brief summary and analysis of six key points for IM:

Connections
– create and connect with other social media influencers and guide with monthly “tweetchats.” It is truly amazing how many CEO and others fail really fail to understand that social media is social not broadcast media. Social media almost by definition means engaging with others not just preaching to them. Twitter even more than Linkedin is ideal for connecting with potential customers and engaging with them to solve their needs. IM extends the process by educating and ultimately gaining and retaining them. Customers don’t call you anymore they tweet their grievances and if you ignore them the entire world knows that you don’t care and even more importantly, prospective customers can see that as well. Companies that don’t understand are like companies who didn’t have websites 20 years ago and don’t update them today. In other words, engaging with customers throughout their lifecycle is a must-have approach to business going forward.

Content
 – turbocharge your content reaching hundreds of thousands of users on Twitter and tens of thousands on Linkedin.

Content and curation go hand-in-hand as content, rather data only becomes knowledge after a human has understood, analyzed, shared and hopefully used it in decision-making. Big data is often used to suggest that we have too much information or TMI and that AI-artificial intelligence will somehow distill, synthesize or somehow organize it for humans. Yet AI is not a panacea not likely to give you any deeper understanding of the issue than you have now. In influencer marketing (IM) the knowledge of the influencer is always at risk when content from any source big or artificial is used to answer key questions. An influencer of any kind whether sports, movie or tech star will never have enough information to make specific decisions only general assessments and observations. However, to help all those involved get “on the same page” can be accomplished via IM. There is much to-do about IoT-internet of things but will the smart car talk to the smart home and what protocols, terminology and user commands be common to both. This would be the role of IM to organize different and complex systems, protocols and industry forums can help those involved (influenced) build common solutions. Smart companies can use or build IM to build bridges between companies and players to solve customer issues more quickly. This means that constant content research and development should be part of any IM program.

Curation – review and curate company content, provide guidance and enhanced thought leadership via influencer team.

 Curation actually comes from the term caring and now is applied to anything gathered from multiple sources into one place to writing blog posts. Curators organize ideas to help viewers and users gain insights. Curation can come from articles, thought leadership, research and knowledge base sources. Influencer marketing comes from ongoing research into content curation ensuring its real and

not fake news or distorted in anyway, yet add serious analysis and what is often called thought leadership. Without this content becomes useless or worse can cause confusion and conflict. For curation to be effective the context of its use must also always be in-play. Knowing or context or how the content will be used not only aids but accelerates the use and further application as well as pursuit of further curation and the IM can be of value as a real content curator.

Collaboration – collaborate with internal and external social leaders.

Like said so many times, keep your friends close and enemies close most often attributed to Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Price is also filled with priceless concepts on management and collaboration. Collaboration is not just working together but realizing that there will also be a hierarchical approach to management as the CEO and other C-levels will always rule the roost as collaborative they appear to be. Ideas come in, they bubble up, muck about and if merit, a business case emerges. The role of IM in this process is to guide, validate, collaborate and be the “out of the box” viewpoint on the subject. This delicate role is not as arbitrator or buzz-killer but to give input or collaborate as needed.

C-Level 
– assist and guide the CXO on their social media efforts along with gaining-retaining followers via CEO Twitter Scoreboard.

The ultimate social influencer is the CEO who as mentioned like Steve Job sets direction, goals and inspiration to insiders and most importantly to outsiders. If Steve Jobs came out with bottled water or fashion line, we would all be drinking and wearing it. The role of social influencer and the CEO should be aligned as the IM can be the ombudsman, foreign correspondent and advocate. As IBM, Huawei, Avaya and others are finding the role of IM helps them in many ways traditional marketing doesn’t and can’t. This is the ultimate value of the influencer to help the CEO in extending their message, bypassing traditional corporate communications with staff and increasingly manage crises.

Concern
 – respond to concerns expressed by customers and build and monitor system for sales, supports, IR/PR and compliance issues.

Aside from other gaps in corporate marketing, the IM can also fill-in where others can’t. Notwithstanding regulatory restrictions, IM can be on the forefront in the media where often the business press takes the company to task. IM can be the independent view responding to complex situations such as layoffs, store closing, product failures and other negative situations.

Crisis 
– provide crisis response team to address 7×24 tracking to avoid situations such as Target, Wells Fargo, Chipotle and other corporate devastating consequences with live “tweetchats” demonstrating responsiveness.   In case you missed the current political environment, foreign countries are cyberattacking not just political parties but nearly every company or institution that exists. One small school district (state withheld from security reasons) has been attacked by multiple foreign countries repeatedly. If you think you is not going to happen to you, think again. The role of the IM in this area is manage the mess and to guide and assist the client in “damage control.” You can never have enough friends when stuff happens and in the case of what is going on in presidential politics your company needs this more than ever as you may just be a tweet away from brand, customer and/or

stock crisis. That is, cybersecurity attacks are one thing but other political attacks could be much worse. This means you should have an IM team ready and monitoring your business 7×24 so you can wake up and manage any mess.

 

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AI Social and Contextual UC #402 – Bloatware Battles: Skype & Twitter

 

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Built-in speakers for audible call alert and phone ring light to avoid missed calls. Integrates with headset, desk phone or softphone and works as an on the phone indicator light.
Compatible with Skype for business, Lync, Cisco Jabber and more.
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Easy Conference Scheduling for Skype for Business, Office 365, Cisco Spark and Avaya
Approved Contact has quietly but surely worked on getting their multi-platform scheduling and planning solution chatbot approved by Microsoft, Avaya and Cisco to speed staff scheduling and meetings. They ask a simple question – How much time do you waste going back and forth to schedule meetings? Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems.  Click on logo to contact Approved Contact.

Easy as 1-2-3, for Cisco users, compare open times on your calendar to open times on any of your Approved Contact’s calendars from right inside of Cisco Spark space
FreeTime – Compares available calendars from everyone in the space and displays up to the first 3 available times.
First, set up a new profile on Approved Contact
Second, sync your calendar into Approved Contact and invite your contacts to become your Approved Contacts
Third, add the Approved Contact BOT to any Cisco Spark space that you want to compare your free times to other’s in the Cisco Spark space.
Products supported
Office 365
Azure
Skype for Business
Outlook 2013 or later
Outlook 2016 for Mac
Outlook on the Web
Cisco Spark
Avaya
 Bottom-line – In the seminal work called Organizational Velocity written in the 1970s, the author spoke about the speed or velocity of business is dependent on the pace of collaboration.  He suggested the pace of technology ever slowly but surely increased the pace of organization work.  At the time IBM conducted a study that the average delay in scheduling a meeting and the meeting actually taking place with 5 people was about 5 weeks given other meetings, vacations, meetings already scheduled, and other factors.   Then it took hours just to complete the concalls just to check peoples’ schedules.  This has shortened a little with endless emails between principals and assistants.  Now this can be dramatically shortened to minutes at a fraction of the cost and most importantly, ease of access.   In a later book called Split Second Society, the speed of business was said most aptly like this – “Strategically, the faster you can communicate, the faster you can change and those corporations that change the fastest will be the most successful.”
Approved Contact may not have all the answers to the challenges of human communications but they are working on ways we can collaborate faster.

Skype’s New Skin  

Rebuilt from the ground up, the new Skype vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people and, of course, chatting is front and center. We’ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and-most importantly-personalized, so you can chat the way you want. With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots*. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing. And that’s just the start. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust. With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.
Bottom-line – Changing your fashion does not change the fact that you are over-weight or any other issue.  User adoption grinds to a halt when new features are added just for the enjoyment of the product manager without adding real value.  I would put all of them on a major “weight loss” program instead of more “bloatware.”

Twitter’s New Look – More of What?
Everyone changes their UI-user interface when they have nothing else to do thinking that people use their stuff because it’s cute.  Product managers delight in their artistic prowess when other really features are needed.  Here’s what Twitter is up to.
Here’s what you’ll see:

– Profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy – all in one place! A new side navigation menu and fewer tabs at the bottom of our app = less clutter and easier browsing. You told us you loved this change on Android last year and we’re excited to now bring it to iOS.

– Links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in the Twitter app so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into.

– We’ve refined our typography to make it more consistent, and added bolder headlines to make it easier to focus on what’s happening. Also, rounded profile photos make it clearer to see what’s being said and who’s saying it.

– More intuitive icons make it easier to engage with Tweets – especially if you’re coming to Twitter for the first time. For example, people thought the reply icon, an arrow, meant delete or go back to a previous page. We switched to a speech bubble, a symbol most know and love. We also made the icons lighter for more seamless interaction.

– Tweets now update instantly with reply, Retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening – live.

Also, you’ll see additional accessibility choices such as increased color contrast and the option to always open supported links in Safari Reader view for IoS.
Bottom-line – Terrible and ugly is what I think but what do I know.

Acticons Adding Action Images for Faster-Better Communications as “A Confused Mind Always Say No!” 

There are three apocryphal events in human communications, in my humble opinion.  First, was drawings.  In the beginning, cave dwellers made drawings on the wall to tell stories, share ideas and be creative.  The Egyptians formalized drawing into a language which can be shared both across distances and time – from one generation to the next.  Probably the most dramatic use of language was the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses. Of little note was probably one of Jerry Seinfeld’s distance ancestors thinking to himself while Moses was presenting these commandments – “thank goodness there was only 10 commandments, one more commandment would have been too heavy to carry.”
Thus, stone tablets and pyramids make great and very long-lasting devices for storing information but a very difficult and lengthy for newspaper writer to carve their stories and the paperboy to deliver – imagine a load of stone newspapers.
Second, the next apocryphal communications technology was the creation of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450 which made the job of printing much easier.  However, the creation and delivery of the content was still expensive, lengthy and potentially lethal (book burning and censorship – banned books).  However, today there are probably two billion books published annually with billions more stored in libraries.
Third, major apocryphal communications technology came in the form of the internet.  With 4+ billion users accessing the internet worldwide daily, the internet can distribute almost any kind of information, whether music, video, art, graphics, animation as well as spam.  If Jerry Seinfeld were to say something, among other things, he might say “putting static text on the internet is a waste of the internet.”  However, the vast majority of web sites have no animation, video and little content worthy viewing by anyone.

In the spirit of incorporating visuals into human and business communication, we created more than 150 Acticon-Action-Icons to depict business and other activities to help speed communications and reduce confusion as visual communications is the fastest form of communications.   We react visually faster than by any other means.  You see a “Stop Light” and you instinctively know what to do without even thinking about it.  In addition, as communication is more global, multi-lingual, cultural, religious, ethical, etc. other issues come into play when attempting to convey thoughts, beliefs and actions.  My own saying is “communication will always fail except by chance” in hope for the best but assume the worst when communicating with another person.  We have incorporated these “acticons” into our new app that you can include in any Twitter post in hope that it will reduce confusion and enhance communication.

Never get stuck at 140 characters again!
With HashNewsGrams you can break through the Twitter 140 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.

  In addition, #HashNewsGram is a FREE #hashtag news Twitter gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.

HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, Baseball Fans Club, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.
Acticons(TM) are more than emoji’s they are actionable communications images.
Click here for ALL Acticons:

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HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

#400
When I started this there was no iPhone, OCS-office communications server was really a beta and unified communications was like a waking dream.  Now there are 1+B devices on iOS, 500+M on Skype, close to 2B on Facebook and over 1,000 UC providers all over the world who can sell anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Twitter was just beginning, Facebook was on the rise, Linkedin was there but not really useful.  We now have Siri, Alexa, Google Home and next week certainly something cool from Apple.  Phones have morphed into cool tech we never have to touch just shout at to do our bidding.  Today, we have the confluence of technology and new “social media” society all striving for something no one is really sure what it is all about.  Having more technology faster does not improve communications, collaboration or decision-making.  I find that after doing this newsletter for a decade and 50 years in telecom, people are slow to change, prefer to avoid making decisions and still skeptical about any kind of overall real benefit to their lives.  Yes, voicemail in email is the great godsend of UC but after doing personal surveys with many users and even more managers, everyone is just overwhelmed and tired, not more joyful of what UC was supposed to bring.
Bottom-line – UC technology is frankly, as a result of distracted driver and pedestrians is killing and maiming more people than helping, so when you push this great stuff remember there are always consequences and seriously doubt you would want in your OBIT “died as a result of a distracted driver.”

Deep Learning Is About to Revolutionize Sports Analytics. Here’s How
Lucey recently described an approach for teasing player formation out of raw geospatial data in a paper he co-authored with other researchers from Disney Research and the California Institute of Technology, titled “Data-Driven Ghosting using Deep Imitation Learning.”
The central thesis revolves around the creation of a “ghosting” model that can accurately learn and subsequently predict how actual professional soccer players moved on offense and defense. The model was based on a recurrent neural network that was trained, in an unsupervised fashion, on 17,400 soccer sequences across of 100 games. The training it took several hours, according to the paper, which won second place at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March of this year.
The visual nature of the ghosting system could provide direct benefits to teams that invest in it. Coaches and players would be able to watch a replay of a particular play, and see how the ghosts defenders respond to their opponent’s attack.
“Given an attacking play by a team, how did that team defend, or how should they have defended?” Lucey says. “How should they have moved to minimize the likelihood that that team scores? This is where we get into the realm of deep neural nets and deep imitation learning. It’s very similar to what Google and Deep Mind did for AlphaGo.”

According to Fast Company, “If Apple is diving into the category Amazon created, it may be less about taking on the Echo and more about building out its HomeKit connected-home vision.”  The picture is Apple’s version of Alexa or any other others.  Apple HomePod is a “late to the game” and recognizes that they are certainly “asleep at the wheel” in the innovation department when it comes to TV and many other fields. Alexa is the new “iphone” that Apple should have built and would have had Steve still be around as Apple cannot even keep up with needed iPhone features liked cordless charging, weather-proofing etc.  Meanwhile I hope they will bring out a more Siri-enabled Apple TV and speaker-iPhone unfortunately overpriced as usual.

Social AI – Twitter Apple TV
According to Investopedia, “Twitter has been using AI to tailor ads and tweets to users. In a letter sent to shareholders in February, CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Machine learning is critical for us to better identify and personalize content that people want to see and deliver it to them, faster.”
AI is also being used by the social media company to prevent abusive behavior. In March, Twitter joined forces with IBM to improve its efforts to police controversial hate speech. IBM’s Watson AI technology, which is capable of monitoring various forms of text, is expected to make it easier for Twitter to stop nasty tweets and block repeated offenders. Twitter started making inroads in AI after acquiring image-reading technology specialist Magic Pony Technology.”  As an iOS developer we are pushing the Twitter API to the max and if Twitter wants to be even more relevant they should integrate even more their new Apple TV featureset.
Here’s the Twitter-Apple TV announcement which isn’t much so enjoy your own testing as I will.
Lastly, Twitter has also announced some cool new emoji’s like these:

Click on either image for more details.

Bottom-line – Twitter is trying but not sure what they are trying to be.  Just more integrations and some promise of AI will not solve their fundamental problem of audience relevance which still seems to elude them.  Even as a fan I am fraught with wonder and why I wonder what Twitter is all about and why I use it.

AudioCodes Gets Your Huddle Game On !

AudioCodes has always been a leader in the UC game brings new Huddle room solutions.  Eric Bauer VP of NA Marketing noted, “The technology space is changing at warp speed and consumption habits are evolving at every turn.  As users, we look for high quality technologies that feature an intuitive interface and are available at an affordable price.  These consumer demands translate into the work place and how we collaborate.  With AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution (HRS), you can turn any space into a meeting space.  Transform your office into a professional meeting space with a high quality audio solution in a powerful and cost-effective package that is simple to operate and manage.  Available in 3 sizes, the AudioCodes HRS solution offers full integration with Skype for Business and centralized management and control to lower operational costs.”

Here are some other details and click on any image for more information.
– The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to 6 persons

– AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to fifteen-person small group meeting spaces

The solution delivers:

– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more

– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec

– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound

– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operations

Chirp-Chirp Post to Twitter – Voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more

One of the more exciting features in HashNewsGram is the easy way post on Twitter voice memos, Tunes, Songs, Interviews, News, Podcasts with Boundless Text, Videos and more via an easy to use iPhone app.  Here are a few screenshots on “how to” do it.  Click on the image for iTunes.

You can also see from the image the Gettysburg Address which is 271 words. This is an example of how you can use the Notes App to record using Siri a speech or interview which is captured and translated from voice to text.

You can easily Copy-All and Paste the complete text in HashNewsGram to be posted along with a picture or audio recording to Twitter. What is really means is that you can create Twitter posts of essentially unlimited text length beyond 140 characters.

HashNewsGram will put up to about 110 characters on Twitter like this:

If a user clicks through More at they will see the complete post along with audio, video and more.

Soon you will be able to add “free hand” drawings or sketches to complement pics, audio or acticons-action-items to your twitter feed.

Click on any image for iTunes to get HashNewsGram and explore the world beyond 140 characters.

Slack versus Teams
I don’t see this article or any article on Slack v. Teams to be a “one-off” definitive answer to the subject.  I see it as an ongoing discussion of the subject of team collaboration.   Cisco Spark is a rising star in the collaboration area and think I will explore how companies are dealing with this complex issue.  The companies I talk to have a very complex and mixed environment coping with migration of Avaya to Skype for some but not all functions.  Some have Cisco but use Microsoft understandably for many of their basic office functions.  Never hear much about Google but they are out there somewhere as well.  Here is one article I saw on the Slack v. Teams.
Then there is info from Slack directly on their integrations.  Admittedly, it will be really hard to test drive all their integrations nor find them interestingly enough to use.  Here are a few.  If anyone has used the Slack-Skype integration give me a shoutout and add your feedback.

Why Nectar Was Chosen as an IDC Innovator

Nectar has always been an innovator.  I have first-hand knowledge of their solutions and so it is cool they were named an IDC Innovation.  It is because its Unified Communications Management Platform (UCMP) software – offered through its Network Assessment Partners – provides unique and critical performance information. It focuses on critical areas for ensuring performance management for Microsoft Skype for Business deployments, including planning and deployment, network pre-assessment, monitoring, advanced reporting, analytics, and real-time diagnostics.
You can make up your own mind, click on the image for the detailed explanation.
Breakthrough Twitter 140 Character Barrier 
The problem with Twitter has always been the 140 character limitation.  If you want add a link that takes 20 characters and writing good English well that is another lot of characters including spaces.  HashNewsGram eliminates that problem.  Write your heart out and include a video, pics, audio recording and even an Acticon-action icon you can really get your message across.  Of course, Twitter doesn’t expand to fit posting long text or other ideas is not limited anymore.  Click on the image for the “how to” do it.
Winner iPhone User Forum
Best Twitter App
“We didn’t make Twitter, we made it better.” 

Click on image for iTunes

Key new features include:
– Search and one-touch save for the fastest-easiest access to Twitter news.
– Save your favorite Twitter accounts to your Folders/Subfolders with one-touch.
– New UI-user interface for faster-easier news gathering and tracking
“We didn’t make Twitter, we made it better.”
#HashNewsGram is a Free Twitter #hashtag gathering app for iPhone.
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Broadsoft Cloud Paas – Cloud Platform
Broadsoft has patiently and earnestly gained respect as a major UC service provider.  Now they are expanding their operations by opening up their technology to provide a full platform to others.  With BroadCloud PaaS, service providers have the ability to:
– Accelerate their innovation cycle with unprecedented control and flexibility to develop differentiated, on-demand cloud unified communication and collaboration services
– Gain a 50-75% time-to-market advantage delivering new cloud communications services based on the entire BroadSoft Business application suite
– Minimize non-strategic OPEX and CAPEX while moving to a consumption cost model that greatly minimizes the ongoing marginal costs for new features and capabilities
– Benefit from carrier-class reliability and BroadSoft data centers with physical, environmental and access level security
– Reduce operational complexity and costs with simplified and scalable packaging options
They also added this BroadCloud PaaS is an option available to service providers as part of the BroadCloud cloud platform powering BroadSoft Business, a fully integrated portfolio of enterprise-ready cloud, unified communications, team collaboration and contact center applications. BroadSoft Business can scale to all market segments, and includes three core applications: UC-One, Team-One and CC-One, with BroadSoft Hub providing contextual intelligence across the entire platform so users can access the information and apps they need in one place.  You can also get their Ebook on their platform.
Bottom-line – Broadsoft continues to expand their global UC operations.  Opening the planform ability to a wider range of users not just carriers will further aid their viability.
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Siri Likely Gets Smart Speaker 
According to Neowin, “According to 9to5Mac, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated in an industry report that the Siri-powered smart speaker will most likely be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2017 conference. The unit will be positioned as a much higher-end competitor to Amazon’s Echo, with a price to match, having “excellent” sound reproduction due to its seven tweeters and one subwoofer.  Leaker Sonny Dickson told Mashable that the Siri speaker would have a concave top where the controls would be (not too dissimilar to the Echo), a design that’s quite close to the ‘trashcan-like’ Mac Pro, and a similar mesh style to that of the UE Megaboom line from Logitech (pictured).”
Bottom-line – Apple is sitting on $250B in cash and also sitting on their hands in regard to innovation.  They are app fat with all that cash and don’t think they need to do anything to remain viable focusing on the iPhone their principal cash cow.  No doubt they have a lot to do but they could be doing a lot more and having smart home solutions along with car, office, space plane and any other place that humans or devices can occupy.  More and faster innovation is expected sooner than later.
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Amazon Tackles Telephone Service with Alexa
This week Amazon added video conferencing to the Alexa calling feature with Alexa Show for $229 retail probably less with Amazon Prime and other promos they will have.  Due tell what they are really trying to do other than take all your money. Regarding, their more traditional product Alexa, GeekWeek said, “The system Alexa described in the patent would link an existing cellphone number with the Alexa device, and includes a provision for identifying authorized users by their voices. Alexa could let the user know a call is coming in, and then pick it up and route the call over its speaker when the user gives the go-ahead. Users could also initiate calls via Alexa.  Call charges would be billed through the user’s cell carrier, but once the call is routed through the Alexa device, the cellphone would be left out of the picture. Instead, the Alexa device would send the call to the carrier through a type of connection known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP.”
Amazon VC is already funding an home intercom solution call Nucleus for an outrageous price of $250 and if you need a family size you could put out a $800+ so this gets to be another ridiculous device homes really don’t need.

Cool company Dialpad used the Alexa SDK to build their own telephone network interface. Unlike a platform-specific communications system, Dialpad will eventually be compatible with multiple voice assistants, ensuring an excellent user experience no matter what other communications platform or virtual assistant your contacts are using.

Here are the Dialpad features available through Alexa include:
  • Place a call to a contact
  • Add a contact to the current call
  • Transfer the current call to another person
  • Place a call on hold
  • Record a call
  • Check Dialpad voicemail and text messages
  • Enable and disable Do Not Disturb
  • Transfer a call from device to device, for example, from Alexa to a mobile phone or a mobile phone to Alexa
  • Listen to Dialpad system reports, such as “total call volume for the current week”

They also say integration with Google Home is coming soon.  As they said, “Being a pure-cloud business phone system, Dialpad makes it easy for people to communicate via desktop, mobile, tablet-you name it. Integrating with Alexa, another cloud-connected device, takes business communications into the Internet of Things (IoT). Alexa is truly your personal assistant: instead of paging a person or pressing some complicated key combination on your desk phone, you just say “Alexa, transfer the call to the sales department.”

Bottom-line – Amazon Alexa is winning in all kinds of ways and portends to be an even more important solution for business offices, hospitals, fast food and any other situation where voice conversation takes place.  Adding telephony is a great way to extend their reach and make Alexa even more relevant to their customers.
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Google Assistant SDK Transforms UC via Conversation Actions
Transforming voice has been one of the key tenants of UC though much of the effort has been NOT on voice but other forms of communications especially chat.
Now voice is back ! With the vengeance of a tornado, Amazon-Alexa, Apple-Siri, Microsoft-Cortana, Google-Voice and others all want hear every precious word you spout off.  The issue has been and always will be the written work is not the spoken word and what we see and touch is not often what we would say.
More often the restaurant or coffee shop server misunderstands what you say.  Meanwhile, here’s the pitch from Google. Google calls them Conversation Actions which help you fulfill user requests by letting you have a two-way dialog with users. When users request an action, the Google Assistant processes this request, determines the best action to invoke, and invokes your Conversation Action if relevant. From there, your action manages the rest, including how users are greeted, how to fulfill the user’s request, and how the conversation ends.
When you build conversation actions, you define these major components:
– Invocation triggers define how users invoke and discover your actions. Once triggered, your action carries out a conversation with users, which is defined by dialogs.
– Dialogs define how users converse with your actions and act as the user interface for your actions. They rely on fulfillment code to move the conversation forward.
– Fulfillment is the code that processes user input and returns responses and you expose it as a REST endpoint. Fulfillment also typically has the logic that carries out the actual action like retrieving recipes or news to read aloud.
 
Bottom-line – If you home alone you may find all this very cool but if you can add other family members and even animals (love to hear how Alexa would react to a Parrot) who knows what kind of chaos could erupt much less a business office, train station or ball park.  It is not that the idea is flawed it’s like any application, it only works for a few use cases. Building voice technology into cars, homes, and even IoT devices again is another nice idea but not sure if you want to have a device listening to everything you do or have to argue with them until they understand what you are talking about.
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West UC Challenges Us with Chat Bots 
West UC has issued a wide range of exciting blog posts include one that really outlines the issue with chat bots.
Here is what they have to say. “A bot is software that automates tasks you might do on your own manually, such as adding an appointment to your calendar, making a dinner reservation, or for simulating conversation. The last bot example describes call or chat bots – software that resides in calling or messaging apps and resembles human conversation and interaction. For instance, some fast food restaurants allow customers to order and pay for their meals through automated chat conversations. Other automated scheduler bots can take over the process of scheduling a meeting, complete with sending emails, notifications, and adding appointments into user’s calendars.

How do Software Bots Work?

A common implementation of bot usage occurs with hosted communications and cloud unified communications (UC). Software bots often assist with enterprise customer service. They are built into programs like Cloud Contact Pro, a sophisticated contact center platform that helps to boost rep productivity and enhance the customer’s experience. For example, bots integrated into West’s Cloud Contact Pro quickly provide contact center reps with detailed contact record information, using intelligent, skills-based call-routing, call flow, queue editing and dynamic agent scripting. Bots also help automate the connection process, assist with maintaining required PCI compliance recordings, and increase efficiency through workforce management solutions. Cloud UC solutions, like those from West, use bots to intelligently transfer desk phone calls to a mobile device, seamlessly and effortlessly.
Whether used to drive sales, offer client support, or conduct surveys, etc., bots help to formulate and improve features like advanced predictive dialers, proactive system monitoring and the capabilities provided by multi-channel communications. In fact, another common area for bot usage has been in the arena of social media. Social media tools such as Twitter use computer-generated algorithms to exhibit human-like behavior, such as automatically producing content and interacting with humans on social media (CACM). Bots are used as marketing tools on web sites, populating side ads and popups for recently visited sites, seeking to drive site activity and sales for companies. Bots can also be used in cloud UC tools like Cisco Jabber, through Presence and instant messaging (IM), to determine user availability, initial user contact dialogs and intelligent response. And when this type of technology is integrated with other UC tools, it works to enhance customer service, tailoring it specifically for each customer interaction.

The Future of Bots in Communications Software

Bot technology has been rapidly advancing over the last few years. Software bots are automating a great number of tasks across the web as well as in daily life. Soon bot programs may be doing our taxes! The popularity of Amazon Echo products and Google Home this year has shown how far bot technology has come, advancing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. Amazon Echo’s Alexa enables users to ask questions and do basic tasks such as making a grocery list, reading and writing emails, etc. Since both Amazon and Google have allowed 3rd party developers access to the device technology, the knowledge and capabilities of bots is steadily evolving, adding smart home capabilities/Internet of Things (IOT) such as turning on lights or closing the garage door. It’s not too hard to imagine that bots could control household appliances and provide guidance in an emergency, placing a call for an ambulance in the event that urgent medical care is required.
Bottom-line – If you are not building chatbots like a fire chasing you through a forest, your competitors may out-chatbot you out of business.
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Jabil Outlines Benefits of 5G for UC

 

This is only an excerpt from an exciting post on the rapid rise of 5G and its implications.  5G in many wants is a wireline killer and transformational technology for OTT-over the top broadcast network killer as well.

Real-Time Feedback Through Low Latency

By Paul Kite President, Jabil Kuatro – The time it takes for a signal to be beamed toward a tower and received by a device is its latency. In other words, the lower the latency the faster a device can respond. Low latency will potentially be a huge benefit for new possibilities through 5G. 4G networks have an average latency of 50 milliseconds, but with 5G latency is expected to go as short as 1 millisecond.
According to the PSB study, when thinking about what customers would like improved in 5G over 4G/LTE, they focus on enhanced speed and reliability. Low latency will be one of the key drivers that provides the reliability customers are seeking through new applications.
Connected, self-driving cars are one area low latency is absolutely critical. Relying on hundreds of real-time data sources, the difference between a latency of 50 milliseconds to 1 millisecond can be a matter of life or death. If self-driving cars can’t communicate with each other, collect and analyze data and make decisions real-time, then we’re getting ahead of ourselves with new technology our infrastructure can’t support.
An enhanced mobile bandwidth, expanded IoT functionality and low latency provide an expanded sandbox where we can develop new products and services, while vastly improving the ones currently in existence. But it is the intimate knowledge of both hardware and software that adds value for brands-the type of knowledge that comes with a manufacturing partner that can take tech innovations and spread them across multiple markets.
Five years from now, when we are expected to begin leveraging 5G in everything we do, we will look back and see how our lives have evolved with these new possibilities and how various industries have been transformed.
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There are four stories – Cisco, IBM, Facebook Workplace Video with BlueJeans and Microsoft Huddle Room with Audio Codes. 
Due to the enormity and complexity of the issues of each system, let’s just say that each has some interesting features.  Integrating Watson into the IBM Cognitive Room is certainly an interesting idea, however, I would like to have hands-on experience before endorsing any of these solutions.  However, this gives you a quick glimpse at each system.
 

 

 Cisco Sparks Ideas

What really is upsetting that in either picture from Cisco they did NOT even read their own great book (Cisco Telepresence Fundamentals) by having a room next to outside windows (which means you get all the highway noise, changing sunlight conditions and heat and more problems).
Cisco Spark has a number of models including the Cisco Spark Board 55 a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 55-inch LED screen and the Cisco Spark Board 70 is a fully self-contained system on a high-resolution 4K 70-inch LED screen. Click on either image for details.

– Intelligent framing: We’re pushing the boundaries with a smart and effortless experience. It’s like having a TV camera operator in the room. We have had speaker tracking in our high-end systems – and now Cisco Spark Room Kits have it, too. The feature automatically detects who in the room is speaking and selects the best camera framing for that person. “Best overview intelligence” detects all people in the room and selects the best group framing when no one is speaking. If a large room has only two people, the camera intelligently frames those people.
– Analytics in diagnostic mode: Artificial intelligence can be pragmatically applied for resource planning. The Room Kits have a high-performing face-detection module that tracks where people are and the angle they’re facing. The system pinpoints the speaker through audio triangulation using the six embedded microphones. The system also counts the number of people in the room. You can send all this data to a management system for customized applications.
– Voice and face recognition: This is still in beta, but you’ll soon be able to place calls via voice commands and the system will recognize attendee faces and label them with their names. These pre-production capabilities present groundbreaking opportunities for both automated calling and content delivery based on a meeting’s participants.You can deploy Cisco Spark Room Kit in a small-to-medium-sized room, and Cisco Spark Room Kit Plus in a large room. Both options support one or two displays. I think you’ll want dual displays when you see how beautiful the white board looks when dialing into a Cisco Spark Board. Imagine the experience: You see the white-board content in stunning 4k resolution on one screen, connect with people in 4k on the other, and interact with the white board on your laptop or tablet.Bottom-line – Cisco has applied their enormous skills learned in building 1000s of telepresence rooms to this next-generation approach though as I have pointed out their need to re-read their books on telepresence rooms because video is really only as good as the room, lighting, noise, echo and many other factors that make video meetings even more difficult.

IBM “Wake Word” – HAL – World Without Walls

 

Wake words is the new term for initiating a conversation with a device.  Siri, Alexa and others begin listening and acting upon voice recognition though we all know how difficult it is to understand what you are already talking about.  Not to be out-gunned, HARMAN Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) today unveiled Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms. Click on image for more.

Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology and HARMAN AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, the companies bring highly connected experiences to medical facilities, corporate offices, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments.

In addition to the current in-market solutions, HARMAN is part of IBM’s cognitive collaboratories based in its $200 million Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich.
 In this facility today, HARMAN is demonstrating the capabilities of its in-room cognitive concierge in a conference room setting. At the same time the HARMAN team is also working with IBM designers, researchers and others to put IoT into the hands of enterprise customers.
Today IBM’s cognitive technologies are embedded into HARMAN soundbars and alarm clocks with other form factors being developed, that users can interact with using natural language. Now consumers can simply ask questions or issue commands with their voice when in a room.
These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with HARMAN’S technology to allow people to easily control their in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks and trying to figure the new systems out. For example, now when an employee enters a conference room they can start a video conference, launch a presentation and more using their voice. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically based on what the system has learned about the employee based on previous meetings.
These voice-enabled cognitive rooms also function as an in-room concierge that can answer general questions or site-specific questions developed by the facility and featuring custom answers created by staff. For example, a hotel guest could ask “What time is checkout? “or “Where is the gym?” while a hospital patient could ask “What are the hospital’s visiting hours?” or “Can you tell me more about my doctor?” Leveraging HARMAN’s expertise in API integration, users can even employ Watson for service requests, including amenity replenishments, restaurant reservations, late checkout, room service, shuttle service and more.
Leveraging key Watson APIs such as Natural Language Understanding and Speech to Text, these rooms also provide users with limited mobility and vision impairment a closer level of interaction with their environment. Now with
Watson, guests can speak naturally to the system without rigid syntax requirements, using simple commands like “would you turn off the lights?”

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms also feature enterprise-grade software tools that can help in-house technical and guest service staff members increase operational efficiency. For example, housekeeping staff can simply say, “Send up an engineer to fix the shower” in their native language. Watson’s multilingual capabilities enable organizations to accommodate a wide variety of users from different countries with an ever-growing list of supported languages.

Bottom-line – The virtual work space is taking hold as “work without walls” transforms the tedium of traditional meetings wasting time and often with little progress on the project at hand.  New non-meetings business methods will change the traditional broadcast style meetings of one person talking at a time to more of a cocktail party approach to getting things done.

Facebook for Workplace on the Rise

 

Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft, Amazon or anyone else in the enterprise, Facebook is coming at business communications via video rather than telephony.  Essentially you can think about an office is one “virtual open space” (like their own approach to office conditions) where video from all meetings, locations and ideally worksites of any form including construction, home, mobile or mountain top are available anytime or anywhere in one or more locations.  At some point you don’t think about meetings you think about perceptual conversations or in the case of IBM “cognitive” meetings.

BlueJeans for Workplace provides businesses of all sizes with a self-service, professional-grade video platform to bring people together, create collaborative experiences, and broadcast them over Workplace by Facebook.

BlueJeans for Workplace combines the best of Facebook, with the engagement and face-to-face interaction that only video can provide.
– Broadcast meetings and company-wide events on the Company News Feed or directly to project, team, or multi-company groups. Videos are archived on their respective pages and made readily available for on-demand playback.
– Present From Any Device – Join from the full range of video endpoints, including room systems, computers and mobile devices, as well as phone dial-in.

– HD Video & Screen Sharing – Share slides, documents, pictures and pre-uploaded video in crystal clear 1080p resolution.
– Single Video Communications Platform – Need a platform to connect with employees, customers, and partners inside and outside the walls of your company?
BlueJeans is going in the right direction with their solution though Facebook is working on their own approach integrating VR-virtual reality into the mix which makes even more sense giving the increasingly mobile nature of everything we do.  Click on the image for FB 360.Bottom-line – Video is the new means for re-arranging how we think about how we communicate.  From paper memos, secretaries, dictation, telephones, email, chat and other means, video can show more of everything we do.  Though just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should and if you don’t know how to write you can’t really be a great novelist.  Then same applies to presenting yourself on video.  Acting classes might be a great way to get the new video skills you will need to succeed.

AudioCodes Adds Huddle Room Tech

The majority of meeting spaces in a typical enterprise are small rooms that can accommodate up to six persons. AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution is a cost-effective solution ranging from two-person huddle rooms up to 15-person small group meeting spaces
The solution delivers:
– Familiar user experience base on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more
– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec
– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound
– Familiar user experience based on AudioCodes 450HD IP phone UI including conference management, participants’ photo display, click-to-join and more
– High definition call quality and audio with SILK voice codec
– Advanced microphone technology to provide crystal clear sound
– Fully managed by the AudioCodes Managed IP Phone solution for efficient deployment and ongoing IT operationsBottom-line – Huddle spaces or quick meetings are key to faster communications.  Adding solutions to make these types of meetings more effective and efficient is always appreciated.
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Amazon Takes on Cloud Contact Center 
If global domination is not enough, Amazon Web Services wants to tackle contact centers.  Like with any major player they will find that being able to do something, does not mean you should. Here is what they have to say for themselves. Click on image for video. Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost. Amazon Connect is based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world to power millions of customer conversations. The self-service graphical interface in Amazon Connect makes it easy for non-technical users to design contact flows, manage agents, and track performance metrics – no specialized skills required. There are no up-front payments or long-term commitments and no infrastructure to manage with Amazon Connect; customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony services.
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Apple “Clips” Taking on Snapchat, Instagram and …

Well, yet another “pic” app which the world does not need.  Apple says “Introducing Clips. A new iOS app for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics, and more. One cool feature is Live Titles let you easily create animated captions – just by talking as you record. Choose from a variety of styles, all perfectly timed to the sound of your voice.

Bottom-line – Seriously too many pic apps and encouraging so many more bad pics and even more apps.
 
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Workflow Now Part of the Apple Orchard

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud Drive, and Health, to name a few.

For example, you can use Workflow to:
– Make animated GIFs
– Add a home screen icon that calls a loved one
– Make PDFs from Safari or any app with a share sheet
– Get directions to the nearest coffee shop in one tap
– Tweet the song you’re listening to
– Get all of the images on a web page
– Send a message including the last screenshot you took

– And so much more…

Your workflow creations can be launched from inside the Workflow app, from other apps using Workflow’s Action Extension, or from our new lightning-fast Today Widget. You can even export a workflow as a standalone app on your home screen.

Workflow opens up infinite possibilities of what you can do with your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned.
Bottom-line – Another app in search of a user, however, with the Big Apple Corporate buying them, well another app gets a nice new parent.  Seriously, has anyone used this app?
 
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Free Visual Traceroute
 
In case you don’t have one or need a new one, here’s a cool free one.

 
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Vonage Meets Alexa – “Alexa, tell conference manager to start my call.”

From Vonage Business, another cool evolvement of the Internet of Things, and it harnesses the power of the cloud (which is what we’re really, really, ridiculously good at). Vonage Conference Manager is actually pretty simple. It works like this:
  • Get an Amazon Echo. Each “smart” meeting room has an Amazon Echo placed in it permanently.
  • Sync the Echo. The Echo is mapped to the physical phone within each room and an organizational directory, which accesses calendars, meeting information and contacts, all through the cloud.
  • Enable Vonage Conference Manager. Once the Echo is synced, the Vonage Conference Manager skill is enabled once through an iPhone or at alexa.amazon.com.
  • Include the room on invites. When you schedule a meeting, be sure to add the room so it knows about the meeting, so you can use the Echo while you’re in the room.
  • Start talking. When it’s time for your meeting to start, just walk into the room and say “Alexa…” to begin. Bam! You’re all set.
Bottom-line – Cool idea can’t wait to try.

 

 

 
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There’s meetings and then there’s meetings via teleconference:
Boring face-to-face = boring via teleconference
After your next meeting, ask a colleague “what did you understand that meeting was about”?   The principal feature of teleconferencing or conferencing technology is that it allows interactive communication and helps everyone get on the same page. Even though participants in a teleconference are geographically separated, they can still meet to “get their heads together.” Unlike unidirectional communication, such as a letter or a television broadcast, in which a person either sends a message without getting any cues from the recipient or is a passive recipient of information, interactive communication allows people to be both senders and receivers of information simultaneously. Interactive communications gives each person the opportunity to initiate and respond to information as the process unfolds.  Teleconference participants can converse, talk things over, negotiate, joke, see one another, and exchange numerical and graphic information. When people use teleconferencing to “meet,” a synergy of minds is created. Users find that a greater sense of involvement and trust develops among people who are using teleconferencing to carry out a project as compared to a project that relies upon unidirectional communication.
Teleconferencing lets more people participate in the decision-making process. Advantages of group decision making, compared to individual decision making, include the availability of a greater range of experience than that held by any one individual, a more diverse set of intellectual approaches and capabilities, and a greater tendency to subject ideas to scrutiny and debate. Decision making is improved with teleconferencing, because it encourages participation of those people who are not directly involved in the decision-making process of a particular project; for example, research and development engineers can participate in a conference about marketing. Teleconferencing also allows people, such as the administrative staff who would not normally attend a distant face-to-face meeting participate in the decision-making process. Their participation ensures t