AI Social and Contextual UC #418 – Breakthrough Twitter 140/280 Barrier – Apple’s New Deskphone AI in Your Head – Google Carpet Bombs AI Wars

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications

 Forum- NEW TeamsUserForum.com 
October 6 – 2017 – Issue #418

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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#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.

 

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Not a Headset but an AI Personal Assistant 

In case you think Apple is asleep at the enterprise wheel, here is an exciting solution for any desktop phone, contact center agent, mobile/car route sales person or even factory floor.  Check out these specs to impress anyone –

Beats Solo3 Wireless delivers up to 40 hours of battery life driven by the efficiency of the Apple W1 chip. Or, with Fast Fuel, a quick 5-minute charge provides 3 hours of playback to quickly get you back on track. Integrated on-ear controls, coupled with dual beam-forming mics, allow you to take calls, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri while on the go.  Click on image for more.
In other words, you can integrate voice recognition into your voice conversation and then even add an app for that to listen and guide agents or sales or even the CEO in their conversation. Also, reports from users also said it has good noise cancellation. And, at $299 quite a bargain.
Bottom-line – Deskphones only have one ear speaker, Beats has two speakers, people have two ears, you can decide which one is better.

Google Carpet Bombs AI – American Fear AI

Google, Amazon, Apple and others are all “carpet bombing” their funny little boxes in order to capture customer mind share.  This is a long video but the first few minutes will give you a good idea of what is really going on.

If you need more ammo on what Americans really think there is a new Pew Research report that says “Americans are rather worried that computer (AI) algorithms will replace humans in choosing job candidates-even though researchers have shown clearly that algorithms do a better job than humans at choosing job candidates. Americans fear losing control if they’re forced to ride in autonomous vehicles. These same Americans fly in airplanes every day that largely are flown by computers, and impressively efficient ones at that.

Fretful respondents are unsurprisingly willing to engage in cognitive dissonance about coming automation. While 77% of Americans think robots will take over many jobs in coming decades, just 30% think robots will replace their jobs. That reminds me off all the old surveys about Americans thinking Congress was filled with a bunch of bums-but not their representatives.”
Bottom-line – Yes AI will replace many things, even more things you can’t understand or don’t need but AI is just another machine and machines break, get hacked, solve old problems not new ones and can’t really think about solving complex problems.

Top of Mind Keeps You First in Line 

This is a webinar presentation available for sales teams at a nominal fee.
Key points are:
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2 – Be the Thought Leader
3 – Create Calls-To-Action often
4 – Decide Marketing Methods
5 – Build a Calendar & Commit
Are you really in the line at all or just think you are?
Click on image for the complete presentation and contact Tom Cross at cross@gocross.com for details and scheduling.

From UC to IC – Intelligent Communications

This is from MS Office 365 blog “customers can take advantage of the capabilities in Microsoft Teams starting today. We are committed to providing visibility into the Teams product roadmap, so our customers can assess when Teams is right for them. We intend to make an updated roadmap for Teams available in October.  Click on the image for the complete article.
We plan to continue to offer and support Skype for Business in Office 365 and Skype for Business Server on-premises. For customers who are not yet ready to move their PBX and advanced calling capabilities to the cloud, we will release a new version of Skype for Business Server targeted for the second half of calendar year 2018.”
 
Nice doubletalk – buy what we want you to buy today or wait until late 2018 or never.

Via The Street Microsoft Just Made a Slew of Announcements — Here Are the 5 Most Important

If you don’t know about The Street, well it’s time you did because this may be the most important news service for the financial industry and CEO/CFO. So read what they read and here’s what they said about Microsoft’s announcements at Ignite.  Click on the image for the rest and signup for their newsletters.

As I don’t want to steal The Street’s thunder but wanted to focus on UC.  At least Skype made the Top-5 as #4. “Microsoft Teams might be replacing Skype for Business. Microsoft’s workplace chat app and Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, is being integrated into Office 365. Teams will replace the Skype for Business plugin in Office 365, which marks a major transition for Microsoft, since Skype has been its flagship messaging app for a long time.

The company did say that it intends to release an updated Skype infrastructure next year that will be targeted to companies that aren’t using the cloud and have on-premises data centers.”
But if you read other stories and watch presentations which I did a lot of them, there is a huge gap in what is being said and what will likely happen.  Why because MS really doesn’t understand the UC business and buying Skype did not help.  If you remember Response Point their very cool but ill-fated answer to the SMB, they jump around like a hot potato without a single strategy much less one that fits with customers and the marketplace.  Hence the growth in Broadsoft, 8×8, RingCentral and many others such as Comcast.  Last count there were more than 500 (no typo) VoIP providers and an amazing list of international players who given high speed internet you can have your server in Antarctica and provide service to remote Kansas.  Clearly MS is looking through their telescopes at Slack worried more about that that the hundreds of VoIP players.
Bottom-line – For a decade, Microsoft throws darts at the UC dartboard hoping something will stick. Now this, they keep tossing the salad frankly making a mess of it causing no end of hair-pulling by partners. Sadly, few other players are left to pick up the slack (no pun intended).  But wait the Cisco UC system works, works well and from the customers I have spoken with they love it.

First Multi-Media Calendar Planner App for iPhone & iPad Approved

SleepTracsPro 3.4 is approved for iPhone and iPad.  Among the many benefits is an exciting new multi-media planner.  While planner and calendar apps abound, we added features that are not found in others.  We also will be adding even more features that in addition to support for iOS 11, here are the key features in SleepTracsPro 3.4 NOTE: due to Apple removing AppStore from iTunes you are now forced to get your apps from the AppStore app on your iPhone or App – it wasn’t our idea.
– Sleep Scheduling,
– Snooze Nap features,
– Snap Alert
– Actical – action calendar
– ZoomLite
– Dream Diary journal/log,

NEW – Multi-media Planner with multi-colored text, pics, videos, drawings, audio messages and acticons for iPhone and iPad.

Please visit http://sleeptracs.com/ for tips, applications and ideas.

Key features of SleepTracsPro are:

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

– Snooze – The 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 – 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.

Planner – everyone needs to get organized and nothing is better than having it all in the same place. The new version 3.4 in the first to include all forms of multi-media including multi-colored text (you can choose what color text you like to indicate priorities or other personal notations), you can include pictures and videos from either camera or gallery, you can add freehand drawings, audio recordings like “Get organized” and our own proprietary Acticons™ which are “action icons and emojis” to emphasize an event or activity.

Independent Reviews

“Sleep apnea is a serious health issue and solutions are scarce often making sleep worse than better. SleepTracsPro journal/diary is a significant help where I can take pics, even videos and including detailed notes where I can track diet, temp, weather and other factors which I know impact sleep. I strongly recommend SleepTracsPro for any one with sleep apnea or just wants to better understand their sleep habits and patterns.” R.S. – Atlanta

“SleepTracsPro gives me great insights on my sleep habits as I am able to use the Dream Diary to write notes, even make drawings of my dreams as well as share them with others. SleepTracsPro is a must-have for any one struggling with all the challenges of getting better sleep.” S.C. – Seattle

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.

NFC Forum Adds NFC Tag Certification to Certification Program 

For anyone who sells anything, connects to anything including customers NFC-near-field communications is a must-have.  With iOS 11, the NFC Forum announced today the addition of Near Field Communication (NFC) tag and reader certification to its global certification program. This means that tag/inlay, NFC reader and handset manufacturers for the first time will be able to test and verify the performance and interoperability of all the key components in the NFC eco-system.

With the release of iOS 11 this week from Apple, two billion smartphones in the world will be NFC-enabled – this means that a third of the population on Earth will have the ability to interact with NFC tags. To be sure that these tags are enabled seamlessly, the NFC Forum Tag Certification Program will allow for tags to interoperate, and work the way consumers want, when they want it.

Wireless Charging Vase – No Flowers !
 
“Wireless charging as a concept has been around since Nikola Tesla, a Croatian inventor, first suggested in the 19th century that you could transfer power between two objects via an electromagnetic field.”  Soon wireless charging will be available in almost any concept — who knows what happens to your brain with all that electronic magnetism in the air.

 

Personal Speakerphone
 
One of the many things I really don’t like is webinar speakers using a speakerphone.  They really don’t care how much room echo there is and sounds like they are speaking in a warehouse.  Polycom may have a solution for this with a personal speakerphone.  While no speakerphone can eliminate room echo, road noise, HVAC noise and other noises, this may help.
  • Polycom HD Voice and industry-leading full duplex, echo cancellation
  • Polycom NoiseBlock technology automatically eliminates non-speech background noise
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • 4 microphones and 10-foot (3-meters) microphone range – 2 to 3 times more coverage than most personal speakerphones
  • Rugged and stylish cast aluminum case – won’t break like plastic speakerphones if dropped
  • Spill resistant – IP64 dust and water-resistance rated
  • Security cable included for fixed meeting room and huddle room deployments

It is waterproof too, rather coffee proof.

I asked for pricing and they said it will be released in 4Q.

 

iOS Game Platform 

Who knew that Jim Cramer is a gameboy.  Indeed he is and thinks that iPhone X is the next game platform.  Take a listen.
And, when you are really ready to get serious check this out.  As an Apple app developer, we are excited about new platforms for new realities.  However, the really real limitation is that we just converted to Swift4 and iOS11 and not matter how large your development team is – it is nearly impossible to keep UP much less DO more.
Bottom-line – Apple is a seriously great platform for nearly everything and as other devices and platforms may still have some presence. it is not realistic that developers will have any excess capacity other than to just develop them.

Gartner on UCaaS – Eye Test
Never been a big fan of research reports because I used to research and publish them. Research reports like Gartner, IDC, Frost and all the others are written by people who do not have to “do it.”  They sit in nice rooms and gather information and then write stuff that really doesn’t help people really implement anything.  It is amazing to me that CIOs look to Gartner and the reason is they do not trust their own staff to tell them the truth or frankly know what they are doing.  Sad but true.  The idea of some “pin chart”  will help anyone figure out why SIP trunk has only one-way audio is a farce.  Here for example is what they are saying about Microsoft:

CAUTIONS

  • The SfBO telephony capabilities lag behind most competing UCaaS offers, and Microsoft has been slow to advance this element of its portfolio. While there has been progress in the last year, Microsoft has also been slow to overcome some critical limitations, including limitations in the CCE product and SfBO APIs.
  • Microsoft’s advancement in the market has been hindered by its changing marketing messages to customers and partners about the roadmap for Skype. For instance, while the hybrid option can be more effective for many enterprise requirements, it may not be adequately promoted by Microsoft partners, which may instead recommend a rapid migration to a complete online solution.
  • Connecting users to a UCaaS solution via the public internet may result in poor performance for audio and video for some users and locations. To mitigate risk, customers should execute a network assessment as part of their SOF process.
  • Microsoft recently introduced its Teams workstream collaboration product that has overlapping communications functionality redundant to Skype. While integrating communications into Teams is part of Microsoft’s workstream collaboration strategy, this redundancy can create confusion with customers trying to understand the roles of Skype and Teams.
Click on the image to get the chart via 8×8 who I like because of all their technical expertise but there is much more on ATT, Google, Fuze, Mitel and others.  Interesting Vonage and ShoreTel were dropped – go figure.
Bottom-line – There must be a large enough market to support all these companies.  However, I know of another 20 that are not on this list and still seem to be thriving.  Clearly there is a nice road but running out of road always comes at the worst time even if it doesn’t curve and you run completely off it.

Facebook Business UC 

Building for People, and Now Businesses

This is from the WhatsApp blog, “Over 1 billion people use WhatsApp every day to stay connected with their family and friends, and over time, more people are using the app to communicate with businesses they care about too.

In fact, many connections are already taking place every day, whether it’s someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store. But the way this happens now on WhatsApp is pretty rudimentary. We’ve heard stories of shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone, and from people who are unsure about whether or not a business on WhatsApp is authentic. In the coming months, we’ll be testing new features that aim to solve some of these challenges, and make it easier for people to communicate with the businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp. Our approach is simple – we want to apply what we’ve learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses that are important to them.

We know businesses have many different needs. For example, they want an official presence – a verified profile so people can identify a business from another person – and an easier way to respond to messages. We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks. These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.
Whether someone is communicating with a business around the corner or around the globe, people expect WhatsApp to be fast, reliable, and secure. We’ll be listening carefully to feedback during our test phase and keeping people informed as we make these tools more widely available. It’s important that we get this right and are thoughtful about the new experiences we’ll provide for businesses and our users.”
Bottom-line – WhatsApp is on the rise while Skype seems to be slipping (see below).  Facebook took a page out of Microsoft’s “playbook” to destroy competition (WordPerfect, Novell, Lotus, etc.) by any means possible.   Facebook has two billion Facebook users to promote anything they want.  Gaining access to enterprise a long haven for Microsoft is vulnerable to many different types of attacks.  If MS cannot get Skype fixed and engaged with user again, the Facebook WhatsApp “Trojan Horse” is a game-changer they may not recover from.

Facial UC  
Finally, the end of passwords in theory if only all places where you have to enter a password would allow facial passwords.  This is a cool story on how KFC is using facial ordering.  Time for all UC providers to up their game in adding this to their feature sets.

Skype iOS Sucks  
Since Facebook is coming after Skype, you would think they would make major improvements in their apps.  I don’t have Android but below are also my feelings about the new UI and functionality on iOS.
Click on image and click on Reviews Tab to read all of them.  They are from 9/7 and you can see mainly one star.

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.

Really Real Presence  
This is a great read on the benefits of presence.  It’s really too bad that there is not one universal presence app that bridges the gaps in UC as UC applications are not the only way you want to show presence.

Turing Test 
Summer is often a good time to catch up on great reading  and while we are really too busy to read, reading on your iPhone is really great even at the DMV which I did yesterday.  Both books on Turing are great but the Copeland book is even better.  You really realize that many of you who are reading this would not be here at all except for what Alan and his colleagues.  Why you ask.  If they hadn’t broken then Enigma and other codes, WWII would have taken much longer costing millions of lives including my dad and his brothers who were all in Europe.  Anyway, great insights on computing, AI and the future even though he died 73 years ago.  Click on image for either book and see if you could pass your own Turing Test.

Securing the Internet of Things