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Special – Manager/Assistant Dashboard for MicrosoftSkype 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.
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.
Custom-Curated Newsletter Powered by IBM Watson
Accelerate Sales/Marketing Efforts
Evan Kirstel announces a new service to help you accelerate sales for your team and channel partners. I can create a custom curated and company focused newsletter delivering to you actionable information for your own sales team or channel partners. In addition, via my Twitter team and multiple accounts, I can push that out optionally to
up to 250,000 Twitter followers
to direct prospective customers to your CTA-call to actions, customer-closing content and landing page(s).
To create this exciting information, I use xiQ’s Marketing Intelligence Platform,
powered by IBM Watson. The platform is enterprise-wide and is applied to its global leadership, sales, marketing and industry business unit executives. By implementing the cognitive computing-powered xiQ platform, Genpact is now able to identify real-time market intelligence that further strengthens its ability to support client growth, efficiency and business agility.
Background – “Thought leadership is a key driver of Genpact’s ‘Lean Digital Transformation’ vision,” said Gianni Giacomelli, Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Product Innovation, at Genpact. “xiQ delivers real-time market intelligence to our leadership team,
reducing the time to process critical information while improving decision making. With xiQ, we have digitalized the process of keeping our teams on the cutting edge, winning customer confidence and driving business growth.”
xiQ’s Marketing Intelligence Platform leverages multiple IBM Watson Alchemy language APIs like Entity, Keyword, and Concept Extraction as well as Sentiment Analysis to help companies like Genpact analyze unstructured data from the Internet, social media and public records. This analysis, combined with xiQ’s other content marketing abilities, empowers sales and marketing teams with real-time insights that can improve engagement with customers and prospects. For example, by tapping into Watson’s Sentiment Analysis service, Genpact can analyze tweets and news from their clients, proactively identify their customer needs, personalize their engagement and enhance their customers’ experience.
Call or DM on Twitter to get started today and accelerate your sales efforts.
Hololens Adds Live Spectators
Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) to aid in the visualization of holograms that the wearer is seeing from a first-person perspective to connect the experience of someone wearing a HoloLens with that of an audience (whether that audience is 1 person or 100 people) and also allows you to see what the people wearing HoloLens are doing and how they are interacting with their mixed reality experience. Click on image for more.
Bottom-line – Cool idea love to get one.
As if the world needs yet another web conferencing service which is so overcrowded its hard to believe, Amazon never deterred announced their Chime service.
Here are the key features and pricing.
designed to help you run productive and efficient online meetings from your mobile device or your desktop. Meetings start on time, they’re easy to join with a single tap or click, the visual roster shows who is participating, and anyone can mute background noise. It’s easy to participate, and you can join from anywhere.
allows you to conduct video conference calls with a single tap or click. You can use video conferencing for up to 16 people on your desktop, or 8 people on mobile devices, with easy to see video tiles displayed on your screen. High-quality wideband audio and high-definition video allow you to focus on the conversation instead of straining to hear what is being said.
allows you to create Chat Rooms to easily bring groups of people together to work on projects. @Username mentions allow you to alert the right people in the room, and you can share files by simply attaching them to the conversation. Chat Rooms are available on all your devices, and chat history is searchable.
Presence uses smart presence to indicate your status, where green means you’re available, and red means you’re busy. You can also manually set your presence to indicate that you’re not available, or hide your presence status entirely.
Bottom-line – Amazon not always wins but they are determined so be prepared.
NecTECH: Nectar Assessment Partner – Know More Support More
Nectar Expands its Certified Advanced Assessment Partner Program with Learning Plan – click on image for website
As Doug Green Editor/Publisher of TelecomReseller once said, “you can’t sell what you don’t know.” Same is true in nearly every aspect of a business. You need to know a lot to support a lot and Nectar Services, an innovator in unified communications with their Unified Communication Management Platform (UCMP) that improves service delivery across integrated voice, data, video and application solutions by providing critical performance information to your executives and technical resources is bringing education certification to the UC industry.
Many UC platforms, including hosted UC providers are devaluing network assessments because they slow down the deployment and eliminate some of the end client budget that would go toward the hosted UC subscription. To articulate and quantify the value of having a qualified partner perform network assessments, Nectar created the Nectar Assessment Partner Program.
The Nectar Assessment Partner Program is a specific partner designation, indicating a partner is capable of:
- Selling the value of a Network Assessment
- Architecting a Network Assessment
- Deploying Perspective (Controller & Agents)
- Running a Perspective Network Assessment
- Interpreting the Outputs of a Perspective Network Assessment (Qlik-/RIG-based)
A Network Assessment Partner is a Nectar partner that:
- Has a planning and deployment practice for Avaya, Cisco, and/or Microsoft
- Has enough network knowledge to effectively assess a network and recommend areas of remediation
- An advanced Network Assessment Partner would have the ability to remediate for the customer.
- Has passed the Nectar technical and sales competencies
To earn the Nectar Assessment Partner designation, a partner must have at least 2 employees pass 5 courses with assessments:
Nectar 101 is introductory overview of Nectar, our solutions and the value we bring to the market. Specific topics covered include:
- Who is Nectar?
- Why Nectar? (solution value proposition)
- What is Nectar? (high level module overview)
Perspective 101 is an extension of Nectar 101 and provides more depth around the Perspective product and its value proposition to the market. Specific topics covered include:
- Terminology Review
- Component Roles
- Typical Deployment Examples
- Reporting Options
Perspective: Designing for a Network Assessment
Once someone understands the Perspective product, the first step in any successful assessment is an effective design. This course walks attendees through how to design a network assessment, especially within the context of Skype for Business Online and the Microsoft Skype Operations Framework. Specific topics covered include:
- Nectar Network Assessment Partner Program Overview
- Understanding the Network Assessment
- Understanding the Customer Environment
- Understanding the Topology
- Understanding the Sites
- Understanding the Users
- Understanding the Traffic
- Understanding the End State
- Designing the Perspective Deployment
- Reference Architectures
Perspective: Deploying for a Network Assessment
After the design has completed and validated, the partner can deploy the necessary components and run the network assessment. This course covers the practical aspects of deploying the solution and running a network assessment. Specific topics covered include:
- Deploying the Perspective Controller
- Deploying a Perspective Agent
- Configuring and Launching a Perspective Network Assessment
- Components of A Perspective Network Assessment
Perspective: Interpreting the Results of a Network Assessment
Any assessment is only really as effective as the results it produces, how those results are communicated the end client, and how those results drive effective remediation where necessary. This final lesson and assessment shows partners how to interpret the results of a Perspective network assessment in a way that is meaningful to their clients. Specific topics covered include:
- Review and Confirmation Configured Sessions
- Advanced Analytics
- RIG-based Reports
Nectar is a global market leader in providing the most comprehensive monitoring and diagnostics software solution for Unified Communication services, enables IT and operation organizations to proactively ensure the end-user experience. Its flagship offering, the Unified Communications Management Platform (UCMP), improves visibility and service delivery across integrated voice, video and data application solutions by providing unique and critical performance information. Nectar provides monitoring and diagnostics for millions of enterprise endpoints to over 1,400 enterprises in over 86 countries-including some of the largest global banking, search engine, service provider, healthcare, and manufacturing organizations in the world.
Bottom-line – Knowing what you are doing is more than a must-have for yourself it is something that customers rely upon to keep them in business, I applaud Nectar’s approach and educational leadership.
UCaas v. CPaaS – Horse OR Cart – Never Mind which Goes First
In a new white paper from Bandwidth.com, they push the CPaaS concept. UCaaS-unified communications as a services which is the term most often used for voice and multi-media cloud communications but as services turn-into platform maybe the term CPaaS will be accepted. As they define it, not me, Communications APIs, or CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) providers as they are known by some, are a cloud-based application layer that allows software developers to quickly and easily integrate calling, texting and other real-time communication functions into applications, using APIs. You can click on any image for their white paper.
CPaaS is entirely cloud based and software driven-catering to application developers and product owners who need to tap into today’s most exciting digital and mobile features without having to build or locate any of the physical network infrastructure. Communications APIs eradicate the need for users to communicate within channel-based silos for instant messaging, web conferencing, text messaging, voice calling and more.
A CPaaS offering can consist of a combination of REST APIs, developer support, sample code snippets, documentation and forums that let any developer incorporate communication-enabled features (voice & messaging) directly into applications. Some companies also offer software development kits (SDKs) and libraries for building applications on different desktop and mobile platforms.
Bottom-line – As the developer of many IoS apps, I find this concept intriguing yet find the issue as to when to build your own solution and possibly not integrate all the features which invite hacking, breaches and just plain dumb user errors. In either case you need good, no great developers for all the platforms such as IoS, Android, Windows, Web and others which is nearly impossible these days because just having an API is no panacea to getting approved by, for example, Apple which I know with long-experience can be quite difficult. In any event this is a cool idea worth considering.
IoT UC in the Enterprise – Security Planning
In a very well-research and complete paper on IoT. There are many UC elements involved in any IoT project. Click on the image for the complete text. In the meaning, here are few highlights. “Today’s enterprise IoT landscape is a crowded and potentially confusing mix of specialist service providers, enterprise technology companies, cloud providers, telcos and systems integrators. All are in the business of helping companies to integrate IoT devices with traditional enterprise systems via communications channels (usually wireless), gateways and custom IoT software platforms, with analytics and security baked in at multiple levels.
According to the 2016 Machina/TIA survey, enterprises currently tend to choose systems integrators as trusted IoT partners, followed by ‘IoT/M2M end-to-end providers using standardized cellular technologies’, business software platform companies and ‘IoT/M2M end-to-end providers that use low-cost proprietary networks and technology’.Together, these four categories of IoT solution provider account for three-quarters of the survey population (Figure E). Whatever species of IoT solution provider you are, there’s a multitude of technologies to master, some or all of which may be required in any given deployment. Gartner’s Nick Jones, for example, highlights IoT device management, low-power short-range and wide-area networks, IoT processors, IoT operating systems, IoT gateways, event stream processing, IoT analytics and data science, IoT platforms and IoT security tools.”
Here are some of the issues related to security and my own “design in” thoughts for security:
Security in IoT Deployment 1 – Make it a feature – design it in
2 – Don’t buy security through obscurity – design in real passwords
3 – Cheap insurance – design in protection
4 – Play hacker – design in the hacker will attack you
5 – Go for minimum – design in small removable components
6 – Check components – design in never-ending testing and cross system testing
7 – Plan for upgrades – design in test before every new feature
8 – Hardware – design in current and future changes
9 – Map system end-to-end – design in EOL-end of life
10 – Design in IoT “estate planning” – design in interaction with other non-IoT systems
Bottom-line – Design-in security at every step and in every way and then think beyond the IoT component “box” otherwise it just another disaster that at it’s worst could really kill people.
Skype in the White House
In another first for Skype, Sean Spicer the White House Press Secretary engaged a question from a reporter “virtual” via Skype. Maybe its time for you to setup your own press conferences and interactions using video with Skype especially for crisis conditions when you get “trumped.”
POTUS Cybersecurity Executive Order Draft
More bun than beef but worth a read. There is more to come but here are the highlights – click on either image for more:
Here are some highlights:
Bottom-line – Cybersecurity is not LaLa Land and saying something doesn’t mean it will give anyone insights into actions needed now or just early warning.
Going Insane or Serious about Building Scalable Video
Reading IEFT documents is always an interesting challenge. Often they are so obscure you have to read other IEFT RFCs to figure out what the one you are reading is all about. Building scalable video solutions is an enormous challenge. Even if you had all the same endpoints (devices) you will never have the same bandwidth to all locations or even a few much less reasons for the video conference to fail. Add in the plethora of emerged devices, your mind can easily go insane exploring all the different permutations.
Here are excerpts from the IETF on video multicasting.
Selective Forwarding Units (SFUs) supporting Scalable Video Coding (SVC) typically parse the RTP-real time protocol payload in the forwarding plane, and often utilize same codec-specific control messages within the control plane. As a result, the control and/or forwarding planes of these implementations need to be modified called transcoding (encoding and decoding) sometimes substantially in order to support additional video codecs. With SFUs now supporting the VP8 CODEC in addition to H.264/SVC, and with additional video codecs expected to become popular, the inflexibility of SFU designs that depend on RTP payload parsing has become increasingly apparent.
The document goes on to discuss the concept of the MCU-multipoint control unit. The IEFT doc suggests a selective forwarding device which has been developed for videoconferencing systems in conjunction with, and to capitalize on, scalable video coding as well as simulcasting/multicasting. In both scalable coding and simulcast cases the video signal is represented by a set of two or more bitstreams, providing a corresponding number of distinct fidelity points.
Dialogic explained an MCU this way.
The MCU is where the audio/video streams from the different clients are sent to this central media server for processing. For instance, for a video conference call, the MCU media server receives the video stream, decodes the stream, tiles the decoded frames with the streams from other participants, and then encodes the tiled video to send it back to the participant assuming the same CODEC on each endpoint. Using the MCU topology architecture simplifies the stream the client will need to send and receive and reduces the number of streams to just one.
In other words, a key benefit of the MCU topology is that it shifts the processing of the encode/decode (transcode means different CODEC) from the client into the server, often as part of a cloud service. Dialogic says that for large user video conferences, an SFU approach is needed. However, it means every participant in the conference need to use the same codec (that’s not realistic).
In addition, the multiple streams being routed/forwarded by the SFU to the WebRTC client can cause increase in downlink bandwidth, thus
causing increased decode processing (yielding to likely poor user interaction).
Next Generation Hybrid-SFU/MCU
Here are three key points and benefits of a hybrid solution:
Thanks for the help from Alan Percy of Dialogic and click on image for complete Dialogic White Paper.
1- The hybrid-SFU/MCU topology allows for the media stream to be delivered based on the preference optimized for the individual client/endpoint (mobile, web, etc.). WebRTC clients capable of handling multiple streams with no restrictions on bandwidth or compute, the media server can deliver forwarded different routed video streams.
2- Most importantly, the ability to transcode (change from one CODEC to another) individual streams while leaving all others to be forwarded/routed eliminates the least common (same) codec issue of SFU.
3 – Additional performance capabilities can be utilized from by the media server which can also use the application server’s business logic the most flexibility in delivering a scalable, reliable, feature-rich service.
Bottom-line – Building complex large scale interactive or even broadcast video conferences or streams is today a must-have solution for an increasing number of business, consumer and education settings. Using a MCU to help manage and mitigate all the disparate bandwidth, CODECs, endpoints and other issues can enhance the performance and quality of the user experience.
IBM Seriously Smart UC
IBM and Genband are really full-on with global UC solutions delivery. Here are a few excerpts from their announcements and links to IBM solutions. They offer to:
– Build on an open, cloud-based mobile collaboration platform designed for hybrid cloud, so you can integrate existing investments. Deploy it recognizing that mobile is how most people today interact with each other and with content. And ensure that your apps don’t just work-they should work even better together.
– Integrate data sources and conversations from virtually everywhere. The right open platform makes it easier to integrate existing technology and data from across and outside the organization. Create a smooth experience regardless of channel or the repositories you use, and enhance context, interactions and decision-making
with outside expertise and data sources such as insights from the weather, medical research or social networks.
– Apply a cognitive approach to high value business activities. Prioritize content and conversations to orient people to what matters most to them. Use natural language and mobile interaction capabilities and extend cognitive functions to your most pressing professional and organizational challenges. Deploy teaming applications and enhancements that understand, reason and learn across the spectrum of individual and team workflows.
– Enable cognitive computing features in your app using IBM Watson’s Language, Vision, Speech and Data APIs.
Bottom-line – Few remember that IBM made and sold PBX’s in Europe in the 1970s and now they are expanding their breadth and depth with complete UC solutions with help from Genband and others. More choices, more approaches to UC are needed and Watson brings cognitive expert systems within the reach of any user.
Unblocking Office Communications – Nice Idea Yet Another Sales Pitch
Always interested in what others have to say though rarely agree with any of them for all kinds of reasons. Primarily they lack objectivity or scope/scale or others. More often like this new one from Microsoft starts off in a good tone but then is really yet again just a sales pitch. The problem of blocked or clogged corporate communications is very real and has been since the days even before PCs (and I know for real too).
Here is a summary of the Five Issues in the Microsoft White Paper:
Collaboration Block 1 – Lack of version control – Solution – Secure cloud-based file
Collaboration Block 2 – Meeting inefficiencies – Solutions – Reliable meetings, messages, and screen sharing
in a single app
Collaboration Block 3 – Access for all team members – Solution – A central, secure space for team
messages and files
Collaboration Block 4 – Working in silos – Solution – A social network for work
Collaboration Block 5 – A disorganized, inconsistent set of apps – Solution – A productivity suite
Click on the image for the White Paper and here are more details:
Collaboration Block 1 – Lack of version control – Solution – Secure cloud-based file
Without real-time file-sharing technology, employees’ workflows are compromised.
– Sharing attachments via email wastes time.
– Multiple revision rounds lead to endless versioning of a document.
– Files are easily misplaced, lost, or overwritten.
With Office 365, you and your employees can:
– Access documents anywhere, whether online or offline.
– Collaborate in a single document that’s always up to date.
– Seamlessly share large files.
– Use built-in chat functionality to discuss edits within a document.
– Control permissions of contacts inside and outside the company.
Collaboration Block 2 – Meeting inefficiencies – Solutions – Reliable meetings, messages, and screen sharing in a single app
Ideas developed by teams of 3 or more people have 156% greater appeal with consumers than those developed by teams where just 1 or 2 people have played a
With Skype for Business, your teams can:
– Text, meet virtually, and call across devices, with VoIP and PSTN.
– Reduce travel using audio, HD video, and web conferencing.
– Reach out to team members with Skype Meeting Broadcast.
– Engage your customers using Skype in your web pages and app
Office 365 helps make meetings more efficient by equipping teams with Skype for Business so they can hold rich video calls, share content, collaborate in real time on files, and record meetings if needed.
Collaboration Block 3 – Access for all team members – Solution – A central, secure space for team
With Office 365, you and your teams can:
* Create a shared space for team communications and sharing.
* Use mail, calendar, files, and notes in one place.
* Get access on mobile, web, or desktop
Collaboration Block 4 – Working in silos – Solution – A social network for work
Bring the open, conversational nature of a social network into the office and put it to work. With an enterprise social tool, employees across the organization can find and connect with colleagues working on shared topics of interest.
With Yammer, you can:
– Foster open discussions with the group feed.
– Tap into collective knowledge with search and discovery.
– Crowdsource ideas and share best practices across the organization.
– Get the pulse of your company using polls, praise and follows
Collaboration Block 5 – A disorganized, inconsistent set of apps – Solution – A productivity suite
Organizations use an average of 730 cloud-based applications. With Office 365, you and your colleagues can:
Get smarter email and better calendaring with Outlook.
* Create, share, and find content with Office and OneDrive.
* Call and meet with Skype for Business.
* Connect with Yammer, the social network for work.
* Know their assets are backed by Office 365’s security and compliance standards (regardless of which application they use).
* Run applications with ease with Office 365’s 99.9% uptime guarantee.
* Easily move across applications with a single sign-on approach.
Bottom-line – I got sucked into this white paper believing there would be objectivity and an open mind or view of the issues which indeed are really real. Alas, at the end it was just another terrible sales pitch.
Chatbot UC and AI?
Chatbots are increasingly a must-have for apps and nearly all other forms of UC. 7×24 hired Forrest to do an indepth report on this key and is a great read for understanding what and how chatbots can be used. The report lead by – What’s a chatbot? A chatbot is a conversational interface – voice, images, or text – that streamlines tasks by allowing users to engage naturally through language. Enter chatbots: programs with the potential to offer more natural ways for consumers to access services. Most bots aren’t ready to handle the complexities of conversation and still depend on human intervention to succeed. Successful chatbots depend on core technology such as natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – aided by thousands of iterations to drive learning. The following chart outlines key features, goals and concepts. Click on either image for the complete report.
Bottom-line – This report is too deep to really summarize easily nor for you to understand the impacts should it be. Chatbots will part of your future, this report will be a great help to you in your learning process.
Six Core Concepts for Social Media Influencer Program & Webinar
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:
– 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 igno
re 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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 email@example.com 303-594-1694 to get started and be ready today.
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.
MS Teams in a Contact Center
As a long-time fan of Matt Landis one of the really great MS MVPs but also great thought leader in UC I get his newsletters and found this particularly interesting. He wrote
– With Skype for Business Cloud PBX, members of a Microsoft Team can be used as the Call Agents in a Call Queue (Preview at this time). This means if a Microsoft Team contains the members you want as Call Agents in a Call Queue,
just assign the Microsoft Team as the “Call Agents” in a Call Queue and you are done! Talk about integration. Talk about setting up groups one time and reusing them! I’m impressed.
Click on image for complete article and job aid.
Rightsizing Video Conferencing
Right-sizing video is like finding one shirt that fits all – never happen. Video conference rooms rather video interaction needs to be adaptable to user needs rather than one video conference room to fit all of us – never happen. If I am critical of ALL the video conferencing providers is it because they still miss the point about video conferencing – show the problem, not the people.
Look at these pics with outside windows — are they clueless?
Another with bad lighting and out of focus users – remember people look bad on video and bad lighting doesn’t encourage them to do more.
Lifesize has added more features to their technology portfolio. Here goes.
With Lifesize, Skype for Business users can:
– Make and receive video and voice calls directly with Lifesize conference room systems
– Call into a virtual meeting room and connect with guests outside of your organization on voice or video
– Call into a virtual meeting room and connect with any third-party standards-based (H.323/SIP) conference room system
– Share your screen to and from Skype for Business with the conference room and outside guests on Lifesize
The Lifesize App is available on browsers (Chrome®, Internet Explorer® 11), desktops (Windows®, Mac®) and mobile devices (iOS, Android™), empowering guest users to easily communicate even if they don’t use Skype for Business.
Schedule calls with your colleagues via the Lifesize Outlook Add-in, which automatically populates the instructions for joining the Lifesize meeting.
– Synchronize meeting room calendars (Microsoft® Office 365 or Microsoft® Exchange Server 2013) with Lifesize® Icon™ conference room systems to display upcoming meetings on-screen and join from Lifesize Icon or Lifesize® Phone™ HD via the touchscreen interface.
– Add Lifesize Icon conference room systems to your Skype for Business contact list to enable quick access to commonly used meeting rooms.
– Add more scalable, interoperable virtual meeting rooms to complement your Skype for Business environment.
– Empower users to invite outside guests to join via Lifesize through the technology of their choice.
Lifesize adds to the capabilities of Skype for Business by providing:
– Direct calling between Lifesize Icon conference room systems and Skype for Business users on their desktops
– Lifesize pan, tilt and zoom HD cameras in combination with advanced beam-forming microphone array technologies and an easy-to-use touchscreen user interface, creating a superior quality of experience that’s only achievable with a dedicated conference
– Various presentation layouts and the ability to view more video participants on screen with up to 50-way group calling.
Bottom-line – more tech features does not solve really real human communications it just makes it worse.
FonComfort and QuickLink Upgrades
The following new functions and improvements have been added :
FonComfort Professional 2.8.0
– Improved search while transferring: Now lists the most called contacts including 1-click dial function
– Suppress second calls when you are already dialing a number
– FonComfort client now automatically reconnects after losing connection (e.g. notebook in WiFi)
– During transfer, the call window of the called person shows the forwarding person
– Ongoing calls can be expanded to a three-person conference
– DTMF dialing after setting up the connection (e.g. PIN input for accessing a web conference)
FonComfort QuickLink 2.6.0
– Make calls on behalf of others
– Ongoing calls can be expanded to a three-person conference
– FonComfort client now automatically reconnects after losing connection (e.g. notebook in WiFi)
For a demo of either product, click here to email:
Skye for Business Front-end and PanTerra Back-end
In an interesting twist on UC, WorldSmart’s Skype for Business plugin (S4B plugin) extends PanTerra’s ultra-reliable telecom service to customers who are Microsoft-centric on the front-end, using WorldSmart’s ultra-reliable, telecom back-end infrastructure to communicate with the Skype for Business client. The S4B plugin functionality includes:
– Ability for users to leverage the ultra-reliable WorldSmart back-end service to make and receive calls directly from the S4B/Skype interface.
– Ability to have multiple active calls ongoing simultaneously. Place active calls on hold, make additional outbound calls, receive multiple incoming calls. Active calls can be transferred (blind or supervised) or conferenced together with a simple click of a button.
– Allows calls to be made or received from ANY device (built-in softphone, registered IP phones and even smartphones/cell phones).
– WorldSmart real-time call presence to the S4B presence engine.
– Softphone dial pad and direct Skype contact call action for direct outbound dialing.
– Universal search box allows direct searching and calling of Skype contacts by name or number.
– Recent events window with active and historical calls.
Here some additional benefits:
– CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE PanTerra’s cloud infrastructure significantly reduces costly capex and maintenance contract costs with maintenance-free cloud technology that is ultra-reliable, secure, scalable and globally consistent.
UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS Comprehensive hosted PBX with unlimited concurrent calling and advanced UC features built-in with full mobile device support.
– COLLABORATION/TEAM Interactive team collaboration made easy with a unified user interface for file sharing, instant messaging, presence, web meetings, and HD audio/video conferencing.
CONTACT CENTER Robust ACD queues with skills-based routing, supervisory modes, call recording, business analytics built-in, and support for mobile devices makes our contact center solution more responsive to customers.
– BUSINESS ANALYTICS 100+ customizable SLA/KPI performance metrics, real-time and historical monitoring and reporting, advanced notifications, integrated communications for instant corrective action. Support for mobile devices.
– FILE SYNC & SHARE
SmartBox combines HIPAA compliant enterprise file sync & share features with unified communications to deliver communications-enabled content management allowing you to share, communicate and collaborate all in one easy to use solution.
PanTerra CloudUC integrates with 3rd party applications and cloud services to empower them with unified communications capabilities. Make a call straight out of your Office 365 or Outlook contacts screen. Reviewing an email and want to call the send? No problem, click on the phone number in their signature block and the call is placed using CloudUC’s PBX functionality.
Bottom-line – PanTerra is making Skype for Business an even easier transition though would like to hear more about their PBX integrations.
IBM Sees Serious Spike in SIP Security Attacks – Get Seriously SIP Smart Before You Are Hit
IBM Security reports, “There are numerous protocols
used in voice-over-IP (VoIP) communications. According to IBM Managed Security Services (MSS)
data, the most targeted VoIP protocol is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which accounted for over 51 percent of the security event activity analyzed in the last 12 months. In actual attacks on VoIP communications, we note various types of disruption. Spikes in July and September were mostly the result of specially crafted SIP messages that were terminated incorrectly. Persistent, invalid messages are known to cause vulnerable servers and equipment to fail. The spike in October 2016 was largely influenced by SIP messages with invalid characters in the SIP “To” field. These could be reflective of suspicious activity, necessitating further investigation.” Click on either image for complete article from IBM.
Nothing to SPIT At
When it comes to unsolicited information, we’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with or
reducing email spam
in our inbox. But what about spam over internet telephony (SPIT), also known as VoIP spam? These unsolicited, automated phone calls made from internet-provided numbers are just as annoying as junk mail.
VoIP technology allows malicious individuals to conduct caller ID spoofing with minimal cost and effort. This enables attackers to obtain information or facilitate additional scams against their targets. A February report, for example, highlighted issues with certain VoIP phones that had insecure default configurations
, which allowed attackers to make, receive and transfer calls, play recordings, upload new firmware and even use victims’ devices for covert surveillance.
VoIP services are also subject to abuses such as toll fraud, which involves taking control of network access to avoid paying for telephone calls. VoIP phone consumers should avoid blindly relying on the manufacturer’s default security settings and use strong passwords.
An attacker can carry out a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack by flooding a company’s telephone service with thousands of junk calls per minute from automated IP dialers. A phone DDoS attack could cripple an organization that relies heavily on its phone systems. The method has even been used to prevent fraud victims from calling their banks
after large sums of money were stolen from their bank accounts.”
Be prepared for SIP attacks by being smart and having a SIP security plan. Here are just some of the 100+ compelling reasons for attending and achieving certification via the
Certification Corporation Certified SIP Professional program – Click on image for courses.
40+ SBC/Edge and SIP Trunking Security & Troubleshooting
1 – Calljacking*
2 – Jitter/echo
3 – Buffer overflow
4 – CODEC mismatch – asynchronous transcoding problems
5 – Audio – choppy, clipped, screeching, robotic, etc.
6 – VAD issues
7 – Noise – White/Pink/Brown
8 – Clipping and Dipping
9 – DSP – serialization
10 – Propagation
Others will be explained and explored in class.
*Like ABC News
story on NYT, HuffPost, Twitter are you prepared for DNS IP Highjacking SIP Calljacking attacks prevention, detection and recovery are presented.
52+ SIP Security Recommendations and Solutions to SIP Attacks
1 – Malformed message attacks
2 – SPIT-SPam over Internet Telephony
– Robocalling SPIT
3 – Memory “leak” buffer overflow attacks
4 – VOMIT-Voice Over Misconfigured Telephony
5 – DOS-Denial-of Service attacks (overload, part SYN, FIN)
6 – TDoS – Telephony Denial of Service attack
– Part of an extortion scheme
– Spoofed Caller IDs to hide their origin
7 – Eavesdropping
8 – Masquerading (Trojan Horses) as a phone, user, server, as a customer
9 – Media injection – insertion of audio/video (hate – xrated) into call flow
10 – SIP redirect – fork call forwarding to another location
Others will be explained and explored in class.
10 Business/Customer Reasons
1 – Increase the revenue “uptake” or performance level cycle
2 – Increase the speed of sale or implementation
3 – Provide a more comprehensive strategic view of project scope
4 – Reduce customer support costs
5 – Increase customer satisfaction
6 – Increase user service/product usability-acceptance
7 – Increase customer retention
8 – Demonstrates company commitment to education and professionalism
9 – Demonstrates career commitment
10 – Increase employer value to stakeholders
for more or call 303-594-1694 for registration in Boulder or inhouse class at your location. These courses are Made in the USA !
Facebook Takes on Contact Center Concept
There is no doubt that Facebook’s strategy along with Amazon is world domination. Facebook Messenger is used by probably a billion people a day and it is a great platform for video communications. Video is one of the best concept for selling or at least showing the concept even modeling how it might look like on you or your home or anywhere you are. Business Insider wrote a report for premium subscribers. Here are some of the highlights:
– Mobile messaging apps are massive. The largest services have hundreds of millions of monthly active users (MAU). Falling data prices, cheaper devices, and improved features are helping propel their growth.- Messaging apps are about more than messaging. The first stage of the chat app revolution was focused on growth. In the next phase, companies will focus on building out services and monetizing chat apps’ massive user base.
– Popular Asian messaging apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, and LINE have taken the lead in finding innovative ways to keep users engaged. They’ve also built successful strategies for monetizing their services.- Media companies, and marketers are still investing more time and resources into social networks like Facebook and Twitter than they are into messaging services. That will change as messaging companies build out their services and provide more avenues for connecting brands, publishers, and advertisers with users.
Bottom-line – What BI is suggesting is that video message apps with chatbots become the next middleware in customer contact center delivery. If you add AI-artificial intelligence rather expert systems, the interaction with real humans (read as high cost) can be mitigated, reduced and ultimately eliminated. In other words, there is a going to be a lot of apps and APIs between you and the product or whatever you want with as little human contact as possible.
Building Successful Social Media Influencer and CEO Leadership Program and more
– Influencer Marketing Program
– The New Social Media Engaged CEO
– Tweet Meets – Social Lead Generation & Selling
December 13 – 9A Eastern & December 14 – 3P Eastern 30 minutes each.
1 – How to Build a Successful Influencer Marketing Program?
– Connections – create and connect with other social media influences – Curation – review and curate company content, provide guidance and enhanced thought leadership via influencer team – Content – turbocharge your content reaching hundreds of thousands – Collaboration – collaborate with internal and external social leaders – C-Level – assist and guide the CXO on their social media efforts along with gaining-retaining followers – Concerns – respond to concerns expressed by customers and build and monitor system for sales, support/service, IR/PR and compliance issues – 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 Real results for monitoring, managing and making the most of your KOL-key opinion leaders program.
2 – What Defines the New Social Media Engaged CEO?
– “The ultimate value of any CEO is the price of the stock and social media can impact that.” – CEO Scoreboard – CEOs are measured the number of followers they have. – “Consumers aren’t going to connect with a robot CEO”
3 – Tweet Meets – What Defines Social Lead Generation & Selling?
– It’s a “one-on-one” world – Marc Benioff CEO Salesforce tells why Twitter is #1 CRM for sales and support. – Twitter is a must-have for support and service but missing the point about sales.
way to meet new prospects and partners, it is
the way you run your company, department and maybe even your life.” More at evankirstel.com
– Tom Cross @techtionary
– content curator and developer, journalist, speaker and thought leader in startups, artificial intelligence and manages more than 20 Twitter accounts for more than 100K followers. “In building the CEO Scoreboard, you learn so much about how CEOs use and ignore social media guidance and customer engagement.” See more than 300 CEOs on Twitter Scoreboard at techtionary.com
Registration Attendance is by invitation-only and $99 and includes a private conversation to be scheduled at a later date. Please DM either presenter or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
CEO Twitter Scoreboard
What’s Your Score?
#1 CEO is Sir Richard Branson
John Legere said it best,
“Consumers aren’t going to connect with a robot #CEO.“
Jack Dorsey tells why CEO’s should Twitter, “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.”
Click on any image for entire list with “Star” Ratings and Twitter followers.
Microsoft Rooms Advance Meeting Tech
First, remember the comment, “it is the economy stupid.” In the case of telemeetings or room tech “it is the room stupid.” Fixing everything inside the room will not fix the room and therein lies so many problems – lighting, HVAC, noise, auto traffic and more. Second, there are so many article on “making meetings better” it makes your head spin. Yet none of them make a difference. The reason is simply that companies must provide “driver training” to managers otherwise as I have said before, “if you are boring F2F you will still be boring via teleconference and technology only makes it worse.” Meanwhile Microsoft is working on improving meeting tech, there are there projects in development.
To improve the meeting room experience, we are developing the following features to incorporate into customer products and services:
– Automated and integrated device provisioning, commissioning, and remediation.
– Collecting and warehousing both historical and real-time telemetry about meeting room devices, which we display end-to-end in OMS.
– Real-time device monitoring that incorporates alerts, alarms, and input from the IoT.
– A meeting health index, operational health index, scorecards, and diagnostic views that measure meeting experiences consistently across an enterprise.
– Unified management, reporting, and analytics tools for Skype for Business deployments on a single screen in the Office 365 administration portal.
Bottom-line – All good goals yet maybe work on environmental controls including those mentioned above would also be great, if not, must-have goals.
Broadsoft Jumps into Team Tech
Broadsoft never really has much of a public face as they provide the UC behind Comcast, Vonage Business and many other international VoIP provided but never less a real powerhouse in the UC business is bring out a team solution. I called and given that Broadsoft Connections next week they were a bit muted saying they will have something big to say, so this is all I have to write about:
BroadSoft Business can scale to all market segments, from large enterprises requiring a complete cloud solution for their mobile, multi-site workforce, to SMBs seeking enterprise-grade cloud capabilities without the cost and complexity of premise systems. BroadSoft Business includes three core applications: UC-One, Team-One, 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.
- BroadSoft UC-One – A mobile first unified communication application that extends across all of a business user’s preferred devices and delivers integrated HD audio and video, one number, messaging, screen sharing, file sharing, and conferencing, along with contextual intelligence.
- BroadSoft Team-One – A powerful team collaboration application that goes beyond today’s enterprise messaging applications by leveraging persistent team workspaces and contextual intelligence. Team-One places the tasks, files, messages and notes a business user needs in one place, along with video conferencing, click-to-call, screen sharing and integrations with over 50 popular business apps.
- BroadSoft CC-One – A cloud contact center solution that uses predictive analytics to lower operating costs and improve business outcomes, while enabling businesses to engage with customers from any channel they choose – voice, email, text, mobile, web, or social media – for a true omni-channel experience.
- BroadSoft Hub – An enterprise-grade cloud service that integrates with BroadSoft Business apps to provide contextual intelligence for real-time access to the information relevant to each interaction – making meetings and conversations more productive. At the same time, pre-built integrations provide quick access to a user’s favorite apps to accelerate workflow.
Built into BroadSoft Business are bOpen, bMobile and bSecure capabilities that can enable service providers to deliver carrier-class security and reliability; the openness for businesses to be able to integrate their favorite business apps (CRM, email, calendars, Twitter, etc.); and full mobility to connect advanced unified communication and collaboration (UCC) capabilities to a user’s mobile devices. As a multi-tenant UCaaS solution, BroadSoft Business can deliver significant cost and scalability benefits to both service providers and business end-users.
Bottom-line — As you can see I am really keen on team communications. For those who may have missed it, there are four types of human communications:
1:1 – email
1:X – distribution lists, newsletters, magazines
X:1 – group communications
X:X – bulletin boards
In other words, team communications fits into the X:1 category and an area which has been missing truly effective and efficient tools. Slack, MS Teams and now BS Team-One portend to help. There are all missing some key elements but will see if they can finally help streamline business task and communication management.
Click on the image for my books which all discuss this issue.
Microsoft Teams Sink Slack – 5 Tips for Teams
Historical Origins – Douglas Engelbart
If you thought this is all new – think again. Douglas Engelbart one of the greatest of all innovators and inventor of the mouse also built a team system. From our original research, “Augment was developed under Douglas Engelbart at Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s. Originally known as NLS (for oNLine System), Augment became the kernel of the worldwide ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). Augment is not a teleconferencing system in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, it is an extensive package for the joint processing of computer-generated text. Most teleconferencing systems are organized around communications requirements, but Augment is text-oriented. It was the designer’s intent to create a system that would take a computer terminal and change it into a tool that would “augment” the human intellect.
Back to the Future
Instead of overpaying for Slack, Microsoft does what Microsoft is good at seeing what others do and clone it and then beat their competition to the ground. Don’t believe me ask Novell, WordPerfect, Lotus and so many more. Slack actually got stuck in their own thinking they were the only game in town. Microsoft also has their huge almost infinite installed-base which they can use to their own gain. Here are some numbers:
– Exchange is the undisputed leader in corporate email and according to Gartner has “80 percent share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion.”
– SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
– Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
– Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
– Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.In 1982, I won a national award for this concept and so the idea has been around for a long time but Slack tapped into the core problem of email overload, team collaboration, group project management and more. Still true today but written 40 years ago, numerous studies, carefully executed over the past decade in both field and laboratory situations, have substantiated how teleconferenced or groupware meetings aka MS Teams are better from face-to-face meetings:
– Meetings are shorter, as people tend to concentrate specifically on the task at hand
– Meetings are more task-oriented
– Meetings are better structured
– Meetings are more orderly, even though less hierarchically organized and less status-oriented
– There is generally more equality of participation
– More opinion exchange occurs in teleconferences, and persuasion is more successful
– In a computer teleconference groupware collaboration, there is more time for reflection and thought
before the necessity for response and decision making. There is much more in the ebook – click on image for really understanding how to use MS Teams, Slack or another similar concept.Meanwhile, here is what MS saying, “Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.” Team collaboration is m
uch more however, it will take a lot more training which people have avoided for more than the 30 years since the writing of the book and will remain the bane of why meetings and meeting technology fail because people, for the most part are really dull and boring and they bring that to the meetings they attend or worse, run. Another key point is that “have you ever come away from a F2F meeting with entire different impressions to what occurred than your colleague.” How we each understand verbal communications versus how we interpret written language is another key benefit. The written word though certainly subject to interpretation such as what the Supreme Court and the legal system does also provide a system of legal argument and reference which is also useful in a business. In other words, the written word can transform space and time. Meeting content can be shared with those not in attendance or those new or need to be involved in the discussion.Groupware aka Computer Teleconference
Groupware is a term used for this concept as well as computer teleconference. There are many advanced of this concept. Members of a computer teleconference also have access to complete documentation of their common project. The host system software keeps track of who has seen what material through a “status” system. Thus, the progress of the conference can be tracked by any participant. In some systems, the status indicator notes the stage of the meeting.
Computer teleconferencing allows members to work privately, without formal scheduling requirements. Table 3-5 from the book was the result of research into better understanding the goals of management versus those of attendees. People can also pair off to work on portions of the main topic of discussion. In other words, there may be many ongoing “discussions” within a multi-topic computer teleconferencing system. Subconferences can be open to anyone with a password into the system or restricted to a specific group. The software tracks who belongs to which conference, and within each conference it logs who has seen which items. Computer teleconferences may contain text, numbers, graphics in any form. Content may range from items of general interest for a loose group of colleagues to the draft of a precise electrical specification.
Because any item can be a mix of text and programs (a program is, in a sense, a particular kind of text), one item can call up other text items or other software. By sharing, the individual user can easily integrate private work with that of others.
The underlying technology whether Teams/Slack or others doesn’t really get the heart of the problem. Both concepts are just like having Word or PPT but you need to know how to write or build a presentation for the tool to be useful.
Here are the 5 Tips though you really need more than these tips to be effective. Documentation, or typically lack of, is an important aspect of meetings, and computer teleconferencing systems decrease confusion over what occurred at the meeting by providing a verbatim transcript rather than a notetaker’s interpretation of what transpired in the conference. If clarification is necessary, it can be quickly accomplished by posing questions to individual members of the teleconference. It is also possible to review an earlier meeting. A computer teleconference can shape the decision-making process. Its structure sets out guidelines for approaching a problem as well as for logically channeling the users’ input along the way.
Precursor to AI-Artificial Intelligence
Our view is that the focus should not be on the artificial intelligence (Al) aspects of the computer, such as its capacity for data analysis and storage-the very aspects that “shape the image of the technology.” Rather, he believes, the appropriate metaphor is the one that considers computer teleconferencing an “artificial” model of normal human communication:
The interesting feature of “Al” is not the use of computer hardware, but the conscious construction of new programs and conventions by which to simulate familiar communications systems, and to make possible new systems not previously conceived.
Bottom-line – Slack was the startup that now finds itself in the “crosshairs” of Microsoft who though not always often can take a product concept and push it to the masses. I applaud Microsoft for this cool concept which I have been involved with for 30+ years.
Cognitive UC “Think”
IBM WOW-World of Watson hit like a hurricane with exciting new products, partner solutions and a new view of the way we about “think”
everything. Yes, that’s a picture of Thomas J. Watson along with his father built IBM into the powerhouse and the legacy lives in their namesake of IBM Watson.
One of the more interesting session was on Telecom. Without diving into all the terms cognitive computing is the most relevant to Watson and where AI-artificial intelligence is going. Cognitive computing was a top topic as IBM’s Watson took center stage on all kind of issues including unified communications. Yet what is cognitive computing? Here is one answer – Cognitive issues are similar to the physical issues; they relate to the integration of complex symbols, language, visuals, and other fuzzy factors. The integration of historical influences with genetic characteristics also takes place on the cognitive level. In machine terms, the influences are not only historical but also futuristic, and include the ability to imagine future situations, not only as an extension of known facts but also as a projection of the unknown. If you thought this would be easy. It is not. Nor is any part of AI-artificial intelligence. Watson is a “work in progress” or always “under construction” as humans we are never satisfied to know what we know; we always want to know more. This means Watson is going to have to run to keep up.
As Quincy Allen CMO of IBM Cloud noted, “World of Watson spotlights the future of cognitive computing. But cognitive apps are here. They’re delivering powerful insights and amazing experiences, on IBM Cloud. Take the Seiko M-Tracer Golf Swing Analyzer, an app that connects with IBM Cloud to let golfers immediately analyze performance data like attack angle, club path and club head speed. Or take the app Walk and Explore New York, a personalized tour guide that customizes an itinerary just for you. If Watson predicts bad weather will affect your trip, it will automatically adjust your itinerary.”
Automate customer interactions
Watson and really any form of AI is really hardly more than asking Siri or any other voice AI app where should you go for dinner. However not knowing that you hate Italian, it would like suggest a place you would not go to. However, here is a bottom-line bot — Create a bot powered by natural language understanding in minutes, then deploy via multiple channels and devices, such as messaging platforms like Slack, mobile devices/SMS, and even physical robots. In other words, Watson is a co-pilot not a pilot for your work. AI bots and the like will learn from you and then be more help with the range they know about. They like humans are not psychic so don’t expect them to do things they don’t understand when often you don’t understand them either.
Bottom-line – Watson isn’t the only technology that IBM and others are working on. It’s a vast array of issues and there will likely be millions of apps (maybe a few less) to solve even the smallest problem in your daily life. Here is a roadmap of what IBM is up to.
Denial of Service Attacks DDoS Simplified
Yes, DDoS-Distributed Denial of Service attacks are on the rise largely due to the press and politics driving hacking of the Democratic National Committee reportedly but not confirmed by unknown and unnamed Russian attackers. However, they are coming to your website so you need to know what they are and have a plan not just to respond but thwart them before they start.
Here’s the basics. TCP sets up with the Destination Port number via SYNchronizes the connection, manages the transmission of data sending SEQuences (parts), sends an ACKnowlegement to confirm receipt of data and when FINished disconnects the session.
Here’s a self-repeating view of the complete process. This explains the TCP set up process, how firewalls provide TCP port filtering, the TCP “sliding window” process and TCP FINish. Click on the image for an animated tutorial.
The remainder of this tutorial explains the consequences of hacker attacks. Hacker comes from the term hack which is slang that software programmers use to describe writing computer programs. Cracker comes from safe/vault crackers to break/crack into a vault safe. White Hat Hacker is a good or trusted programmer and Black Hat is a bad or untrusted disgruntled person whose desire is to cause injury or disrupt computer systems. Grey Hat is a programmer of uncertain intent.
Hacker sends TCP-Transmission Control Protocol SYN-Synchronize message from a friendly site or “spoofed” with internal IP-Internet Protocol Address.
If target site is 18.104.22.168, hacker may send 22.214.171.124.
In other words, hacker(s) appears to be internal or friendly users.
DOS-Denial Of Service begins with a hacker who sends TCP-Transmission Control Protocol SYN-Synchronize message from a friendly site or “spoofed” with internal IP-Internet Protocol Address. If target site is 126.96.36.199, hacker may send 188.8.131.52. In other words, hacker(s) appears to be internal or friendly users. Target (victim) responds with TCP ACK-SYN ACK-Acknowledgement – SYN-SYNchronize message. In other words, target (victim) treats hacker as a friendly visitor or internal user. There is typically a 40 second window while the receiver (victim) waits to receive an ACKnowledgement from the sender. This is a normal TCP process while the receiver waits to begin data transmission. During this time, up to 8 sessions can be created. If more than 8 sessions are created, then blockage occurs. The sending of multiple TCP-SYNchronize messages is often called SYN-Flooding or DoS-Denial Of Service. NOTE: Newer systems support more than 8 sessions and the wait window is often shorter.
In some cases of DoS-Denial of Service the target victim is bombarded with ping reflections from all the systems at the directed broadcast address.
The result is that not just one system but two or more systems may be attacked.
This is also called DDoS-Distributed DoS.
Too many simultaneous requests can cause system failure and/or users cannot get access causing DENIAL OF SERVICE.
IoT Driven DDoS Attacks
In simple terms, here’s how your cable modem, baby monitor, IP video camera, WiFi coffee makers or other devices often referred to as IoT-internet of things can be used to accelerate DDoS attacks. Hackers use “brute force” attacks on these devices which often have weak passwords such as password123, cable123, etc. By trying again and again, hackers try thousands of passwords until they get access. Once they get access they can use these devices just like your PC to attempt to access a victim website. Doing this with thousands of other devices, they attempt or succeed in blocking one or even thousands of websites. There are many approaches you can use to possibly prevent them such as honeypots and other diversionary approaches. It is way beyond the scope of this tutorial to suggest all of them but be prepared especially as you put all your “eggs in one basket” with voice et al. on your internet circuits and you should be very ready for “calljacking” the insertion of unwanted, malicious and damaging content or redirection to other locations.
If you want to know more you will have to take the class to find out. Click on the image to get SIP smart.
Usually tech PR is just more “my tech is better than other tech.” However, as we move from just talking to chatting, video, multi-media, VR/AR and more we need to explore how rather than just using NLP-natural language processing to “parse” sentences, is understand what a dog rather than cat is, we need to know more about machine learning and understanding of visual content. Qualcomm says, “Moving video analytics processing from the server to the camera at the point of capture opens up a new class of ‘conscious cameras’ with tremendous benefits in terms of reduced data streams, better image recognition and immediate alerts and actions,” Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With advanced connectivity, and computing technologies incorporated into the camera right at the point of capture, we push more intelligence to the edge, allowing deep learning to support highly accurate object recognition.”
Qualcomm also has a video analytics manager API and connected camera Software Development Kit (SDK): A feature-rich set of camera processing and analytics software capabilities including multi-stream, overlay, video HDR, temporal noise reduction, low bit rate codecs, voice activation, face detection and recognition, intelligent motion detection and object tracking. With such intelligence on the camera, customers can move from expensive, server-based video analytics in the cloud to efficient camera-based analytics. By only streaming data when qualified events happen, the camera platform is designed to reduce network bandwidth requirements and help minimize cloud storage costs.
Note Qualcomm is not saying they have AI or even a camera but the processing power along with a SDK and Linux support to push data to an analytics data to an platform which could be developed into a AI knowledge system.
Bottom-line – Content management and deep understand of image meaning is a long way off because the AI system may see something but not understand the meaning much less what the meaning has to you or any one else.
IBM Push-SMS-Social Media Integration
This case study and Best Practices comes from a very interesting white paper from IBM marketing
and click on the image for the complete paper. While I like the paper in general, there are some specific which I have added at the end to reflect differences of opinion and real-live experiences. You can decide for yourself what works for you.
“Bridgevine, a reseller for cable and telecommunications companies, was challenged with prospective customers not following through with conversions – in this instance, calling in to the call center to schedule an installation appointment. So, the team decided to implement an automated email and SMS campaign with the goal of being more proactive. Bridgevine placed a short form including both email address and mobile number on its Time Warner microsite. If a prospect completes the form and opts-in to receive future. communications, but doesn’t immediately schedule an appointment, the individual is automatically placed into an automated re-touch program. In this program, the lead receives an automated SMS and email – both triggered via the IBM Marketing Cloud digital marketing platform – upon submission of the form. The first SMS is delivered within one or two minutes of the form submission. The lead continues to receive automated SMS and email messages for up to three days, unless it becomes a conversion before then. If the prospect in the program calls to schedule an installation appointment, the IBM Marketing Cloud platform is tied to Bridgevine’s call center via an API, therefore automatically removing the prospect from the program. The program has resulted in a 300 percent increase in conversions, with a call-back rate of 33 percent. More than 30 percent of the prospects who provided their email addresses also opted in to the SMS program.
SMS Best Practices
– Promote SMS opt-in across key touch points, including email, POS signs, ads throughout stores or in mall locations, or on transaction receipts.
– Create exclusive content for SMS rather than regurgitating offers you’re communicating through other channels.
– As applicable, build basic SMS programs like Text to Join, Text for Info, Text to Vote, Text to Screen, or Text to Win.
– Engage in a two-way dialogue with customers via interactive campaigns designed to look for specific keywords and respond intelligently.
– Look for ways to integrate SMS into your existing automated campaigns to drive stronger response.
– Send transactional SMS or SMS reminders by leveraging APIs to allow messages to be sent from your own infrastructure.
– Review and analyze aggregate SMS campaign data and use this data to drive more relevant content in both SMS and other channels
Push Best Practices
– Tie mobile data to your users’ profiles to see who they are and how they’ve used your app.
– Leverage app interest data, app interactions, and even average order value to feed automatically into the cloud for a more robust view of your on-the-go audience.
– Achieve a truly closed-loop marketing strategy across all channels by integrating push campaign response information and in-app behaviors with other channel interactions and customer data.
– Send visually rich push notifications with video support to enhance the experience.
– Increase profit margins with targeted marketing actions like “quick click to purchase” or “set a reminder to buy.”
– Send targeted, engaging push notification campaigns that leverage each customer’s unique profile data from all channels, not just mobile.
– Create multi-step and cross-channel automated programs and campaigns for customers at each stage of the application lifecycle.
Social Media Best Practices
– Connect your social media engagement and publishing platform to your systems of record, enabling you to track the social behavior of leads that interact with your brand and use these insights in cross-channel digital marketing campaigns.
– Use social media brand pages and feeds to drive SMS opt-ins and mobile app downloads.
– Offer a social-sign option when contacts are registering/logging in, which reduces the friction on mobile devices.
– Employ social look-alike modeling to find new high-value prospects and advertise your mobile app and SMS programs to them, in addition to driving email opt-ins.
– Look for mobile-friendly social tools, such as Twitter Lead Generation Forms, which bring up a form already populated with the user’s social account data (name, email address, Twitter handle, etc.).
– Communicate social promotions in the in-app inbox of your app downloaders.
– Integrate social and mobile efforts into one coordinated, multichannel marketing effort.
In today’s landscape, there’s a good chance your customers are consuming social content on mobile devices. According to one study, 91 percent of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 used social networking on their phone, while 55 percent of those 50 and older had done so. Furthermore, integrating social media channels with your mobile marketing can give you the power to turn social insights into action by creating cross-platform dialogues, building stronger advocacy and improving loyalty.”
– Thanks to IBM for writing and researching this white paper. Indeed, they also spoke of omni-channel marketing coordination between different platforms. However, the real challenge is that each of them – SMS, push, social media and all the others have their own dynamics. That is, a blog post is different that a Tweet, SMS or push and the language used can be and should be different. Each should be used for its function and that means a person must decide what is pushed, texted, tweeted, blogged, etc. Do you see the problem? When you add in location marketing like “we see you are in aisle 5 would you like to buy ….” or “if you come to our store instead we will give you 20% off on anything you buy.” The permutations and content message options are boggling. Adding in cultural and even geographic language issues one need be very careful to engage, not alienate. No doubt a cloud platform is a must-have and even IBM Watson might be helpful, however, this is where AI
(read my book) will likely fail us and in our marketing efforts as purchasing habits will always be personal and ever-changing.
IBM Analytics Podcast
5G, augmented reality, virtual reality-we live in an always-on universe that can’t feed appetites for information fast enough. What consumer insights can telecommunications providers gain and act on from studying subscriber behavior? In this podcast, influencer Evan Kirstel touches on the digital transformation that is required of communications service providers (CSPs) in this new data-driven world of marketing. From adopting new technology to reforming institutionalized thinking, he sets up to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Some of the questions we discussed:
- We’re truly in a golden age for the industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down. When we think about innovations like 5G, fiber, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), how do you see these technologies feeding consumers’ insatiable appetite for content across all available platforms and devices?
- The constant streaming and collection of data fills a constant pool from which artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can draw actionable insights. What do these changes mean for the future of telecommunications?
- Now, all complex systems such as what we see around the world in telecommunications eventually suffer outages, breakdowns or worse, especially as they are challenged by increasing consumer demand. How can companies proactively stay ahead of these challenges to reduce churn from fickle customers who will switch providers in the blink of an eye?
Bottom-line – It is a interesting podcast filled with lots of cool quotes.
| Blockchain: The Future of Democracy In Technology
This week I had the opportunity to attend the Blockchain World Congress in NYC, focused on the underlying technology behind Bitcoin which has the potential to be one of the most exciting technological advances of this century.
Blockchain is disrupting the financial sector and has the ability to disrupt all major markets, including supply chain, logistics, retail, legal, entertainment, energy and power, and many more.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network where data is processed, validated, verified, secured at each step or peer rather than a single administrative authority. Each transaction is passed along from one peer to the next which can data is validated and then pass along until it reaches the receiver. This peering architecture is ideal for all kinds of business transactions and encompasses IoT-internet of things where things which depend more on connecting with other peers than one authority.
However, blockchain technology remains nascent. During its ongoing rapid development, significant obstacles arise even as minor and major advances are being made on a regular basis.
Here are just a few of the many benefits:
– Reduce transaction processing time significantly
– Reduce risk of data and financial loss
– Reduce risk of data hijacking via public and private encryption
– Reduce administrative and overhead costs
– Simplification of business processes
– Improved scalability
– Allow for both public and private Blockchains
Nitin Gauer, Director of an IBM team helping make Blockchain real for business noted that banking and finance markets are driving adoption, removing key obstacles to adoption for other industries:
The distributed ledger technology is set to transform the financial industry and change the way banks conduct global payments. Moreover, it holds massive potential to change other sectors, such as retail, healthcare, agriculture, legal, and logistics.
Meanwhile investment in the technology is continuously growing as well. As of the first quarter of 2016, the investment in bitcoin and blockchain companies surpassed $1 billion.
Blockchain technology growth is accelerating because it based on a very simple concept of blocks of data connected via an ever-extending chain links which track and enforce encryption and security. Blockchain like any supply chain can take many forms and support any industry. For example, Bitcoin uses Blockchain (1) and in high-speed stock trading where security, performance and reliability is also vital, NASDAQ (2) is going to use “Blockchain technology to assist in expediting trade clearing and settlement from the current equity market standards of three days to as little as ten minutes. As a result, settlement risk exposure can be reduced by over 99 percent, dramatically lowering capital costs and systemic risk. In addition, this technology could allow issuers to significantly lower the risk and the administrative burden of what is largely a manual and multi-step process today.” Another example is in health care and research where trust in research is often and should always be verified. As researcher put it, Blockchain is a “tamper-proof public ledger” which all can access and once data is entered into the ledger is nearly impossible to tamper with. The authors also noted, “we confirm the use of Blockchain as a low cost, independently verifiable method that could be widely and readily used to audit and confirm the reliability of scientific studies.” (3) The authors went on to demonstrate an example where the cost was free taking less than five minutes to complete and verified as accurate. (3)
The Linux Foundation is spearheading the development of “open standards” approach to Blockchain called the Hyperledger Project to create an open standard for distributed ledgers for a new generation of transactional applications. With more than 80 major companies as members and more joining weekly, Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, commented about Blockchain, “Peer-to-peer in nature, distributed ledger technology is shared, transparent and decentralized, making it ideal for application in finance and countless other areas such as manufacturing, banking, insurance and the Internet of Things.” The Hyperledger Project will address “cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers.” (4)
Here are, among other things, some key points of Hyperledger:
– Peer-to-peer networking
– Distributed “ledger” technology
– Open source
– Establish means for trust and transparency
Chris Ferris, IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO Open Technology, and Technical Steering Committee Chair, Hyperledger Project, noted “By providing a community for members to collaborate and contribute to an open source Blockchain solution, we’re able to advance the technology collectively and ultimately drive quicker adoption and higher value across industries.”
However, before you think everyone is onboard with this issue, Blockchain will take enormous education and integration with legacy enterprise IT systems whether they be financial or an industry. If you want to get involved, jump in and join Hyperledger Project”
Blockchain is an exciting new approach to democracy in technology from devices, systems and authorities to collaborate on “open source” standards as well providers to build into viable business solutions which users can trust at a very low cost.
(1) Bits on blocks – https://bitsonblocks.net/2015/09/09/a-gentle-introduction-to-blockchain-technology/
(3) How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866630/
(4) Open Source Blockchain Effort for the Enterprise http://www.telecomreseller.com/2016/04/20/open-source-blockchain-effort-for-the-enterprise/
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