Avaya Offering Free Emergency Communications for Irma. Money Grab or Smart Business?

thegrinch

Avaya – extremely heartless or extremely kindhearted?

Avaya made news with their latest offering to victims of Hurricane Irma, but is it good news or bad? No one wants to see victims of natural disasters taken advantage of like those people price gouging bottled water during the Florida evacuations. That’s just adding insult to injury. As Americans we are great at coming together to help our fellow citizens in times of need. Today’s question is now whether Avaya is looking to lend a helping hard or take advantage of the victims of Hurricane Irma? According to the Historic City News, they’ve been informed that

whether your agency is a customer of AVAYA, or not — Avaya is offering complimentary technology support, including additional licenses and telecommunications assistance, as Florida prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Harvey had devastating effects in Louisiana, and Texas. Hurricane Irma could have devastating effects across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Continued communications are essential to all organizations but many companies and their employees have had their telephone service interrupted or cannot come to the office to work. Source: Avaya Offers Free Emergency Communications



When you read the entire statement, it truly looks as if Avaya has nothing but the best intentions at heart for offering this program.

“Our team lives here in Florida and we want to do our part to help with the recovery efforts to get our state back up and running,” an AVAYA company representative told Historic City News. Source: Avaya Offers Free Emergency Communications

Bravo Avaya!

leo-cheers We all know “the show must go on”, so for a lot of business affected by Irma ,it’s now time to re-build and get back to the day to day duties of business. One of the major keys to doing that is being able to communicate and staying connected. So during a time of emergency when some people were charging $99 for a 24-pack of bottled water, that was selling for only $9.99 a week prior, Avaya is stepping in to help get communications up and running for those hit hard by Irma’s destruction. Bravo Avaya, Bravo! What do you think? View our Industry News section for more stories about Avaya and other telecom news.

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Could ShoreTel acquire 8×8?

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There’s an unidentified source claiming that:

8×8, a VoIP and cloud service provider focused mainly on business customers, is considering selling the company amidst a growing wave of consolidation in the telecom service provider industry segment. Citing unnamed sources close to the company, Reuters reported that 8×8 has been consulting with Morgan Stanley to gauge the interest of other similar companies and private equity firms.

Report: VoIP, cloud provider 8×8 considers a possible sale | FierceTelecom

Why would ShoreTel even be interested? Well, besides the obvious,

ShoreTel and Vonage have been aggressively expanding their reach via acquisitions. In 2015, ShoreTel acquired Corvisa, a provider of cloud-based communications solutions, for $8.5 million, enhancing its unified communications capabilities.

Report: VoIP, cloud provider 8×8 considers a possible sale | FierceTelecom

With Vonage being just as aggressive, I’m sure they would also like an opportunity to do the same, assuming the claim is true. They’ve purchased four companies themselves, Nexmo, iCore, SimpleSignal and Telesphere.

Visit us here for more on ShorTel business phone equipment and  news

 

ShoreTel Looking to Recover Now that It Is Oversold, Can It?

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There is now some hope and optimism that ShoreTel (SHOR) . Over the last 60 days it has been on an upward trend.

The reason is that ShoreTel’s RSI reading is 28.49. What is RSI?

According to NASDAQ.com

RSI stands for ‘Relative Strength Index’ and it is a popular indicator used by technically focused investors. It compares the average of gains in days that closed up to the average of losses in days that closed down; readings above 70 suggest an asset is overbought, while an RSI below 30 suggests undervalued conditions are present.

 

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Source: http://www.marketvolume.com

 

That alone would suggest that there is light at the end of that tunnel. But couple that with a #1 Zack Rank and now things are starting to look much more positive for SHOR

If this wasn’t enough, ShoreTel also has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) which puts it into rare company among its peers. So, given all of these factors, investors may want to consider getting in on this stock now (or holding on), as there are some favorable trends that could bubble up for this stock before long.

Source: ShoreTel (SHOR) is Oversold: Can It Recover?

Visit us here for more information on Shoretel Business Phones

Cisco Welcomes The House Passage of the Email Privacy Act

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The House of Representatives unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act, a bill that would reform ECPA ( Electronic Communications Privacy Act) were it to become law on Monday evening.

What is the ECPA and why does it need to be reformed?

In the beginning, ECPA protected Americans’ e-mail from warrantless surveillance — despite ECPA allowing the government to access e-mail without a court warrant if it was six months or older and stored on a third-party’s server. The tech world now refers to these servers as “the cloud,” and others just think of Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook and Gmail.

ECPA was adopted at a time when e-mail, for example, wasn’t stored on servers for a long time. Instead, e-mail was held there briefly before recipients downloaded it to their inbox on software running on their own computer.

During the Reagan administration, e-mail more than six months old was assumed abandoned, and that’s why the law allowed the government to get it without a warrant. At the time, there wasn’t much of any e-mail for the authorities to acquire because a consumer’s hard drive — not the cloud — hosted their inbox.

Source: Aging ‘Privacy’ Law Leaves Cloud E-Mail Open to Cops

 

Now with the Email Privacy Act passed it should help to reform the most outdated elements of the ECPA.

In particular, it would newly require government agencies to obtain a warrant before seizing a criminal suspect’s online communications that are more than 180 days old. Under the ECPA’s existing logic, those older communications are considered abandoned, and thus not subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Source: Passing the Email Privacy Act Has Never Been More Urgent

Basically

The legislation would require authorities such as the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain a search warrant to access emails, data in cloud storage and other digital communications more than 180 days old.[4][5]

Under current law—the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986—authorities can obtain such data by issuing an administrative subpoena to an Internet service provider, without the need to obtain judicial approval.[4][5][6] The Congressional Research Service reported in 2015 that: “In recent years, ECPA has faced increased criticism from both the tech and privacy communities that it has outlived its usefulness in the digital era and does not provide adequate privacy safeguards for individuals’ electronic communications. In light of these concerns, various reform bills have been introduced in the past several Congresses…”[7]

The Email Privacy Act would codify as federal law the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in United States v. Warshak (2010). In that case, the Sixth Circuit held that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires that the government obtain a warrant before accessing emails stored online (e.g., in the cloud).[6][8][9] The Warshak ruling currently applies only to the Sixth Circuit; the Email Privacy Act would extend its rule nationwide.[6][8]

Source: Wikiepedia Email Privacy Act

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Cisco is firmly behind the Email Privacy Act and has stated publicly that they have

..long supported updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to better protect customer data and communications stored with third-party providers against unwarranted searches and seizures. We, therefore, applaud the unanimous voice vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) introduced by Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

This bipartisan legislation would require the government to obtain a probable cause warrant before demanding access to customer data in the cloud. We firmly believe that data stored in the cloud must receive equivalent legal protections against search and seizure to those accorded physical papers and electronic data stored on premises.

Source: Cisco Applauds Unanimous House Vote Passing Email Privacy Act

Today the house took a major step forward. Technology has made incredible advances over the years and it was about time the privacy laws catch up.

For more Telecommunications News click here.

Telecommunications Operators Get Customized Voice-Activated Digital Assistant from Nokia

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Engineers and telecom operators will soon have access to a digital voice assistant that was built specifically for them. Think of it just like you would Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri, except it’s strictly for the telecommunications industry.

Introducing the “Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant”, or “MIKA” for short, developed by Nokia.

Nokia has created a customized ‘digital assistant’ that will improve telecom operators’ efficiency by providing engineers faster access to critical information. ‘MIKA’ – powered by the Nokia AVA cognitive services platform and underpinned by Nokia’s services expertise – will provide voice-dictated automated assistance to reduce time spent searching information resources, enabling operators to focus on key business tasks without being distracted by the complexities of multi-technology network environments.

SourceNokia launches MIKA – the first digital assistant customized for telecommunications operators

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MIKA will help engineers and telecom operators access specific information and look up quick solutions to telecom-related problems, all based on the AI-driven network experience, and all done simply through voice commands.

Finding the right information is a daily challenge for telco engineers tasked with boosting network quality. MIKA taps into the power of the Nokia AVA platform to provide quick and accurate answers, avoiding time wasted on fruitless searches. MIKA is customized to support the specific needs of telecoms, and can deliver recommendations based on experience from networks around the world

  • MIKA – ‘Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant’ – aids engineers’ efficiency by providing voice-activated access to information
  • Powered by Nokia AVA platform, MIKA provides augmented intelligence and automated learning to access best practice
  • Nokia also introduces Predictive Repair, a Nokia AVA-powered service that forecasts potential hardware failures up to 14 days in advance

SourceNokia launches MIKA – the first digital assistant customized for telecommunications operators

One of the coolest things about MIKA is that it is supposed to be able to foresee network faults up to two weeks in advance with 95 percent accuracy, through the Predictive Repair service.

The MIKA is currently only available for telecom engineers, we’ll have to wait and see if they provide something for the general public.

If your headed to the Mobile World Congress, be on the look out, you might get to see it in action.

Visit us here for for more Telecommunications, Media and Technology News,

New Town Hall Phone System to cost $65K, too much?

business-phone-systems

In the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, MA. Their committee just voted in favor of upgrading their old, outdated town hall phone system that they are currently using.

Well, using is stretching it a bit. They’ve been having some issues with the phone system over the past year. Over the last few months they haven’t be able to receive any voicemails and the calls are then disconnected after a few rings.

Finance Director Jennifer Petit said because of the failing state of the town hall phone system, the town opted to bring an article to Town Meeting in April instead of waiting to fund the upgrades in November.

“The voicemail isn’t working, so we need to get this done right away,” she said.

Committee member Susan Smith suggested that the new system could be installed even sooner if the project were paid for with reserve funds. Ms. Petit said that would not expedite the installation, however, as a plan is still being worked out for how to switch out the existing system.

Committee member Peter J. Hargraves asked if the new system will be compatible with phone systems in other town buildings. Mr. Lowell said that it will, thanks to town buildings’ connection to the OpenCape network. The fiber optic network has enabled high-speed Internet connectivity. Voice-over IP operates over the Internet.

Source: New Phone System To Cost $65,000

The town hall manager, Julian M. Suso, felt that repairing the current phone system would have been “poorly spent” to try to fix the almost extinct phone system. The parts to fix the current system are not available anymore and any new parts would have to be installed.

falmouth-ma

They initially estimated funds to replace the old system be around $30,000 to $50,000. But the new number of $65,000 will cover the purchase of 90 phones and software for a VoIP system, at $45,000 and then the remaining $20,000 would cover the cost of wiring and installing the new system.

Their police and fire departments have already went through some upgrades to their phone systems, with the library slated for next on their list.

A VoIP system that costs $65,000 installed, is it worth it? Well. according to the people in Falmouth, absolutely! One of my favorite quotes from committee member Susan Smith was

“Ninety-year-old people don’t go to the website”

Source: Committee Insists On Fixes To Town Hall Phone System

No mention of the current system they were replacing after 15 years. What’s your best guess?

Click here for More Business Phone Related News and Tips

Avaya Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, What Now?

avaya-business-phone-systems

Avaya, after much anticipation, finally made it official by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

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Avaya is one of the recognized leaders in providing global solutions for customer and team engagement, business phone systems, unified communications, networking and a host of other telecommunications products.

The move was made in an effort to get out from under some massive debt. According to Avaya’s CEO, Kevin Kennedy:

“We have conducted an extensive review of alternatives to address Avaya’s capital structure, and we believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward at this time. Reducing the company’s current debt through the Chapter 11 process will best position all of Avaya’s businesses for future success”

Source: Avaya Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Protection

Now what does that mean for all the Avaya customers and partners? According to Phil Edholm, President and Founder of PKE Consulting, which consults to end users and vendors in the communications and networking markets, the outlook is a bit cloudy, but not too gloomy:

“Considering all of this, what does the bankruptcy mean for Avaya customers? Clearly, the path forward is now very cloudy (pun intended). However, I do believe that, regardless of the bankruptcy’s outcome, the Avaya businesses will go forward in some form and customers can be assured that their investments will continue to be supported and useable.”

Source: Avaya Bankruptcy: Good or Bad for Customers?

 

In fact it looks like only the US subsidiaries will be affected and it’s business as usual for the UK and the other foreign entities.

Avaya B159 Conference Phone 700501530

Ronald Rubens, VP of Avaya’s Europe North says he actually thinks it’s a good thing and not just business as usual.

“If we hadn’t got a bankruptcy protection then that would have meant our operation was compromised.”

Source: Avaya's bankruptcy protection is a 'good thing,' says Europe North veep

Avaya is hoping this will get them back on track. John Sullivan, CFA, VP and Corporate Treasurer, Avaya Inc. actually wrote an article addressing the move and how they arrived at chapter 11.

So even though this may look like it’s deja vu all over again, I’m thinking this time around, with the Nortel history as reference, Avaya should do fairly well after all the dust has settled.

And we are wishing them all the best.

Hospitality Industry – Top 10 Communication Trends in 2017

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If you’ve been inside of any hotel, motel or other hospitality business in the last few years you know that they are, technologically, light-years ahead of anything you parents may have booked back in their day.

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(Is this one of those “places” you can’t help believing? I don’t think so.)

Most now are great little hubs for activity ranging all the way from family-friendly vacations to business seminars, with the occasional night-club thrown in for the locals.

In order to stand out they are willing to do whatever they can to entice their customers. The folks at mitel created a cool post about the latest trends that will be coming to the forefront in 2017. If you aren’t aware of what they are, it’s a great idea to go check out that post and check out the link for an in-depth review of each trend and see how you measure up.

We’ve created a little graphic for those wanting a sneak peek:

rqcommunications-preview-20170127

Speaking of “back in the day”, here are some examples of some of the hospitality technology that’s still being used today. (and this was back in 2014!)

Visit this link for more information on the Hospitality Industry Technology and Telecommunications

Managing IT – One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost

managing-it-hyperconvergence-cisco

It’s probably safe to assume you know that managing information technology (IT) is a critical element of running a successful business.

When it comes to IT, one thing you might not be aware of is “hyperconvergence.”

In our fast-changing technological landscape, it’s not uncommon to encounter a word such as this and not be completely sure what it means. With many businesses implementing hyperconverged systems, let’s quickly understand what exactly it is.

Hyperconvergence defined.

During his time as Chief Technology Officer of UK-based VCE, Steve Chambers noticed that businesses were investing a significant amount of time, effort, and money into combining his company’s three products into what technologists call a “virtualization stack.” In other words, companies were buying computers, storage, and networking separately, then trying to bring it all together themselves.

Chambers helped introduce the term hyperconvergence to the industry in 2012, with the publication of The Infrastructure Continuum.

By combining the three products into one, he and his team thought they could provide better customer service while also making more money.

With hyperconvergence, IT departments purchase everything at once, saving the time and effort they originally put into combining everything. “In one server, you have network, compute, and storage, so it was hyperconverged, and that’s where the phrase came from,” says Chambers, who now serves as CTO of Viewyonder, a U.K.-based tech industry analyst.

Reducing inconvenience and cost.

IT teams consistently look for ways to simplify their infrastructure, not only to save money but also to make things easier for employees who always have overflowing to-do lists. Scott Lowe is CEO of ActualTech Media, an organization of industry experts who provide surveys, reports and blogs to IT professionals. He says hyperconverged products are a critical resource and by simplifying certain processes, professionals can concentrate on other areas that may have more importance.

“One of the primary goals of hyperconvergence is to eliminate the need for separate storage resources,” Lowe says.

And we’re putting that storage into the server container and managing that as a single device rather than multiple devices that we then have to go through and connect together. It eliminates a lot of the complexity and cost in the data center environment.”

For businesses interested in switching to hyperconvergence solutions, Lowe advises looking at solutions holistically, choosing solutions that meet their needs while also being scalable.

Chambers says there’s generally a lower cost of entry to hyperconverged infrastructure compared to traditional configurations because you can make a smaller initial purchase and then grow it over time. If you’re able to fully replace your old equipment, you may eventually be able to save up to 60 percent of your prior infrastructure costs, he says.

Who needs hyperconvergence?

The size of your company isn’t the best indicator that you need hyperconverged infrastructure. How fast your company is growing is more important.

Chambers recommends researching the pros and cons of each “HC” platform so you can nail down your specific IT needs. Nutanix, SimpliVity and the VCE/VMware divisions of DellEMC are considered top vendors in the space. Publications like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems provides detailed information about the outlook for the technology, as well as rating service providers.

Budgeting for hyperconvergence.

Chambers has found one of the biggest obstacles IT departments face relates to budgeting. When everything is separate, companies budget separately for storage, network equipment, and computers. Prior to moving toward hyperconvergence, Chambers advises thinking carefully about procurement.

“It’s an organizational challenge because you’re moving to a new way of spending money,” Chambers says. “You’re going to need someone very senior who can control budgets and say, ‘This is how hyperconvergence works. We’re going to have to rearrange our IT finances.’”

Hyperconvergence solutions give IT departments the option of an all-in-one platform, which helps increase efficiency. When professionals can manage everything in one place, they can operate more productively, increasing the time they can put toward other efforts.

Source: One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost of Managing IT

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) Dramatic $700 Billion Impact

technology-media-telecommunications

The savvy CEOs anticipate that trends in 2017 are likely to follow the path of disruptive events in 2016.

Change is the norm. Digital technology will continue to have a dramatic impact on legacy players in the marketplace.

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) sectors completed 3,021 deals worth $698.2 billion in 2016, representing a decrease of 4.5% in value and 5.7% in deal count compared to a record 2015, while deal count remained consistent, according to the latest market study by Mergermarket.

The TMT sector accounted for 21.4 percent of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity – that’s up from 18.5% in 2015, and its second highest share on Mergermarket record (since 2001) after 2013 (22.4%).

TMT sector market development

Deal activity accelerated towards the end of 2016, with deals announced in the final quarter of the year (683 deals, $295 billion) marking the highest Q4 value on record.

U.S. M&A activity ramped up in the run up to November’s presidential election, with dealmakers looking to complete business before a winner was announced.

High profile mega-deals, such as AT&T’s $105 billion takeover of Time Warner, the largest transaction targeting any sector globally in 2016, and the $34.5 billion acquisition of Level 3 by CenturyLink, were both announced in the month prior to the election.

Such big-ticket deals consequently led to the U.S. being the most active region last year having recorded its second highest deal value on Mergermarket record with 1,101 deals worth $362.7 billion, accounting for 41 more deals compared to a record 2015 (1,060 deals, $393.8 billion), despite a 7.9 percent decrease in value.

According to the Mergermarket assessment, the outcome of the American 2016 election spurred the markets, with dealmakers hopeful that a more business-friendly climate will encourage more mergers and acquisitions in 2017.

Outlook for the global TMT market

Europe followed in terms of deal activity, with 992 deals worth $168.6 billion reaching the highest annual value since 2007 ($181.8 billion, 933 deals), while increasing its market share to 24% from 19 percent in 2015.

This increase was largely due to a rise in activity targeting Technology (708 deals, $121.3 billion) and Media (199 deals, $29.2 billion), up 72.6% and 107.7% by value year-on-year, respectively.

Virtual and augmented reality software apps will be the TMT sectors to watch in 2017. Moreover, sector dealmakers are expected to invest millions into start-ups that are promising to turn new technologies into commercial opportunities in 2017.

 

Source: Technology, media and telecom M&A hit $698.2 billion in 2016