Where Are All the U.S. B2B MVNOs?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • U.S. mobile operators can charge SMBs and enterprises high prices for business services, as B2B pricing is custom and there are few alternative carriers.
  • A few resellers bundle fixed and mobile services; B2B MVNOs with an array of pricing options and value-added services are hard to find.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have the luxury of being considered the only serious choices in the U.S. for quasi-ubiquitous wireless coverage, access to international roaming services, handset sales and value-added services for businesses. Enterprise pricing is also highly customized and does not have much to do with the list prices available on the carriers’ standardized price sheets. There are a handful of wireless resellers and MVNOs (such as Cbeyond and Granite) that have added wireless plans and devices to fixed services offers for SMB bundles. However, it is hard to find pure-play B2B MVNOs that are serious alternatives to the big four. Read more of this post

The Enterprise SDN Hierarchy of Needs

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Successful IT departments manage change by thoroughly understanding their requirements.
  • Skipping over fundamental thinking and planning will negatively impact achieving your goal.

Over my career, I have seen a lot of hyped technologies come and go. Some struck it big and had a huge impact on enterprises (e.g., server virtualization), and some were a swing and a miss (e.g., network access control). What I found, however, is that enterprises that were successful in adopting new technologies were headed by people or teams who spent time either formally or informally in considered thought about what was needed to make IT better. Read more of this post

How Much More Money Will be Lost Before Companies Begin Strategically Investing in Security?

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Companies aren’t investing strategically in security because nobody really understands the full cost of cybercrime and it’s extremely difficult to measure risk accurately.
  • Getting investors to prod companies to take security more seriously could change that paradigm.

Here’s a thought: Why isn’t security considered a strategic investment? And could the thinking evolve over the next few years to come around to that conclusion? After all, we continually hear about how security has become a board level issue. And CISOs are getting more airtime with the board than ever before. I think there are two main stumbling blocks to getting there, and neither is easy to overcome.

First, it’s impossible to measure the true cost of cybercrime. Last month the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report sponsored by Intel/McAfee that pegged the global cost of cybercrime at anywhere between $375 billion to $575 billion. Of that loss, $200 billion was attributed to the U.S., China, Japan and Germany. I personally think that those figures greatly under estimate the total economic losses that result from cybercrime because they don’t take into account all the factors that make up a loss, and because a lot of breaches in which intellectual property or other valuable data are stolen are never reported. Read more of this post

Is PureCloud’s PureMatch the Next Customer Service Trend or Just PureFolly?

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Contact center queuing and routing based on traditional automatic call distribution (ACD) technology has always been a very linear process in which the next customer is typically matched with the next available agent. However, “who is next” never really translated to “what is best” for the customer or the enterprise.
  • PureMatch, an innovative application in the newly released PureCloud customer service offering of Interactive Intelligence, takes a new approach to matching customers to agents, which could prove to be better for customers and agents – or not.

Interactive Intelligence’s PureCloud – the company’s new cloud-based communications, collaboration and customer engagement offering, due out in Q4 of this year – is provided via the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. PureCloud reinforces the company’s thought leadership image in the customer service industry by offering several interesting and innovative applications, including: PureCloud Social Customer Service (SCS), an application that enables customers to view agent profiles and performance prior to selection of the agent; PureMatch, a system that automatically pairs customer interactions with contact center agents, based on multiple attributes and criteria; and PureCloud Directory, a corporate directory that makes enterprise user profile content available including skills, work experience, location, etc. Although all these applications are relevant to customer service operations, I believe it will be the criteria-based matching of PureMatch that will get the most attention in the contact center space. Read more of this post

Process is Critical for a Multi-Vendor SDN

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

  • SDN will create varying degrees of product dependencies for enterprises.
  • Enterprises need to plan for and create processes that support multi-vendor SDN.

It’s no secret that I think SDN Will Lock Enterprises in Tighter Than Ever because of the dependencies that are built up with software integration and I don’t think many enterprises have quite grasped the amount of stickiness software integration has.

Naturally, there is a continuum of SDN implementations, ranging from very basic integration with just enough touch to automate networking provisioning for VMs to fully automated, application-level provisioning that includes service chaining and follow-me functions for traffic monitoring and packet capture, and seamless integration of physical networking without the intervention of a human operator. Depending on where an enterprise is on that continuum the amount of stickiness will vary from “not much” to “a great deal”. Read more of this post

Does Cloud-Scaling Really Demand a New Ethernet Speed Standard?

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet has been around for over a decade, but sales of 10GbE ports are only beginning to move the needle seriously in terms of sales. This is, in part, because many server vendors are finally offering on-board 10GbE LoM ports.
  • While this type of incremental Ethernet speed advancement might provide benefits at the mega-data center level, it is hard to imagine how the introduction of another set of “open” standards will be of value to the IT industry as a whole, especially given the length of time it takes for these standards to gain acceptance and wide-scale adoption.

On July 1, 2014, a quintet of technology companies – Arista, Broadcom, Google, Mellanox, and Microsoft – announced the formation of the 25G Ethernet Consortium to support a new 25GbE single-lane and 50GbE dual-lane standard targeted at server to top-of-rack switching. This interesting approach appears to circumvent the typical standards process of the IEEE, or even the IETF, by saying that this new standard will be “open” – a word I’m REALLY starting to dislike – “while leveraging many of the same fundamental technologies and behaviors already defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard,” without even bothering to submit it for comment. Well, I suppose close counts. Read more of this post

Wearable Computing Will Forever Alter Collaboration, But Not How You Might Think

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • What does Google’s Android Wear mean for enterprise IT and for collaboration vendors?
  • The surprising conjunction of wearable computing and predictive analytics foretells an interesting future where collaboration is driven not by the best interface but by the best intuition.

I’ll say it. I’m a certified, card carrying WIS, a “Watch Idiot Savant” to be specific. I wear a watch 24×7, usually a mainspring driven mechanical piece of what I consider to be wearable art. So it was by no means easy for me to set all of that mechanistic pomposity aside and don one of Google’s new and somewhat awkward Android Wear-based smart watches. But that’s exactly what I did and have done for the past five days, happily sticking with this homely, underpowered and sometimes demanding wrist adornment. What did I learn? First, I’ll most likely need to turn in my WIS card. Second, I’m no longer a slave to my mobile phone. And third, the future of collaboration in the enterprise will no longer be driven by the best interface, but instead it will be ruled by the best intuition. Read more of this post

Demystifying IoT – What It Means to You

Harish Taori

Harish Taori

Summary Bullets:

  • IoT expands the meaning and value of the Internet as more physical objects (i.e., sensors, actuators, devices, modules and new age systems) will be connected to the internet and accessible through Internet protocols or web services. It will enable humans/software programs to analyze data, evaluate patterns and take predictive or preventive actions based on the derived intelligence.
  • In addition to consumers, utilities, energy, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and retail were early adopters of M2M and may start piloting IoT applications as supply side economics make sense. The IoT ecosystem is getting ready for enterprises to innovate business models and improve operational efficiency.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data were among the key ICT themes that dominated the majority of panel discussions and presentations at CommunicAsia 2014. Both buzzwords, in addition to cloud and social, are often the current topic of discussions in IT circles. I chaired a panel discussion on IoT and will be using that session in this blog in an attempt to demystify IoT.
IoT is a natural evolution of Internet and machine to machine (M2M), which find its roots in industrial automation. It not only further integrates the physical world with the digital world, but also enables machines to learn from the events and become smarter by gaining predictive and cognitive capabilities. Machine learning will play important role in gaining these capabilities through data mining, statistical modeling and artificial intelligence. The IoT ecosystem will enable companies and consumers to create and enjoy new services that are founded on web-based business models. Read more of this post

Google’s Android and Google Play Apps Still Risky as Ever, but There Is Hope on the Horizon

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • New vulnerability exposures highlight the continuing riskiness of enabling the use of Android devices within the enterprise, but carefully crafted BYOD policies can reduce that risk.
  • Google needs to step up its mobile security practices if it truly wants to be an enterprise player.

The steady drumbeat of news regarding Android security weaknesses – whether in the OS or the applications that run on it – does not seem to be having much of an impact on Google’s security practices. It should be well known by now that the vast majority of mobile malware targets Android devices. Earlier this year, endpoint security firm F-Secure found that 99% of new mobile malware targeted Android. This week, it was revealed that most versions of Android in use today include a vulnerability that enables rogue apps to make unauthorized calls or disrupt ongoing legitimate calls. Although Google fixed the flaw in the Android version 4.4.4 that it released last month, very few Android devices run that version. Moreover, given the slow rate at which Android devices are patched or upgraded to the latest version of the OS, the vulnerability could continue to haunt the vast majority of Android smartphones for some time to come. IT, as it crafts its policies for personal smartphone use in the enterprise, can address that issue by requiring users to keep their device OS up to date in order to gain access to the enterprise network from their smartphones. IT can also investigate which handset makers are faster at upgrading their Android device’s mobile OS and put those devices on a list of acceptable smartphones for use within the enterprise. My colleague and mobile device maven Avi Greengart tells me that both Motorola and HTC have formal pledges to rapidly update Android. Other IT folks may go so far as to allow only Apple iOS devices to access corporate networks in their BYOD policies. Read more of this post

Mobile Operator M2M App Development Strategies

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile operators do not usually build M2M apps from scratch. Building custom solutions is expensive, doesn’t scale and is not really in most operators’ set of core competencies.
  • So how do operators ensure a robust portfolio of M2M solutions across multiple verticals and use cases?

We asked several mobile operators about their M2M application development strategies and partner ecosystems – do they have a formal program to find and seed ecosystem partners? How many partners and what kind of partners have they brought in? How successful have they been with their approach?

Read more of this post

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