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January 27, 2009

ITEXPO Speaker from Acision: Obama Must Focus on Education

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

TMCnet reported here on the use of text messaging as mainstream communications among mobile phone users – about 42 percent of consumers use their mobile phones to text as much or more than they do to make calls, one survey finds. Some have called for global text messaging revenues to double to $165 billion by 2011.

Recently, we had a chance to interview the senior vice president of one company that’s harnessing the power of text-messaging – Acision, LLC. During our conversation with Oswin Eleonora (News - Alert), we learned that international, Reading, England-based messaging company believes text-messaging and the mobile Web will become core components of advertising within five years.
Acision knows the industry. The company serves more than 1.5 billion consumers in 135 nations, while delivering more than half of the world’s text and multimedia messages and serving three-quarters of all video-mail users.
That’s part of why we’re thrilled that Andrew Harteveldt, a senior systems engineer at Acision, is delivering a presentation during the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami next week. At 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, Harteveldt will present “Developing Solutions with User Experience in Mind,” in which he’ll discuss metrics and ways to ensure high call quality in IP networks and the theoretical requirements as well as the practical realities of ensuring IPT performance stays within acceptable parameters.
He’ll also outline the specific steps operators need to undertake to unify the customer's experience.
I had a chance recently to put some questions to Harteveldt in advance of the show. I found him an engaging straight-shooter, who didn’t shy away from taking aim at the U.S. president who just left office. He also had some sound advice for our new president.
You’ll see what I mean. Our exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani: Who has influenced you most in your career and why?
Andrew Harteveldt: My wife, she persuaded me to take a permanent position in the United States and not to move back to the United Kingdom.
RT: What excites you most about our industry?
AH: The constant evolution, it is like New England weather. “If you don’t like what you see, close your eyes for 10 minutes and it will have changed.”
RT: What areas do you wish you could devote more energy, attention and resources?
AH: Helping drive the change.
RT: What pain does your company take away for customers?
AH: Fire-fighting, lengthy system outages due great up time and service availability.
RT: How did your company get to where it is and where is it headed?
AH: Being innovative in the wireless data space early in the game. By bringing reliable but feature rich services to the operator.
RT: What does your dream mobile device look like?
AH: Looks like a PDA or smartphone does today, but with the power, storage and connectivity that a Desktop PC has today.
RT: If you were forced to head Nokia (News - Alert), Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, GM, Cisco, Nortel or the US… Which would you pick and why?
AH: The United States, as it appears it does not matter how much you screw up you don’t get fired. At the end of your term you still get paid and are pretty set for life.
RT: Poof – you become President Obama’s top advisor on tech. What should he do to foster more technology use in the United States and abroad?
AH: Start with education. Things don’t change overnight, however, by educating our children we can ensure that technology adoption is better accomplished in the future. Accessibility to not just ‘run of the mill’ technology but allowing state of the art IT capabilities in schools will provide the ability for children – students – to develop their Information, Communication and Technological skills.
RT: How has open-source changed our space and what more can it do for us?
AH: While I don’t believe it actually has changed things to much at a commercial level, I do believe it has helped foster the need for standards. By fostering and enforcing standards both in the development and telecommunications arenas the time needed to rollout and adopt new technologies is shorter.
RT: When does Microsoft become a major force in communications?
AH: When it discovers a business model that works that nobody has thought of. Think Google but a new different model entirely.
RT: Apple (News - Alert)? RIM, Nokia?
AH: See above, new business model. Allowing for the vendor and supplier to start working differently in the business world.
RT: What surprised you most about 2008?
AH: That the financial industry managed to negotiate such a large loan from the Feds!
RT: Assuming we need it (and who couldn’t use some extra cash), what do we tell Congress to get a multibillion dollar U.S. government communications bailout?
AH: The world will fall apart if it is unable to communicate. Without the emergency injection of cash into the crippling telecommunications infrastructure you will no longer be able to guarantee that the e-mail you send from your BlackBerry (News - Alert) gets to it’s destination; that when you pick up your phone handset that you get a dial tone; that when you need to place that emergency 911 call that you will reach an attendant the first time; that the bankers trying to recover stock markets are able to successfully trade using reliable intercontinental networks and communications.
RT: Is the green movement dead now that oil is plummeting in cost?
AH: No, there has finally been a shift in cultural awareness and that we know we cannot continue to leverage fossil fuels into the future regardless of their price.
RT: How does IP communications help in a recession?
AH: A lot of costs that may have existed in previous recessions
RT: You are speaking at ITEXPO which takes place Feb 2-4 2009 in Miami. Why do people need to hear what you say, live and in person?
AH: Because having worked with wireless operators globally during the SMS booms, I believe that the experience of both the company I work for and myself would be of interest to a growing industry.
RT: Make some wild predictions about 2009/10.
AH: IP Telephony usage will surpass POTS local loop by the end of the year as home users will start to see how they can save costs etc.

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Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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