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February 2007
Volume 10 / Number 2

Do You Webinar

By Richard “Zippy” Grigonis, The Zippy Files

Lately, I can’t help but notice the increasing number of Webinars making their appearance on the Internet, and with good reason.

Once upon a time, you paid big bucks and had to physically travel to a seminar somewhere, to hear some windbag recite facts that would have been out of date 20 years ago. To add injury to insult, the session ultimately culminated in some short, precious moments allowing seminar attendees to ask said windbag a few questions.

Later, when the first dial-in bulletin board systems (BBSs) appeared, people could post questions and respond to each other, mostly on an ongoing basis, which diluted their efficacy a bit. Small seminar-like chats quickly evolved into bloated message boards and entire “forums” with gazillions of messages posted by people who continued to chew the fat over a topic long after the original discussion ended. With the rise of the Web, Webcasts appeared, but these were one-way broadcast-like presentations. Still, they had some educational value.

Now, with the continued development of more sophisticated IP Communications, it has become possible to combine both the Web and seminar formats, yielding the Webinar, which is generally a live group discussion, complete with audience interactivity. Speakers talk to everyone over a standard phone line (but even that is slowly changing to VoIP) while flicking through slides or animations that are synchronized on the screens of the attendees. With larger Webinars, attendees can post questions to the bottom of the screen; very small Webinars can be run just like small Web conferences, and so voice may be used entirely.

Here at TMC, we’ve grown to love the Webinar format. As a way of disseminating information, it stands along side our print magazines and the various divisions of our Web site.

For example, on February 27th at 2:00 pm, TMC and IBM will be conducting a Webinar, hosted by our own distinguished Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director for TMC’s IP Communications Group, and ‘master and commander’ of TMCnet. IBM’s Webinar will discuss such things as the convergence of voice, data, and video networks, culminating in IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and how we’re evolving from unique, vertically integrated silos to support different services (which results in costly, complex network infrastructures) to a single, all-digital infrastructure.

The Webinar will also discuss such things as how this new next-gen world also leverages inexpensive COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf ) hardware and middleware. This results in an operating environment that creates new opportunities for service providers, along them to adapt rapidly to market shifts, competitive threats, and consumer demands. Things like IMS, COTS and convergence in general provide the flexibility to deploy applications in various environments and they yield significant cost savings by reducing complexity, and duplication.

IBM, of course, has already established a strategy enabling providers to exploit convergence. Its IBM BladeCenter family of systems, for example (discussed at length in my January “Nitty Gritty” column) delivers a single unified platform architecture that spans the entire, end-to-end NGN infrastructure. Hardware such as IBM’s will continue to evolve and adapt, with the integration of servers, storage, and networking capabilities into a single chassis, thus allowing for significant CapEX, OpEX, and TCO savings, not to mention a reduction in time-tomarket for new, revenue generating services.

But enough of what I think IBM will be talking about. Join us on February 27th, at 2:00 pm EST, to catch up on what interesting things IBM and its partners are doing these days.

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.


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