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Top Voices of IP Communications

By Greg Galitzine

October 2006, Volume 9/ Number 10


This special edition of Internet Telephony contains a truly special feature, our list of the Top 100 Voices of IP Communications, as selected by the editors. There was no lobbying for a spot on this list. The editors simply sat around the conference room table and went through the names of many of the more influential, significant, groundbreaking individuals with whom we have had the pleasure of working since the magazine’s inception. Some are CEOs who have led their companies through thick and thin. Some of the executives are responsible for honing the marketing messages and business plans that have helped their companies achieve great success in this market. Some of them I have met but once or twice over the course of nearly a decade, while others I see much more often than that. Some of them have become the individuals I seek out to pick their brains regarding industry trends. Some of the people on this list are regular contributors to Internet Telephony. Others have shared their thoughts on a handful of occasions over the past 100 issues.

One thing the people on the list have in common is that each has influenced my knowledge and my understanding of the industry to some degree, and each has done infinitely more to promote and grow the industry through their insights and contributions than anyone will ever truly comprehend.

While 100 might not seem like a very small number, the fact of the matter is we had a difficult time paring the list down to that limit. There are a number of executives who made it onto the bubble, so to speak. We even considered running a list of the most influential public relations teams, and analysts and journalists, without whom this industry would be a very well kept secret. At the end of the day, we chose who we felt best represented the Top 100 Voices of IP Communications, as seen through the eyes of our editorial team. Several of us who gathered to make this list have been with the publication since its very first issue. I’m sure I speak for the entire Internet Telephony editorial team when I say congratulations to those individuals who made our list. Without your efforts, this industry would not have reached the level of success it is enjoying today. And for that we thank you.

– Greg Galitzine

Michael Powell, Chairman, FCC (News - Alert) (2001–2005)
As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Mr. Powell set out to bring FCC regulations into the 21st Century and to recognize the move of voice, video, and data technologies away from limited analog platforms to powerful digital applications that bring more value to the public. He focused on initiatives that encourage market-driven solutions that promote consumer interests. He supported new methods of deploying advanced services through the use of new alternatives such as power lines, unlicensed wireless devices and other technologies that would expand affordable broadband options to all Americans regardless of their geographic location. Powell is perhaps best remembered for articulating a series of non-discrimination principles which he dubbed the principles of “Network Freedom.” In a speech at the Silicon Flatirons Symposium University of Colorado in Boulder (February 2004), Powell stated that consumers must have the following four freedoms:

• Freedom to access content.
• Freedom to run applications.
• Freedom to attach devices.
• Freedom to obtain service plan information.

According to Powell, “...the possibilities for consumer empowerment extend beyond devices. These possibilities arise from the Internet’s open architecture, which allows consumers to freely interact with anyone around the globe.”

John Sununu, United States Senator
John Sununu first ran for public office in 1996, winning election in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District and serving three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senator brings an extensive background in science, engineering, and small business to his work in Washington. Sununu believes the nation’s telecommunications industry holds potential for tremendous growth and innovation provided it has the appropriate regulatory framework and is kept free from the stifling forces of taxation. Senator Sununu understands these principles, and has taken a leadership role on Capitol Hill in bringing them to bear on two specific areas — broadband voice and the Internet. He believes that subjecting VoIP or broadband voice to individual state jurisdictions is the wrong approach, and one that would hamper investment and slow its deployment to consumers. During his tenure in the United States Senate, Sununu has been effective in ensuring that telecommunications tools including broadband voice and the Internet are able to flourish through legislation such as the Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act of 2003 and The VoIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004.

John Ensign, United States Senator
Senator John Ensign has served the people of Nevada from his days as a veterinarian, small business owner, and U.S. Congressman to his present role as the 24th U.S. Senator for Nevada. Senator Ensign was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and serves on the Science and Transportation committee among his other responsibilities. Ensign is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness of the Commerce Committee. In addition, Senator Ensign chairs the Republican High Tech Task Force, which was established to serve as a portal for those in the technology community, where their issues can be heard, addressed, and disseminated among other members of the United States Senate. Senator Ensign introduced legislation designed to update the nation’s telecommunications laws and increase choices for consumers. The Broadband Consumer Choice Act of 2005 was unveiled July 27, 2005. “We must not allow government regulations to be an anchor on the advance of technology if we want America to lead the world in the information age,” Ensign said at the time. “Americans’ ingenuity and creativity can provide more choices for consumers if government bureaucrats will get out of the way and allow our companies to compete.”

Bryan R. Martin, 8x8 (News - Alert), Inc.
Bryan R. Martin is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 8x8, Inc. Through the years, Martin has served the company in a variety of corporate and engineering capacities including President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President, Engineering Operations. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2001. According to Martin, “IP communications is not just about the freedom to enjoy lower phone bills, it’s about the things that you cannot do with a legacy, copper line. Videophones, virtual numbers, find-me/follow-me services, and virtual software telephones... these inventions enable you to see your kids every night when you travel on business, or to customize your own telecommunications services and applications to suit the needs of your business.” A publicly traded company, 8x8 is the provider of the Packet8 VoIP and videophone communications services.

Robert Messer, ABP (News - Alert) Technology
Robert Messer believes in IP Communications. He gets it. As Messer says, “IP Communications was the key element for ABP since we founded the company. It’s even in our on-line tagline ‘ABP Technology — Your single source provider for IP Communications Solutions.’” ABP Technology specializes in the distribution of high-end technology products in the fields of Information Technology and Telecommunications, concentrating on:

• VoIP solutions based on Open Standards for converged data and voice communications; and
• Ultra Secure Remote Management and Monitoring of IT and Communications Infrastructure.

Based in Dallas, Texas, ABP is committed to VoIP over Open Standards and works with vendors that support interoperable solutions in a multi vendor environment. According to Messer, “Everything that happens digitally in a converged world will be part of IP communications. Our main focus today is on VoIP but we are already getting involved in Video surveillance over IP, Video conferencing, collaboration including white boarding, and many other fields.”

Seamus Hourihan, Acme Packet (News - Alert)
Ever wonder where the term session border control originated? With Acme Packet since 2001, Seamus Hourihan is credited with coining the term. In fact, against seemingly insurmountable odds, he recently won the acronym battle against Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC) when they adopted the AT&T name. Seamus has served as Vice President of Marketing for Pingtel (News - Alert), and was the Vice President of Marketing for Wellfleet Communications in the early to mid 1990’s. Perhaps looking to corner the market on yet another catch-phrase, Hourihan has lately been talking about enabling “net-vana” — his contraction for ‘network nirvana.’ According to Seamus, “ is creating new ways to collaborate, learn, buy, sell, and socialize. It’s moving beyond the tedious typing of e-mail and instant messaging (IM) to a simple click-to-talk and see. It’s easy-to-use, presence-based voice, video and multimedia instant communications (IC) with anyone, anywhere, anytime; using any device, wired or wireless.”

Alan Pound, Aculab (News - Alert)
Alan Pound founded Aculab in 1978 to develop professional mixing desks and sound reinforcement amplifiers, but soon, with the advent of the early PCs, moved into the digital product arena. In 1990 he identified opportunities within the emerging speech processing market and developed a high-capacity digital access product. Alan is a proponent of IP as a catalyst for change; however he offers the following warning to companies that they should avoid complacency: “The new applications made possible by IP will mean that the users themselves will diminish TDM. There will be a turning point when IP will really gain some momentum and when overnight, being a supplier of TDM will simply not be enough to stay in business. Some of the largest businesses in the world now need to reinvent themselves and quickly, or risk extinction. Clearly, the opportunities for both new entrants and the ‘fleet of foot’ are immense. IP is the greatest driver for change that this industry has ever seen, with rich media content entering every facet of modern life.”

Mike Quigley, Alcatel (News - Alert)
It’s rare these days to come across an executive who has spent any substantive length of time with the same organization. Working one’s way up through the ranks to end up at the helm of the company is a story that we don’t hear too often any more. Currently President & Chief Operating Officer of Alcatel, and member of the Executive Committee, Mike Quigley started his career in 1971 in Alcatel Australia, — ITT Australia at that time — as part of his scholarship. He first spent ten years in R&D. In the 80’s, he moved into senior positions in Manufacturing and Quality and then into senior roles in Marketing and Sales. During this period, Mike was involved in almost every product area of Alcatel, from customer terminals and Enterprise solutions to submarine optical systems and network switching. In 1996, Mike was appointed General Manager responsible for all of Alcatel’s activities in Australia and New Zealand. In 1999, Mike moved to the USA (Dallas) to join Alcatel USA as Chief Operating Officer. He was subsequently appointed CEO of Alcatel USA and then President of Alcatel North America. In 2003, he was also appointed President of the fixed communications activities.

Jonathan Shapiro, Alliance Systems (News - Alert)
Jonathan Shapiro is a twenty-year veteran of the communications industry and one of the earliest evangelists for Open Communications Systems (News - Alert). It’s an established fact that it takes a good understanding of history in order to plan for a successful future. And being an integral part of that history helps to inform that future vision. According to Shapiro, “IP Communications began as a method of leveraging the packet network to converge voice, video, and data and eliminate the need for separate networks. Only because TCP/IP was widely accepted did it become the delivery mechanism of choice for convergence. Today, IP Communications has revolutionized the way we access content — anytime, anywhere, and with any IP device. This convergence on the IP network is now driving IPTV (News - Alert) and mobile TV as well as the convergence of fixed and mobile wireless technologies. IP Communications is the enabling force behind these new methods of content access and delivery.”

Ragui Kamel, AOL Voice Services, AOL
As Senior Vice President and General Manager for the AOL Voice Services Group, Ragui Kamel is leading AOL’s integrated voice business and is responsible for P&L, overall market strategy, product definition, product management and the day-to-day operations for AOL’s suite of Voice Services Products including: AIM Phoneline, AOLbyPhone, AOL Voicemail, and AOL Call Alert. A veteran of the convergence of telephony and computing, Kamel first discussed the topic in 1989 while guest editing an issue of IEEE (News - Alert) Computer on Voice in Computing. Many of the items talked about at that time are now coming to life with many of the VoIP products available in the market today, such as AIM Phoneline. When asked about the significance of IP, Kamel responds simply, “IP is about freedom and user control.” “Of course,” he continues, “it’s also about efficient use of network resources, faster time to market, and such, but to me, the freedom and user control is the most world-changing aspect of IP.”

Alex Mashinsky, Arbinet (News - Alert), VenturiFX
Born into Communism, reared under Socialism, and now thriving under Capitalism, Alex Mashinsky has long been involved in the international telecommunications industry. As the Managing Partner of VenturiFX, an early stage venture capital firm, Alex founded several companies including Qlimo in 2002, Qwireless in 2001, Elematics in 2000, and Arbinet in 1996, where he served as its CEO until Jan 2000. Alex has proven his ability to identify the winning trends, build a powerful intellectual property portfolio and bring together winning teams to build world-class companies. He has raised over one hundred fifty million dollars to help position his startups as leaders in their fields. On the significant differences between IP networks and the legacy circuit-switched networks they are displacing, Alex has this to say, “The IP network was born and developed on shared global open standards, unlike the PSTN which was a closed monopolistic network. The transition of telecom services to the IP network profoundly changes what can be offered and who can access such services. “The pace of development in IP communications is several fold faster than anything we were used to on the PSTN side and it is available on the same playing field worldwide. In the PSTN era it would have been impossible for a few guys in Estonia to come up with an application that 70m people would find irresistible but Skype (News - Alert) has done it in two years on a typical IP communications platform.”

Hossein Eslambolchi, Ph.D., Venture Partners
Hossein Eslambolchi is chairman of 2020 Venture Partners, which provides technology and operations consulting to private equity firms and venture capitalists in the area of telecommunications infrastructure. He was CIO and CTO of AT&T, as well as president of AT&T Labs until 2006, where he led the transformation of the company’s network, systems, and services. Upon his departure from AT&T, BusinessWeek called him “a critical player in maintaining AT&T’s status as a technology leader” (Dec. 30, 2005) and noted that he is “a bold, but pragmatic, visionary.” The editorial staff of this publication agrees. Since we launched Internet Telephony magazine we have always maintained that “it’s all about the applications.” Eslambolchi concurs with that vision. “IP communications is the key enabler that decouples applications from infrastructure build,” he says. “IP opened the innovation pipeline in applications since it broke all the barriers associated with building applications and distributing them to end-users regardless of geography or devices used. “IP enables unfiltered access and production of content. We get what we want, when we want it, and we can produce it too... To sum up: IP puts the world at our fingertips!”

Shabtai Adlersberg, AudioCodes (News - Alert)
Shabtai Adlersberg co-founded AudioCodes in 1993, and has served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since inception. Mr. Adlersberg co-founded DSP Group (News - Alert), a semiconductor company, in 1987. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Adlersberg served as the Vice President of Engineering of DSP Group, and from 1990 to 1992, he served as Vice President of Advanced Technology. As Vice President of Engineering, Mr. Adlersberg established a research and development team for digital cellular communication which was spun-off in 1992 as DSP Communications. Mr. Adlersberg also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Natural Speech Communication Ltd. and as a director of MailVision Ltd and CTI Squared Ltd. Mr. Adlersberg holds an M.Sc. in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Tel Aviv University and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, or the Technion.

Alan Percy, AudioCodes
Mr. Percy is Director of Business Development at AudioCodes, a leading provider of Voice over IP Telephony enabling technology and systems components. Percy joined AudioCodes in July 2001, bringing over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications, networking and wireless equipment industries. Alan is a thought leader who played a major role in helping TMC conceive and implement our first VoIP Developer (News - Alert) Conference, an event which has grown every year since its inception. Alan Percy believes that we are just beginning to grasp the true significance of IP communications: “In their early days, who really understood the power of e-mail, chat, Web, and other now widely used applications for IP? Would anyone think back just a few years ago that today we’d have to limit our kids ‘computer time?’ “I truly believe that voice and video over IP will open windows to new applications that will fundamentally change where we work, the way we communicate, and how we entertain ourselves.”

Michael Thurk, Avaya (News - Alert)
Michael Thurk is Chief Operating Officer of Avaya. As a member of Avaya’s executive team for the past four years and most recently as President of Global Communications Solutions, Thurk has helped lead the company’s efforts to develop and offer converged communication solutions to meet businesses’ needs worldwide. His broad experience in all aspects of data and IP communication has enabled Avaya to successfully collaborate with customers to assure current communications needs are met while providing customers with a leading edge vision for the future. As you can imagine, Thurk is bullish on VoIP. “VoIP will arguably be one of a very few highly transformative technologies of the 21st Century,” he believes. “Businesses and organizations are just beginning to understand the value resident in blending voice and data applications — value that goes far beyond simply reducing costs and providing dial tone. VoIP enables communications to be more malleable, to be embedded with business applications, to evolve from the basic voice over a data network to provisioning Intelligent Communications. Intelligent Communications builds on VoIP, moves beyond unified communications and siloed business applications, leverages event-driven architectures and will change how business and work gets done.”

Michael J. McHugh, BEA Systems (News - Alert), Inc.
Mike McHugh is Vice President and General Manager, responsible for driving the WebLogic Communications Platform. Chartered with creating customer success in telecommunications, Mr. McHugh has grown a telecom network product team and portfolio inside BEA — a company primarily known in the telecom industry for BSS and OSS platforms. The WebLogic Communications Platform is an innovative approach to help the telecom industry move to next generation services. “The ubiquity of IP services and the convergence of voice and data are powering a new age of communications,” he says. “Just as the advent of the telephone, followed by mobile voice, permanently changed our lives, IP communications are revolutionizing our lives today. “Within IP communications, voice is just one medium. Because of IP technology, we may soon see a time when the content of our communication — what we wish to say and how we wish to say it — is without compromise.”

Scott Wharton, BroadSoft (News - Alert), Inc.
As BroadSoft’s Vice President of Marketing, Scott Wharton leads the company’s marketing strategy, product marketing, and corporate marketing initiatives. Prior to BroadSoft, Wharton was Vice President of Marketing at VocalTec Communications, an early pioneer in the IP communications space. Wharton believes that the IP in IP Communications acts as something akin to ‘the Great Equalizer,’ enabling the masses to take advantage of those features and functionalities that were once solely in the domain of the tech-savvy. As Wharton says, “IP Communications will enhance — and change — users’ relationships with the telephone, unleashing feature-rich products that will improve the everyday lives of average users. Great features have been available for years, but have been underutilized and undervalued because of the restrictive user interface of a telephone with its 12-button keypad. “IP Communications changes this by providing easy-to-use interfaces that marry the simplicity of the Web with telecom services. IP Communications moves access of feature-rich communications into the lives and lifestyles of typical home users and business professionals. The Web brought the power of the Internet to the masses; IP Communications will do the same for telecom.”

J.C. Murphy, Cantata Technology (News - Alert)
J.C. Murphy is president of Cantata Technology, a company that was formed through the merger of Excel Switching and Brooktrout (News - Alert) Technology. Mr. Murphy has held leadership positions with Excel and Lucent Technologies (News - Alert) for over ten years. Before being named Excel president, Mr. Murphy held senior management positions within Lucent, including Vice President and General Manager for the Open Network Platforms group, and Vice President and General Manager of the Softswitch Solutions Group. According to Murphy, “One of the most significant advantages of IP is that it allows applications to transcend carrier and enterprise networks. Small to medium size enterprises can use IP technology to transport data, instead of using a carrier, and likewise carriers can now offer enterprise applications as managed services. This convergence of enterprise and service provider applications is one of the most attractive features of IP and also one that will keep the industry thriving long into the future.”

John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems (News - Alert), Inc.
“Best Investor Relations by a CEO.” “Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship.” “Most Influential CEO.” “The Most Influential Person in Communications.” “Man of the Year.” In addition to these other ‘labels’ John Chambers wears at least one other: President and CEO of Cisco Systems. Since January 1995, when he assumed this position, Chambers has grown the company from $1.2 billion in annual revenues to its current run-rate of approximately $24.8 billion. Chambers has been lauded for his visionary strategy, his ability to drive an entrepreneurial culture, and his warm-hearted, straight-talking approach. On the subject of the significance of IP Communications, Chambers shared the following thoughts, “People are communicating with one another through a combination of devices and applications — many applications, many devices, many screens. Now, our challenge is how we take these technologies and create one experience for the user. “Not too long ago, Cisco was considered radical for pushing the concept of converging data, voice, and video across a single IP infrastructure. Today, we see that vision is truly playing out and changing the way people experience life, and we believe we have only scratched the surface for unleashing its power and significance.”

JD Rosenberg, Ph.D., Cisco Systems
Dr. Jonathan Rosenberg is a Cisco Fellow in the Routing and Service Provider Technology Group at Cisco Systems. There, he is responsible for guiding the technology directions for their service provider VoIP products. Jonathan is active in the IETF; he is the lead author of the Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP), the inventor of SIP for presence and IM, known as SIMPLE, in addition to other Internet technologies, such as STUN, ICE, XCAP and TRIP. Jonathan received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and his Bachelors and Masters from MIT. Rosenberg is a regular columnist in SIP Magazine and he serves on that publication’s Editorial Advisory Board. “IP is the unifying factor in giving people a better communications experience,” he tells us. “It enables broader reaching and higher-quality communications, such as hi-definition (wideband) voice with excellent quality of service. It enables seamless multimedia development and delivery, including video, text, and IM. It incorporates presence, allowing for more efficient and effective communications and a ‘one-number’ experience across a multiplicity of devices. It can also provide ubiquitous and seamless mobility. By serving as the foundation technology for converged communications regardless of and including all access types, IP is ultimately improving the way we relate to each other.”

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