News of the World

Publisher's Outlook

News of the World

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation  |  March 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

There’s a lot of news happening both within the communication sector and within the world at large.

At ITEXPO (News - Alert) last month in Miami, I hear several rumors of note.

First off is the idea that the FCC may soon give credence to the notion that POTS needs to die. The carrying costs of this legacy network are massive, and the 5ESS switches are 30 years old, and you have to get the spare parts from eBay (News - Alert). 911 is a reason to not kill POTs, but some predict that if the FCC gives a 10-year deadline for the death of POTS, the telecom network equipment market will see a surge in business that may even rival Y2K times.

Also, Arunis Chesonis the CEO of PATEC was in India last month and may be working on a deal with an Indian telco or a possible acquisition. Maybe a sale? We'll see.

Moreover, the voice peering market is saving more than $250 million a year for cable companies and others. This is one of those no brainer technologies that disrupt legacy markets, and we still have a long way to go in terms of peering adoption.Meanwhile, some are wondering what happens to the smart grid market when the subsidies from the feds run out. And they mostly have. Does the market sustain itself and continue its growth, or slow? Again, we'll see.

On the world stage, meanwhile, we’re all watching what’s happening in Egypt.

Recently I discussed the purchase of SayNow by Google – a voice platform company complete with an API. Now, Google (News - Alert) has taken the SayNow technology and collaborated with Twitter to allow users to call specific phone numbers to have their voice messages converted to tweets. At the moment there is no speech-to-text translation and I found one message in Arabic. But thankfully the person calling also speaks English as evidenced by his mention of “adding pressure.”

The tough thing about controlling the Internet is you have to scramble constantly to keep up with people looking to communicate – even when most of the methods of communications have been disconnected. Many of us have heard that the Internet has been cut off in Egypt and that mobile phones have been as well. The government could always cut off landlines too if it so chose and, in theory, that would put an end to this service being useful. Satellite users would be the exception, of course. The government also can track the callers to the special international numbers Google has set up – and in repressive regimes, that can be a major problem for callers – especially if the protests die down.

This isn’t the most elegant solution to meet the communications needs of the country, but it works. And it shows that even though this is a U.S.-based solution, the ingenuity of people seeking freedom can indeed be difficult to stop. Remember to what extent students in London used technology – Google Maps, tweets, APIs – to track police and other government actions during their protests over tuition hikes after a campaign promise was made that this would not happen? I mentioned it in a post titled The Internet Lubricates Protests. Here is an excerpt:

“Technology has already been lubricating protests and has made it far easier to gather others who share a particular point of view using the web and e-mail. And this can be a very good thing – I am a huge proponent of human rights and believe peoples’ voices should be hea
Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi