Archive for the ‘Voice Communication’ Category

But what about customer service?!….

February 16, 2012

Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.netAfter nearly 12 years of using Orange as my mobile services provider (which was mostly a good experience I must say), I recently switched following the arrival of Free Mobile, an aggressive new player disrupting the French market’s status quo with its unlimited local & long distance fixed-line calls, text and picture messages and Internet, including Wifi, all for €19.99 (or €16.99 for Freebox clients like me !!) or 1/4 of what I paid before.

However, to get there I lived through a very frustrating 7 days, during which time I was not a happy customer at all… (more…)

Helping Small Businesses thrive with integrated communication and collaboration apps, delivered as a service

April 19, 2011

Mid-sized and Large enterprises have been traditionally well served by telecom and IT vendors such as Verizon, Orange, IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle.

However, when it comes to Small Businesses, the ICT market leaves much to desire. In particular: (more…)

Curbing the black market for mobile calling

March 3, 2010

During recent visits to countries including Colombia, Chile and Venezuela, I’ve witnessed and benefited from black-market mobile calls.  While my interest was in offsetting relatively high roaming charges, most of the local population is quite price sensitive and simply wants to save money however they can.

This mobile calling black-market is driven by small-time, roaming entrepreneurs looking to make money by exploiting an arbitrage opportunity from (more…)

Previewing Orange’s ‘La Collection’ 2010 – Pt. 2: Richer Communications

December 2, 2009

In this second part summary of Orange’s ‘La Collection’ 2010, we look at how Orange is trying to make communications richer and more emotive.

These products and services are expected for release in France, UK, Spain and beyond, over the next 6-12 months. (more…)

ICT Services: Further isolating or connecting us?

November 12, 2009

connecting-peopleI’ve sometimes heard people claim that all the new technology and services now available, actually separate us from our family, friends and close contacts, more than before.

The thinking behind this idea is that prior to widespread use of phones and Internet, we would interact with our closest relations face-to-face. However, with all the ICT capabilities that now exist, we may prefer to communicate indirectly and/or at a distance, creating more separation.

I believe that the opposite is true.

As humans, we have an innate need for direct, social contact. This facilitates empathy, allowing us to see how others really feel so we can truly understand them and relate better, and vice versa. This basic human characteristic drives our need to maintain personal, face-to-face contact with our closest family, friends and confidants. This is partly why we have regular family dinners, visits with our grand parents or meet up regularly with our closest friends.

I also believe that modern communication capabilities – including e-mail, texting, IM, video-calls, conferencing, blogs, and social networking services –  actually help us enhance relations with our inner circles, as well as with those further out.  These tools give us more possibilities and choices for communicating with people in different ways, depending on the context. (more…)

More ‘cloud services’ on the horizon

November 6, 2009

Clouds_SunsetThere is currently a lot of discussion on cloud computing and cloud services in the media and in the industry.  While some might believe that this is a new trend, many services are already available through ‘the cloud’. Furthermore, as broadband access continues expanding, the range of cloud offerings will grow larger day-by-day.

From and end-user standpoint, cloud services offer:

  • On-demand capabilities, scaling according to user needs
  • Instant service access via the Internet, with no upfront investment needed
  • Predictable price schemes, offering cost savings and convenience over other do-it-yourself options

Following this definition, here are some examples of different ‘cloud services’: (more…)

Consumer VoIP is booming – Helping Business VoIP breakthrough

November 2, 2009

womanphone4According to a recent Infonetics study on the VoIP services market, VoIP services brought in US $21 B worldwide, of which consumer VoIP services represented the majority.

In the consumer market, service providers have often packaged VoIP services as part of a N-play offers. From this standpoint, it has been sold as just another form of fixed-line telephony, offering a bit more flexibility and cost savings of course. But the bottom line is that users have not really had to change their habits or devices.

The business VoIP story is a bit different. Most service providers see clear incentives in investing significant time and resources for securing and ensuring success of large-scale deals with Large Enterprises, to replace their existing PBX systems with more modern, managed or hosted IP-PBX solutions. However, deciding how to effectively address SMBs (small and medium businesses) can be more complex. (more…)

Communicating: More than just voice

October 21, 2009

HiSpeed internet15  years ago, if we wanted communicate with anyone outside of our sight, we would simply call them by phone. Since then, there has been a phenomenal development of the Web beyond our imagination. This has given us new ways to communicate, share and collaborate with others. This includes sending deferred or real time messages, talking 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, doing so with video or even interactively sharing or collaborating using online media.

While most people still agree that talking is still fundamental for communicating with others, the way most people pay for and use such services has been slow to change. At the same time traditional telecom service providers have a vested interest in maintaining their tried-and-tested models for selling voice communications, and milking their existing assets. However, this will start to change more rapidly as new technology and services becomes more affordable, and the general public becomes increasingly comfortable with its adoptions and usage.

Mobile broadband usage is expected to grow worldwide from 0.3 to 1.4 B users by 2014 (www.economist.com) and ready-to-use Mobile Internet devices, like the iPhone or the Skype-enabled Nokia N900 smartphone  (www.gigaom.com) or even affordable netbooks, are only going to accelerate this phenomenon.

Generally speaking, we will see more attractive alternatives to existing phone services throughout markets worldwide (ex. low-cost or unlimited calling), as well as newer services that include voice and offer further benefits and greater value for some users (ex. Integrated web-to-voice calling, HD conferencing, or virtual online meetings and collaboration). In each of these cases voice will most likely continue to play a key, but non-exclusive role for communicating with others.

Such changes are pushing service providers to recognize voice service as part of greater, more varied, value propositions. If they don’t, new players will continue to do so.

Mobile Social Networking

October 19, 2009

Moto-CliqThe Motorola Cliq seems to be the first compelling, hand-held device (or second if you count the Palm Pre) allowing you to “see your entire social network on one screen.”

It does so by extracting and blending together different bits of information – including social network status, messages, comments, addresses / location, e-mail addresses, websites, IM name, and phone no. -, which are available on the Internet, in your personal agenda and your address book. This is then displayed in a unified way, and can be viewed by person or by specific theme.  Any new information from popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, is updated in real-time.

From this perspective, calling is one of many ways for communicating with your contacts. However, up until now mobile telecom providers still require customers to take out a phone AND data contracts, for a set time period. This traditional approach allows such consumers handsets to be offered at more affordable prices through direct subsidization, while ensuring customer loyalty through the contract period.

At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if/when they will shift positioning to become more of a mobile Web communications providers. In such a case, we can imagine Cliq-based service offers focusing on messaging and/or mobile Internet access, where calling is a pay-as-you-go, optional service. In this instance, device subsidization (if any) could come through any combination of the service provider, sponsorship from the social networks services, through web advertising, or from revenue-sharing of any web transactions.

The Motorola Cliq will be available from T-Mobile US, starting at $199 with a 2-yr calling AND data plan. (See T-Mobile US)