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Andy Abramson
Interests: travel, wine, friends, blues, tech, music-jazz, dining, rock.
Recent Activity
The Corona virus is not being contained, and each day we read of another event being shut down or companies pulling out--with SONY and Facebook being the most recent to cancel their participation in the Game Developers Conference. Make no mistake, these are not easy decisions as sales, marketing and promotion all surround conferences, but it's the sales meetings and media launches that are hit the hardest. Hundreds of meetings with prospects. Thousands of man hours of training independent developers. Dozens of briefings with reporters, all that set the tone for what's coming next are sideswiped and pole-axed when a... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at VoIPWatch
I've been a regular attendee at IT Expo since the late 1990's and other than a flight issue one year that kept me from making my way east, I've been attending the telecom industry gathering each winter. This year's event, held in Fort Lauderdale, was one of the best ever, and felt a lot like the old days of VON. Here's my three reasons why IT Expo was so great: More people I know were there-Having been a regular at telecom shows I've gotten to know a lot of people over the years. This year at IT Expo I had... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2020 at VoIPWatch
It's been a long time since Jeff Pulver's VON Conference series ended. Back in the day there were at least two if not three or four or five VON's a year. Competitor, TMCNet's IT Expo ran two events as well and literally the conference circuit for VoIP and related industries felt like an every other month activity. There were others that were put on but as publications died off so too did the events. What was great though back then was you got to see your friends more often, as well as you clients. What was bad was between the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2020 at VoIPWatch
A few weeks ago I was attending the PTC Conference in Honolulu for a client. The event came right on the heels of the news that Comcast had purchased the Irish softswitch company Blueface. Maybe it was the timing, and how busy things were being 5 hours off of east coast time, but I sort of chalked the purchase up to the obvious reasons to me in conversations at PTC about the buy. However, in thinking back to most of the news coverage of it, so much was focused on what Comcast said in their statements that the "obvious" wasn't... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at VoIPWatch
For years I've been a road warrior. And in all those years, it never fails that some hotel, somewhere, is employing port blocking under the guise of security. And, since WebRTC uses a range of ports for inbound and outbound communications, and since packet sniffing technology can be put anywhere in a network, the chances of what looks like rogue packets can be the end of the use of WebRTC based communications services. What this usually is though, is really a case of simple ignorance to the way of the world of communications and collaboration tools. The guise of security,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2020 at VoIPWatch
I had the good fortune to be on the Museum of Sports broadcast on ESPN 610 in Philadelphia with Lou Scheinfeld and the crew today. We talked about my early career in sports with The Philadelphia Wings, Flyers, Hockey Central and The Celebrity All Star Hockey Team. It was a fun hour to be part of the past and to help insure that the sports past of Philadelphia forever is remembered. The recording is an hour long but well worth hearing. You can hear the clip here. Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2020 at VoIPWatch
For the longest time UBER was the disruptor vs. taxi-cabs and limousines. UBER provided a way to get a ride on demand, when and where you needed it. First it was with black car limousines that were sitting idle. Then it was with regular people who wanted to make money driving other people around. In a big way, UBER brought the masses to the gig-economy. And in doing so changed the way people get around. But UBER's exclusivity is gone. In the USA LYFT is a worthy competitor, offering an experience much like UBER, and at similar prices. But once... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2020 at VoIPWatch
In the past, when telecom industry professionals in the VoIP world talked about VoIP and Retail in the same sentence it usually referred to Vonage or other services in the past, like AT&T's Call Vantage, being sold in retail big box stores like Best Buy, CompUSA (remember them), Staples or Office Depot. Lots of time and money was spent, and trials conducted by the likes of PhoneGnome, only to determine that between the costs of getting product onto the shelves, lack of training of retail clerks about VoIP and just the state of broadband in the 00's led to pretty... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2020 at VoIPWatch
As a virtual worker for most of my life, today, a certified global nomad, and someone who has a perceptual black belt in working anywhere, the last few weeks on the road have helped me identify a lot of technology-based travel and communications trends that are worth noting. Your Mobile Phone Planning For example, in the past, when I went from country to country, the first thing I would do is buy a local SIM card for two phones and an iPad. Not as much on this trip. I landed in London and used my 3 SIM there and in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2020 at VoIPWatch
I have on a few occasions been referring to Zoom as the runaway train in the collaboration as a service market. Judging by two stories in UCToday this week surrounding the layoffs at BlueJeans and Fuze, the Zoom effect is clearly obvious. While the BlueJeans layoffs were not as expected, Fuze has been very hit or miss in the UCaaS battleground, with lots of turnover the past few years in key roles, starting on the sales side. BlueJeans was not as expected. As one of the collaboration industry darlings, embracing the cloud just after Vidtel moved first in that direction,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2019 at VoIPWatch
SMS has become a way many users communicate and in lots of use cases, such as multi-factor authentication, it becomes the way various businesses and services validate you to use another mode of communications, like a mobile app. Unfortunately, just as how Robocalling has infected our telephone world, where calls come in looking like they're from your neighbor when they're from someone impersonating Apple, Microsoft, the IRS or the Social Security Administration, SMS Short Codes, that are administered by the CTIA, have also fallen victim to SMS Spam. And, when your bank, or airline's SMS supplier is caught having SPAM... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2019 at VoIPWatch
Salesforce wants call centers to be as easy as using their CRM solution that has millions of businesses around the world using it. Yesterday they launched Service Cloud Voice. On the surface it's a very complete offering with one key missing piece. The telephony stack. But that missing piece is what makes it so interesting. Salesforce is taking the BYOC approach. BYOC is bring your own carrier, and with that open approach Salesforce can be all things to all business, and while they have aligned with Amazon Connect out of the box, it will only be a matter of time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2019 at VoIPWatch
I don't normally write product reviews and even though I've been a gadget guy and app experimenter for years, my experience with the POLY Voyager 620 Headset has been about as easy as anything from set up to usage. It's one of the products that came along with the Plantronics merger so whether it's Polycom or Plantronics invented, it doesn't really matter. It just works and sounds great. What I like most about the 6200 is how well it works. Too often when product reviewers dig into a product they go deep into every bloody feature. I come from a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2019 at VoIPWatch
Like many, my home and office internet comes from one of the leading cable companies, aka as a MSO. Over the past decade the cable giants in the USA have rolled out public hotspots, and also embedded their own "Wi-Fi" roaming capabilities so anyone who is a subscriber can easily log onto the "public" or a even a neighbors home network. Unfortunately, logging on, surfing the web and basic email use is about all the "access" is really good for. Sure, you may be able to stream some content, but as a customer you should be able to receive what... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2019 at VoIPWatch
The other day, long time gadget blogger, and VoIP fan, Jason Harris of Techcraver and I had a call using the new 8x8 Free Meetings app. At first blush it reminded me of many other WebRTC based video calling services. But the more I look under the hood, the more I am seeing how disruptive it could become, much like what Dialpad's UberConference did to disrupt conferencing in 2012. The keys to it go beyond the "If it's free it's me. If I gotta pay it's no way" crowd attractiveness. First you can secure multiple dedicated conference bridge urls. One... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2019 at VoIPWatch
8x8 has long been a pioneer in the video calling world. Back in the day their Packet8 service was pushing video calling in their earliest of desktop phone iterations. Well as a result of their Jitsi acquisition,and how stable WebRTC has gotten, 8x8 is launching a free video conferencing service, 8x8 Video Meetings. This is clearly a move to attract customers and to fend off the runaway freight train of ZOOM. As a free offer it's exactly how Dialpad built a great following for UberConference by giving away the service at no cost and then getting customers to upgrade. The... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2019 at VoIPWatch
When it comes to Microsoft and their voice offerings, it is starting to again get confusing. First we had Lync. Then Skype for Business. Along came Teams, and now we have Business Voice 365, but only in the UK and Canada for now. All this appears to be a move to take more money out of the market by integrating calling that previously was the domain of the service providers who did lots of work integrating Microsoft Office 365, like Dialpad, 8x8 and countless other ITSPs have done and promoted heavily. Now, in typical Microsoft fashion, they are eating up... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2019 at VoIPWatch
Vonage held their analyst and user group meeting this past week in San Francisco at the Four Seasons Hotel and made some moves that foreshadow what's to come. Beyond putting on a new brand look, one that is designed to move their business efforts more squarely into the enterprise market, they also are clearly breaking ranks from Broadsoft with the mention of Vonage Meetings. Now, nothing that I've seen says this, but it's pretty clear when you read between the lines in the news release copy, where they stated, "Vonage is the only cloud communications company that can deliver a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at VoIPWatch
There's a new 25% tariff on products coming to the USA from Europe. Let's call it the Trump Tax. For importers of European wine they will have to now pay more for each bottle they import, and of course those costs will be passed onto the distributors, retailers and ultimately the consumer. For European winemakers, wines already sold to importers will either sit in European warehouses as the importers await the end of the Trump Tax, or those bottles will be more expensive on the shelves of merchants in the USA. For restaurants who mark up wine they buy 3-4... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2019 at WINESCENE
Let's face it. If you're an executive at a telco and you get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the Hollywood elite, your wife and kids will love you. I mean, come on. Backstage passes to concerts. (CHECK). VVIP treatment at theme parks (CHECK). The ability for your wife to tell her friends how she met Lady Gaga (CHECK). Oh and don't forget things like private dinners in the executive dining room where a famous actor and producer pitch their latest idea for your entertainment division to fund. (CHECK) Back in the day when John Malone sold TCI Cable, notably... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2019 at VoIPWatch
ArsTechnica's Jon Brodkin has a well penned recap on what attorney generals in all 50 U.S.A. states are doing about Robocalling. Honestly, not much. In so many words, the AG's (i.e. not OGs) are basically giving the major carriers in the USA the ability to say "it's the other guys problem" and putting the blame on the "upstream provider." In other words, where the call originates, not where it terminates. This puts more pressure on those UCaaS and VoIP providers not mentioned in the story to take more action than the guys with the deepest pockets and most subscribers. This... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2019 at VoIPWatch
It looks like 8x8 is conceding in it's efforts to use agents to capture the small business/SOHO market that it hasn't been working so they've taken up the mantra "if we can't beat them, join them." They've become a member of what I like to refer to as "the chase to the bottom" crowd with their latest "new" offer, 8x8 Express. Granted, 8x8 is well positioned and can serve up what can be seen as a "disruptive pricing" offer with the low price and large feature set. And they can do this very effiiciently, because smartly, founder and now board... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2019 at VoIPWatch
Often we find that much of the content online is written in an "inside baseball" style. That's where the lingo and the phrases that make up a story are often written the same witty way that Hollywood writers weave in jibs, jabs, innuendo and more. I know, as I'm often guilty of working in a double entendre from time to time. That's why today's post from my pal Tsahi about ZOOM and their gaff about vulnerability was so refreshing. Tsahi wrote it so just about anyone could understand what ZOOM did wrong and right. For starters, it's a great primer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2019 at VoIPWatch
I'm a video communications user from as far back as CU-SEEME. I remember the early days of SightSpeed, which Comunicano worked closely with along the way, all the way up to their exit to Logitech. We also worked intimately with Skype's video team who had me test their then in beta video function that I remember testing, helping them realize that depending on the compression algorithm just how much bandwidth and what type of processor was needed back when we handled marketing for the Skype Store. I even went out and bought a super fast Samsung laptop that I gave... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2019 at VoIPWatch
It looks like when it comes to cloud based collaboration ZOOM is pushing Cisco's WebEx and the Broadsoft off to a supporting, more legacy customer oriented role at Verzion and taking its seat at the table. It's also a big win for all OTT players when last week Verizon announced their choice of Zoom as a new collaboration partner, just rival AT&T has. It's important to note that Zoom grew out of unhappy WebEx founders and team members who felt Cisco wasn't letting them innovate, so with the announcement they have in some ways detthroned their former master. For years... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at VoIPWatch