Monday, March 6, 2017

Could ShoreTel acquire 8x8?



There's an unidentified source claiming that:
8x8, a VoIP and cloud service provider focused mainly on business customers, is considering selling the company amidst a growing wave of consolidation in the telecom service provider industry segment. Citing unnamed sources close to the company, Reuters reported that 8x8 has been consulting with Morgan Stanley to gauge the interest of other similar companies and private equity firms.

Report: VoIP, cloud provider 8x8 considers a possible sale | FierceTelecom
Why would ShoreTel even be interested? Well, besides the obvious,
ShoreTel and Vonage have been aggressively expanding their reach via acquisitions. In 2015, ShoreTel acquired Corvisa, a provider of cloud-based communications solutions, for $8.5 million, enhancing its unified communications capabilities.

Report: VoIP, cloud provider 8x8 considers a possible sale | FierceTelecom
With Vonage being just as aggressive, I'm sure they would also like an opportunity to do the same, assuming the claim is true. They've purchased four companies themselves, Nexmo, iCore, SimpleSignal and Telesphere.

Visit us here for more on ShorTel business phone equipment and  news

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ShoreTel Looking to Recover Now that It Is Oversold, Can It?


There is now some hope and optimism that ShoreTel (SHOR) . Over the last 60 days it has been on an upward trend.

The reason is that ShoreTel's RSI reading is 28.49. What is RSI?

According to NASDAQ.com
RSI stands for 'Relative Strength Index' and it is a popular indicator used by technically focused investors. It compares the average of gains in days that closed up to the average of losses in days that closed down; readings above 70 suggest an asset is overbought, while an RSI below 30 suggests undervalued conditions are present.


SHORETEL-rsi-marketvolume_ Source: www.marketvolume.com



That alone would suggest that there is light at the end of that tunnel. But couple that with a #1 Zack Rank and now things are starting to look much more positive for SHOR
If this wasn’t enough, ShoreTel also has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) which puts it into rare company among its peers. So, given all of these factors, investors may want to consider getting in on this stock now (or holding on), as there are some favorable trends that could bubble up for this stock before long.

Source: ShoreTel (SHOR) is Oversold: Can It Recover?
Visit us here for more information on Shoretel Business Phones

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cisco Welcomes The House Passage of the Email Privacy Act




The House of Representatives unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act, a bill that would reform ECPA ( Electronic Communications Privacy Act) were it to become law on Monday evening.

What is the ECPA and why does it need to be reformed?
In the beginning, ECPA protected Americans’ e-mail from warrantless surveillance — despite ECPA allowing the government to access e-mail without a court warrant if it was six months or older and stored on a third-party’s server. The tech world now refers to these servers as “the cloud,” and others just think of Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook and Gmail.

ECPA was adopted at a time when e-mail, for example, wasn’t stored on servers for a long time. Instead, e-mail was held there briefly before recipients downloaded it to their inbox on software running on their own computer.

During the Reagan administration, e-mail more than six months old was assumed abandoned, and that’s why the law allowed the government to get it without a warrant. At the time, there wasn’t much of any e-mail for the authorities to acquire because a consumer’s hard drive — not the cloud — hosted their inbox.

Source: Aging ‘Privacy’ Law Leaves Cloud E-Mail Open to Cops




Now with the Email Privacy Act passed it should help to reform the most outdated elements of the ECPA.
In particular, it would newly require government agencies to obtain a warrant before seizing a criminal suspect’s online communications that are more than 180 days old. Under the ECPA’s existing logic, those older communications are considered abandoned, and thus not subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Source: Passing the Email Privacy Act Has Never Been More Urgent
Basically
The legislation would require authorities such as the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain a search warrant to access emails, data in cloud storage and other digital communications more than 180 days old.[4][5]

Under current law—the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986—authorities can obtain such data by issuing an administrative subpoena to an Internet service provider, without the need to obtain judicial approval.[4][5][6] The Congressional Research Service reported in 2015 that: "In recent years, ECPA has faced increased criticism from both the tech and privacy communities that it has outlived its usefulness in the digital era and does not provide adequate privacy safeguards for individuals' electronic communications. In light of these concerns, various reform bills have been introduced in the past several Congresses..."[7]

The Email Privacy Act would codify as federal law the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in United States v. Warshak (2010). In that case, the Sixth Circuit held that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires that the government obtain a warrant before accessing emails stored online (e.g., in the cloud).[6][8][9] The Warshak ruling currently applies only to the Sixth Circuit; the Email Privacy Act would extend its rule nationwide.[6][8]

Source: Wikiepedia Email Privacy Act
Cisco-Logo



Cisco is firmly behind the Email Privacy Act and has stated publicly that they have
..long supported updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to better protect customer data and communications stored with third-party providers against unwarranted searches and seizures. We, therefore, applaud the unanimous voice vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) introduced by Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

This bipartisan legislation would require the government to obtain a probable cause warrant before demanding access to customer data in the cloud. We firmly believe that data stored in the cloud must receive equivalent legal protections against search and seizure to those accorded physical papers and electronic data stored on premises.

Source: Cisco Applauds Unanimous House Vote Passing Email Privacy Act
Today the house took a major step forward. Technology has made incredible advances over the years and it was about time the privacy laws catch up.

For more Telecommunications News click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Telecommunications Act of 1996, What is it and How Will it Affect the Telecommunications Industry?





What is the Telecommunications act and why is it important. According to the FCC:
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has the potential to change the way we work, live and learn. It will affect telephone service -- local and long distance, cable programming and other video services, broadcast services and services provided to schools. The Federal Communications Commission has a tremendous role to play in creating fair rules for this new era of competition.

Source: FCC Telecommunications Act of 1996


Even though the Act was supposed to provide wire to wire competition many thought the bill had not succeeded as legislators intended it to.

The Consumers Union reported:
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 did not foster competition among ILECs as the bill had hoped. Instead, of ILECs encroaching on each other, the opposite occurred – mergers. Before the 1996 Act was passed, the largest four ILECs owned less than half of all the lines in the country while, five years later, the largest four local telephone companies owned about 85% of all the lines in the country.[22]

Source: Wikipedia Telecommunications Act of 1996


There are many today that agree with their report and would like nothing more than to see the Telecommunications Act repealed and replaced.






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Recode.net had this to say about the next big shift to come for the bill.
The big shift from 1996 to 2017 has been the convergence of once-separate media into one overarching digital medium known as the internet: Voice, music, news, photos, video — each of which was a separate medium and a separate industry — have converged as they all have become essentially bits in a single broadband bitstream. And old distinctions, like that between wired and wireless access, have become less meaningful as mobile networks move toward wider availability and higher performance. In the face of these changes, maintaining the regulation of communications in separate silos, represented by different bureaus within the FCC, seems increasingly archaic.

A major rewrite of the Communications Act is a big deal, but may actually happen despite the partisan atmosphere of Washington. Some lawmakers, including Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., whose committee has jurisdiction over such matters, has expressed his desire to begin updating the Act in earnest this year.

At the recent State of the Net conference in Washington, D.C., Thune said, “First, we need to modernize our communications laws to facilitate the growth of the Internet itself. And second, we need to update government policies to better reflect the innovations made possible by the Internet and other digital technologies.”

Some initial efforts in that direction have already been undertaken. Three years ago, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., launched what they acknowledged would be a multi-year effort to examine and update the Act. In 2014, they held an exploratory hearing on communications policy and issued a series of whitepapers on topics such as spectrum policy, competition policy, the role of the FCC, network interconnection, the FCC’s Universal Service Policy and regulation of the market for video content and distribution.

Source: Will the Telecommunications Act get a much-needed update as it turns 21?
The Aspen Institute created a new report, “Setting the Communications Policy Agenda for the New Administration,” to address the immediate future. The report was based on a meeting industry stakeholders, public interest advocates and other experts held this past summer, identifies several top priorities:
  • Supporting the transition to 5G
  • Providing more spectrum for mobile broadband
  • Supporting innovation and modernization of telecom
  • Expanding access
  • Improving cyber security
There are definitely some key issues that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing exactly what will change, if anything and how it will affect the telecommunications industry as a whole. Stay tuned.

You can find more Telecommunications News right here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Telecommunications Operators Get Customized Voice-Activated Digital Assistant from Nokia


Engineers and telecom operators will soon have access to a digital voice assistant that was built specifically for them. Think of it just like you would Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana or Apple's Siri, except it's strictly for the telecommunications industry.

Introducing the "Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant", or "MIKA" for short, developed by Nokia.

Nokia has created a customized 'digital assistant' that will improve telecom operators' efficiency by providing engineers faster access to critical information. 'MIKA' - powered by the Nokia AVA cognitive services platform and underpinned by Nokia's services expertise - will provide voice-dictated automated assistance to reduce time spent searching information resources, enabling operators to focus on key business tasks without being distracted by the complexities of multi-technology network environments.

SourceNokia launches MIKA - the first digital assistant customized for telecommunications operators
nokia_mika

MIKA will help engineers and telecom operators access specific information and look up quick solutions to telecom-related problems, all based on the AI-driven network experience, and all done simply through voice commands.


Finding the right information is a daily challenge for telco engineers tasked with boosting network quality. MIKA taps into the power of the Nokia AVA platform to provide quick and accurate answers, avoiding time wasted on fruitless searches. MIKA is customized to support the specific needs of telecoms, and can deliver recommendations based on experience from networks around the world


  • MIKA - 'Multi-purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant' - aids engineers' efficiency by providing voice-activated access to information

  • Powered by Nokia AVA platform, MIKA provides augmented intelligence and automated learning to access best practice

  • Nokia also introduces Predictive Repair, a Nokia AVA-powered service that forecasts potential hardware failures up to 14 days in advance
SourceNokia launches MIKA - the first digital assistant customized for telecommunications operators

One of the coolest things about MIKA is that it is supposed to be able to foresee network faults up to two weeks in advance with 95 percent accuracy, through the Predictive Repair service.

The MIKA is currently only available for telecom engineers, we'll have to wait and see if they provide something for the general public.

If your headed to the Mobile World Congress, be on the look out, you might get to see it in action.

Visit us here for for more Telecommunications, Media and Technology News,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Town Hall Phone System to cost $65K, too much?


In the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, MA. Their committee just voted in favor of upgrading their old, outdated town hall phone system that they are currently using.

Well, using is stretching it a bit. They've been having some issues with the phone system over the past year. Over the last few months they haven't be able to receive any voicemails and the calls are then disconnected after a few rings.
Finance Director Jennifer Petit said because of the failing state of the town hall phone system, the town opted to bring an article to Town Meeting in April instead of waiting to fund the upgrades in November.

“The voicemail isn’t working, so we need to get this done right away,” she said.

Committee member Susan Smith suggested that the new system could be installed even sooner if the project were paid for with reserve funds. Ms. Petit said that would not expedite the installation, however, as a plan is still being worked out for how to switch out the existing system.

Committee member Peter J. Hargraves asked if the new system will be compatible with phone systems in other town buildings. Mr. Lowell said that it will, thanks to town buildings’ connection to the OpenCape network. The fiber optic network has enabled high-speed Internet connectivity. Voice-over IP operates over the Internet.

Source: New Phone System To Cost $65,000
The town hall manager, Julian M. Suso, felt that repairing the current phone system would have been "poorly spent" to try to fix the almost extinct phone system. The parts to fix the current system are not available anymore and any new parts would have to be installed.

falmouth-ma
They initially estimated funds to replace the old system be around $30,000 to $50,000. But the new number of $65,000 will cover the purchase of 90 phones and software for a VoIP system, at $45,000 and then the remaining $20,000 would cover the cost of wiring and installing the new system.
Their police and fire departments have already went through some upgrades to their phone systems, with the library slated for next on their list.



A VoIP system that costs $65,000 installed, is it worth it? Well. according to the people in Falmouth, absolutely! One of my favorite quotes from committee member Susan Smith was
“Ninety-year-old people don’t go to the website”

Source: Committee Insists On Fixes To Town Hall Phone System
No mention of the current system they were replacing after 15 years. What's your best guess?

Click here for More Business Phone Related News and Tips

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cisco Leading The Digital Transformation in Healthcare

The advances in technology are all around us.

We have mobile devices phones that have replaced and combined everything from your phone, computer, web browser, email and music player, to self-driving cars and drones dropping off your online order minutes after you order.

But there are still a few areas it seems technology is having a hard time breaking through to.

Those are usually the tried and true mega institutions that have been around for a long time, have a long history and find it hard to turn over their tried and true method to some "new" tech, that may bring it all crashing down around them. Which seldom ever happens, but that's their fear anyway.

Those behemoths were technology is slow to make progress are your government agencies, your education systems and of course the healthcare industry.

Cisco is actually helping to lead the way in that last category. Recently Cisco has teamed up with Pure Storage to revolutionize the world of data storage.
Cisco is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with partner Pure Storage to revolutionize the world of data storage. FlashStack combines Cisco UCS with industry-leading flash storage in one powerful package. This is especially good news for for customers of Epic, the leading EHR software vendor in the U.S., because FlashStack is Epic-compliant. It meets – or exceeds – Epic hardware specifications.

When customers build Epic on FlashStack, they get an instantly upgradable platform for Epic deployment. Additional capacity and capabilities can be added seamlessly in minutes, with no need for rip-and-replace upgrades. A simple, unified management interface gives the IT team the ability to manage UCS and Pure Storage resources using familiar Cisco management tools and processes.

FlashStack gives facilities the ability to scale on-demand, drive always-on high performance for Epic (even under heavy use), and deploy a cloud-like infrastructure for flexible growth. In fact, FlashStack is already making waves in the industry. One early adopter achieved a 234% ROI on a VDI deployment with all-flash storage from Pure Storage.

Source: Cisco and Pure Storage Announce Data Storage Solution


Cisco is also looking to "Empower healthcare innovation. Simply and securely transform experiences and outcomes." They have several healthcare offerings that can help do just that.







Check out their cool infographic they:

VaS-infographic-sat



They are even creating content, solutions and documents to help any healthcare facility make the switch. Here's one they created for those getting started with telemedicine. According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), more than 15 million Americans receive some kind of remote medical care, and that number is only expected to grow.
Ready to join the telemedicine revolution? One key to your success is getting everyone in your organization excited and on board with your plan. Here are a few tips to overcome barriers and hesitation.

1. To get buy-in, communicate value: not only to the C-Suite but also to providers.

Consider all the stakeholders who could be affected by your plan. Be prepared to share answers to the following questions:

What are the organization’s goals with telemedicine? Is it to reduce costs, increase convenience, improve patient outcomes, reduce physician burn-out, and/or grow the business? Share details. (These are all potential benefits of telemedicine – visit the ATA to get more information.)
What ROI are you expecting as an organization in one year, five years, 10 years? Help them visualize the long-term benefits.
How will you help keep liability risks low for providers? Is your insurance policy up to date? Are there any concerns with licensing? How will you address security? Knowing these answers may help ease provider anxiety.
2. Get a champion (or a committee of champions).

Seek out providers who are enthusiastic about telemedicine and encourage them to share information with colleagues. These folks can also serve as your implementation committee once your telemedicine program is off and running.

3. Run a patient education campaign.

Study after study shows that patients want telemedicine but don’t know where to get it – or don’t know if their insurance policy covers it. Make sure they not only know it exists but also understand how to access it.

4. Have the right technology – or a plan to acquire it.

Can your network handle the increased bandwidth – and is it secure? What about video quality? How will your system operate with other technology already in place? It’s critical that you ensure a smooth transition for your end users.

Source: Four ways to overcome telemedicine hesitation
Are we there yet? Nope! We are still waiting for those flying cars.

Are there still hurdles to overcome? Absolutely, but Cisco is helping get a foothold and prove to the healthcare industry that the tech works and with that, hopefully continue to pave the way. Allowing for more technology, better systems and efficiencies that can help us all.

Visit us here for more HealthCare IT news, tips and posts.