A day long voyage of discovery, into key Changes affecting the Communications Industry; as well as the Opportunities that they present.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Voice 2.0 - a Success!

As a classic techie introvert, I like to decompress for a while after events and let my thoughts gel before making any comments. For this reason, I did not post last night or early this morning on the conclusion of the Voice 2.0 conference that wrapped up yesterday evening. Alec Saunders, however, wrote about the conclusion of the event first thing in the morning and was even beaten to the punch by Grant Buckler who wrote about one of the sessions on Monday.

Alec gave a good summary and so I am not going to risk repeating his assessment here. I will say, that I have received a great deal of interest from people enquiring as to when they could expect a follow-on event. The feedback has been unanimously positive, with comments on the event being a unique and thought provoking experience that people enjoyed and learned from. It was not an unconference, but the format and approach was quite different from what other conferences offer, and people wanted more.

It is truly gratifying when you are able to satisfy a need or scratch an itch that others may not have recognized existed, so you can bet we will aim to address this need again, and even try and improve upon the experience that everyone had this year.

Stay tuned …

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I just got off the phone with Jim Courtney of Skype Journal and Bill St. Arnaud of CANARIE. As Jim Courtney agreed at the last minute to moderate our sessions on Alternative Networks, and Visions for Telecom (thanks a bunch Jim), I wanted to introduce him to Bill and for the two of them to agree on how the session would run.

Our conversation unfolded in a way that I hope several of the topics will go for those at the conference. Having seen Bill's charts, Jim was interested in learning more, but shortly after we were into the discussion, Jim became captivated by the possibilities of what Bill was describing. Jim's 'aha' moment led him to suggest that he would like to post on this subject and would follow-up with Bill shortly to further that effort.

Everyone of the sessions at the Conference has the potential to generate aha moments, even from industry insiders. It is going to be fun!

Wow!! I have been incredibly negligent. It has been a long time since my last posting. There has been so much going on, as we have worked to finalize many elements of the conference, that my blogging responsibilities got ignored.

Anyway, we are now only days away from this exciting first time event, and those of us who have been involved in organizing Voice 2.0 can't wait to see some of the discussions unfold and products demonstrated. I am especially looking forward to the demonstration of a brand new Voice 2.0 service that is coming out of stealth mode for the first time, at our conference.

With the exciting lineup of speakers and topics in our main conference stream, it is easy to forget the equally superb workshops that we have managed to line up for participants - at no additional charge! Martin Geddes got it right when he said in his blog; "
It’s great value-for-money. Non-profit, no fancy schamncy stuff, just what you need. Affordable to everyone". Consider the following workshops that are included in the price of your conference registration fee:
  • Issues of Security in VoIP, provided by industry guru and CEO of VoIPShield Paul Slaby
  • Designing Telephony Products for Usability. This is a compressed version of a day long workshop that Martin has provided to leading mobile phone vendors - at a hefty fee.
  • Quality of Experience Engineering, provided by leading tech training company - TrainingCity
  • Mobile Development Platforms for Next Generation Telecom Applications will provide a look at how to develop third party applications for Nokia's leading lineup of internet ready phones.
And as I said, all of this is included with your low registration fee. The choices will be difficult, but there won't be any bad choices. Don't let your friends and colleagues miss the opportunity to participate in this first of a kind event. There is still space available - but once we are sold out, that will be it.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This is the second time in as many days that I have referenced Mark Evan's blog - he is a prolific blogger, and usually has something interesting to say. Check him out. Anyway, my interest in his blog today centers around a video clip from the Rick Mercer Report. A great spoof on the BlackBerry. Could this be part of the New User Experience?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mark Evans posted an interview with Mike Pegg today. Mike is a GoogleMaps guru, who blogs extensively on the subject and helps people with GoogleMaps mashup development. The phenomenon of GoogleMaps mashups has surprised many. Mark Evans asks Mike why he thinks mashups of GoogleMaps have been so successful, and Mike answered that it was (and I paraphrase) due to:

  1. The powerful API and tools that have made coding mashups so simple and accessible to the ‘Average Joe’
  2. The satellite imaging capability that adds a new and interesting dimension to on-line maps.
This got me to wonder what a tool would look like that could generate the same kind of enthusiasm for Voice Mashups that GoogleMaps has done for Map Mashups? I am looking forward to the round-table discussion on New Applications of Voice Technology - Telephony Mashups, to ask the experts for their views.

Wow ... the programme just keeps getting better! In the last couple of days, we have had two more excellent speakers join our session on the New User Experience. Mitch Brisebois of TrueContext's Human Factors lab has signed up to a presentation and panel discussion, and Bill Buxton - UI guru and Principle Researcher at MicroSoft, has committed to participating at our conference.

My apologies for the state of the programme and schedule pages on our web-site. They are seriously out of date. I will have them upated by end-of-day tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

An article in the NYTimes today provides a further reminder of some of the potential surprises that may be in store for the communication industry. The piece deals with Telecom Italia's rumoured plans to sell its mobile unit. While not terribly surprising on its own, it follows reports over Verizon's massive investment in FTTH, and along with other similar reports suggests a potential swing of the pendulum away from wireless technologies. Not that wireless will loose its importance as a communication access vehicle, but rather it appears to be recognition that Broadband (optical) access, has been under appreciated in the past few years, as markets have been enamoured with wireless technology and applications.

Voice 2.0 will have a session on Alternative Networks, which includes highly publicized municipal WiFi networks as well as User Managed Optical networks. The latter has not been very widely reported in the media, but represents a change at least as important as Muni WiFI networks. We are fortunate that we will have Bill St-Arnaud of CANARIE networks, an expert on this trend, to help us better understand the threats and opportunities that it represents.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wednesday was a big day for my friend, and fellow conference organizer - Alec Saunders. This was the day that AOL announced a partnership with Alec's company - Iotum - as part of AOL's initiative to open its AIM Phoneline service to outside developers. This represents yet more validation of Iotum's business proposition and strategy. The deal was favourably reported on by Mark Evans and others.

Alec, who is a popular blogger as well and wrote a Voice2.0 manifesto, is helping organize the conference and will also be participating on the panel that will delve into the potential of new applications of voice, and communication mashups.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I was happy to see OM Malik write a post today on Mobile Phones, requesting input from his readers on which mobile phone offered the best User Experience. As he implied in his post, the User Experience is not just affected by the UI or even more generally, the phone itself. Rather, the network, and applications (which may be networked) can totally sabotage or enhance the user experience.

Going beyond just handsets, VoIP technologies offer opportunities to alter and significantly enrich the User Experience, yet there has been surprisingly little innovation in this regard to date. This is one of the exciting topics that will be discussed at Voice 2.0 in October! Hope to see you there