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The reinsurance business is evolving. Traditionally, reinsurance transactions are between two insurance entities: the primary insurer that sold the original insurance policies and the reinsurer. The companies in this industry are long-standing users of advanced communications technology, now including video collaboration. Tata Communications announced that it has been chosen by German reinsurance company, Hannover Re, to deploy and run its Telepresence facilities -- serving the group’s internal teams in 18 locations across 16 countries, worldwide. Tata Communications will deploy the Cisco TelePresence high-definition, immersive video collaboration systems to help employees based in Europe, North America, Asia, Middle East and Africa collaborate with each other on a daily basis. Under this agreement, Tata Communications will provide Hannover Re with a solution that i... (more)

Telepresence – The Face of the Cloud

Cloud Computing on Ulitzer Yesterday I had the opportunity to pay a visit to a few vendors at the virtual VoiceCon event.  I enjoyed a chat with an Alcatel-Lucent representative, learned a bit about Avaya's Aura Unified Communications (UC) platform, and viewed an IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony demo.  Virtual attendance at the event during the time that I joined was under 300 participants. Other companies participating included Siemens, Sprint, and Acme Packet. As you can imagine given the ongoing economic challenges, and the demand for green technologies, businesses are seeking all viable means to cut expenses, including travel, while still conducting their business face to face; and cloud computing coupled with converged communications provides a way to meet that need. I expect that the enterprise unified communications space will be fascinating to watch in 2... (more)

The Evolution In Enterprise Communications Continues

The VoiceCon 2010 event, now called, “Enterprise Connect!” is underway this week from Orlando, Florida; broadcasting keynotes from Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and Siemens, which you can watch for free on VoiceCon TV. As I mentioned previously, in my last unified communications blog post, “Telepresence – The Face of the Cloud“, the 2010 UC dance gets more interesting (and complicated) with each passing day.  As businesses continue to seek out ways to cut costs, and gain efficiencies, unified communications, and cloud computing, continue to provide alternatives for enterprises of all sizes to reduce their costs, and become more efficient in the process. Some of the leading news stories this week are: HP partnering with Polycom (you didn’t expect them to partner with Cisco did you?), Siemens partnering with VMWare for virtualized real-time enterprise unified communicati... (more)

CSC Offers TelePresence as a Service for Video Conferencing

"Cisco TelePresence changes the entire realm of communications and collaboration," said Richard McLeod, senior director of collaboration solutions for worldwide channels at Cisco. "CSC's investment in the TelePresence ATP ranks them among an elite group of partners qualified to deploy Cisco TelePresence in multiple regions." CSC unveiled on Tuesday its TelePresence as a Service (TaaS) offering, an end-to-end managed video conferencing solution based on the Cisco TelePresence product suite. Targeted at businesses with executives who are challenged with face-to-face meetings and limited time, the solution's powerful monitoring/management tools assure that TelePresence end points, network and infrastructure networks are always ready for high-definition video conferencing. Unlike the solutions of other system integrators and telecommunications providers, CSC's TaaS pro... (more)

HP Divests Video Conferencing Unit

HP is selling its video conferencing unit to Polycom for a that's-not-much $89 million so Polycom can go off and do battle with Cisco if in fact Cisco stays in the business and so HP can focus on the cloud. HP's high-end Halo widgetry never caught on. Maybe it was the $550,000-a-room price tag and the $18,000-a-month service fee or the fact that the guy at the other end had to have one too. Polycom, which told the Wall Street Journal there are all of 425 Halo rooms in the world, means to make Halo interoperate with its existing systems. The deal includes a strategic telepresence alliance between HP and Polycom. Seems HP will be reselling Polycom's cheaper stuff and Polycom will be including HP's webOS widgetry on its video applications. The deal should close next quarter. Remember, Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion and Skype's got free video-calling softwar... (more)

SPIRIT DSP Receives 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award

SPIRIT DSP, the world's top voice and video over IP engines provider, announced today that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has named SPIRIT's product a recipient of the 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award. is massively multi-point, web-based videoconferencing software product targeted for licensing to carriers and service providers as a white-labeled branded service. is based on SPIRIT DSP's video engine for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS clients and Windows or Linux-based video conferencing servers. The software embraces SPIRIT's highly scalable H.264SVC video codec and HD voice IP-MRTM wideband voice codec (IETF RFC 6262), enabling HD voice and multi-party video calling. The multi-point video software works on connections from 512 Kbps, providing up to 30 fps HD 720p and supports an unprecedented 100... (more)

This Week in Cloud

Download our iPhone app New: Download the This Week in Cloud iPhone app. Now it’s even easier to get your weekly cloud news and perspectives. Cloud News The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a finalized set of guidelines on cloud security. Read more in this InformationWeek article or read the guidelines at Cloud computing provider Joyent recently raised $85 million in funding, according to this TechCrunch article. European group Weather Investment II was the main investor. SmartDataCenter, Joyent’s cloud software suite, is used worldwide by developers and enterprises. Piston has released Piston Enterprise OS, an open source operating system for the cloud. This scalable private cloud operating system is built on the OpenStack cloud platform and was built for enterprise customers. Read more at Data Center Knowledge. Microsoft rece... (more)

Companies Seen Shifting Towards Customer Engagement From Customer Service, Says Frost & Sullivan

HONG KONG -- (Marketwire) -- 11/28/11 -- Companies are moving towards customer engagement from customer service and new technology such as cloud and social are becoming more critical for customer care delivery, says Frost & Sullivan. Andrew Milroy, Vice President, Asia Pacific ICT Research at Frost & Sullivan said that it is critical for companies to understand customer's behavior to drive revenue growth, build experience & improve operations and margins. He added that on-demand contact center technology is expected to drive cost optimization and increase access to larger labor pools. "Analytics plays a key role in enabling Enterprises to deliver differentiated experience, and create a winning strategy," he said, adding that strategic contact centers report on customer-centric insights, not on operational metrics. Mr. Milroy added that new business models are emergi... (more)

CardSpring Launches New Payment Network Platform That Lets Developers Create Applications For Payment Cards

Payments infrastructure startup CardSpring announced today the raise of a $10M Series A investment led by Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, with SV Angel, Morado Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and WIN also participating. CardSpring is a new Application Programming Interface (API) for the payment network that lets developers add new capabilities to credit and debit cards by programming the payment network to link online applications to specific payment events. The API brings the disruption of the web to the payment network, enabling developers to turn existing offline payment-linked services like paper coupons, loyalty cards, or receipts into software. Because CardSpring runs in the payment network cloud, developers can add applications to any of the billions of existing credit or debit cards without changes to the purchase experience or store infrastructure, enabling... (more)

SPIRIT DSP Powers LG U+'s Popular U+070 Mobile Voice & Video Calling Application

SPIRIT DSP, the world's top voice and video over IP engines provider, has announced today that LG U+ (formerly known as LG Telecom) has turned to SPIRIT's TeamSpirit® Voice&Video Engine Mobile as the engine to power HD-quality VVoIP (Voice&Video Over IP) calling on the company's popular U+070 Mobile application service. LG U+ is the third largest carriers in South Korea, pioneering many innovative VAS services and serving 9.5 million subscribers. Driven by a surge in smartphone penetration and a growing breadth of mobile video calling services by major industry players, mobile VVoIP usage is exploding, causing a greater number of service providers to introduce new mobile VVoIP services with rich features and differentiating their service with call quality. According to a new Juniper Research report, the number of mobile video calling users is projected to exceed 13... (more)

Frost & Sullivan to Host Customer Interaction Summit in Hong Kong

HONG KONG -- (Marketwire) -- 11/08/11 -- Frost & Sullivan will be hosting the Customer Interaction Hong Kong Summit 2011 on 23rd November, 2011 at Sheraton Towers & Hotel, Hong Kong. Mature markets such as Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore are investing in applications such as analytics and social media integration. Both green-field deployments of new high definition systems, as well as replacement deals in mature economies are expected to drive growth in the region. In this increasingly complex environment, improving the customer experience continues to be a top priority for Hong Kong businesses who want to drive revenue and profitability. The summit will discuss how local enterprises need to be anticipating their customers' needs and proactively reaching out to their customers to optimize customer experience. Speakers include: Andrew Milroy, Vice President - IC... (more)