By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
10/23/2014

Analysts are touting Apple's new tablets as the key to expanded business usage. But I'm not drinking that Kool Aid, because businesses are rolling out tablets without regard to what Apple does, making due with existing iPad models and alternative tablets. Let me give you several examples I've seen since August.

Arriving in Las Vegas for ITEXPO Las Vegas on a hot summer day, I picked up a vehicle through Enterprise Rent-A-Car. You can imagine my curiosity when Enterprise agents had tablets with electronic forms on the screen. My curiosity changed to delight when the checkout process to get wheels was cut from 10 minutes or more to under five minutes, with no waiting around for agents or printed paper to shuffle. A quick walk around the vehicle, some scribbled initials and signatures with my fingertip and I was done.

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
10/22/2014

The future of payments is undoubtedly mobile and digital, as this week’s go-live of the Apple Pay service hopes to prove out. The idea is to enable frictionless, cardless commerce, and to do it in an ultimately more secure way than our existing magnetic stripes and password-based authentication mechanisms would offer today. Biometrics are a key part of enabling this, and, many say, the ultimate linchpin in establishing a trusted m-pay ecosystem.

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director
10/22/2014

I’ve been using the Asus PadFone X Mini for nearly a week now, and I think the company actually has something here. It isn’t perfect, no product is, but if you were put off by phones that were too large but needed the extra screen real estate for web work, or simply wanted a deal where you’d pay for one device but get both a tablet and a phone as part of a bargain. Sales growth for tablets has been slowing, and part of the reason is that with larger phones people are having trouble justifying new tablets but what if you got both for the price of one?

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
10/21/2014

HBO and CBS both announced the development of their very own over-the-top (OTT) video services last week, setting many to wondering whether the cord-cutting—that is, the cancellation of traditional cable and satellite service—would start as a trickle or a flood.

But is combining a bunch of streaming services a rational approach to streamlining one’s entertainment experience?

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
10/21/2014

I realize Digium has too many services going on that it doesn't fit cleanly into a traditional acquisition by the likes of a Mitel. Plus, the whole Asterisk open source model screws up a lot of thinking among old school telco heads. Google is the only one for Digium that makes sense. And Digium is one that makes a lot of sense for Google.

Why should Google love Digium? Let me count the many ways.

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director
10/21/2014

“I’m hungry. Let’s get tacos.”

What does that mean? One option is I am looking for a specific Reservoir Dogs clip. More than likely, though, I am in search of a place for lunch. What happens if you enter the phrase into a search engine? (Hopefully, you’re not very hungry.)

By Pat Patterson, Global Services Marketing Leader, Avaya
10/21/2014

Is it 2015 already? It is, if you are an IT manager in the final stages of budgeting and allocating. With a new year comes a new opportunity to begin again.

As always, we strive to help our clients begin again and plan ahead. We do this by anticipating what trends will soon be on the proverbial radar of our clients and the vendors that serve them.

The following is a summary of Avaya’s six trends to watch for in 2015. These have been identified by our panel and were also featured in more detail in our white paper, “Communications Services Trends for 2015 — Transformation Takes Hold.”

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
10/21/2014

Theft of service is a persistent and frustratingly widespread occurrence in the communication industry, representing perhaps two percent of industry revenues, but difficult to prevent because the attacks happen in so many ways, over a broad range of products.

Recent CFCA surveys continue to suggest a range of reasons why fraud prevention efforts are troublesome, in many cases.

Respondents to CFCA surveys say resources are an issue. There simply are not enough people within each organization to focus on fraud issues.

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
10/21/2014

Mitel wants to buy ShoreTel for $8.10 per share in cash. I don't know which is crazier: Mitel for offering, or ShoreTel's board for turning the offer down.

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director
10/20/2014

Mobility – meaning mobile connectivity – has changed the way we behave, both personally and professionally. Digital interactions are the norm; interpersonal communications are becoming a challenge for many who would prefer to text or IM. On the flip side, digital communication can be much less disruptive to others and can take place at nearly any time, despite not requiring real-time response.

Especially across geographic barriers, digital communication has enhanced our ability to both conduct business and stay in touch with friends and family – if you can afford it. Despite mobile connectivity being available nearly anywhere, in most cases, actually leveraging that connectivity outside your home market becomes prohibitively expensive.

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TechZone360 Writer
10/20/2014

Normally, when businesses talk about getting rid of a division, it usually follows that someone else is going to pay a tidy sum to take it over. But recently, an unexpected change happened as IBM agreed to pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to have Globalfoundries take over its semiconductor operations. While the payments will arrive over the course of the next few years, the agreement actually opens up some new opportunities for IBM.

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
10/17/2014

The launch of HBO's over the top streaming service was followed within days by the CBS All Access over the top streaming service.

Starz likewise is launching an OTT video streaming service for Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

It seems only a matter of time before other channels and networks also decide it is time to launch their own OTT services as well.

By Clayton Hamshar, Contributing Writer
10/17/2014

In preparation for the 2014 election season, search engines Bing and Google have both launched a set of tools to help out voters and provide quick access to relevant and useful information. These developments demonstrate how search engines can evolve into a centralized channel of knowledge, essential to the livelihood of a healthy democracy.

Bing’s official election website is in fact a collection of tools embedded directly above search results, called up when a user enters one of a number of relevant keywords. The URL itself redirects to results for the phrase “US elections 2014 predictions.” According to a Bing blog post, the company is dedicated to objectivity and as such the latest news and developments will be provided “from the right, left and center perspectives.”

By Joe Rizzo, TechZone360 Contributing Writer
10/16/2014

This week Google officially unveiled its newest smartphone, the Nexus 6. Competing with the other phablets currently on the market, it has a six-inch screen and was made by Motorola. The Nexus 6 will go on sale beginning in November and will be available through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular.

The Nexus 6 was introduced to us one day before Google was ready to release its third quarter earnings results for 2014. Google seems to have been hard at work lately; in addition to the new smartphone, it also just released a new TV gadget, as well as its new tablet the Nexus 9. Actually, Google has been working on a lot of things this year, such as drones, using blimps for wireless connections and joining forces with Barnes and Noble to compete with Amazon.

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
10/16/2014

Netflix saw great revenue gains for the third quarter of 2014, but Wall Street certainly didn’t like the fact that it missed its subscriber estimates in the latest round of earnings.

Net subscriber additions were lower than expected at 3.02 million, bringing total members globally to 53.1 million. On the home front, Netflix added only about a million new members in the U.S., ending Q3 with 37.22 million members. That’s lower than forecast and lower than the prior year. Internationally, it added two million members, to end the quarter with 15.84 million subscribers—that’s also lower than forecast, but higher than prior year, and it’s a number that’s bound to increase thanks to recent additional launches in Germany, France and other markets in Western Europe.

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TechZone360 Writer
10/15/2014

The set-top box market is a rapidly growing field, and as competitors from Apple to Roku look to crack the market and slip into users' homes, one thing is increasingly clear: there are more options now than ever in terms of what can go on top of, or at least around, a user's home television set. One new option from Google is set to offer a pretty impressive array of functions and make itself, hopefully, an indispensable part of users' home life. It's the Nexus Player, and it means to take on the biggest names already in the field.

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
10/15/2014

Enterprises are likely to invest three to four times more in technology aimed at growing revenue than technology to lower business costs, predicts Andrew Bartels, Forrester Research VP and principal analyst.

That represents a change from practices of the past six decades, when most information technology spending was designed to improve efficiency and lower cost.

The new emphasis is on revenue growth, supporting enterprise activities related to winning, serving, and retaining customers, Bartels says.

By Tara Seals, TechZone360 Contributor
10/15/2014

It’s hard to dispute that wearables are about the buzziest gadgets in the tech field right now. And Google is reportedly planning to throw its hat in with the space in a big way with an investment in Magic Leap, which describes itself as providing “cinematic reality” using 3D augmented reality (AR).

Sources told Recode that Google will be part of a $500 million funding round for the company—quite a step up from its previously announced $50 million cash infusion.

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
10/15/2014

As Microsoft continues to preach the virtues of Windows as the “one true operating system” spanning everything from servers down to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the company needs to successfully do three things in order to establish itself as a market leader within in the space. It will need to have open APIs that can play well with non-Windows devices, build a new strategic relationship with Intel, and make some carefully targeted investments for a broad-spanning Windows IoT ecosystem.

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor
10/14/2014

Blue is clearly the color of the day in the tech world, and this is not a reference to “I’m so blue!” Rather it involves the across the pond and global embrace of IBM (aka Big Blue) and SAP, whose corporate colors happen to be the reverse of IBM, in a new partnership aimed at accelerating cloud adoption by enterprises. This really is big blue news.

The news is that SAP has selected IBM as a premier strategic provider of Cloud infrastructure services for its business critical applications. The objective as noted is to speed enterprise customers’ ability to run core business in the cloud. The specifics are that the SAP® HANA Enterprise Cloud offering is now available through IBM’s highly scalable, open and secure cloud. The business imperative along with speeding cloud adoption is to expand SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud to major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers. As the companies state, they see the partnership as a way to enable customers to deploy their SAP software around the globe in a faster and more secure environment that is backed by IBM's proven cloud capabilities.

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