In Greek mythology, Icarus and Daedalus attempt to escape from the island of Crete by constructing wings that were held on using wax. Although Daedalus had warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, Icarus did not heed the warning, the wax melted, and Icarus perished. To be an "Icarus" or to "fly too close to the sun" is to fail or be destroyed because of lack of caution or excessive ambition.
For any service provider, moving out of the data center and into the cloud can bring an extensive return on investment – optimizing costs by only paying for what you use has saved some service providers thousands and thousands of dollars each year. If you were perhaps on the fence about the potential cloud return on investment, AWS makes it a point to advertise this savings-promised-land to users whenever possible:
As many in our space will contend, telecom resides in a niche and operates under a different set of (perhaps self-inflicted) rules compared to those web apps that are thriving in the cloud. Telecom apps were born in darkness and molded by the place known as ‘on-prem’ with no thought to the possibility of cloud computing. In contrast, the web apps of today were born in the cloud and built to limitlessly scale (a la web-scale).
Theory is fun and scaling real-time communications in theory is simple – components are generic and square Lego-like building blocks that can get scaled up vertically (adding more power to the engine) and/or horizontally (adding more engines to the pool cluster). Scaling ‘just’ happens with more resources being added when needed and removed when done.
Unfortunately, while simple in theory, the reality is not as simple. There are a lot of factors to be considered while scaling. The ‘real’ in real-time communications leaves very little room for error with its somewhat unpredictability. It’s a delicate balance of optimizing costs while expecting the unexpected, where usage spikes can leave customers without service.
Furthermore, there is the concept that not all scaling components are created equal – some components, and even functions of those components, need more resources to do their job. For example, the media server component is responsible for many functions, including conferencing, recording, transcoding, and playing IVR prompts – but each those functions scales very differently. The processing requirements for transcoding, for example, is much different than an IVR play.
While there are many considerations, but one final topic for discussion is the concept that scaling of components needs to be service-aware, meaning that components need to have some level of insight as to the type of instance on which they are running. For example, AWS advertises the most significant cost savings can be achieved using its Spot Instances. The adverse effect of using the spot instance type is that it can be taken-away/terminated with only a 2-minute notice. This is plenty of time if proper planning has been done to accommodate the resource being taken away, but perhaps not ideal for some real-time communication functions (i.e., recording). On the flip side, leveraging the disposability of spot instances could be to a solution’s advantage for scaling in. For example, if a conferencing service is using a mix of on-demand and spot instances, the routing algorithm can recognize and route based on the component’s instance type, simplifying a scale-in event.
Here’s the point – don’t be an “Icarus” when it comes to leaving the “island of Crete” (also known as the on-prem data center) for the cloud. Designing telecom real-time communication services that are cloud-scalable is hard and while optimizing costs is possible, it requires thought and not “flying too close to the sun.”
Publish Date: December 17, 2019
Within many organizations today, CIOs are embracing the many possibilities that are opened up by the implementation of cloud technologies. By introducing the cloud into their workplaces, many businesses have been able to establish much more flexible and efficient workflows and reap the rewards in greater profitability and lower expenditures.
Some of the benefits of cloud computing are now obvious to everyone. We are all familiar with remote file access and even being able to access and run applications remotely. However, fewer people appreciate the ground-breaking role that cloud technologies have played in streamlining communications throughout enterprises.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is enabling businesses to access all-in-one cloud-based communications services. These services are often highly-scalable, meaning that a small business can stick with the same communications system throughout the growth of their business.
The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is the perfect complementary technology, augmenting UCaaS in a number of different ways.
UCaaS enables businesses to integrate multiple forms of communications into a single platform. This enables them to be much more dynamic in their operations by ensuring that workers are always able to communicate with one another. However, as with all cloud services, a UCaaS setup is only as good as its uptime rate.
UCaaS systems are highly susceptible to unreliable connections; any packet loss is going to inhibit the effectiveness and quality of communications on your network. Cloud-based system providers like Broadgate Voice implement a variety of measures to minimize packet loss and ensure that communications are able to flow uninhibited.
SD-WAN enables much more efficient and reliable packet transmission, minimising the rate at which communications are dropped. This is essential for video communications, where packet loss leads to pixelation on the image. Meanwhile, the audio quality will drop as data is lost. SD-WAN ensures UCaaS quality remains high, regardless of load.
Businesses today want to minimize disruption to their networks while also ensuring that the software they use is secure and up to date. Even if you keep the same software packages for years on end, installing updates can lead to unexpected conflicts and other issues. For this reason, businesses are always eager to avoid having to install entirely new systems and integrate them with their existing infrastructure.
Publish Date: December 12, 2019
I've lost count on how many Unified Communications (UC) platforms are out there. It seems every week there is an announcement on a new vendor launching its own. It does not surprise me, as per most analysts, UC is a growing market with a market cap that is expanding by multiple billions of dollars year over year. Everyone wants a piece of that!
As in most market segments, in the UC market there are those vendors that took a risk and now are market leaders and others that came later, but by flexing their financial muscle were able to buy market share (you know who they are…). There are also the niche vendors that identified an interesting gap and are capitalizing on it. Independent of the type of vendor, in UC, there are base factors that can contribute to success or failure. One of these factors is audio and video quality. It is quite hard to collaborate when you have a poor experience on audio and video calls and conferences. A UC vendor could have the most advanced APIs or integrate with a multitude of applications, but if audio or video quality is not there and adaptable to different network conditions, then it is destined for failure.
As a head of product management, it is part of my role to take a good look at the competition and analyze the pros and cons of my products – in this case the Dialogic BUZZ™ UC platform. While my view is, of course, biased, our customers’ – and particularly prospects’ – opinions are not, and, depending on the culture, can be quite blunt. For example, in the early days of Dialogic BUZZ development, I had a meeting where a potential customer tore down the product bit by bit. Whatever self-confidence and game plan I had going into that meeting were shattered in the first 10 minutes. But at the same time, it was refreshing and helped me understand why. We had run a Proof of Concept (PoC) with that particular prospect, and had focused on all the shiny collaboration features and the integration with Microsoft Office 365. The PoC platform was hosted in the US, but the prospect was using a remote team based on a different continent to test the features, which meant that due to latency, the audio and video experience was quite poor. It did not matter that the product had lots of cool features, because in the end audio and video quality was the KPI that defined success. Based on this feedback, Dialogic added a function called Regional Media Servers (RMS). This allows us to detach and globally distribute the media servers without the need to redeploy the entire Dialogic BUZZ UC platform.
Since the inception of Dialogic BUZZ, the ability to leverage Dialogic’s expertise in media processing has been a huge plus. Dialogic has over 120 patents in media processing and is considered a market leader. Possessing in-house products, such as Dialogic® PowerMedia® XMS (Dialogic’s media server offering) and Dialogic® BorderNet™ SBC, allows an unparalleled level of flexibility. Both products meet very high standards for audio and video quality. This became very clear when, in the early stages of Dialogic BUZZ UC product development, the product achieved an impressive amount of traction, despite going head-to-head with other more mature UC platforms. We have managed to keep our prospects engaged based on the differences they saw in audio and video quality vs. other offerings.
With the realization that audio and video quality is the key to success for Dialogic BUZZ, Dialogic has taken it a step further by offering automated media parameter adjustments, such as jitter buffer, to enhance the audio and video experience, even in poor connectivity environments (e.g., busy Wi-Fi hotspots). Another key element is to notify the user about the cause for any degradation in audio and video quality – and how to solve it.
Getting to this point in the evolution of the Dialogic BUZZ UC platform has been quite an exciting journey. Prospects and customers have played a tremendous role in guiding our roadmap and helping us understand what truly matters – and the being the top-dog on features and integrations has limited value. Without quality audio and video communications, you won’t go far.
See and hear it yourself! Reach out to one of our team members to discuss why Dialogic BUZZ UC has a noticeable difference (https://www.dialogic.com/contact-sales).
Publish Date: November 7, 2019
Nerd alert! For a while I’ve postponed my chance to geek out about one of the latest buzz words in the telecom industry. Over the last few years, the telecom industry has been rampant with technical terms such as virtualization, network functions virtualization (NFV), orchestration, and lately containerization. Salespeople throw terms around like there is no tomorrow in hopes of getting prospects engaged and excited about their products. One term that is trending now is microservices architecture (MSA). Now, I did say I was going to geek out, but I promise not to get too technical, so hopefully, you will make it to the end of this blog.
In general terms, MSA involves separating each platform/software functionality into a container that runs on its own. What is the point on that, you ask? Well, let me give you a typical example. A Unified Communications platform (UC) supports multiple features such as calling, conferencing, collaboration, and instant messaging. Imagine that you have a surge in video conferences; the typical UC platform uses a monolithic architecture such as a Telephony Application Server (TAS), which runs all the services. So, the peak in video conferencing will basically cause the entire platform to run out of hardware resources affecting everything else. The only way to address this issue is to increase the hardware resources of the platform as a whole, even if the other services do not require additional resources. MSA allows you to separate all these functionalities into separate containers and scale them independently, allowing much better use of your hardware resources. This is a basic example, which actually does little justice to all the benefits of MSA, but it’s a practical one.
Looking at it from a different perspective (a less geeky one), MSA also offers an exciting business opportunity. If all services on your platform are interfacing using standard APIs, then you could slice parts of it and provide those as individual services. Again, using a UC platform as an example, you can take the conferencing microservice and allow your customers to build their own conferencing client and interface only with this specific container. The same applies to calls or instant messaging. Thus, MSA can enable offering both a turnkey application, such as UC, or simply selling the “sliced” services. Another MSA advantage is that each service is agnostic and performs a limited number of tasks without interfering or being affected by the others. This isolation enhances the capability to monitor, troubleshoot, and manage individual containers.
To get more specific, and still looking at MSA from a business perspective, the Dialogic® BUZZ™ UC platform is a great example of MSA in action. A customer may initially purchase Dialogic BUZZ to be used as a UC platform, and can also offer UC as a Service (UCaaS) to their customers if desired. Simultaneously, they could reuse the same platform and turn it into a Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS). This flexibility will allow our customers to diversify their offer and above all, give them the ability to innovate on their own. The microservices distributed architecture is a crucial enabler for this business model and the reason why Dialogic chose to take this path. From a technology vendor perspective, MSA will also allow Dialogic to continue innovating and adding functionalities without disrupting the existing deployment. New features become new microservices, which are seamlessly added. It’s a DevOps dream! (There I go again, getting carried away.)
These are exciting times. Dialogic recently released Dialogic BUZZ 4.0, which leverages a partial microservices architecture. Over the last few months, we have been turning BUZZ into a full MSA-based platform. This migration process continues, and our customers will continue to reap the benefits. Dialogic BUZZ has become simpler to install, manage, and scale – and soon will also allow customers to monetize it in different ways. While we are in this process, we are already planning the next step – enhancing the microservices to a full "Service Mesh" topology. But that's a story for another day…
Publish Date: October 31, 2019
If you have been in the high tech industry then you know what a search for the next killer app is like. Most of us in the software industry have done it – and a few of us (me included) quite a few times.
To the uninitiated, as defined by Wikipedia, “a killer application (commonly shortened to “killer app”) is any computer program that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology.” Some killer apps came and went – VisiCalc / Lotus 123 and WordStar (to go back in time) were absolute killers of their respective categories. Some came and stayed – more recently Angry Birds, Uber, and WhatsApp – which I’m sure even resonate with teens.
The concept of a killer apps is not new – killer desktop apps, killer web apps, killer mobile apps. The promise of killer apps has always been there for software – especially when significant advancement in core technologies are introduced as platforms. This creates opportunities and new breeds of software.
Microsoft Windows created opportunities for desktop killer apps. Apple iPhones opened up the revolution for smartphone killer apps. Well ladies and gents, we are on the verge of the next Gold Rush in killer apps, so I hope you are ready to strap on the wading boots and overalls in the search of 5G killer apps.
5G, and to a large degree IoT, are slated to become revolutionary versus what we see today in 4G/LTE networks. The pure speed of 5G will allow many things to certainly “go” faster, but it’s the very low latency that will allow evolution and innovation to take place. Add the absolute explosion of “smart” things and “smart” industries and conditions are perfect for the next generation of killer apps.
Have we learned anything from previous expeditions for killer apps? Is there a recipe for finding a killer app? What kinds of individuals are able to participate in killer app hunting? Is it expensive to setup a search for a killer app?
If you are a CSP (communication service provider) – better known as Verizon, Telefonica, Etisalat, TELUS or Vodafone to consumers and enterprises – how do you enable your organization to find these killer apps? How do you allow anyone in your organization to participate in the killer-app-finding mission? How do you engage your customers to try early candidate killers to see if you can amass your fame and fortune? How do you launch not just 3 to 5 killer candidates per year due to effort and cost of each activity, but turn up the volume to crank out 30 to 50 killer candidates with same timeframe and price tag?
Being a large Tier1 CSP is not easy. Many activities have a complex process, and things like security, integrations, paperwork and number of people involved are just the reality for a CSP serving millions of customers. Add to that billing systems, provisioning, customer support, and marketing, and the timelines and costs keep growing.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have:
Well, the killer app factory is open for business. Dialogic will be showcasing DialogicONE v3 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Feb 25-28). We will show how CSPs can start creating new solutions with leading IoT platforms and for 5G networks. And while in our booth you’ll be able to experience:
We are excited for CSPs to take DialogicONE v3 for a spin (some already have, you know who you are), start the accelerated hunt for killer apps at a maximum speed, and enable a much wider set of professionals than ever before.
Stop by Hall 6, Stand B62 at MWC19. You’ll be glad you did. We have pushed technology to the limit once again and I guarantee you will see capabilities that will help you accelerate your killer apps with IoT and for 5G networks. Better yet, schedule a demo to make sure you don’t miss out!
Publish Date: February 14, 2019
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog that documented my time from a fledgling start-up company based in the UK to joining the Dialogic family. In that musing, I referenced the exciting experience over the last couple of years as the company reinvented itself into one that is lean, agile, and ready and able to succeed in the new world of virtualization and cloud. Remaining on the same theme, this blog delves a little deeper into the world of Dialogic to reveal exactly how we have remodelled the very core of the company from the ground up though our product offerings.
I remember as a young man the landmark day I was permitted to own a Swiss Army knife – a long time ago. As someone who grew up in the countryside, it was the perfect accompaniment to many adventures and its multiple tools were used for tasks ranging from bow and arrow construction to building camp fires. But what relevance does this nostalgic day dreaming have to the topic at hand, you ask?
Dialogic is very much analogous to a software version of a Swiss Army knife. Contained within its multifunctional core are tailored software components that can either be used in isolation or in combination to solve modern day problems – just like my childhood adventures and prized Swiss Army knife. There is no better example than Dialogic’s recent addition to the portfolio, the highly impressive and disruptive Dialogic BUZZ Unified Communication (UC) platform. Not only does it provide a wealth of new technology and innovation, but it also leverages complimentary, established Dialogic products to achieve architectural goals – much in the same way the trusted Swiss Army knife was used to complete my childhood adventures. The following illustration provides a very simplistic view:
Clearly shown are the new, exciting core components that have the Unified Communications industry talking (or BUZZing), such as Dialogic BUZZ clients and Dialogic BUZZ UC Server solution. Additional key components of the solution are drawn from Dialogic’s broad portfolio, namely:
Dialogic BUZZ UC solution is an exciting new addition to the Dialogic software portfolio and provides reassurance that at its core, are components that the communications industry has come to trust. More Dialogic BUZZ UC detail to follow – stay tuned.
Publish Date: October 24, 2018
There is currently a lot of momentum behind IoT (Internet of Things) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). We’ve looked at the consumer IoT situation in a previous installment of this blog series, now let’s have a peak at the non-consumer side of the fence – the IIoT acronym adopted by the industry.
Before we begin, the next few years are slated to be extremely exciting - smart city, smart healthcare, smart farming, smart factories, smart buildings, and smart manufacturing are just some of the areas where “smart” will transform these verticals. Industries and environments are moving into the next generation with an automated, efficient, real time, fast, agile, and dynamic pace. Analysts project that the IoT “revolution” is just beginning. They predict that by 2020 it will reach 20B devices and $2.9 trillion in overall revenue based on future predictions by Gartner. Once the next generation wireless connectivity of 5G becomes mainstream allowing for additional speed and bandwidth, connected things will accelerate in deployment. Service providers, like Deutsche Telecom, are already gathering momentum with their 1 euro / year / connected device. It is apparent that this industry is on the verge of an explosion.
There are quite a few IoT platforms out there now, with some of the initial leaders being companies like Cisco with their Jasper platform, and PTC with their ThingWorx offering. Other big players include Samsung, ARM, and Intel, making sure you have easy kits to inject IoT capabilities into your toasters, washing machines, sprinkler systems, and farming combines. There are also a few IoT platforms coming from your trusted equipment vendors like Ericsson, NOKIA, and HP. Plus, let's not discount Amazon AWS, Microsoft, IBM, and SAP who are all making sure they try to capture a slice of the IoT market. It is a very busy market, but based on the future growth predictions, it’s quite understandable.
Each of the above IoT platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. A number of publications compare the leaders, identify the up and comers, and highlight which are the platforms to consider for different industries.
But what about the end user? The IoT platforms do not usually give you the ability to bring specific end user functionality because the IoT platforms tend to focus on connecting, managing, updating, consolidating, and monitoring millions of IoT devices. What if you wanted to build an application for a smart city where city workers would get consolidated input from road conditions, traffic patterns, energy consumption, garbage, and recycling operation efficiencies. You’d want to give them visibility from IoT platforms, but also be able to connect those IoT events, outcomes, consolidations, patterns, and triggers. Plus, you’d want additional functionality to take automated actions on modern or legacy systems in machine-to-machine manner, performing machine-to-human interaction via applications, voice, video, or messaging, in order to provide the user with exceptional user experience. You’d build a system that learns over time, finds additional patterns from those M2M and M2H activities in order to continue to make things better, faster, and stronger.
What if you wanted to gather inputs from thousands of different IoT sensors and devices in a smart farming scenario? Having an IoT platform manage these thousands, or hundreds of thousands of entities, consolidate and analyze output, and gather large device datasets to understand deeper insight is a beautiful thing. But to deliver an exceptional user experience that enables users to ask complex questions by voice, messages, or dynamic visualizations, or allow the overall systems to trigger actions, make adjustments, initiate calls, pictures, video feeds, tracking of livestock or heavy machinery, altering of potential accidents or severe weather patterns — that requires an application orchestration platform.
DialogicONE is an application orchestration and integration platform. We have integrated with many of the IoT platforms via great partnerships, along with many systems that live in telecom domain (voice, video, messaging, location, transcoding and conferencing to list a few) as well as many systems that live in the digital world (Big Data, Presence, Availability, and Smart Speakers to list a few). To those integrations we added a modern event bus, rules engine, and service creation environment that allows you to rapidly prototype and deploy solutions. We arrived at a platform where unique end user solutions can be created extremely quickly.
Building the DialogicONE platform for the past 3 years, we have been implementing solutions with some of the largest service providers around the world and would be extremely happy to show you how you can leverage all your assets to accelerate deployment of the next generation of solutions that take advantage of the incredible IoT growth.
In our next DialogicONE blog installment, we will look at abstraction layer of the two Smart Speaker camps (Google and Amazon). We’ll also look at a way to bring those two camps in line with your mobile applications that leverage conversational user interfaces. We were tired of doing things multiple times, which is why we developed a set of services in DialogicONE to solve that problem once and for all. I think you will enjoy our elegant solution and be able to consider it as a foundation to accelerate your deployments of solutions that leverage these technologies.
Publish Date: October 22, 2018
I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the Dialogic fold nearly four years ago – time flies. After being part of a great experience in creating a new start-up company from scratch, Dialogic seemed to be the perfect landing place for our “baby.” I often ask myself why the marriage was perfect, and so thought I would share some musing of my experience to date as it is an analogous story to those of both new and existing Dialogic customers.
With my technical hat on (admittedly the hat is looking a little worn and thin lately), Dialogic seemed a perfect fit. The leading-edge products that had resulted from that start-up, such as a Media Resource Broker (MRB) and Load Balancer, needed to find a home with a partner that provided a complimentary offering that when combined, would produce a powerful joint solution – namely the Dialogic® PowerMedia® Media Resource Function (MRF). Equally important was the approach of the Dialogic technical teams who enthusiastically welcomed us onboard. This says a lot about a company that has a long tradition of priding itself on the technology it produces. This theme of collaboration also has been maintained during my tenure at Dialogic when dealing with customers, with the goal of building close technology partnerships rather than traditional industry relationships.
Dialogic as a company is steeped in history and has evolved over many years into the software company it is today. The company’s strong brand is evident as I visit customers and partners around the world, who immediately recognize ‘Dialogic’ and usually recount a success story from the past featuring Dialogic technology. Confidence in the company you are trusting with business-critical projects is key when designing leading-edge solutions in areas such as Cloud, WebRTC, and other evolving technologies. You need to know that the companies you collaborate with have got your back when the going gets tough – and that is certainly true of Dialogic. This is another important reason I joined the Dialogic team that resonates with our relationships with our customers and partners. Dialogic is not going anywhere.
Finally, an area already touched on in this blog, the company is all about the people. Dialogic has an impressive team of technologists who thrive at helping meet our customer needs. A culture that was extremely appealing to me and that extends to all our external relationships.
As you can see, the very reason that the PowerMedia solution set is so powerful is rooted in the evolution of Dialogic, its deep history in technology, and the people who make up the very fabric of the company. As other companies come and go over time, Dialogic continues to innovate and build long-standing technology relationships with customers and partners. If you are disgruntled dealing with instability and unknowns when working with other vendors in the Media Resource Function space, I can highly recommend talking to the Dialogic team about your upcoming needs.
Publish Date: September 25, 2018
I am regularly asked questions from customers wanting to WebRTC-enable their existing or new deployments. If this applies to you, then why not make life easy for yourself and take a good look at the Dialogic PowerVille Load Balancer (LB)? Whether you are looking to complement your existing solutions with WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) technology or deploy an exciting new service in your network, the PowerVille LB should be a key enabling technology in your solution.
WebRTC’s inclusion in the HTML5 web technology and adoption by major web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, have certainly catapulted the technology into the mainstream. It’s now considered an essential and mandatory component in any architectural toolkit when designing access mechanisms for solutions. Customer interactions such as contact centres and customer care services are rapidly evolving to take advantage of the latest video and voice technologies, all integrated and wrapped up natively from within the browser.
The multifaceted PowerVille LB provides a consolidated ingress/egress point for both traditional telco and new ‘Web World’ uses. The ability to integrate within your existing telco VoIP infrastructure provides an extremely powerful piece of enabling technology that can seamlessly fit into any size deployment. The following high-level picture gives an idea of the PowerVille LB’s general usage in existing and new VoIP solutions when enabling WebRTC services.
The PowerVille LB is equally at home in non-VoIP environments when deployed as a pure WebRTC solution. The ability to consolidate to a single ingress point and scale WebRTC solutions as required provides ultimate flexibility. In conjunction with other key WebRTC concepts provided out-of-the-box, such as STUN and TURN services, the PowerVille LB becomes a ‘one-stop-shop’ for enabling solutions.
As you would expect from a product that continues to evolve with the rapidly changing technology industry, the PowerVille LB has a long-standing pedigree of cloud integration. This includes support for generic OpenStack environments for deployment in compliant public and private clouds, as well as support for public clouds like Amazon’s AWS. Such flexibility has resulted in Dialogic partnering closely as a trusted technology partner with many key customers to provide bespoke private cloud solutions when required.
For additional information on how the PowerVille LB can enable your solutions in a cost-effective, light-weight, and flexible manner, simply contact sales to discuss your solution needs.
Publish Date: July 16, 2018
Access to the internet has never been easier. Your phone has wifi data while at home and wireless data while on the go. Your favorite café and store offer wifi to guests. Your work files can be accessed remotely from across the world. While we can access whatever we want from wherever we want, there needs to be restrictions set in place to regulate who and what is being accessed. Controls, whether it be parental, employer, or business, are becoming increasingly important.
Dialogic works with communication service providers to create solutions to help better serve its customers, leveraging the DialogicONE platform. From easy to use applications for a parent wanting to keep an eye on their child’s internet usage, to full programs for businesses to keep track of employee accessibility. DialogicONE makes the daunting task of regulating internet access an easier and simpler application.
The introduction of phones for kids stemmed from the idea of safety. Having a phone on them for an emergency situation, or the ability for a parent to get in contact with them at any time. Now, with smartphones dominating the market, kids have access to more than just phone calls and texts, they have access to the internet. Parental controls allow parents to set restrictions of what their children have access to. This includes content, such as what types of websites and applications they can visit, as well as time constraints, deciding when they can access the internet. Parents can also keep track of how much access kids have to the internet.
With the tap of an application on their own phone or tablet, parents can supervise their children’s internet access. They can easily add more internet time for chores done or a completed assignment. And on the flip side, they can limit usage and time for misbehaving, or before a project due date. While the settings can be managed from the kids’ phones, that can be tedious and time consuming to makes changes or updates. DialogicONE can consolidate the control settings for multiple phones and devices into one administrator app. The administrator, or parent, can make changes in real time to the kids’ access settings. Allow your kids to get the most out of their technology while resting assured they’re safe with age appropriate content. Notifications can be provided to parents when kids attempt to utilize internet outside the agreed schedules or access certain content – all towards having a safe environment for all.
With internet now a standard in most work environments, employers need to be sure employees are keeping on track, and using the internet appropriately. Certain sites or content should be banned either all together, while other sites may only need to be banned during work hours. As Michael Scott from The Office put it “When I discovered YouTube, I didn’t work for five days.” For companies that provide wifi rather than a cable internet solution, they need to create access regulations. Are employees allowed to sign on to the wifi with their personal smart phones? While on the wifi, are they able to access any site they want? Having guidelines and rules helps to ensure all employees understand expectations and appropriate internet use. For companies with guests coming and going, it’s also important to think about a separate wifi connection, and possible password, for those visiting.
Rather than standard rules for all employees, certain departments may want to set specific allowances and restrictions. Different roles require access to different online content. For example, the marketing team may be granted special access to social media apps. If they’re posting updates on Twitter and Facebook, they need to access these sites to perform their duties. Another type of access to take into consideration is remote access. Can employees get their work files from a home computer? While putting in a few extra hours from home on the evenings and weekends may make employers happy, they need to also consider the safety risk with remote file accessing. Between remote access and on-campus access, all of this information can be kept in employee logs. Employers can keep an eye on who is accessing what information, when they’re accessing it, and how often. With the latest focus on privacy and access to personal information, it is even more important to provide a working environment that is well orchestrated with those key aspects in mind.
DialogicONE allows employers to oversee and analyze employees’ internet behaviour. This in turn helps them to make better, more informed decisions when it comes to usage and access for employees. With one consolidated system they can review behaviour, set restrictions, and make changes for the best interest of the company.
It’s become common nowadays to find free internet access at most cafes. Between people working remotely, students, and free-lancers, there’s always those looking to find a nice spot to have a cup of coffee and do some work. Someone sitting at a café to work may stay a little longer and order more food, they may even snap a picture while they’re there, share it on social media, and tag the business in it. While the idea of free internet for everyone may seem ideal, there’s a lot to consider. First and foremost, businesses need to ensure they’re safe. Setting up a separate wifi for customers, as opposed to the business running on the same network, is crucial. Separate networks help protect against hackers and potential data breaches. With a separate network, businesses can also choose a less expensive, slower bandwidth for customers. There’s a fine line between good internet, and impossible to use because it’s so slow internet, in order to keep customers happy and coming back, be sure not to choose that latter!
Businesses should also consider how customers will have access to the wifi and how long they can stay connected within a session. A password can be printed on a customer’s receipt, a password can be displayed, the customer may need to ask the barista, or, the internet can be open to anyone in the vicinity. Customers may be limited to an hour, or two, of free browsing before they’re disconnected. While there are pros and cons to each method, it comes down to how the business prefers to operate. DialogicONE can create applications that allows businesses to manage their networks in one simple platform. It can give businesses an understanding of who is using their services, and this information can be used to help shape future business decisions.
With access to the internet available everywhere we go, it’s important that those in charge take the time and effort to understand the implications. By setting controls for kids, employees, and customers, they can ensure a safe environment, and appropriate use of internet resources. Dialogic works with Communication Service Providers to give consumers consolidated solutions. Dialogic is focused on helping service providers bridge silos, break into new applications and integrate platforms efficiently with our DialogicONE suite of solutions.
We are experts in telecom with over 30 years of experience as well as architects of next generation applications and services for the service providers globally. We have solutions to address the roadblocks service providers face, and a proven track record working with them to leverage the past and move aggressively into the future.
Publish Date: May 24, 2018
The challenge from our communication service provider customers is very clear – we need new applications and services to protect and grow ARPU. We need differentiated new offerings that go beyond connectivity and security of our networks. We need to launch new solutions much faster than before. We need to compete on more than just price. And my favorite ask – we need access to the latest digital technologies, so that our solutions include an exceptional user experience.
At first glance, this list looks like a “let’s roll up our sleeves and crank out a new platform” scenario. Ok. So does this planet need “YAP”– Yet Another Platform (I’m getting good at creating new funky acronyms). The answer most people would give is NO WAY! They’d suggest using what is out there – there must be a platform you can utilize to do what you are thinking. Well we did… and it was underwhelming to put it simply. Our goal was to have a foundation that brings the telecom world together with the digital world – so new solutions and applications can leverage both. Integrating the telco and digital world can be done relatively simply and quickly, everything has an API these days. What we set our targets on is not just to do things simply and quickly, but also extremely well. We set our strategy to not just connect things together, but do so in a way that the applications actually become SMART. Not just SMART because someone added the word “smart” to a light, sensor, thermostat, garage opener, or office/industrial device, but actually to create a better experience for the end user.
These are some of the reasons DialogicONE platform was born. Over the past two years we built proof of concepts, pilots, deployments, and designs that gave us many supporting integrations in both telecom and digital environments. Now we provide the ability to orchestrate and deploy many innovative solutions for Tier1 communication service providers.
Here are some of the benefits of utilizing DialogicONE as the application orchestration and integration platform inside a service provider network:
Figure 1: Connect these ecosystems with DialogicONE
Communication service providers are starting to better understand their end users. It is not a surprise that exceptional user experience is an absolute must these days – users expect applications that not only work, but work in an intuitive, easy, frictionless manner. As an end user, I want freedom Mr. Service Provider! I want to ask my Alexa smart speaker to tell me how much mobile data my kids have used. Sometimes I need to know where my kids took the car and get notified when they arrive at their destination safely. I need the ability to control when my kids are accessing the internet and what type of content they are able to see – whether they are at the house, in the park, or at a local restaurant which provides free WiFi. Kids these days are growing up with a lot of technology around them – they will expect such features, and many more, when they get their own service provider accounts. Until then, since I pay for it all, I should be able to ask questions and get answers or notifications simply and have the ability to customize services to my liking. Does your service provider give you such capabilities? Do they expand the services with new features? Do you love it so much that you would recommend that service provider to your family and friends?
I might be a power user but I want to know things. I want to interact with things. I want to do it when I want to, how I want to, and I really need to feel that these solutions are learning as I’m using them, so I do not have to repeat myself too many times. I’ve outlined smart home / smart family examples, but you can see how there would be similar challenges in enterprise, business, and industrial environments. DialogicONE is used by service providers to deliver next-generation applications for enterprise and industrial purposes as well – some of those are not as easy (nor exciting) to explain to your significant other but your imagination can now create those exceptional user experiences.
Officially launching DialogicONE at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2018 was a fantastic experience. We were able to finally showcase what we have been building for the past two years and the response was a huge “thumbs up” from everyone we met. After hundreds of meetings, demos, and discussions about real customer needs, we are confident we have created a great product and a great YAP! If you are hungry for applications (Mr. CSP) that will excite your users, allow you to control your own destiny and do so quickly, let’s roll up the sleeves and discuss how we can help.
Introducing DialogicONE at Mobile World Congress 2018
Dialogic is focused on helping communication service providers deploy new applications and solutions quickly by leveraging DialogicONE. We work on next-generation solutions that bridge the silos inside telecom and digital worlds, provide application orchestration, and create innovative applications quickly.
We are experts in telecom, with over 30 years of experience, as well as architects of next-generation applications and services built for service providers globally. We have solutions to the above challenges and a proven track record working with service providers to leverage the past to move aggressively into the future.
Visit the DialogicONE product information page for more information.
Publish Date: April 6, 2018
In the past, and some would say in the present, the better-known IP-PBX and Unified Communications (UC) vendors focused on large enterprises. The real profit was in obtaining the most significant number of subscribers per business.
The small and medium enterprises (SME) were by default not a priority, henceforth the commercial models or technology ignored their requirements. It was all about economies of scale. The interesting fact is that in most countries, the SME represents an average of 90% - 95% of the total number of enterprises. In the APAC alone, the SME actually represents 99% of all firms and 50% region’s GDP output.
It’s perilous to dismiss SME’s real-time communications (RTC) feature requirements. In the age of hyper-connectivity, the SME needs more than ever to have multiple channels to communicate in real time. Just because an enterprise has ten employees or less, does not mean they use fewer features than a business that has hundreds of employees. Traditional Service Providers (SP’s) and Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) want to address this market but lack the proper tools. Many of them already work with a UC platform that is either too costly or does not provide the same carrier-class reliability and scalability that results in increasing the support costs and decreasing margin. It’s not an easy problem to solve, and it requires a balanced mixture of the right features, technology, and pricing. It’s all about the Average Margin Per User (AMPU) and how to get the right formula to serve this audience while keeping both internal and external stakeholders happy.
The cloud has indeed given us the tools needed to start solving this problem. Scalability and geo availability with low hosting costs provides a good start, but the RTC application vendors in many cases are still not in-tune with the needs of the SME. Either they overdo it regarding features which can result in rigid licenses schemes and irrelevant offers due to prohibitive pricing and unneeded functions, or they underdo it which leads to the affordable but incomplete proposal that doesn't adequately address the SME requirements and doesn't scale accordingly. It’s a hard balance to achieve and monetize primarily in such a volatile segment, for an SME it’s much easier to switch UC providers so getting that stickiness and keeping the end subscriber engaged is a must. Hence the need for service providers to have a full understanding of the requirements and to shape the offer accordingly. The technology is available, all we have to do is listen.
For the past few months and after traveling across several regions globally, listening to all stakeholders, it became abundantly clear that the problem is still there and both the SP’s and MSP’s want to jump on this UC growth. SMEs can no longer be ignored and will soon become the more significant number of UC subscribers. Dialogic is striving to achieve the right balance of technology/value that enables easy deployment, enablement, and management of UC subscribers irrespective of the enterprise size. We are building a platform that allows both SP’s and MSP’s to chase the “right fish.” Stay tuned, and let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Dialogic.
Publish Date: November 30, 2017
Machine learning (ML) is a type of Artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software applications to become more accurate in predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed. In other words, machine learning receives input data and uses statistical analysis to predict an output value.
That analysis is a collection of techniques that are used to discover hidden patterns in data to explain, group, find outliers, classify or predict observations. In the past decade, machine learning has given us self-driving cars, basic speech recognition, effective web search, and computational biology. With the rise in big data, machine learning has become a key technique for solving problems in areas such as finance, image processing, energy production and natural language processing.
Machine learning is improving the work of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) application developers. Customers can speak in their own words and the IVR will be able to understand the customer need. The customer experience is enhanced by routing to the correct agent or menu option. The quicker the need is resolved, the better the perceived customer service. Also, machine learning improves customer analytics; it will allow you to identify and contact prospects before they contact your agent, or predict a high-volume of calls and provide an action plan to solve the issue customers are calling about. Remembering and learning from past experiences is possible with machine learning, these features allow to improve customer personalization and identify fraud.
You don’t have to be a software expert to use machine learning, thanks to many cloud provides such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Services or IBM’s Watson. If you want to explore deeper and you have Python programming experience machine learning frameworks (scikit-learn, Tensorflow by Google, and CNTK by Microsoft Research) are a viable alternative. The objective of those frameworks is to get application developers interested in using machine learning without having to understand the deep science behind the algorithms. There is never a perfect solution, and as the demand for machine learning solutions increase, more low-level algorithms will be needed. Even more high-level platforms are in demand to lower barriers to entry into the artificial intelligence space. A platform that provides a complex machine learning environment is Matlab, a computing environment that provides prebuilt functions, toolboxes, and specialized applications for machine learning. Matlab is an environment engineers and scientists use to convert algorithms to C/C++.
Machine learning resources became ubiquitous and provide multiple ways to interface either using a high- or low-level programming languages. Always consider machine learning when hand-written rules or equations are too complex, the rules of a task are constantly changing, or the nature of the data keeps changing and the program needs to adapt.
Machine learning has been actively deployed in multiple applications, it has been only a few years ago since it started showing up in customer experience applications. In the future will help us to create targeted and personalized customer experiences. Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Dialogic.
Publish Date: November 29, 2017
The future contact center is an exciting place. Artificial Intelligence will be front and center. The elements of some of this exist today. First of all, we are seeing Chatbots enter the scene which prompt you and respond to you. Almost human like, really. These are all based on typical questions and answers, and have grown more sophisticated. And we’re seeing sentiment analysis enter the scene as well where the machine can figure out if you are pissed off or not (as an example) and hand you off to a human at the appropriate time.
Ultimately, we’ll see AI here, where the machine will make sophisticated decisions on how to handle your inquiry – meaning whether to handle itself or hand off to a human.
Enter “Watson.” We’ve all seen the cool commercials. But now Watson has entered the IVR/Contact center arena. Watson can give excellent natural language support and complex conversational support.
Dialogic has integrated our PowerNova application server with Watson, thus allowing real-time communications to take advantage of Watson. For example, you can have Watson on a conference call and you can ask Watson questions, or prompt Watson to give suggestions. Maybe just ask Watson to write a blog about Watson. One can imagine a whole range of how AI integration can help enhance real time communication applications.
Publish Date: November 21, 2017
Does blockchain have real value in Unified Communications or is it like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? Blockchain technology is disruptive in its ability to provide the creation of a distributed ledger eliminating the need for a centralized or third-party participant acting as a middle man to broker transactions.
Bitcoin is an example of a digital currency application that uses blockchain technology, however, it is only just that: an application. Sally Davies, writer for Financial Times provides us with a good analogy of the relationship of Bitcoin and Blockchain as “[Blockchain] is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email.”
Why is using blockchain for facilitating transactions between multiple parties better than the way things are handled now? In current transactional models, especially in the realm of finance, a central third party, like a bank keeps the “golden” ledger on behalf of the multiple participants that are involved in a transaction. Each participant keeps their own ledger as well, but must convince the centralized third-party that their version of the ledger is accurate.
Blockchain eliminates the need for a centralized clearing house by linking together the blocks or records that make up ledger and validating them using cryptography. In this way, old transactions are preserved forever and new entries are added in a permanent and unalterable manner. A good explanation can be found on Blockgeeks. Applications that build on top of blockchain platforms are referred to as Decentralized Applications or Dapps.
So, in theory any service that is centralized or requires the need for trusted, transparent transactions between multiple parties can be fair game for blockchain technology. Self executing “contracts” or smart contracts can be established that are autonomous and facilitate the exchange of any items, components or things of value. Ethereum is a blockchain platform that supports the creation and application of such smart contracts.
Using platforms like Ethereum, Dapps can be developed that apply to all sorts of industry verticals. I posed the question to some of my coworkers as to what applications in communications they think could be transformed using blockchain technology. Diederik Husslage (@husslage) noted that blockchain touchpoints include authorization, trust and data integrity at potentially low cost, so he suggested looking to unified and real-time communications applications that involve these activities like:
Industry observer, Enrique Velasco-Castillo at Analysis Mason, suggests roaming, M2M, IoT and mobile money are likely areas telecom operators should consider for deploying blockchain technology. I personally see blockchain playing a potential role in providing secure and transparent NFV Virtualized Network Function onboarding and lifecycle management by third-party Management and Orchestration (MANO) platformsthat need to ensure the integrity of applications automatically deployed and scaled in virtualized environments.
Another interesting communications-related project backed by Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame is the Mercury Protocol which is built on the Ethereum blockchain. The Mercury Protocol is an open source project geared towards messaging platforms that want to take advantage of blockchain technology. It addresses issues such as security, user privacy and content silos. The Mercury Protocol integrates a new blockchain token called the Global Messaging Token. People can earn tokens by performing incentivized tasks such as reading a specified number of posts a day or within a certain amount of time, and then use any tokens earned for premium services. This particular token approach differentiates itself from applications like Bitcoin in that its value wouldn’t fluctuate independent of the application but rather would be more directly tied to the Mercury Protocol related app that it’s built into. Also, the protocol will enable platform independent, decentralized communications making it possible to send messages between any Mercury Protocol integrated platforms.
Amid all the excitement about the possibilities associated with blockchain technology, it currently is facing some considerable barriers when it comes to scaling. Herman Schoenfeld, founder of Sphere 10 Software, gave a very good presentation at the recent TechXLR8 in Singapore where he talked about scaling blockchain for global adoption. In the presentation he pointed out that Bitcoin currently handles about 3 transactions per second. Compare that to Visa which processes 2,000 transactions per second and can scale up to 50,000 at peak usage, or PayPal which does 100 transactions per second. He points out that Ethereum can only currently handle 15 transactions per second which would not be enough for applications with large amounts of transactions (Uber for example). And with Bitcoin, new transactions are being added constantly making that blockchain grow by about 2GB/day since every transaction needs to be recorded permanently. One solution, PascalCoin, claims infinite scaling without increasing storage size, regardless, blockchain technology will have to scale up significantly to handle the anticipated load. And the various platforms are exploring different methods to address this issue that involves addressing block size.
It's clear that blockchain is starting to make its way into real-time communications and the Internet of Things; where do you think it will start making inroads? Please share your thoughts on applications where it could impact and disrupt the way we look at communications. Tweet us at @Dialogic or email me at [email protected].
Publish Date: October 31, 2017