Is the phone number finally dead?

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is also available as an MP3 Audio File

Video Killed the Radio Star” is a song first recorded by Woolley & the Camera Club (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards) for his album English Garden, which was a hit in Canada. It was later recorded by the British synthpop/New Wave group The Buggles, released as their debut single on 7 September 1979, on Island Records from their debut album The Age of Plastic. The song topped the music chart in several countries and its music video was the first shown on MTV in the U.S. at 12:01am on 1 August 1981.

Is SIP Going to Kill Dial Tone as we know it?

If you’re an Avaya user, you’ll certainly know @BigMikeH1965, and his fantastic support in the IAUG users group community. Mike is the Network Administrator at the Lenape Regional High School, and spent some time as a paramedic. I like to follow Mike on Twitter, as he seems to have the tendency to tweet “the important stuff”, and leave all of the “drama” for others. In other words, if it was worth a mention from Mike, it’s probably something that you need to read, or at least know about.

This past week Mike sent out a link to an article titled “Is the phone number dead?” By Mark Saldana. Of course this immediately caught my attention because of its implication on E 911.

As many are aware, but for those that aren’t I will repeat it, today’s legacy E 911 network is based on static routing defined by a telephone number to address correlation database. It is this dangerous assumption, and the mobility provided by today’s Enterprise voice networks, that is the biggest challenge for E 911 call handling in Enterprise networks.

If my phone number equals my location, yet I can carry my phone number with me anywhere on the planet, how am I supposed to get my call to the correct 911 center when the primary database key is most likely incorrect?

So, as Mr. Saldana suggests, and I happen to agree with him by the way, if the phone number in fact is dead, then the evolution towards Next Generation 911, is at its critical mass, and must be expedited before we put millions of workers behind a PBX at risk.

Recent numbers by NENA estimate the number of 911 calls in the US to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 270 million annually. Given the statistical data reported by CALNENA, Avaya, and the 911 industry, an estimated 10 to 14% of 911 calls originate from an MLTS/PBX. That works out to somewhere between 27 million and 37 million calls each year. As technology migrates towards this new paradigm in communications, it’s most likely that the first participants will be Enterprise users. The good news is, Enterprise class networks today already use a very similar, and certainly compatible model as compared to the NENA i3 Detailed Functional and Interface Standards Version 2.

Passing calls through the network today relies on telephone numbers and caller ID. Displaying location information to public safety answering points today relies on telephone numbers and caller ID.

NG 911 utilizes PIDF Location Objects provided by the originating device, or network, in the SIP header. Both the network and the PSAP can open these location objects, analyze the data in them, or referenced by them, and then make the appropriate routing decisions or resource allocations.

If I am Mrs. Ramirez, on the south side of Boston, and my primary language preference for communication is Spanish, I can be routed to an appropriate 911 call taker that has the skill sets, fluent Spanish, to answer my request for help. I also have the exact location of where the caller is, and combine that with other detailed information that I have about the community as well as available response units.

I think the reason people are so worried about NG 911 is the fact that they don’t fully understand E 911 today, but understand that next generation 911 will be a significant factor in the future that is directly associated with their data network. “Significant factor” usually means “more training”. “More training”, may mean “more budget”. “More budget”, in today’s market, might just mean, “new employee needed?”.

I often hear questions asked on the discussion lists about a job title that includes “telephony manager”, and if that is something that is a positive or negative on your resume. Although you want to highlight current and new technologies as the value proposition of hiring you, in my opinion, having core telephony skills increases your overall understanding of network design, resiliency, redundancy, and many other good traits that are all still very relevant today.

Change is inevitable. Most of the time, it’s for the good, but may not be so apparent in the initial stages. More and more, I see smart CIOs pushing the envelope as success can only be measured by understanding what the failure point is. Now is when you can take your valuable skills from managing “telecommunications”, and promote yourself as a “unified communications professional”.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading the Avaya CONNECTED Blog on E9-1-1, I value your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or if you prefer, you can email me privately.

Public comments, suggestions, corrections and loose change is all graciously accepted 😉
Until next week. . . dial carefully.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Fletch911


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Guy Kawasaki at Avaya Evolutions: Humor, Insight and Innovation

Guy Kawasaki

It’s not every day that you sit down to listen to a keynote address, thinking, “Hey, I really like this guy – He’s funny! I actually did laugh out loud!”

But then again, there’s something really likable and unique about Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, who recently spoke at the Avaya Evolutions event in Toronto.

The former Apple Chief Evangelist, who leveraged his charisma to help establish Macintosh computers, is also the author of 12 books, including the recent “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.”

His glowing Amazon reviews include rare endorsements from the likes of Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

So, what makes Kawasaki so engaging?

Maybe it’s his humor:

“I worked for Apple as Apple’s Software Evangelist,” says Kawasaki. “I [was in] in the Macintosh division. [It] was probably the largest collection of egomaniacs in the history of America.”

He continues, “We had a great travel policy: Any flight over two hours qualified for first class. My interpretation of that was that the two hours begins when you leave your apartment.”

…Or maybe it’s his candor:

“I’ve been in the tech business for about 30 years,” Kawasaki says, “and I’ll tell you that other than speakers from Avaya and a handful of companies, most tech speakers suck. And they not only suck, they go long, which is a bad combination.”

Thankfully, Kawasaki is neither dull nor long-winded, and he actually has some really compelling things to say, culled from his years of experience rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in tech.

Kawasaki has a knack for creating memorable, pithy maxims out of what could be bland, complex business strategies.

Let’s look at just a few.

  • Decide to Make Meaning

“Decide to make meaning – as opposed to money,” he says. “In Silicon Valley, many companies start with the goal of making money, and I’ve noticed that those companies typically fail. The companies that succeed typically had a much deeper purpose – They wanted to change the world.”

He says the best motivation for innovation “is to make meaning to change the world.”

  • Make a Mantra

Do you know your company’s mission statement? It’s probably 50 words long, according to Kawasaki.

He suggests making a mantra instead.

“In the United States, we focus on making ‘mission statements,’” he says. “This is the fundamental flaw of mission statements: Nobody can remember them! If you want to be innovative, make a mantra. Why does your innovation exist?”

He says it should be summed up in just two or three words.

  • Don’t Worry, Be Crappy

“When you are a curve-jumper, it’s okay to have elements of crappiness,” Kawasaki says.

When the Apple Macintosh first came out, it had a number of limitations, being something new and different. It was a learning experience, Kawasaki explains, but at least they did it.

“Don’t ship crap, but if you are jumping the curve, it’s okay to have elements of crappiness to it.”

There’s a lot more good stuff where this came from. You might say Kawasaki is full of it – I think he’d get a kick out of that.

To watch Guy Kawasaki’s complete Avaya Evolutions keynote, click here.

You can also download the complete podcast here.

Photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc

Q&A with Economics Guru Todd Buchholz on Innovation during Shaky Economies

Todd Buchholz is a former director of White House economics policy, the CEO of educational startup, Sproglet, and an all-around mover and shaker in the economics policy world. He is keynoting at a number of Avaya Evolutions conferences this spring, including the Avaya Evolutions San Francisco show last month. Below is a transcript of our conversation, which focused on the need for innovation in all economies, but especially today.

Todd Buchholz Avaya Evolutions SF 2014

 Todd Buchholz

Photo by Andres Larranaga/Avaya


This Avaya CONNECTED Blog is also available as an MP3 Audio File


What did you talk about at your Evolutions keynote?

Buchholz: Well, let’s face it. The economy is very confusing to everyone. I think the President of the United States is probably as confused as the Federal Reserve Board Chair, as every investor, every business person. So what I try to do is kind of make sense of how to think about interest rates, where they are, the debt situation, and how Wall St. is looking at the world right now, and also to give some advice to folks on how to succeed in business even if the economy is pretty darn tricky.

I think the economy is getting better, but at a very slow pace. And there’s little reason to think things are going to pick up. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we as business people should be despondent, because there are still huge opportunities for us and what we need to do is (a) pick the right partners to do business with and (b) differentiate ourselves. Show that we have something different to say or to sell, and that can allow us break out from the pack and create some profit margin even in a climate that isn’t very friendly to prices.

So if you’re just hanging out and doing nothing, you’re just going to wither on the vine, right? You have to make some strategic investments when times are tight.

Buchholz: You have to be hungry for innovation. You just think about it this way: if you were literally hungry during the day, you’ll go to some buffet and you’ll seek out some food and say, “Well I haven’t had that before, but I’m going to try it because I’m really hungry.”

(laughs) Not if you eat at the buffets near my house.

Buchholz: (laughs) Well I won’t be dropping by. And if you’re not hungry for innovation, it doesn’t come. There are companies called Kodak, Polaroid, and others that were on top of the hill, on top of their game, it seemed, for decades, but you can’t stay on top of your game and on top of the hill unless you’re looking to create innovation within or acquire it from others.

I think there are examples of a lot of companies that get so big they dominate a market, they dominate technology, and I think, maybe it’s just laziness. They lose their drive. They lose their energy. They lose their focus on innovation. And they get to a point and they stop.

Buchholz: That’s right. I read a book called “New Ideas from Dead CEOs”, and I talked about General Motors. I also did a more recent book called “Rush”. General Motors obviously was a great, conquering company in the United States and around the world. And then sometime in the 1970’s, they got lazy. You used to be able to distinguish a Pontiac from an Oldsmobile from a Chevrolet in the 1940’s and 50’s and 60’s. In the 1970’s and 80’s, you couldn’t tell the difference between a Buick Regal and an Oldsmobile 88, or even the Cadillac. They were basically the same steel stamping, and all they did was change the crest on the front. Well, they lost the desire to distinguish within themselves. You also need competition within an organization. If everyone is just sitting around getting along, and no one is willing to be a standout, then the company itself will not stand out.

So I’m the only guy that podcasts inside Avaya, so I have a secure job then, right? (laughs)

Buchholz: You have a secure job, (laughs) but someone may come along with smaller microphones.

(laughs) Certainly a better looking host.

Buchholz: (laughs) Well that’s why you and I both do radio and do so well at radio.

Got a face for radio, absolutely.

Avaya Evolutions arrive à Montréal!

Si vous n’êtes pas déjà au courant, Avaya est en tournée.  Nous tenons des événements d’une journée appelés Avaya Evolutions. En fait, il s’agit de plus que des événements, ce sont des expériences. Nous réunissons des gens brillants, afin de discuter d’idées brillantes, engendrées par une technologie brillante. Jusqu’à maintenant, nous pouvons dire que c’est un succès.

French Spot Final from Avaya On Demand on Vimeo.

Mais nous ne faisons que commencer. Après des arrêts au Mexique, au Chili, au Panama et à Toronto, nous ferons un arrêt incontournable dans la belle ville de Montréal.

Nous avons au programme des conférenciers incroyables, des ateliers et des discussions animées. Pour nous, l’essentiel est de découvrir les technologies de communications d’entreprise de prochaine génération, de connecter avec les collègues et les clients et de collaborer avec les experts Avaya et les chefs d’entreprises.

Voici quelques-uns des leaders que vous aurez le plaisir d’entendre:

Guy Kawasaki, cofondateur d’, un “kiosque de magazine virtuel” qui traite des sujets populaires sur le web, et auteur du livre « Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. » Auparavant, il était évangéliste en chef chez Apple.

Ward Chapin était responsable des technologies de VANOC. Il était à la tête de l’équipe technologique qui a implanté et géré chaque système requis pour la mise en place des Jeux olympiques et paralympiques d’hiver de Vancouver en 2010.

Nous serons ravis que vous vous joigniez à nous. Le tout se déroulera le 27 février 2014 au Palais des congrès de Montréal. Inscrivez-vous maintenant!

Rob Daleman est directeur national du Marketing chez Avaya Canada. Il a pour but de fournir une perspective typiquement canadienne aux tendances émergentes de télécommunications, en voulant toujours aider les chefs de petites et moyennes entreprises à mieux comprendre technologies actuelles favorisant la productivité. Avant de se joindre à Avaya, Rob était à la tête des stratégies pour les entreprises de taille moyenne pour Dell Canada.Il est surtout intéressé par la direction et la cadence des convergences technologiques lorsqu’elle se rapporte à la mobilité, la téléphonie, l’ordinateur et les applications nuagiques. Rob détient une maîtrise en administration des affaires de la Schulich School of Business.