Scattered: Thoughts and Posts


I keep thinking – stop.
I don’t keep thinking. I’ve been really scattered lately. This is what Nick Carr talks about in The Shallows regarding what is happening to our concentration abilities as a result of the Internet. At least that’s what I think its about, I haven’t read it (I did read the Big Switch – great book). My mind is definitely scattered lately. Anyone who sees my monitors would agree – typically about 60 open windows or tabs. That’s not the problem, the problem is I close windows and tabs when I’m finished with them and I still have that many open.

When I am at my computer, I jump from tab to tab – responding, reacting, researching, inquiring. Then, when I leave the computer, my mind races with all sorts of things I need to check when I get back to the computer. Far too many mental interrupts. Makes enjoying something; a book, a movie, a conversation, a conference, hard to do. (Actually, I think I read my Kindle faster than real books precisely because it has a smaller screen. I spend much less time finding my spot).

It’s partly a function of my current work – lots of unrelated projects. I sold my company last summer, and assumed I would need to find a job – but being independent just may work. I was thinking this independent stuff is more scattered than most jobs, but that might not be true. Everyone seems pretty scattered. I was going to think about it more, but didn’t get around to it yet.

It is odd to have so much diversity in a work day. The Lync research has been great as I’ve been able to leverage that a bit. I’ve done a few posts here on PindDropSoup, but I also did posts for SearchUnifiedCommunications and Voice Report. Lync will be a major topic in 2011. It is utterly amazing what they have accomplished from an enterprise telephony and server perspective. From a client perspective, it is catching up to Skype. That may sound back-handed, but Skype is pretty darn impressive.

Speaking of Skype, I had a recent project requiring research into Skype Connect – their version of SIP trunks. Skype Connect has had a few versions and names, starting with Skype for Asterisk, which then simplified and became Skype for SIP, and recently rebranded Skype Connect. Skype for Asterisk is actually still available, though left for dead – it has more features than its newer incarnations. My conclusion from this recent trip into Skype Connect is it deserves more attention in the enterprise than I was giving it, particularly for international firms.

I write a few pieces a month for NoJitter, I usually mention the posts here, but got behind. Watta Week, sums up a lot of the UC news from last week’s big news week. The post is just a highlights summary piece, but has lots of links for deeper content. Google Preparing for UC for Business hit on the webstorm of rumors around Google Voice coming to Google Apps. Yep, it’s real all right. When I wrote the article, I submitted a request for my Google Apps account to be included in the upgrade/beta. Now I’m upgraded and got a new business Google Voice number. They have not created a portal yet to manage multiple employee Google Voice numbers, but they did hit the ownership issue. If an employee changes jobs, the Google Voice number (and email and docs) all stay with the employer (or domain owner).

Also, on NoJitter I published my fifth VoIP interview. Number five was Bernard Aboba of Microsoft- though the interview is mostly about the UCIF which he chairs (UCIF Chairman Aboba Opens Up). I wasn’t too sure about that interview going into it. I mean, how interesting could a committee on UC interoperability really be? Well, I did find it pretty interesting and I gained much more respect for the initiative (Bernard is pretty good too). Interoperability has nothing to do with open vs closed, or walled gardens vs best of breeds – interoperability is making things work together. Sounds obvious but it isn’t. Of all the features and capabilities UC vendors tout, interop isn’t one of them. Sure, they will meet specs, but the innovation and features are rarely interoperable. Not because of some vicious master plan – but because there isn’t an alternative option; at least there hasn’t been.

I also thought it was interesting that voice was among the hard parts of interop – voice? one of those ‘of course’ moments. Voice should be highly interoperable – after all every brand PBX in every country can pass calls to the PSTN. But that’s all lowest common denominator stuff – analog, T1, PRI. Voice interoperability is actually pretty darn limited. It’s one of those things – it’s been that way for so long – that I didn’t even see it anymore. That’s what makes this current wave of mobility/virtual phone system stuff kind of interesting – the ‘new’ what I call the ‘PSTN interface’. We can actually use the PSTN now to route ACD calls to the next agent, or transfer calls between extension and cell. Because system interop is so limited, the innovation moved from the network to the application layer.

Sound scattered enough? I should mention I have an upcoming webinar with Focus. Don’t Lose Your Voice: Disaster Recovery is For Voice Networks Too. I think it will be good, consider signing up!  I’ve also been doing supplemental research for some industry analyst houses, and some consulting on UC go to market strategies. It’s been a blast. Yep, scattered, too many things too many directions, I think my Labradoodle has a longer attention sparinklers need to be drained before the winter.

Winter? yes, the holidays are coming. I have on my wish list a new cell phone. After all, my Droid is now 13 months old. Can’t be a telecom guru with an antique phone (actually, I have lots of antique phones). The Nexus S has my attention, but the rumor of the device is always better than the actual device.

Dave Michels