Why All The Hype With Cloud Computing?

October 29, 2008

Believe it or not, I like Wiki’s definition of Cloud Computing the best. Wiki defines Cloud Computing as a general concept that incorporates Software as a Service (SaaS), Data as a Service (DaaS), Web 2.0 & other recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users.

The best example of Cloud Computing that comes to mind & the ones I use most often are Google’s Mail, Talk, & Doc Applications. Why do I use these applications instead of similar applications already installed on my PC? The answer is simple, these Cloud Computing tools allow me to access my e-mail, message with colleagues, & edit documents, spreadsheets, & presentations regardless of the PC I’m using & the city/state/country I am in. Simple said, they offer me a convenient solution to communicate & work that doesn’t involve me taking my PC everywhere that I go.

When Amazon officially released their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) earlier this year many companies (especially start-up companies that had yet to invest millions of dollars into their IT infrastructure) jumped on board. EC2 offered far more than a hosting solution. EC2 gave companies & software developers access to all the computing power they needed to run their applications at a cost far below what it would cost to procure & maintain the computing power on premise. To note, EC2 is just another piece of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) offering.

Even with Google & Amazon’s play in the cloud, few were treating Cloud Computing as a mainstream approach to IT. Following Microsoft’s announcement of Azure, its long-anticipated Cloud Computing strategy, earlier this week at their Professional Development Conference I believe that Cloud Computing will become more mainstream. While many reports from Microsoft’s conference suggested that the news largely unfazed show attendees; I think this news will rattle the cages of Google, Amazon, & will awake the “regular” PC users who will think that it is cool that they can now work on their Word documents for work at home without having to take their work PC home.

Microsoft’s dominance in productivity software — Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, & Excel — remains strong, with market share based on revenue of at least 95%, according to data released in late 2007 by research firm International Data Corporation. Google Docs & Spreadsheets & even OpenOffice, which is an open source suite of tools that users can download for free, will continue to chip away at Microsoft’s market share, but the reality is that they still have a very long way to go before Microsoft will become scared. With Microsoft now making their Office suite more accessible, they are positioning themselves to maintain control of their existing user base that may otherwise eventually migrate to online tools because of their convenience factor.

Along with the online convenience factor I think this move to Cloud Computing also shows Microsoft’s realization that more users are beginning to user their mobile phone to write & edit documents, spreadsheets, & presentations. When doing such work from a mobile phone it makes more since for a user to manage their files in the cloud & use software that is also accessible to them in the cloud. Just this Monday, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about how the mobile phone looks to be replacing the laptop. There is so much truth to this article & Cloud Computing is going to make this shift to mobile even easier for the consumer.

The hype about Cloud Computing is this. Businesses will turn to the Cloud mostly because the costs & resources to manage a large IT infrastructure far exceed the costs to make use of the Cloud. Software developers will turn to the Cloud because they can quickly obtain the environment needed to develop & deliver their applications. The “regular” PC users will turn to the Cloud for applications because of convenience & because the Cloud supports their applications for use on their mobile phone.

At NetworkIP & Jaduka we will continue to support the advancement of Cloud Computing by making both our telephony infrastructure & transaction processing engine available to the masses.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka


Telephony Platforms & Swimming

October 2, 2008

Developing a telecommunications platform that is reliable under load & that is easily scalable is not something you can learn by simply reading a book, a manual, or by sitting in a class room. It is certainly not as easy as many VoIP switch manufacturers would like you to believe either.

Developing a truly remarkable telephony platform is an art form, much like swimming. No matter how strong you are, if you are unwilling to invest the time & energy to practice your breathing, you body position in the water, your arm stroke, your kick – the basic mechanics of swimming, you will never be able to move fast & efficiently through the water. To swim quickly & efficiently, you must take the time to break down your stroke to the individual components & perfect each component independent of the rest & meticulously build your stroke back up, forming an efficient machine that moves quickly through the water. It takes time, patience, & skill. 

The same is true for developing a truly remarkable telecommunications platform. You need the right mix of hardware (servers, switches, power, etc.), quality data networks, quality telephony carriers, monitoring tools, software that scales & that is easily extendable, & a talented team of individuals that understand the various intricacies of managing such a complex solution. At NetworkIP we’ve created this remarkable telephony platform & through simple APIs offered through Jaduka we’ve made this platform available to your business.

Let us handle the platform so that you can focus on what you do best – develop your product & provide quality services to your customers.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates – #2

September 19, 2008

FCC CPNI Enforcements
September 19, 2008
by: Jennifer Begin

In the last several months the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) shocked many carriers with heavy fines related to noncompliance of their updated Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) regulations. CPNI is the information that telecommunications carriers acquire about their subscribers from call detail records (CDRs).  It includes not only what services they use, but their amount & type of usage. The FCC generally prohibits the use of that information without customer permission. CPNI includes such information as optional services subscribed to, current charges, directory assistance charges, usage data, & calling patterns.

The year 2008 has seen many changes to the privacy rules originally adopted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Commission strengthened its privacy rules, by adopting additional safeguards to protect CPNI against unauthorized access & disclosure. In previous years it was the carrier’s responsibility to have an officer annually sign an internally maintained compliance certificate stating that the officer had personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures that are adequate to ensure compliance & also a statement explaining how its operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in compliance with the rules. However, this year the FCC required for the first time that the CPNI certificates & statements be filed with the FCC by March 1, 2008.

Those companies that did not follow this new requirement may receive letters from the FCC asking them to provide previous compliance certificates & may receive fines ranging from $4,000 to $100,000 if the FCC determines that there is indeed a noncompliance issue. For further information on CPNI requirements please see the FCC’s site: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/CPNI/Welcome.html.

NetworkIP encourages you to make sure you are in compliance with this filing requirement & consult an attorney should you receive a notice from the FCC concerning this issue.

* This article is strictly an overview & not to be construed as legal advice. You will need to apply this general information to your entity-specific situation & may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are in full compliance with the federal & state laws for telecommunications companies.

NetworkIP Recognized in Inc. 5000

August 26, 2008

We are excited and proud to announce that NetworkIP has been recognized by Inc. and included in the 2008 Inc. 5000, which represents the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America. For more than 27 years, the Inc. 5000 has served as a benchmark for the most innovative, dynamic and successful companies in the nation and we believe that this recognition speaks volumes of what we have achieved at NetworkIP over the past 10 years.

Much of our growth this past year is contributed to additional volume achieved by our existing customers, new services being offered by Jaduka and from our strategic partnerships with companies such as Cisco, Dell, and Nortel Networks. As a result we have been able to offer a wider variety of telephony services with great quality and at a low cost!

We want to thank our customers for trusting us with their businesses and following our lead in developing strong and reputable brands for the consumer. And of course we couldn’t have achieved this level of success if it weren’t for our talented team of employees! We owe a big thank you to them for all of their hard work and dedication to perfecting the solution we offer today.

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates – #1

August 18, 2008

It is extremely important that companies keep in synchronization with regulatory changes. At NetworkIP, we have taken the lead for our clients to ensure that they are made aware of regulatory items that affect their business. In an effort to share our knowledge of regulatory items affecting the telecom & prepaid industry we’ve decided to post this information to the Internet via our blog so that companies around the world could take advantage of this valuable information. It is my pleasure to bring to you the first of many “Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates” courtesy of NetworkIP.

Telecom & Prepaid Regulatory Updates – #1
August 18, 2008
by: Jennifer Begin

If you are doing business in the telecom industry & have properly registered with the Federal Communications Commission & you have filed the 2008 Form 499-A (on 2007 Revenues) with USAC, you should be receiving invoices from the various regulatory agencies that govern this industry. As stated on the Form 499-A & further detailed in the instructions, those revenues reported are subject to Regulatory Fees other than just USF. On the last page of the form, there are boxes that must be checked which indicate for which fees you are eligible (not exempt from) to be billed. In an effort to further define what a customer should expect regarding these new invoiced amounts, below is detailed information about what is being billed & how the billing is calculated.

– NECA bills annually for the Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) usually in July. If your contribution requirement is more than $1,200 then you can opt to have it billed monthly. Information on the 2008-2009 Interstate TRS Fund billing process is available at www.neca.org/NECA_Recources.asp. If you have questions regarding the calculation of your contribution, or need additional information you can contact Marina Aparicio at 973-884-8334 or maparic@neca.org.

– Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) bills monthly for USF fees based on the revenues reported on the 499-Qs. The bill gives detailed information on how they determine your contribution as well as whether you are LIRE eligible & De Minimis eligible.

– NeuStar bills monthly for Local Number Portability & Statement of Work (LNP/SOW) fees. This invoice is based on the revenue reported on the 499-A. You can view your invoice & instructions on “How to Read Your Invoice” through NeuStar’s password protected website at http://billing.neustar.com.

– FCC (Federal Communications Commission) bills annually, usually in the August-September time frame, for a Federal Regulatory Fee based on revenues reported on the 499-A. To find out how this regulatory fee is determined for your company, refer to the industry appropriate section under the heading “Who Owes Fees & What is My Fee” at http://www.fcc.gov/fees/regfees.html.

Information on these fees can be found in the 499-A instruction manual on pages 34-36.

* This article is strictly an overview & not to be construed as legal advice. You will need to apply this general information to your entity-specific situation & may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are in full compliance with the federal & state laws for telecommunications companies.

Using Innovative Telecommunication Products to Save Money

July 23, 2008

Let’s face it, the costs associated with travel are only going to continue to rise & as a result company travel budgets will be strained. Whether we are talking air travel or simply getting in a car to commute for an across town meeting, rising fuel costs are affecting all modes of travel. At NetworkIP & Jaduka we have over 300 miles separating our three offices located in Texas (Austin, Dallas, & Longview). We are part of a growing number of companies that are reducing the number of face-to-face meetings that we have with our teams in order to save money.

Telecom technologies such as voice, web, & video conferencing that have been around now for many years are really beginning to experience an upswing in their usage. We have always taken advantage of our own audio & web conferencing services & today that statement is truer than ever. Given that we can host up to 50 participants on a single conference call & because everyone at the company has access to the conferencing product we host conference calls all day long for any number of reasons. After adding document sharing capabilities to our web conferencing solution a few years back it really did become hard to justify traveling between offices for presentations.

In just the past few months, we’ve seen significant increases in the volume of conferencing minutes hosted through our solution. While a good portion of this increase in conferencing minutes is a result of the new applications & services from 3rd party developers that are using Jaduka’s conferencing API (announced at the Web 2.0 Expo in April of this year), our NetworkIP customers who are rebranding & selling our conferencing solution have seen a significant increase in usage too.

In addition to saving companies money & still allowing employees to effectively communicate these innovative telecommunications products are also creating a greener environment for the world. I read an article in the New York Times this morning that said Cisco alone is avoiding $100 million in yearly travel costs & reducing its green house gas emissions by 10% by making use of these types of products. Imagine that, companies can save money by using these telecom products & at the same time they are supporting a greener environment. It’s a win-win solution.