The Last Man Standing

by Alan Percy, CMO @TelcoBridges

There was a time when all photographers used film-based cameras, and after exposure, taking their rolls of film to a local pharmacy or photo lab to be developed into slides or prints.   With the invention of digital photography, the need for processing labs and equipment quickly faded, making it difficult to purchase film and get it processed.   More recently, the artistic value of “analog” photography has been rediscovered and with it, a few boutique labs have made processing film a high-value business opportunity.   They are “the last labs standing” for the growing community of film photography aficionados.

We see a similar trend in the TDM telecommunications equipment market.  While much of the new product development investment is on IP-based network equipment, there remains a significant amount of TDM equipment in operation.  Media and signaling gateways play an important role in bridging between the old TDM equipment and new IP networks.  The trends we see show increasing demand for these bridge technologies, helping service providers get the most out of their TDM equipment while migrating to new SIP-based networks.  However, the number of vendors that make these technologies continues to shrink.  Whether by acquisition, change of priorities, or lack of skills, the number of vendors that invest in media and signaling gateways continues to shrink.

Despite this, the demand remains strong.  One example is the migrations from SS7 to SIGTRAN.  SS7 is a widely used TDM signaling protocol that has been the backbone of the telecommunications network since the 1970’s. As a TDM protocol, SS7 typically is delivered over expensive DS1 leased lines, while  SIGTRAN offers a means to carry SS7 signaling over low-cost IP networks.   The ROI for a service provider to migrate from SS7 to SIGTRAN is very clear – usually only a few months payback.

However, the number of vendors that make SS7 to SIGTRAN signaling gateways is now very small.  TelcoBridges is one of the few vendors that continues to invest in gateways that support both SS7 and SIGTRAN.  With a broad array of product offerings and a long-term commitment to support our products, TelcoBridges is committed to help service providers get the most out of their existing networks.

As to SS7 to SIGTRAN signaling gateways, TelcoBridges is one of a few “last vendors standing”

Learn more about TelcoBridges signaling gateways at:

A Spy vs Spy Approach to Protecting our Telecommunications

by Alan Percy, CMO @TelcoBridges

If you are old enough to remember the Spy vs. Spy comics in Mad Magazine, you’ll also remember a time when the phone rang, you just answered it.  No robocalls to worry about. With the advent of VoIP, we inadvertently created the robocall. The TRACED Act mandated STIR/SHAKEN, and you’d think the aggressive illegal robocallers would be a thing of the past.   Instead, it has become a game of Spy vs. Spy.

Continue reading A Spy vs Spy Approach to Protecting our Telecommunications

Will the Edge Eat the Cloud?

By Alan Percy, TelcoBridges

An Interesting keynote this week from Fortinet’s CEO, Ken Xie sharing that we’re entering the fourth stage of network evolution, requiring greater intelligence closer to the edge. Xie predicts that the next round of major innovations will be at the edge.  We agree. Continue reading Will the Edge Eat the Cloud?

Entering the Era of Cognitive Collaboration at Enterprise Connect 2019

by Alan Percy, TelcoBridges

For a show that started many years ago focused on PBXs and enterprise telephony, things sure have changed at Enterprise Connect.

Collaboration Developments – Probably the biggest take away from the annual enterprise communications event is the increasing penetration of cloud-based web collaboration and the introduction to AI-powered cognitive capabilities.   We’ve had auto-focus on cameras and automatic pan and crop for a few years, but the makers of web conferencing used the event to show some huge leaps forward:

Microsoft Teams Gets Smart – Lori Wright’s keynote demonstrated new AI capabilities in Microsoft Teams that drew audible gasps from the audience with a feature that allow conference participants to see through presenters and see whiteboard content that would otherwise be hidden.  Other features included using proximity to automatically detect meeting organizers entering rooms, background image replacement and real-time translating / transcribing of live events. All are important new capabilities that will be built-in to enterprise Office365 subscriptions and accelerate adoption from Skype for Business and other competitive platforms. Continue reading Entering the Era of Cognitive Collaboration at Enterprise Connect 2019

How did we get here?

by Alan Percy, TelcoBridges

Here we are in 2019:

  • Our kids don’t know how to use a rotary phone or what long-distance calling means
  • More than 40% of international telephone calls are completed via Skype
  • Whatsapp dominates the international mobile-to-mobile calling market
  • “Facetiming” someone has nothing to do with actually being in the same room
  • Nearly all NEW telecommunications equipment and software sales depend on an IP-based infrastructure.

What happened?  Our legacy telecommunications industry has been disrupted!

Continue reading How did we get here?

The Battle against Robocallers Gets Teeth – Round 4

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing, TelcoBridges

The battle to stop illegal robocalling is about to get teeth with introduction this week of the TRACED Act, introduced as a bill to the US Senate by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass) Continue reading The Battle against Robocallers Gets Teeth – Round 4

Battling Robocallers – Round 3

by Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing

This last month, a telemarketing firm hawking health insurance was fined $82 million for their role in 21 million illegal unsolicited robocalls.  Are the legal consequences enough to put an end to the nuisance calls?

As reported by the Washington Post, the Federal Communications Commission imposed an $82 million fine against a telemarketer who made more than 21 million unsolicited calls to consumers to try to sell health insurance and generate leads.

Despite this stiff penalty against one firm, the phones of Americans continue to ring with offers of bogus credit card protection offers, free vacations and fake IRS scams.

A root of the problem is the ease at which bulk phone calls can be made with spoofed caller-ID information, tricking unsuspecting victims to answer call they think are from friends or neighbors.  While there are legitimate reasons to substitute caller-ID information (Doctors office reminders, school notifications, etc) fraudulent abuse continues to be an industry-wide problem.

Meanwhile, progress is being made in the standards bodies with further refinement of the STIR/SHAKEN framework that will allow service providers to “certify” that the originating caller and communications service provider owns the rights to the calling number.

In August, the ATIS and SIP Forum announced the release of two key specifications needed to standardize the user experience and APIs needed for implementation of SHAKEN.  The first specification Technical Report on a Framework for Display of Verified Caller ID (ATIS-1000081) defines a standard user experience for calls from known callers, likely SPAM callers, suspect and potential fraudulent callers with color icons and information on screen-based devices.  The second specification Technical Report on SHAKEN API for a Centralized Signing and Signature Validation Server provides a proposed RESTful API for the implementation of the SHAKEN specification

This next couple weeks will see two industry speaking sessions addressing the issues, including:

Battling Robocallers – a Tutorial on STIR/SHAKEN presented by yours truly at Astricon in Orlando on Tuesday, October 9th at 10:00 AM

Comprehensive Approach to Illegal Robocalls presented by Eric Burger, CTO at the Federal Communications Commission at the Illinois Institute of Technology Real-Time Communications Conference on Tuesday October 16th at 9:00 AM

Later in December, the SIPNOC event has a dedicated Robocall Summit track specifically addressing the problem, including a number of industry thought leaders.

However, questions do remain on the timeframe and motivation of the service provider community as to when they plan to implement any or all of the recommendations, giving consumers a break from the fraudulent robocallers.


Fraud and Robocalls – More Than an Annoyance

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing, TelcoBridges

This last week, the NY Times Tara Siegel Bernard published an article explaining the trends of Robo calls and their scams are surging.  With the International Telecommunications Week (ITW) conference this week in Chicago, Tara’s timing couldn’t have been any better.

Continue reading Fraud and Robocalls – More Than an Annoyance

Notes from MWC 2018: 5G was Everywhere and Nowhere

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing

For four days every spring, Mobile World Congress is the center of the mobile industry universe. Under the guidance of the GSMA, the event is a chance for the industry to show off their new mobile and wireless consumer products, underlying technologies and most importantly, a vision of the future. Based on these goals, the 2018 event did not disappoint. Continue reading Notes from MWC 2018: 5G was Everywhere and Nowhere