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

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.