My Q&A with Mavenir - Wireless Challenges for Security and Fraud

I contribute occasionally to UK-based Enterprise Management 360, and am on their roster of analysts. My latest piece was a Q&A I did with Mavenir, with a focus on security and fraud for wireless operators. This is problematic on many fronts, and having seen them talk about this at their recent analyst event, it turns out Mavenir is quite strong in this area.

To address these challenges, my interview was done with two experts at Mavenir - Marie Casey and Ilia Abramov - and it’s running now on EM360’s site. If the topic is of interest, I think you’ll find this a good read, and if you like it, by all means share it with others.

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Mavenir Analyst Day - Quick Take and Pix

It’s been quite a week - or two, actually. Last week, I drove to - and back - from Florida for a much-needed family visit. A day after that, I was off to Dallas for Mavenir’s analyst day, then to San Francisco for Twilio’s SIGNAL conference. Both events were first-timers for me, and Mavenir was of particular interest since I’m not that strong on wireless, so this was a good way to get caught up.

That said, the event was pretty much under NDA, so I don’t have a narrative to share. There certainly is a good story here, especially to give carriers an alternative to the Tier 1 mobile vendors, and Mavenir is one of those “best kept secrets” kind of players. Over time, my learnings will come out in other ways, so for now, I just have some photos to share.

First, some pix from the event, both during the sessions and the demos. And then, there’s this fantastical “George” poster. Take a close look - “master of magic” - and deep in the heart of Texas - kinda has that travelling medicine show look, and it’s not a stretch to say that sometimes applies to tech companies selling complicated solutions that buyers don’t really understand. But no, not here at Mavenir, right? :-)

The event was held at the hotel - Zaza - and it’s one of the most eclectic hotels I’ve been to. Definitely gotta come back here for fun. All kinds of quirky sculptures, paintings, photos and knick knacks. Check out their shuttle vehicle - soooo Texas. And then, my friendly man at the front desk. This hotel has a cool, retro vibe - really - really slow elevators, and on the desks in our rooms - pencils (not pens), paper clips and staplers - when was the last time you saw or used those? And for the topper, he’s showing off their manual credit card imprinter, which they actually use. Millennials have probably never seen one of these analog relics, but hey, they still work - even if the broadband is slow!

Tablets at Work - Beyond BYOD

One of my many writing hats is a monthly column I started this year for TMCnet's flagship publication, Internet Telephony magazine. My column is called Rethinking Communications, and you can probably guess what I'm writing about from the title. Better yet, read 'em all, and if there's a topic you'd like me to explore, let me know. As Obama said last night, it's all about you - I'm here to serve, so your ideas are always welcome.

The September print edition is out now, and the digital version just went online yesterday, so if it's not in your mailbox, you can just click here to read it now. This month's focus is on BYOD and the broader implications for both IT and the business overall. It's a messy challenge for sure, but businesses have to embrace it unless you have no intention of ever giving up your rotary or touchtone phones. Going the other way, if you've adopted BYOD without skipping a beat, I'm sure a lot of readers here would love to know how you did it, so don't be shy.

ShoreTel Investor Day 2012 - takeaways and photos

My travels took me to San Francisco on Wednesday for ShoreTel's Investor Day event. Held primarily for financial analysts, a few industry analysts were invited, including myself. It was a great opportunity to hear from the management teams of both ShoreTel and their recent acquisition, M5 Networks.

I posted about this deal recently, and pulled a new set of thoughts together based on what we were hearing on Wednesday. That missive is running now on UCStrategies, and is part of my regular monthly contribution to the UCStrategies community.

Aside from that, thought I'd share a few photos from the event, which was held at AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants, who happen to be a ShoreTel customer. The weather was pretty dreary, but otherwise, I'd say this worked out pretty well all around. Enjoy...

ShoreTel CEO Peter Blackmore kicking things off...



M5 CEO Dan Hoffman doing the same - as per the really cool graphic above him - yeah, he's pretty much hitting it out of the park in terms of having built the cloud model into a successful business over the past 10 years.


Ok, now look carefully - I'm only going to tell you this once. This was during their demo showing seamless 4 digit PBX calling integration with an iPhone. They've got this trick figured out pretty well, but how about what's going on with the IP phone?

If you look closely, you'll see it's a Cisco phone - fair enough, since that's the standard endpoint M5 supports with their customers. However, now that they're here with ShoreTel, the branding needs to be updated, since these are now ShoreTel apps. So, as explained, this was the world's first example of a ShoreTel app running over a Cisco phone. Cool, huh? Maybe a sign of where the market is going? Time will tell...



Ok, these updates were really interesting guys, but hey, the rain has stopped, and being a die-hard Red Sox fan, c'mon, let's get to the fun stuff - the ballpark tour.

So, channel your inner child - you're 7, and your Dad is taking you to your first MLB game. Is there anything more exciting and awesome than emerging from the tunnel and the incredible anticipation of seeing the baseball field explode into full green glory for the first time??? Not a chance. This is probably the first time you've realized that TV is cool, but can't hold a candle to being there in person. Can you think of a more all-American memory seared into your brain? I can't.

This was a halfway experience since the ballpark was empty, and not even groomed for baseball. Still pretty cool, though. I'm in my sixth decade of taking in games at Fenway, so nothing new here, but it took me back to my one and only time seeing the old Yankee Stadium - during a Dialogic event in 2008. I had the same 7 year old flashback there too, so if you want to compare photos, here you go.



It's not everyday you get to wander along the warning track of an empty ballpark, so I took full advantage.


The bullpen phone in the dugout - not very sophisticated, but probably gets the job done. Memo to ShoreTel and M5 - this setup shouldn't be too hard to improve on, right guys?



This was fun - the telecom room deep in the bowels of the building. Don't worry folks, this isn't what they use today - it's what they used to use, and now it just sits idle against this wall. Pretty graphic reminder about how telecom has evolved, and I'm sure ShoreTel has done a good job reminding the Giants about how their Brilliantly Simple solutions are a big improvement.

MobileMonday Toronto - Feb. 6 - You There?

Just a friendly shout-out for this event before I head off to Miami on Monday for the ITExpo. On Monday, Feb. 6, I'll be moderating the "Meet the Analysts" event at MobileMonday Toronto. It's part of a regular series held at the MaRS facility downtown, which is probably Canada's leading business incubator, especially for technology and health sciences startups.

This will be a fun panel, as we'll share our views on the outlook for mobility in 2012, with a particular focus on how the financial sector sees this space. Joining me will be buddy Ronald Gruia from my alum Frost & Sullivan, and Mike Abramsky from RBC Equity Research. Don't worry, it's free! Registrations have been strong, but there's still room, so it's not too late. Plus, if you're going to MWC, this will be a great networking event to get caught up on where mobility is going.