Tag Archive | "VoIP"


Social Security Administration Processes 500 Millionth Call Through Modernized Phone System


On the morning of June 16, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) processed its 500 millionth call through its Telephone System Replacement Program (TRSP)-driven modernized telecom system.

It was a milestone for Social Security, which began the TSRP with Avaya in 2007 and just celebrated its 80th birthday in August.

Social Security had long relied on a conventional, old-school PBX phone framework. Each of the agency’s 1,600+ offices had individual PBXs, and almost all had products that were nearing, or had reached, end of life.

“We were scrambling just trying to find parts,” explained Todd Markulik, the SSA’s contracting officer’s technical representative.. “We looked at our future, and realized a Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony solution would be a good fit for us as a way to really create a nationwide network.”

The agency worked with Avaya to create a cutting-edge IP telephony network and manage its average 400,000 daily calls. The SSA recognized the need to future-proof its system with an impending influx of Baby Boomers coming of age for Social Security.

Through the TSRP, SSA was able to streamline and consolidate systems, and cut costs by as much as 50 percent depending on office location.

“Previously, we had somewhere between 20 and 45 analog lines from a local phone company, and we were being charged $35 to $40 a month per line,” Markulik said. “When we moved to VoIP, we eliminated all but maybe eight of those lines.”

The carrier-grade, enterprise solution is government-owned and Avaya-managed, end-to-end. It features leading technology, from Network Skills Based Routing to Dynamic Virtual Forward, and gives the agency redundancies that help it support contact centers in four regions of the United States seamlessly. As a result, the agency was able to get through Hurricane Sandy, and major blizzards and storms without an incident.

The future of Social Security’s technology looks just as bright. Markulik pointed toward plans for an increase in soft phones, teleworking and VoIP capabilities in the near future.

“We’re well-positioned for the future,” he explained.


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In the Age of Technology Killers, Why Some Just Won’t Die


For those of you who were watching the inaugural season of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975, you likely remember Chevy Chase’s bit on Weekend Update about Generalissimo Francisco Franco still valiantly holding onto his effort to remain dead.

That phrase has been occurring to me over and over again as I listen to pundits in the technology space. The PC is dead – but it still walks among us, does it not? Email is dead, but I still read plenty daily, don’t you? Is it that technology, like the walking dead in the zombie apocalypse, just won’t die, or is there something else at work?

In an article on ExtremeTech, Sebastian Anthony called the desktop PC a “stumbling, apathetic and commoditized beast” as he predicted its demise in Nov. 2014. I wonder what he was writing his story on that day – a smartphone?

I’ve been reading that email is dead for the better part of a decade … usually within an email news update. One of the more memorable was in Nov. 2011 when John Naughton at the Register reported that no less than Mark Zuckerberg had predicted the end of email and went on to remark that perhaps it was a biased opinion since Facebook was launching a new app called Messenger that month.

What about newspapers, which were supposed to be replaced by the Internet years ago? I still get a paper copy of The New York Times every day. In fact, in The New York Times this morning, I saw an article that debunked the myth of the death of printed books, a death that was predicted with the development of digital e-readers and cloud-based libraries. Despite Borders declaring bankruptcy in 2011 (arguably more from being a slow follower into the digital space partnering with Sony for an undistinguished e-reader), the retail book business is healthy. According to the American Booksellers Association, there are nearly 600 more brick and mortar bookstores in the U.S. today than five years ago.

My point in this blog is not to say that technology never dies – I am not predicting the Zombie Apocalypse of Technology, where punch card readers and phonographs roam the aisles of your local electronics store.

Instead, I’m suggesting that technology will remain viable as long as it meets consumers’ experience expectations and needs. I can’t find a record player, cassette tape deck or CD player in my house because digital music enhanced my ability to listen and stream seamlessly.

The reason email won’t go away any time soon is because it’s the prevalent, ubiquitous form of written communication. When email first appeared on the technology stage, I remember everyone sending an email to “see if your e-mail address worked,” an activity that millennials find somewhere between ludicrous and hilarious because to them email just works.

When technology just works – and does it better, faster and more intuitively than its alternatives – it will not die. So really this blog is about the importance of designing for the full user experience. When natural, easy experiences meet real needs, then a technology will live on. When the pain of use of a solution (for example, going to the record store) is sufficiently higher than the alternative and the result is indistinguishable or inferior, then the solution will be hobbled. In this simple sentence is the real conundrum of technology planning – what makes a result indistinguishable or inferior? This question represents the soul of user experience-based design.

In the e-reader, digital news scenario, there is no doubt that more stories are available, searchable and readily readable in the digital world. This led to predictions of the demise of print media more than five years ago. However, I believe, that reading is only the first step to consuming written material. We often read to learn and that requires memorizing and retaining. The eidetic Dr. Spencer Reid on CBS TV’s crime drama “Criminal Minds” remembers everything he has ever seen – including where on a page the fact in question was written. In the digital world, screen size, browser configuration, ad insertion, scroll bars and a host of other factors conspire to prevent a fact or sentence from being displayed in one place, making it harder to remember. Since it’s more difficult to make the location-based associations the brain needs to recall facts, many people say they feel like they are not really reading on an e-reader.

The feel of paper is another often quoted need among printed media readers. In my opinion, it’s not just the emotional connection to the ink on your fingers, it’s also that when hefting a paperback book in hand, you can tell whether or not you’ll be able to finish it on a four-hour airplane flight. The same cannot be said when looking at a book on an e-reader. Unfulfilled user experiences prolong the life of print media at the expense of digital media, and provide a clue as to how to design for user experience in technology. E-books may compliment print, but print, because of its unique user experiences, refuses to die. It’s not about what the technology can do, it’s about what the user wants – and even loves – about an experience or activity.

So here’s to the continuing struggle of PCs and print and email to become and remain dead – may they live long, so long as we need them!

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Embedded Communications Key to Changing the Way We Work (and Live)


Employees need to get their work done by the best means possible for optimal productivity, which requires access to the most effective tools available to do so.

In my opinion, this toolset must include an embedded communications solution. Such a solution, like Avaya Communicator for Web, enables users to tap into information that is readily available across multiple disparate sources—sources that are individually helpful but collectively transformative—to work faster, more efficiently and smarter.

Embedded communication isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have–both inside and outside of the enterprise. Why? At the end of the day, the way we live relies on the availability and integration of information and data around us. It’s everywhere we are and in everything we do.

Imagine you’re planning a road trip for next month. You own an electric car, and so it would be especially convenient if you could pinpoint the locations of charging stations along your way, to ensure as seamless and efficient a trip as possible (no one likes to back track). Picture your smartphone automatically creating a best-case route for your trip by leveraging the data available on your device, including places to sleep, eat, charge up and more.

Similar to how such a data-driven plan would enable you to travel most efficiently, an embedded communications solution can help employees get their work done as proficiently as possible. Such technology dramatically increases the time that people have to devote to work, as well as the quality of work that is produced, by streamlining various meetings, activities, tasks and more.

For instance, as GM and VP for UC Applications at Avaya, I spend the majority of my day in meeting and phone calls, processing a high volume of information–some of which can be difficult to recall after the fact. This is a massive problem within the enterprise today. Employees must be able to follow up on meetings and keep track of what was said; otherwise, similar to our road trip scenario, they will feel like they are backtracking.

Envision instead that you could integrate the various types of communication solutions your team uses (e.g., instant messaging, video, office suites) so that meeting notes can be added in real-time for employees to get caught up on. With employees being better equipped and prepared for meetings (something that can consume a hefty portion of meetings today) a traditional one-hour meeting can easily become a 30-minute meeting, and a 30-minute meeting might just become a quick IM or phone call.

Hopefully, more organizations will understand the power and value that embedded communications offer both inside and outside of the enterprise today—enough to not only change the way we work, but the way we live.

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Half of the world’s mobile broadband subscribers are in Asia

Whether it be in fixed broadband or mobile broadband, Asia leads the world in broadband in the raw subscriber numbers. The region has a huge presence in the global broadband market. The available statistics and estimates indicate that by 2015 the region was not only leading the world mobile broadband market; it was claiming close to half of all the subscribers worldwide. And in the fixed broadband market the proportion of subscribers was over 45% by that stage.

It is not just in the sheer number of subscribers that the region is so commanding; it has also especially innovative in the development and application of broadband technologies. Innovation has not surprisingly been a characteristic of the developed economies of the region – South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong. There has been a clear determination to try new technologies early. This has a major ‘knock-on effect’ on the wider market and its adopting of these technologies.

In taking a total view of Asia one cannot overlook the massive presence of China. The region feels this presence in the sheer numbers – its huge population, growing economy and large numbers of broadband subscribers. Its impact on the region’s broadband market has been phenomenal; having achieved 50% household penetration in 2014, it is continuing to move further along the broadband path.

Asia has also been a leader with its extensive application of fibre infrastructure. FttP is not just option for fixed broadband access – in many Asian markets it is already the primary form of fixed broadband access. In Japan and South Korea, Fibre now claims over 50% of the high speed internet access connections, obviously pushing aside DSL in the process.

On the back of all this high-powered broadband capability, Asia has been energetically embracing the digital economy and digital media in their many shapes forms. Again the region can claim some sort of global leadership role in this regard, with some striking examples of creativity and innovation that has been copied worldwide. South Korea, for example, has been ranking first in the United Nations Global E-Government Survey; as a consequence the country’s prize winning e-government system has served as a model for other countries planning to establish their e-government systems. Progress on the application of the digital economy across the region has been patchy, however. Not surprisingly, the developing markets in Asia have found it much more difficult to apply e-commerce in their less sophisticated economies with considerably lower disposable income.

In the meantime, the developed markets of Asia have positioned themselves well to exploit mobile data opportunities and are racing ahead with numerous mobile applications. As service improves and as content providers offer more and more, exponential growth in data usage is occurring in these key Asian markets. Hong Kong is a classic example, where increased adoption and consumption of mobile music and video streaming services was driving the market.

Peter Evans and Paul Kwon Senior Analysts BuddeComm

See also:

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Avaya Named Top Employer for Workplace Diversity

Avaya Ranks in Top 50 Employers in Workforce Diversity List

Avaya Named Top Employer for Workplace Diversity

Enabling engagement across time and space is no small feat! A diverse team of thousands of employees across the globe, who we call Futuremakers, make the magic happen.

Avaya debuted on the “Top 50 Employers” list in Workforce Diversity for Engineering & IT Professionals magazine last year. We’re proud to announce that we’ve charted for the second consecutive year. Avaya ranked at No. 41 for 2015.

“We’re proud to have a talented, diverse group of Futuremakers who understand the value of different cultures, perspectives and ways of approaching innovation,” said Steve Fitzgerald, vice president, Human Resources.

Workforce Diversity for Engineering & IT Professionals is the most widely-read recruitment magazine for engineers belonging to minority groups, including engineers who are women, black, Hispanic, Asian-American, Native-American or who have a disability.

Readers selected Avaya as one of the nation’s top companies for which they would most prefer to work and believe would provide a positive working environment for members of minority groups.

“We’re committed to creating a company culture that welcomes and supports diversity,” Fitzgerald said. “Thank you to the readers of Workforce Diversity for Engineering & IT Professionals for choosing Avaya as a preferred company!”

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ICT sectors are merging into a new wholesale platform for the networked economy

There certainly is a lot of interest in the IoT (personal devices) and M2M (industrial applications) market. But what we are seeing is only what is happening on the surface. Most of the IoT and M2M activities are taking place unseen. For example, all new electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, game consoles) are now IoT devices. Wearable technology has also become a thriving part of the IoT industry, with an ever-broadening range of possible uses and devices, including smart watches, glasses, clothing items, skin patches, and even implants for health monitoring.

Tens of millions of smart meters have already been deployed by the electricity industry, with literally hundreds of millions of them in the pipeline. Healthcare is another key industry. All new hospitals now operate large-scale M2M operations, tracking their equipment with real-time information. Most local governments have invested massively in mapping their assets; this is now being followed up by adding connectivity to these assets – whether it be streetlamps, drainage, sewerage or trees, all are in the process of becoming part of a smart city. The number of connected M2M devices in Australia will grow to somewhere between 25 million and 50 million by 2020. Progress is still hampered by lack of standards, interoperability and effective government and industry collaboration.

The intelligent outcome of the use of the various new technologies is known as big data. This can only be achieved through connected information management and data collaboration. Open data systems are therefore critical to its success. Governments are increasing the number of data sets they make available to the public and data collaboration between businesses is also starting to happen.

These intelligent transactions are mostly taking place in the cloud, with data centres forming the intelligent hubs between the clouds. Cloud computing has become one of the fastest-growing areas for the IT sector, and cloud computing solutions are being adopted by enterprises; government and consumers alike. In 2015 cloud computing has become more mainstream, with the majority of large enterprises adopting various solutions. Small and medium-sized businesses still largely need to start on the road to cloud computing, while close to 90% of larger businesses in developed economies have already embraced it. Few people realise the enormous impact that cloud computing is already making.

The other critical element for the future of these ICT developments is the network quality needed for those billions of intelligent transactions between all of the IoT and M2M devices. This data needs to be collected and processed to then deliver executable outcomes with real-time analyses to the IoT and M2M devices and their users, being consumers, businesses, government organisations, utilities, traffic authorities and so on.

In order to successfully implement the emerging networked economy far more robust infrastructure is required than is currently available. The NBN and 4G LTE A(dvanced) – a halfway house on the way to full 5G –  are going to provide that robust infrastructure necessary for high-speed information processing, distributed computing, as well as many other applications that can be processed, analysed and managed – all in real time over a cloud computer-based IT platform. Ubiquitous access, enormous capacity, low latency, robustness and symmetric access, as well as the very high levels of reliability, quality and security, are all critical to the success of such a new communications environment.

The importance of access to infrastructure in these ICT developments is leading to convergence of what are still largely separate sectors (big data, IoT, M2M, cloud computing, data centres and telecoms wholesale). This will lead to mergers and acquisitions between the various companies involved in these activities, and winners and losers will be attached to this process; it will be a very dynamic and rapidly changing market over the next few years.

Social and economic developments are further accelerating, and as more organisations tap into this merged ICT space and more investments are made we will see further astonishing innovations emerge over the next few years.

Over time this will have a major impact on the economy. The emerging networked economy will become decentralised with more innovative new jobs and business opportunities being shared. Smart cities are going to play a key role in this new economy.

Given the current social, economic and political turbulence, it becomes clear that we seem to have reached a ceiling in the way we currently use our intellectual ability to address the complex issues that society is facing.

The need for increased intelligence will lead to a merging of human activities and machines, something that is becoming increasingly possible and is heading towards the broader concept of artificial intelligence (AI). Some of the predictions and scenarios discussed in this context are clearly wrong, and AI as described by the popular media is, if it really happens, at least a century away; nevertheless we are pushing the boundaries of our current level of intelligence capacity and, while most current predictions will lead to totally different outcomes, one thing is certain – things will change.

In the end it is all about people – smart people in charge of all of these processes. What is needed is a vision from the top and smart communities working from the bottom upwards.

A new BuddeComm report offers a wealth of information on the all important ICT developments in the telecoms sector and is a key resource of insights, statistics, examples and trends. For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Australia – Big Data, M2M, Cloud Computing and Data Centres

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VMworld 2015 Preview

VMworld 2015 Preview: Avaya Collaboration Pods Take Center Stage

VMworld 2015 Preview

Next week, nearly 25,000 people will descend on San Francisco for one of the tech industry’s hottest events. You guessed it… VMworld 2015 is upon us.

VMworld offers its attendees more than 400 sessions, covering the latest virtualization innovations in the data center for storage, networking, security, management, workforce mobility and hybrid cloud services. As a side note, it also offers a great party! It’s one of the only events I’ve been to with a full-blown carnival–complete with rides, games and live music–filling AT&T Park to capacity.

This represents the fourth year Avaya will be participating at VMworld. Our showcase product at this year’s event is the Avaya Collaboration Pod. Collaboration Pods are pre-integrated, full-stack solutions for deploying VMware-based UC/CC within the data center. They are being adopted by enterprises and cloud service providers as a simplified, risk-free way to deploy virtualized communications internally or as a service.

In June, we expanded the market reach for Collaboration Pods by introducing a smaller form factor product called the Collaboration Pod 2400. This product is well-suited for UC environments supporting between 500 to 5,000 end points and contact center environments with fewer than 500 contact center agents. We’re demonstrating Collaboration Pod 2400 live at VMworld.

Collaboration Pods are embedded with components of Avaya’s recently-announced SDN FxTM Architecture. Every Collaboration Pod contains Avaya networking, and incorporates our unique fabric networking technology. Also embedded is VMware-based virtualization. Today, this is based on VMware’s ESXi technology; however, at the event we will also be showcasing VMware’s NSX technology.

What does this combination of Avaya SDN Fx and VMware NSX bring to our Collaboration Pod customers? One of the key values of the SDN Fx architecture is the ability to very easily segment the network into secure zones for multi-tenant support, improved security and enhanced application control and visibility.

By leveraging micro-segmentation capabilities inside VMware NSX, we can extend segmentation into the VM environment to provide an end-to-end secure environment that is easier to provision, easier to manage and inherently more secure than legacy networking technologies.

This is applicable for cloud service providers delivering secure communications-as-a-service to multiple customers from the same Collaboration Pod, as well as enterprises that want to isolate some of their critical UC and CC applications from other traffic on their Pod:

Avaya Collaboration Pod Security Zones

As high-profile security breaches continue to make headlines, companies across every industry are looking for simpler ways to segment their networks to better protect confidential information. Segmentation also helps ensure that if portions of the network do happen to get compromised, the threat won’t propagate across the entire data center.

Collaboration Pod with SDN Fx offers a new way of doing segmentation that is more secure (services are set up with Ethernet, as opposed to IP, without reachability in or out) and are much easier to implement and manage, compared to the cumbersome, error-prone techniques of the past (isolated virtualized networks are implemented within the fabric-enabled cloud at the network edges only).

If you’re attending VMworld, visit us at booth #541 or connect with me on Twitter to set up a meeting with our executive team at the show. On Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Avaya’s Mohan Gopalakrishna who will speak about extending unified communications and contact center rollouts with hybrid cloud at the event.

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Avaya Alarms

Remote Monitoring: So Good, It Virtually Needs No Human Intervention

Avaya Alarms

Have you ever done something so well that others struggle to believe it’s true? On a recent Sunday afternoon, after mowing the lawn and finally sitting down to enjoy a cool beverage, I pulled out my smartphone and was deflated to see an email from Avaya IT that our alarm management solution, EXPERT SystemsSM, was failing to deliver inbound actionable alarms to our support engineering team. This is a rock-solid application for Avaya and so having downtime was surprising and frustrating.

When I got in touch with the development team responsible for the solution, I was pleased to learn that there had been no outage. The team had implemented some enhancements to the logic of the solution, and we were now doing such a good job filtering out and programmatically resolving alarms that alarm-generated support tickets were barely coming into the support team. That team had reported this as an outage, not realizing the tool was just being very efficient!

EXPERT SystemsSM is a proactive remote monitoring tool that is included in the Support Advantage Preferred support offer. As mentioned above, we’ve invested a lot of time and money in the last 18 months to redesign and optimize it.

  • Doubled the resolution effectiveness
  • Added support for 20 new products/versions
  • Added support for 130+ new alarm types, taking our total to more than 800
  • Now have more than1,000 algorithms to auto-close alarms

A 2014 internal study from Avaya showed that customers who utilize EXPERT SystemsSM are 73 percent more likely to avoid an outage. And with the average industry outage costing a customer $385,000, this means real value to our customers.

Let me take this opportunity to explain what Avaya’s EXPERT SystemsSM does for our customers every minute of every day.

Avaya Support Alarms Data

As you can see from the chart above, Avaya receives about 14 million alarms every month, and 99.6 percent of those we’re able to filter out as non-actionable. That typically includes informational alarms that don’t require us to do anything, as well as filtering out duplicate alarms. For example, if a product sends us ten duplicate alarms within a minute, we know we only need one support request opened, not ten separate ones. Of the 60,000 alarms a month that remain, we create an Avaya Support Request and then attempt to programmatically clear the alarm using our EXPERT Diagnostic scripts.

Nine times out of ten, those scripts are successful — meaning that only 6,000 alarm-based service requests, or 0.04 percent of all alarms, make it to an Avaya Support Engineer. Because the engineer is starting from an alarm, and not the report of a symptom, these service requests are resolved five times faster than average.

The result is that Avaya is able to programmatically handle 99.96 percent of supported alarms, providing our customers with peace of mind that issues that come up will be handled as fast as possible, preventing them from snowballing into full outages.

Using our Web-based ManageAlarms tools, customers can:

  • Customize alarm filters
  • Set up time bound filters for planned upgrades, making sure that Avaya knows to ignore any alarms during that timeframe
  • Set up recurring schedules, such as maintenance windows. For example, if a customer site has a maintenance window scheduled every Saturday from 2 to 4 a.m., that schedule can be entered here and Avaya will ignore all inbound alarms from that site during that period.

Another tool we offer is the Test Alarms tool, which allows for triggering test alarms to be sent from the product to Avaya, resulting in an email notification to the user that alarm processing is working properly.

Putting all of this together, I challenge you, our customers, our partners, and/or our Avaya employees: Are your Avaya systems protected by EXPERT SystemsSM?

Contact or follow me on Twitter: @CarlKnerr

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Web collaboration

Esna for Office 365: A Winning Combination

Web collaboration

For more than 25 years, Esna has developed enterprise software solutions that integrate communication and collaboration tools into the business applications that we use everyday to get work done. We boast a long history in this space, dating back to the 1990s when our products integrated with desktop applications in Windows 95 and Microsoft Outlook.

As the concept of cloud computing grew, Esna began embedding communications and collaboration within cloud-based applications such as Salesforce.com in 2005 and then Google Apps in 2008. In 2011 Microsoft introduced Office 365 to market. As this new cloud-based office suite gained momentum, we received requests from our customers and partners to extend the Esna-embedded communication and collaboration experience to Office 365.

Why Esna for Office 365?

At Esna, we believe people are living in the operating system of the future: the Web browser. That is, people are consuming their applications directly through a browser tab. Having said this, Esna enables people to live in the online version of Office 365, which many consider to be more effective, streamlined and easier to use. Users can still download and install Office on their PC or Mac, but we are focused on enabling all of the real-time communication functionalities that are typically not available within Office 365 via our intuitive, browser-based experience.

These kinds of functionalities can include escalating non real-time communications such as email and voicemail to real-time communications like phone, video or audio conferencing. Microsoft does a great job of providing this kind of functionality to organizations with an all-Microsoft infrastructure (e.g. if you use Skype for Business, formerly Lync). However, a majority of today’s market does not rely on a single vendor for both its applications and communications infrastructure.

chat inside of office docs

What the market is buying today is a combination of on-premise and hosted systems from a variety of best-in-class vendors. Esna’s solutions are ideal for these hybrid and mixed environments as they connect these disparate systems into one cohesive platform in a vendor-agnostic manner. This is how Esna helps bring communications and collaboration full circle.

The key technology used within Office 365 are Esna’s HTML5-based clients. Not only do they act as the tools that enable all of the abovementioned communication functionalities, they also offer users full-embedded HTML5 softphone functionality.

Esna offers all of this real-time functionality directly within the browser, meaning there is no desktop software to install. These capabilities are available directly through the browser or through browser admin panels; IT doesn’t have to set the user up with anything. Rather, users simply go to their browser and start consuming applications.

How Do I Know if Esna for Office 365 is the Right Fit for me?

Esna is an ideal solution for companies that want to retain communication and collaboration capabilities for their users as they move from on-premise Microsoft Exchange to Office 365. We provide a platform that helps these companies maintain this functionality within the browser without having to replace their existing communications infrastructure.

At Esna, we take great pride in being the first company to embed communication and collaboration tools in cloud applications. Over the years, we have garnered hundreds of thousands of users who now rely on Esna’s ability to integrate these functionalities within the browser. Of course, Esna’s integration capabilities are not limited to Office 365; because we integrate into the browser, we can work within multiple cloud applications and on virtually every Web page.

It’s our technological capabilities as well as our reputation as a trusted provider of quality embedded communication and collaboration solutions that have made Esna a go-to source for enterprises’ collaboration needs. Regardless of what platform they currently use, we take pride in being our customers’ ally by meeting them where they are at and helping find a solution together.

This article originally appeared on the Esna blog.

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Vietnam moves to reduce government presence in telecoms

Any review of the telecoms market in Vietnam must take into account the nature and structure of the government. Whilst nominally a communist state and therefore a centrally planned economy, it has undergone significant structural change over the years. After revising its attitude to the market economy and the role of the private sector, the government has progressively introduced some competition into the market place, building what it describes as ‘a socialist oriented market economy.’ There is no doubt that this change of policy and outlook resulted in a fresh growth momentum within the nation. Nevertheless it remains a one-party system, moving slowing in the implementing of social and economic reform and simply avoiding some reforms altogether. This background is important in understanding the manner in which the country’s telecom sector has been developing in 2015.

The government is finally addressing the restructure of the VNPT. After numerous false starts and a variety of proposals, it had finally agreed to hive off MobiFone from the state-owned parent and sell shares via an IPO. Steps had already been taken that indicated the process was now irreversible. The IPO was set for 2016.

Vietnam’s mobile market is growing, but had slowed significantly into 2015; fixed-line subscriber numbers have declined sharply; and broadband is booming boosted by mobile broadband services and fibre-based fixed broadband. Much earlier, the government had set ambitious targets in the telecom sector for the expansion of infrastructure. But it fell well short of these targets. Things began to change, however, mainly on the back of an increasingly competitive mobile sector. Vietnam’s mobile market has grown strongly over the last decade in particular. This was evidence that the competition model the government had put in place, although limited, was in fact working. The mobile market stalled in 2013, suffering a major correction in that year. By 2015 growth had returned but was generally slower, as already noted.

In the meantime, having come late to the internet, Vietnam is finally embracing the higher access speeds offered by the various broadband platforms. Although there has been a surge in subscriber numbers, fixed broadband remains a relatively small but expanding market segment. The fixed broadband services have been largely based on DSL technology; more recently, fibre-based broadband services are starting to replace DSL as the fixed broadband option, with FttH subscriptions growing by more than 150% in 2014. Most significantly, the arrival of mobile broadband has seen much wider access to faster internet speeds. The penetration of mobile broadband services was more than four times that of fixed broadband by 2015. An important aspect of the internet market is that the government has been particularly active in the development of cyber laws, no doubt because of its deeply ingrained political culture of central control.

The significant presence of fixed-line services throughout the country had been against the global trend for a developing economy (a high point of 20% penetration in 2009); however, fixed-line numbers have declined dramatically in recent years and by 2015 penetration had fallen to around 5%.

It needs to be said that the broad telecom market growth in Vietnam is happening amidst a sometimes confusing set of statistics. The figures published both by the government, the operators and other industry sources are often contradictory and earlier figures are often revised. In a new BuddeComm report, where there is any doubt about the statistics issued, BuddeComm publishes in its tables what are considered the most likely figures or provides estimates.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Vietnam – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

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