IDG Contributor Network: Can Amazon be stopped?

Prime retail space is going vacant. The latest example of yet another retailer closing its doors is Payless Shoe Source. Payless has filed Chapter 11 and will be closing 400 stores. It’s ironic really, because their whole premise is Americans want to pay less for shoes, but the retailer can’t match the price or experience of online options. It’s one more example of the epidemic hitting brick-and-mortar retailers.

Last year (and again this year), it was Radio Shack that prompted the headlines. Sears has been in decline for decades. The Limited is even more limited now that it has filed for bankruptcy and has begun closing 250 of its stores.

Macy’s and Sears alone will be abandoning 28 million square feet of retail space. The loss of these anchor stores is what starts the dreaded domino effect at the mall. If the mall can’t back fill that space, reduced numbers of shoppers impact the demand for sunglasses, cinnamon rolls and all the other small businesses that survive on the other brands’ crowds. When they fall, so does the mall.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: When phone systems attack

A telephony denial of service (TDoS) attack is a specific type of DDoS attack that originates from or is directed towards a telephone system with the intent of bringing down the targeted system. These attacks commonly focus on commercial businesses and may often include ransomware requests. In reality, these attacks can affect anyone, including our nation’s 911 infrastructure, because even it is not isolated from or immune from these types of attacks. And based on its mission, in many ways, it is more fragile.

Unintentional TDoS attack

Just last year, 911 centers across the country, including a site in Phoenix, Arizona, were the targets of allegedly unintentional 911 TDoS attacks when some malicious JavaScript code was published on a web page. The code, once loaded on a smartphone browser, would cause some devices to automatically dial 911 repeatedly without user intervention and without the user’s knowledge. 

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Source: ddd

Internet VPN or MPLS for branch office IP phone communication?

Many businesses with branch offices that have IP-enabled phones must decide what type of circuit medium to use for their communication to the corporate headquarters site.

Two of the most selected choices are a MPLS circuit or internet VPN. Both solutions have their pros and cons, and what is best can depend on your business requirements. Speed, quality of service (QoS), security and cost are the key factors you should consider when making this decision.

Pros and cons of an internet VPN

A significant advantage of using an internet VPN for communication is the cost. Most times, a branch site can use its existing internet connection for communication back to its headquarters. Usually, a 10 Mbps internet circuit costs much less than a 10 Mbps MPLS circuit. This can encourage a business to purchase more bandwidth for their branch site.

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Source: ddd

University examines cloud phone service

Georgetown University is testing a cloud phone service intended to replace its 25-year-old system, which would cost millions of dollars to replace. The move, part of a broader telecommunications infrastructure overhaul, advances the private university’s plan to migrate to consumer-friendly cloud and mobile software, says CIO Judd Nicholson.

Georgetown University CIO Judd Nicholson. Georgetown University

Georgetown University CIO Judd Nicholson.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: 6 reasons why Slack is the next Netscape

Netscape provides an excellent illustration as to how tech darlings come and go.

Netscape created and sold Navigator, the browser that essentially invented the World Wide Web. Prior to Netscape, the internet was mostly benefiting geeks and nerds. Netscape changed the world by transforming the internet into the mass-market, browser-powered online world we know and love today.

Netscape’s original business model was to sell licenses for its Navigator browser. It was just over a year old when it had its IPO on Aug. 9, 1995. And in its first day of trading, the stock went from $28 to as high as $74.75, giving the company a value in the billions.

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Source: ddd

RingCentral aims to unify ‘unified communications’

I started my career as an analyst in 2001, and one of the first reports I wrote was on the topic of “unified communications,” or UC as it’s more commonly called today. The concept is pretty simple: Workers use lots of communications tools, so why not bring them together into a single, easy-to-use tool? Makes sense, doesn’t it? 

However, a funny thing has happened over the past 15 years. In an effort to give workers more functionality, many specialty UC vendors popped up. I understand the term “specialty UC” is somewhat of an oxymoron, but this is the state of the industry because we now have UC vendors for video, web conferencing, chat, audio conferencing, VoIP, document sharing, file storage and the list goes on. 

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: 4 possible outcomes for Avaya

Avaya is one of the largest providers of enterprise communications products and services. It is a complex company of 158 separate entities that employ about 9,700 people worldwide. Most of its entities in North America, representing about 3,800 of its employees, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year.

Avaya reported 2016 revenue at $3.7 billion. Despite an annual adjusted EBITDA of $940 million and positive free cash flow, it has a debt problem. It owes about $6 billion due to multiple investors spread over multiple maturity dates over the next several years.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: The future of work is surprisingly human: 2 trends to relieve your fears

AI, big data and bots! Oh my! You don’t need to be a troglodyte or tech-wary prognosticator to fear the future of work. Everywhere we look, the same trend is making headlines: less human, more artificial.

But is the future of work really inhuman? To answer that question, it is vital to understand the rise of tech at both the popular and professional level. While it’s certainly given us the ability to defy distance, only recent innovations have cracked the code, allowing us to truly relate. Many lament the perceived shallowness of this tide, but communication and collaboration are primitive desires.

We are, after all, tribal creatures who rally around shared purposes and common goals. Dangers exist, but the good news is technology is finally catching up with human nature.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: Trust in our systems: Chapter 11 and Avaya's prognosis

In times of uncertainty, it is best to trust our systems. There are systems that keep us safe such as air traffic control, providing that we arrive at safely distant destinations. There are street light systems that help us cross at busy intersections. In our government, we must have faith in systems, including our separation of powers and a free press.

For the business world, other systems such as the Chapter 11 processes, may not be well understood, but many experts argue are critical.

The Chapter 11 set of processes are especially important at this period of time for the universe of stakeholders that I wrote about recently in “Avaya’s Chapter 11 filing sends waves of disruption.” In this follow-up post, I’ll talk a bit about the Chapter 11 processes and provide some information I gained recently that makes me feel just a bit more comfortable about the future for that universe that surrounds Avaya. Part of this is some recent research and part is due to a briefing that I participated in with Avaya corporate treasurer John Sullivan.

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Source: ddd

VOSS simplifies hybrid Spark provisioning

Last week, Cisco held the European version of it’s Cisco Live event in Berlin. At these events, Cisco typically makes several product announcements and demonstrates many of its new products. Cisco Live is also a time for the company’s alliance and technology partners to showcase their own wares as they look to add value to the Cisco ecosystem. 

One of the more interesting announcements by an technology partner at the 2017 show was from VOSS Solutions, which extended its platform to support Cisco Spark Hybrid Services. The Spark platform has been red hot of late, as Cisco has made it the company’s main UC platform. During the show, the Spark Board garnered a lot of attention, including being part of Ruba Borno’s day 1 keynote

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Source: ddd