Posts Tagged ‘Telecom’

ShoreTel Puts CDW, Intelisys, CenturyLink, More in Circle of Excellence

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 10th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

Craig GalbraithShoreTel, the unified communications provider, has named its list of top partners that will take their place in the company’s Circle of Excellence for 2015.

The awards recognize partners for achievement in net billings and billings growth; new cloud bookings/monthly recurring revenue, proficiency with advanced applications; and customer satisfaction. The time period for recognition spans Oct. 2014-Sept. 2015.

ShoreTel is honoring partners in four categories: U.S. Solutions, which covers onsite billings and cloud bookings for full solution partners; U.S. Cloud, which covers cloud bookings for all VAR partners that only offer cloud services; U.S. Cloud Services Distributor, for ShoreTel’s cloud distribution partners (master agents); and Global Theaters, for the company’s partners outside the U.S.

Companies honored in the U.S. Solutions Circle of Excellence are:

  1. Packet Fusion
  2. CDW
  3. InFlow Communications
  4. Parallel Technologies
  5. CenturyLink
  6. CMS Communications
  7. Choice Telecommunications
  8. Xtelesis
  9. Converged Technology Professionals
  10. CNP Technologies, Harbor Networks and Affiliated Telephone (3-way tie)

Those recognized in the U.S. Cloud category are:

  1. Peak UpTime
  2. Packet Fusion
  3. CDW
  4. Choice Telecommunications
  5. Harbor Networks
  6. InHouse IT
  7. Xtelesis
  8. Blue Fox Group
  9. IT Savvy
  10. Teleswitch

U.S. cloud service distributors earning accolades are:

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Survey: Business Apps Growing in the Public Cloud

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 9th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

The use of business applications is growing in the public cloud, according to the latest study from Dimensional Research, commissioned by Cloud Cruiser.

Businesses reported a 10 percent increase in using the cloud for critical applications like email, from 2014 to 2015. Dimensional Research surveyed approximately 350 IT professionals at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent show.

“What we’re seeing is that adoption of cloud is growing,” Deirdre Mahon, Cloud Cruiser’s CMO, told Channel Partners. “However, organizations seem to be moving away from [using] public cloud to do software development and sandboxing, although they definitely use it for that.”

Mahon also said a greater number of businesses have shifted to using only AWS.  Last year, more than one-third of respondents were investing in other clouds, but that number ticked down in 2015.

“The reliance on other clouds or private clouds has gone down quite a bit between 2014 and 2015,” Mahon said.

Despite the growing level of trust in public cloud, more than two in five (42 percent) of respondents said they aren’t getting the information they needed about cloud costs and consumption.

As Cloud Cruiser put it in a news release, they were “left in the dark.”

For many businesses, this means they can’t determine if one of their departments is using more data, which ends up costing the company money.

There are many reasons for the lack of information, said Andrew Atkinson, Cloud Cruiser’s senior director of product marketing. But he says that sometimes the problem isn’t a lack of information, but rather a lack of clear information.

“One of the difficulties that folks have is that when the consumption and cost information is presented, it’s presented in terms that are essentially IT terms rather than business terms,” Atkinson said.

Or the information is far too small or far too dense.

“It’s not unusual to see a 30,000 line bill,” he said. “So trying to make sense out of that much information when little of it is business-focused is a huge challenge. “

Mahon and Atkinson say the survey data has implications for solution providers, whose clients may be using the public cloud more for business applications.

“Their customers are going to be running more and more mission-critical stuff in the cloud,” Atkinson said.

Mahon said the market has shifted to the point where businesses often access cloud services without the help of IT. That, she said, is “really forcing IT and business to work much more closely together.”

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XO Adds Maps Tool to Self-Service Portal

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 8th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

PRESS RELEASE — HERNDON, Va. – December 8, 2015 – XO Communications (XO) has launched myXO Maps, a new feature of the company’s self-service customer portal myXO that was rolled out in 2014. Through the new myXO Maps tool, customers now can view their entire XO network online with one-touch on a single screen.

“Customers need to be able to monitor the status of every point within their communications network,” said Jake Heinz, senior vice president of marketing and product at XO Communications.  “In support of their needs, we have developed a tool that offers customers real-time tracking capabilities that enable them to maximize their network resources at no additional cost through the myXO portal.”

myXO Maps features an intuitive geographical network display that is easily customizable. The tool allows customers to toggle between traditional map and satellite views and to zoom in and out on network points of presence on the map.  Furthermore, standard features include the ability for customers to identify quickly the location of any network events and review information on trouble tickets, outages, alarms, and maintenance status updates, all on one portal.

“Companies rely on customer portals for easy access to data that helps them maximize the use of their network resources,” said Brian Washburn, service director at Current Analysis, a leading provider of market intelligence for IT professionals. “Portals that are easy to navigate and supply information customers need are very important in providing an overall positive customer experience.  The new myXO Maps feature and planned portal enhancements demonstrate that XO is investing not only in their network services, but also in the quality of customer relationships.”

About XO Communications
XO Communications provides the technology that helps business and wholesale customers compete in a hyper-connected economy.  In the U.S., XO owns and operates one of the largest IP and Ethernet networks that customers rely on for private data networking, cloud connectivity, unified communications and voice, Internet access, and managed services.  To learn more about XO Communications, visit or  XO Communications is also on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Windstream Names New Consumer and Small Business President

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 7th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in November.**

Windstream has appointed Sarah Day as the new president of its Consumer and Small Business (C/SMB) unit, effective Jan. 1.

Windstream's Sarah DayDay, who joined the Little Rock, Arkansas-based business communications giant in 2008, will be responsible for leading, managing and developing the short- and long-term strategies of the unit.

“I have great confidence in Sarah,” said Tony Thomas, Windstream’s CEO. “She has a tremendous wealth of experience as a strategic leader and is delivering high-quality products to our customers.

Day has served as interim C/SMB president for six months and was previously senior vice president of C/SMB marketing and customer care.

“I believe in the strategic decisions that have been made by Tony and I look forward to working with my team in implementing those decisions,” Day told Channel Partners. “We are up for the challenge and will work hard every day to give our customers a world class experience.”

Day has specific goals in mind for the C/SMB.

“First, we must provide an exceptional customer experience through a best-in-class network,” she said. “Second, we must leverage our network to provide our customers with a variety of high quality and reliable services. Third, we must continue to identify and pursue new customers.”

Last month, Windstream reported a smaller-than-expected net loss of $7 million, or a loss of 8 cents per share, and total revenue of $1.5 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Consumer service revenue was up on a sequential basis with continued growth in high-speed Internet bundled revenue.

In October, Windstream announced the sale of its data center business to TierPoint for $575 million in cash.

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Verizon, EMC Team on Software-Defined Storage

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 5th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

PRESS RELEASE — NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today’s data center infrastructure supports more applications, more users and more workloads, putting storage at the very core of intelligent data management.

As traditional storage models move from physical storage to virtual – or software-defined — storage, applications are accessing data or virtual disks as opposed to physical disks. Compared to rigid hardware, software-defined storage’s inherent flexibility improves the use of storage resources as well as enables quicker upgrades and changes.

As part of its software-defined storage strategy for its product strategy and development platforms, Verizon Labs is expanding its relationship with EMC to bring together the technology and expertise that helps Verizon customers make the business transition to cloud services. Verizon Labs currently uses EMC to provide scalable virtualized block and object-based storage services.

“With cloud-based data storage like EMC’s, Verizon gains adaptability and intelligent data management, which are integral to our cloud strategy,” said Kumar Vishwanathan, vice president and chief technologist for product strategy and development, Verizon Labs. “Software-defined storage overcomes the restrictions of hard-wired architecture and delivers the benefits needed in today’s dynamic datacenter environment.”

EMC enables commercial software to work with open source software to improve scalability, performance and reliability. Virtualized storage plays an important role in Verizon’s go-to-market strategy by speeding up delivery of applications and services to its customers.

Verizon Labs is running EMC’s software-defined storage on commodity hardware while taking advantage of containerized, scalable, geo-distributed object storage and maximum elastic performance.

“EMC and Verizon are working to push the boundaries of speed, capacity and capabilities of storage infrastructure to meet the demands of next-generation applications. With this state-of-the-art software-defined datacenter technology, built on EMC’s ScaleIO and Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) offerings, we expect Verizon Labs to increase datacenter efficiencies in addition to gaining massive scale,” said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product management and marketing, emerging technologies for EMC. “EMC partnered closely with Verizon to deploy this simpler architecture to help support their cloud service strategy.”

EMC is integrating its commercial storage software with the open source Apache Mesos technology, as well as with the Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS), for easier and more effective data center management. This approach allows Verizon Labs to operate a virtualized data center by managing distributed applications on large clusters of geographically distributed computers.

“When it comes to virtualization, the more advanced the organization the greater the benefit, and we look forward to bringing those benefits to our customers,” said Vishwanathan. 

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) employs a diverse workforce of 177,900 and generated more than $127 billion in 2014 revenues. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with 110.8 million retail connections nationwide. Headquartered in New York, Verizon also provides communications and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide. For more information, visit

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Beware Hacker Bait Barbie

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 4th December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

Step away from the Internet-connected toys, please.

Today Bluebox Labs, with independent researcher Andrew Hay, released a report showing major security issues in the iOS and Android versions of the Hello Barbie mobile app developed by Mattel partner ToyTalk, as well as in the wireless communications between the doll and the cloud-based servers that process audio uploads. These findings are on top of security issues in the doll itself that could let an attacker zero in on a child’s home address, according to NBC news

And of course, VTech Holdings recently lost records of 6.4 million children and 4.9 million adults.

Internet of Things security problems aren’t just theoretical, and it’s not difficult to imagine serious consequences of the Barbie app being modified to reveal confidential information, including passwords — a real possibility, says Bluebox.

The Wi-Fi-connected Barbie works by recording a child’s comments or questions, uploading the audio to the cloud, then returning artificial-intelligence-based responses to approximate a real-time conversation. It’s slick use of IoT tech, but unfortunately, the implementation is riddled with holes. Besides the possibility of revealing Wi-Fi passwords, the app will connect the doll to any unsecured Wi-Fi network that has “Barbie” in the name, allowing for an attacker to impersonate the Barbie AI network. Moreover, client certificate authentication credentials could be used outside of the app to probe Hello Barbie cloud servers to look for more vulnerabilities. And, the researchers say, the ToyTalk server domain was on a cloud infrastructure susceptible to the POODLE attack, meaning attackers could downgrade SSL connection security and listen in on the child’s uploaded audio conversation from the doll.

Fortunately, Bluebox Labs disclosed all critical security issues to ToyTalk, which has already resolved many problems. However, overall, the message is clear that mobile apps associated with IoT devices are a potential source of problems, and toymakers seem unwilling to expend the time and money required for secure application development or to integrate self-defending capabilities into mobile and IoT apps. Earlier this year, Bluebox released research showing security problems in nine of the most popular children’s tablets as well. If you send a newsletter to customers, warnings on IoT-related toy vulnerabilities are timely and worth including.

Got an innovative security or IoT project in the works? Entries are open now for our fourth annual Channel Partners’ 360° awards program. Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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Instart Logic Launches Global Partner Program, Collaborates With Verisign

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 3rd December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of November’s important channel-program changes you should know.**

Instart Logic, a service that helps businesses speed up the delivery of their cloud applications, today announced a new partner program to accelerate global growth.

Instart Logic's Samrah KhanInstart Logic’s Global Partner Program includes three tiers (silver, gold and platinum), with various benefits and revenue incentives at each level. Its goal is to collaborate with regional and global businesses to speed delivery of its services.

Samrah Khan, Instart Logic’s vice president of business development, tells Channel Partners her company is in an “explosive growth phase and realizes that partners give us market validation and reach.”

“Our new and existing partners will benefit from the program alike,” Khan said. “Partners will now have access to a full application-delivery platform to accelerate performance and better protect their customers’ applications. This, in turn, will help broaden the reach for our partners and will allow us to work together to provide a more comprehensive, scalable and reliable offering to the market.”

Instart Logic has a variety of partners ranging from joint technology partners to system integrator/value added resellers.

“Our goal is to partner with best-in-class technology providers that have a unique value proposition, and combine their strengths with Instart Logic services,” Khan said. “We also closely develop relationships with VARs/SI partners that deliver digital transformation and added security to their clients. In 2016, partners will play a significant role in our global growth and work hand-in-hand with our direct team for sales and customer support.”

Also Thursday, Instart Logic announced a strategic relationship with Verisign to provide advanced distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) scrubbing capabilities.

“In an ever-changing cyberthreat landscape, this technology integration will provide customers the combined benefit of a CDN through Instart Logic’s application delivery platform and DDoS protection through Verisign’s DDoS Protection Service,” said Ramakant Pandrangi, Verisign’s vice president of technology.

When a DDoS event is detected, Internet traffic is redirected to Verisign’s DDoS Protection Services in the cloud for scrubbing. Filtered traffic is then sent to the customer’s network.

The DDoS scrubbing service is available now as an add-on to Instart Logic’s cloud security suite.

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Former Windstream/PAETEC Manager Lands Channel Chief Gig at Accel Networks

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 2nd December 2015 in Consumer Electronics

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in November.**

A longtime Windstream channel manager is the new director of channel sales at Accel Networks, a Sierra Wireless company.

Accel Networks' Greg FranzenAs channel chief at Accel, Greg Franzen will craft the company’s channel strategy. He is responsible for bringing new partners on board and working with existing partners, which include agents/master agents, managed service providers, systems integrators, service providers and resellers.

Accel provides primary and backup connectivity services to more than 300 enterprise customers in sectors that include retail, finance, security, energy and hospitality. The company says its managed connectivity service and wireless link optimization help businesses make the transition from copper-based networks to 4G LTE by transforming a cellular link into an enterprise-class last-mile connection that is equal to or exceeds wired broadband.

Accel claims to be the first company in the fixed-cellular industry to offer agents a residual compensation program.  In addition, Accel offers one-on-one product support for a master’s subagent base and ongoing training to keep partners up to speed on the latest wireless network services.

Sierra Wireless announced its acquisition of Accel Networks earlier this year.

Franzen spent nearly nine years at Windstream as a senior agent channel manager; he was a regional sales director at PAETEC before Windstream bought it in 2007.

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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Brocade, Cisco, HP Named Among Enterprise Networking Leaders

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 30th November 2015 in Consumer Electronics

IHS is out with its 2015 report which breaks down how the top six revenue-producing vendors in enterprise networking and communication equipment are faring.

The “Scorecard” dubs Brocade, Cisco, HP and Huawei as the four leaders – for various reasons – saying that they are “stable and well-known companies, have worked to diversity their offerings, and are generally well-regarded by enterprise buyers.”

  • Brocade is recognized for its strength both financially and as a leader in developing new technologies. It is succeeding by targeting high-growth areas that fit with its data-center heritage.
  • Cisco, IHS says, has successfully transitioned to become an end-to-end ICT solution provider. Its financials are strong and buyers give positive feedback.
  • HP is lauded for making networking a strategic priority, backed by the company’s leadership in IT products and services.
  • Huawei gets props for creating a dedicated enterprise business unit and expanding from China to underserved world markets.

Also evaluated in the scorecard – but not mentioned among the four leaders – are Avaya, which IHS applauds for its longstanding position in the enterprise market, with more than 20 years of selling telephony and managed services; and Juniper Networks, which targets large, high-value enterprises with complex networking requirements. Juniper, IHS also notes, has mature routing, switching and security products and services.

“Networking and communication technologies are critical elements for the operation of any enterprise, and the companies profiled in our scorecard are capable of addressing a wide range of enterprise needs,” said Matthias Machowinski, research director for enterprise networks and video at IHS.  

To determine its market leaders, IHS says it uses concrete data and metrics such as market share and momentum; financials; “next-generation intensity”; and buyer feedback on product reliability, service/support and technology innovation.

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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Cisco Announces New Skills Framework to Address Evolving Technology

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 29th November 2015 in Consumer Electronics

Cisco on Thursday announced a new skills framework to incorporate evolving technologies and ensure channel partners can show they have a properly trained workforce with future-proofed skills.

Topics such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, business transformation and network programmability will influence all Cisco Career Certifications, including the expert level. These changes will be introduced starting with the upcoming refresh of Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Data Center and Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA).

Cisco's Tejas VashiCisco is revising the charter of all expert-level CCIE and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification programs to ensure that experts are equipped to participate in meaningful business discussions about the new technical areas that are shaping business strategy and operations.

Tejas Vashi, director of product strategy and marketing for Learning@Cisco, tells Channel Partners that while this change affects all CCIEs, including ones employed by partners, it will not have a disruptive impact as the rollout is gradual and affects only people who either need to recertify or are working to achieve a new certification status now.

“These changes will help partners to ensure their employees are in line with the industry demand in terms of skills, and at the same time, these changes will allow them to prove to their customers and to Cisco that they are fully equipped to face the challenges of the modern IT industry,” he said. “This evolution in the certification program assesses individuals to make sure they are ready to articulate the business value of their solution, as well as the impact that the major trends in the industry are having on the IT world.”

According to a recent report from the MIT Center for Digital Business, 77 percent of companies surveyed considered missing digital skills as the key hurdle to their digital transformation.

“Individuals from the industry, including channel partners, are continuously included in the process of reviewing and modifying our programs, to make sure we do align with the needs of the ecosystem,” Vashi said. “Channel partners are just one segment of the many stakeholders who are involved with our development efforts. We also include customers, technology partners, internal subject matter experts and certification candidates/holders.”

There also is a CCIE Advisory Council comprised of CCIE-certified senior technical professionals from among the top Cisco enterprise customers, service providers, and channel partners, he said. The council is chartered to provide recommendations on the CCIE certification program’s product road map and strategies in order to further increase customer relevancy in terms of technical knowledge assessment, job role alignment and career advancement, he said.

“In a critical transition time, the relevance of skill sets – and knowledge of emerging technologies – is top of mind for corporate executives and hiring managers,” Vashi said. “Cisco is dedicated to providing the training and skills assessment that individuals need to survive and thrive as new industry trends emerge and evolve.”

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