Posts categorized "Mitel"

Seeing IP Phones In Hotels, Banks, Offices...

"Hey, that's a Mitel IP phone... I remember when that handset was introduced. It was very different from the previous one but had better 'shoulderability' ... it created a bit of a stir among customers, though. Hmmm... I wonder what model IP phone that is......"

All of this was running through my head during a routine visit to my bank this morning while waiting at a counter talking to someone. He had to call another office so there I was looking at his desk phone.

It happens to me all the time!

Even though I left Mitel way back in 2007... and really left IP telephony when I left Voxeo in 2011... IP telephony hasn't left me!

I'll be at a hotel... and I am checking out their phone system. A bank... an office... Wherever! There's a Cisco IP phone... there's an Avaya... there's a Mitel... a snow... a I-have-no-clue...

I guess it's just an occupational hazard of having been a product manager for IP phones during my time at Mitel... or maybe just the 6 years I spent there learning about IP telephony... but I just always see the IP phones. :-)

Seeing IP Phones In Hotels, Banks, Offices...

Catching Up With Mitel ...

Mitel logo 2014By way of a tweet I stumbled upon analyst Blair Pleasant's UC Strategies post, "Change - The Only Thing That's Constant", that showed me that while I've been off in the worlds of IPv6 and DNSSEC there has been a great amount of activity happening in the world of my former employer Mitel.

Heck, I didn't even realize they had a new logo! :-)

But indeed they do (apparently back in 2013 in October 2014 (see comments))... and Blair's great look at the world of Unified Communications mentions that and a good bit more. I was aware of the acquisition of Aastra, but did not realize that PrairieFyre had finally been folded into Mitel (it had always seemed to be a likely acquisition candidate as its products worked primarily with Mitel's systems).

With my focus changing a bit, and most of my interest here on Disruptive Telephony focused around WebRTC and some of the newer disruptions to Internet communications, the last time I really mentioned Mitel was back in April with the passing of Simon Gwatkin. My posts about Mitel prior to that go back to 2011 and before.

In looking at Mitel's web site, their rebranding is clear in so many ways. From the nice clean website to the "Mi<whatever>" product naming... there's obvious a great amount of work that's gone on.

Congratulations to the Mitel team, too, on being named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UC. Having worked with Gartner analysts in the past on these reports (as a vendor representative), I know what a huge amount of effort goes in to making your case for why your company should be positioned highly - and I also know how powerfully these reports can help in enterprise sales. I read the UC Magic Quadrant report, too, and Gartner had very nice words about Mitel.

While I no longer really focus on the IP-PBX and the "enterprise" side of UC, it's great to see this evolution of Mitel. I still know many excellent people who work there and certainly during my time there (2001-2007) the R&D teams were (and presumably still are) some of the best in the industry.

Congrats to all involved at Mitel!

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R.I.P. Simon Gwatkin

Simon gwatkinI was greatly saddened to learn today of the death of Simon Gwatkin this past weekend. For those of us in the VoIP / telecom space, the world is a little bit darker now.

I came to know Simon when I worked at Mitel Networks in Ottawa from 2001-2007, although it wasn't really until the later years when I wound up working in Mitel's Office of the CTO and looking more strategically at what the future might hold for companies like Mitel. A lot of my research and time wound up being spent looking at social media and the changing communication landscape. With Simon's role as head of strategic marketing at Mitel we wound up having any number of quite lengthy conversations about where things were going. We didn't always agree, which led to very useful and valuable discussions. Simon also got me engaged with industry analysts and helped set me down a path that was quite useful in many later years.

I also spent a good bit of time interacting with some of the startups that were being nurtured under the umbrella of Wesley Clover, the investment vehicle of Sir Terry Matthews. Simon was involved with Terry's investments there and had this intense passion for helping new entrepeneurs. (And starting in 2008 had a more permanent role with Wesley Clover.) He was fascinated by the communications business (both the telecom kind of "communications" as well as the marketing/PR kind) and by all the different ways we communicate.

When I was part of the large layoff that happened when Mitel purchased Inter-Tel in 2007, Simon helped with his vast network of contacts to try to find a place for me to land. While I ultimately wound up at Voxeo by virtue of some of the blogging I was doing, a couple of his leads were ones that I explored.

After that we stayed in touch over the years and increasingly found ourselves interacting more with each other through Facebook and social networks. One of his sons was doing something with security work at one point, and I'd shared some VoIP security resources I knew of. A few years back when my wife was dealing with breast cancer, a good friend of Simon's was battling it, too, and so we shared information - and shared with each other that intense frustration of being unable to do a whole lot to help someone we care about.

Along the way we had fun teasing each other about language and many other topics. Being a Brit with his very dry wit, he could always rise to the bait of commentary about the English language (versus "American") or other similar topics.

Simon was a gentleman and just a great guy in so many ways. I never knew his children but knew from his comments and posts that he was quite proud of them. He will be missed - and my thoughts and condolences are certainly with his family right now.

For those in the Ottawa region, or able to get there (and I am not able to do so), the obituary says a memorial service will be held tomorrow, April 17, 2014, at 2:30pm. An online guestbook is available for those who wish to leave messages for his family.

R.I.P., Simon. Thank you for all that you did.

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Mitel Rolls Out UC Apps for iPhone and iPad

Good to see that Mitel is joining the iOS application space with Unified Communications apps for the iPhone and iPad. These apps will work with Mitel's "Freedom" architecture to allow people to use their own iPhone or iPad device with the Mitel corporate phone system.

Per Mitel's news release, the app allows users to:

  • Search the corporate directory and click-to-dial from corporate contact list to place calls through the corporate network.
  • View missed, dialed, and received calls.
  • Access visual voicemail from your office extension and manage messages by preference rather than sequence.
  • Automatically update presence status and call routing preferences based on your location, or time of day.

Given enterprise users' desire to use their own devices, it is not surprising to see these type of apps coming out from a vendor like Mitel. It will be interesting to see how this helps Mitel in the marketplace.

Kudos to the Mitel team for creating the apps.

Mitel Reorganizes - President Leaves, Business Units Simplified, More Changes

mitellogo.jpgMitel today announced a series of organizational changes, including the departure of Paul Butcher, Mitel's President and Chief Operating Officer. The news release indicates they are merging together various sales organizations and simplifying the business units into three:
  • Mitel Communications Solutions: responsible for delivering unified communications and collaboration products and services to businesses.
  • Mitel NetSolutions: responsible for network and hosted services, mobile services, and broadband connectivity.
  • Mitel DataNet: responsible for the distribution of third-party products to partners and customers.

It also briefly mentions the departure of Paul Butcher as of Saturday. From a product point-of-view, there were two statements I found interesting:

  • "a re-direction of our R&D investment to products serving the high-growth market of 100 to 2,500 user organizations." Which makes sense, given that this area is one in which Mitel has traditionally done well.

  • "we intend to exploit our significant market leadership in voice virtualization." i.e. continuing their partnership with VMware. Again this also makes sense given that people are looking for solutions to deploy more applications with less hardware... and looking at virtualization as one of the potential solutions.

To me, all of this is naturally to be expected after Mitel appointed Richard McBee the new CEO back in January 2011. A new CEO comes in and he'll listen for a few months... and then start making changes. Obviously this is his reshaping the organization in the way he thinks it should go.

In that vein, the departure of Paul Butcher is not surprising. Paul had been in the CxO part of Mitel since 2001, coming in at the time when Terry Matthews bought the company back and launched it on its current course. Over that time he was quite involved in many aspects of the company and worked quite a bit with the now-retired CEO Don Smith. With a re-org of this magnitude and with a new CEO wanting to reshape the organization, it's not surprising that some of the previous leadership would leave. I wish Paul well with whatever comes next.

I wish Mitel well, too. I haven't been writing about Mitel all that much lately, but that's more because my own interests are no longer as much with the IP-PBX space that Mitel plays in. If you look at my recent writing, it's mostly been about SIP, Skype, mobile devices... with a handful of IPv6, Voxeo and other topics thrown in. I haven't been really writing about any of the IP-PBX and Unified Communications vendors for a while.

Regardless, I wish them well... though I only recognized a couple of the names in the news release and much has changed since I left Mitel back in 2007, I still have good friends working there and Mitel still has outstanding technology. Their challenge has always been around getting that story out to the larger world. Perhaps these changes will help. We'll see.

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Kudos to Mitel on starting to post customer case study videos

Kudos to my friends up at Mitel for posting a customer profile to YouTube, this one of Starwood Hotels & Resorts:

Sure, it's a very professionally-produced video that focuses on marketing messages... and yes, many other companies are already doing this... but having spent six years at Mitel (2001-2007) and having been a strong advocate of the company moving into social media, I just admit that I'm personally pleased to see them doing this.

Looking forward to seeing more...

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A *CRAZY* Week In Collaboration / Communications News - A Summary from Dave Michels

No Jitter

This has been an absolutely insane week of announcements relating to the Unified Communications / collaboration / VoIP / etc, etc. space... it's been a while since I can think of a week that had so much news packed into it.

I think it's called... "everyone wants to get all their news out before it is US Thanksgiving and people start ignoring news because of the holidays!"

Regardless of why, the fact is that each day I've watched the Twitter stream just scrolling by with tons of items I'd love to write about. Unfortunately, I, too, have been slammed - and unable to write all that I've wanted to.

Thankfully, Dave Michels pulled together a nice summary over on No Jitter:

Watta Week!

Check there for pointers to stories about Microsoft Lync... Mitel Freedom... Cisco's zillion video announcements... and news from Polycom, Avaya and HP, too.

Some week, I'm hoping to write about each of these myself... but that week is very definitely NOT this week!

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Mitel files for an IPO (again)

mitellogo.jpgOver the holidays I was pleased for all my friends still at Mitel to see in Techcrunch that Mitel filed for an IPO on Tuesday, December 22, 2009. The timing, just a couple of days before Christmas, was definitely not good for publicity, but I'm guessing that they had some reason to file it before the end of 2009. Those who enjoy the gory details can read the full Mitel F-1 form filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

I was employed at Mitel back in 2006 when the company filed for an IPO the first time. As the only "blogger" at Mitel at the time (writing here on this site), we had a number of internal conversations with the communications team about what I could and couldn't say. The rules for the "quiet period" of an IPO are very strong and at the time it was unclear (to me, anyway) about what could be said in social media. The result, as I recall, was that I didn't write about Mitel much at all during that time.

That IPO attempt ended with the Inter-Tel acquisition in 2007 (which also ended my employment at Mitel) and the company has been working away privately since that time.

I wish them all the best with this second attempt. There are some great people there and they have some great products and technology. Congrats to Sir Terry Matthews and all the rest there!

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Video: Sir Terry Matthews on startups, Canada, what's exciting...

bnn-terrymatthews.jpgBy way of a tweet from Matt Roberts, a friend from my Mitel days, I learned of this video interview with Sir Terry Matthews on Canada's Business News Network:
Sir Terry Matthews speaks to BNN about the state of the industry in Canada, why he loves home-grown startups and what he sees as the next big thing in technology.

If you've not heard him before, the interview is a good view into the passion, enthusiasm and charisma that keeps him starting up companies all over the place. The report says he's now up to 80 companies or so that he's started up... and I'm not surprised.

His overall message, though, is what he has been consistent saying for many years now... we are in an age where incredible broadband capacity is coming online - as that happens, what will we do to make use of all that bandwidth?

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"Discover Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications" - a webinar I'll be giving tomorrow

Cross-posted from Voice of VoIPSA:

What are you doing tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28, 2008, at 1pm US Eastern time? If you are around, you are welcome to join a free webinar I'll be giving on "Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications".

From time-to-time, you'll notice that those of us working with VOIPSA will take part in seminars/webinars offered by members of VOIPSA and we definitely enjoy doing so. For instance, as readers of the blog know, I've been speaking at Ingate's SIP Trunking seminars for quite some time now. We're generally open to speaking at anyone's event or webinar - as long as they understand that there is no endorsement of the company/vendors's products/services and that we are there to provide an industry-neutral point-of-view.

mitel-logo.jpgSo tomorrow at 1pm US Eastern I'll be speaking as part of Mitel's "Discovery Series" where they invite in guest speakers from the industry. You can join the webinar for free at Mitel's site. They asked me to speak about the threats/risks to voice over IP and unified communications and talk about best practices for protecting them. Here's the abstract:

Discover Best Practices for Secure Unified Communications

Presented by: Dan York, Voice Over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) October 28, 2008, 1:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00PM GMT

With the emergence of Voice-over-IP and Unified Communications, companies now have incredible opportunities to provide a rich communication experience to employees located in a single location or distributed globally. But how does a company do this in a secure manner? How is the confidentiality and integrity of corporate conversations protected? How can a company be sure that its IP phone systems and IP trunks will always be available for usage? What are the issues around protecting SIP trunks or using hosted services?

In this webinar, VoIP Security Alliance Best Practices Chair Dan York will discuss the threats and risks to Voice-over-IP, the tools that are out to test (or attack) VoIP system and solutions and best practices for protecting your systems. He'll also address concerns around SIP trunking, Spam for Internet Telephony (SPIT) and the move to push voice out into hosted/cloud computing environments and the associated concerns. Come prepared to learn about securing your VoIP system, to ask questions about your deployments and to leave with tips and resources to protect and defend your systems.

The webinar will be recorded and posted for later viewing as well. I'll note that they also have a nice companion webinar to the one I'll be giving tomorrow in one that HP representatives recently have on network security as it relates to VoIP.

Anyway, if you are available tomorrow (Oct 28th) at 1pm please do feel free to join into the webinar. I'll post a note on this site, too, when it is available for later listening.

P.S. And yes, as a couple of people have asked, I do obviously have a closer association with this webinar than I do with some of the other vendors given that I worked at Mitel for 6 years and was their point person on VoIP security issues for much of that time. It will be fun to be speaking with them again.

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