Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

Archive for September, 2007

Dry Days For Gokul

Posted by tggokul on September 28, 2007

I am in Mumbai for the last one week and in a training for Cisco Voice Portal. To put it quite simply, CVP is one complicated son of a gun 🙂

Anyway am off for the next two days on a personal vacation and have decided to go dry i.e I will not be connected to the internet. It has been quite a while since I have gone dry for this long. I think my previous record was 12 hrs ( usually my sleep time). So this is going to be quite an effort. I usually feel the pangs at the end of the 15th hour, so will keep you updated as to how that goes.

I assume all is well in the VoIP/tech world since I haven’t had a chance to go through my feeds.


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When is India’s number going to be called?

Posted by tggokul on September 20, 2007

Apple has announced O2 as its UK carrier and T-Mobile for Germany to launch iPhone in Europe. So the question is when is it going to be India’s turn? Somehow I think in India, the policy of iPhone limited to one carrier will not be the case.

Blackberry, I believe, was introduced in India tied to Airtel but quickly moved to all carriers. I foresee something like this happening for iPhone as well. Steve, we are waiting!!!

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Things People do to Charge their laptops

Posted by tggokul on September 18, 2007

I am in Dubai airport and my laptop was running low on charge. Some frentic search to the nearest power outlet was a failure. The only place I could see a power outlet was the smoking room. So here I am charging my laptop with the risk of getting my lungs in serious trouble. People here are looking at me in a weird way 🙂

Things people do to charge their laptops 🙂

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Be professional!!!

Posted by tggokul on September 18, 2007

Ok, this is not going to be the usual blog on technology but just a platform for me to vent my anger on a few things that have been bothering me for sometime now. I am in Dubai international airport on Wifi and I think this is the time for me to write what I have been feeling all these years.

People have to grow up: I believe people are becoming less mature as generations go by. My dad was more mature at my age than I am, and my grand dad even more. Atleast from the professional point of view. My dad did not go to work everyday expecting somebody to praise him and he was doing what he had to do ( And trust me, he was pretty good at it) because that was his job. As I see today’s corporate world, everything has to be appreciated. “We got a project whoohoo we are the best sales team”, “We delivered a module that makes up 3% of the project, whoohoo we are the greatest”. “We all went to the loo. Whoohoo, nobody takes a leak like we do”.

I am not against praises; it makes people do better, no doubt. But come on, praises every day is just too much. I am at that point of life where praises irriate me and I look forward to criticism ( genuine though). I am a professional; I am getting money for what I do. That alone should be motivation enough. I don’t need pep talks from my bosses. As one VP I worked for, used to say, “You are not dumb college football kids who needs to be motivated by their coach to play. You are a professional. Expect to be treated like one”. No truer words were spoken.

Working nine hours a day is what you are expected to do. Another two hours for a few days is not something you need to complain about. Would you accept it if your doctor refuses to attend to your critical problem because he has done his nine hours of work? So what is the problem if you do? And while we are in this subject, “No, you are not under a whole lot of pressure”. Nobody dies if your SQL Query did not return the right values; Nobody died because the accounts are not tallying; Nobody died because there was a 3 second delay in voice. Please stop giving too much importance to yourself. “I am under a lot of pressure” should be a restricted phrase for few professions.

Bottom line is I don’t need a coach, I need a boss. If I wanted a coach I would have been in the NFL already. OK, I have said it now. There ends my rant!!!

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Will be back!!!

Posted by tggokul on September 17, 2007

If things go according to plans, I should be back in India tomorrow (Tuesday) night. The trip was very succesful and will be a great one if I can get a great deal on a camera :).

The trip was a revelation for me in many ways and I hope to discuss them in future posts. Especially I have some very nice things to say about Cisco, their products and their support. Be tuned.

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News Across the World

Posted by tggokul on September 13, 2007

I have not got the time to write posts, so shall limit myself to linking to those posts which I thought were interesting.

Iotum Does Group Calls
The Future is Video
Vodafone Double Crossed In India?
Desktop Sharing: The Skype Ecosystem Expands

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Am Off to Dubai

Posted by tggokul on September 10, 2007

As you would have noticed my blogging frequency has gone down considerably. That is because of some extreme deadlines we are trying to meet in my day job.

As part of that I am flying to Dubai tomorrow night and hopefully will be back in one week. Needless to say blogging might be even less frequent. But I do hear that there is the electronic festival going on down there and I might end up getting me some gizmos 🙂

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Subscribers are Over-rated

Posted by tggokul on September 6, 2007

All these years, I have heard a lot about how India is an awesome destination place for mobile application/product vendors because of the huge subscription base. The 50 million, 80 million subscriber base per service provider makes all vendors lick their lips thinking that if they can even take a 10-20% of that pie, they would make it big.In fact I have had the chance to review quite a few business plans which goes on the above surmise.

I have always been convinced, subscriber base means nothing in India. And the reason for that is because even though there are so many existing consumers and likelihood for even more in the future years, the problem is that the revenue per consumer is so less that even huge volumes do not mean a whole lot of profits. And I have been harping about this for a long time. Service providers DON’T pay upfront and the model widely used is managed services/revenue sharing, which means the cut that goes to each of the vendors involved in the overall solution is so less that sometimes it is even negligible.

This is the reason why you don’t see a whole lot of Telecom product companies in India enroute to success. Yes there are the Jatayu Networks/Saskens of the world, but they are more the exception than the norm and I am making an educated guess that they survived because of their international orders and not because of local sales.

Today, Sunil Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Airtel has issued an interview where he says

The Indian Telecom sector has reached a stage where prices could not decline further and would only firm up in the future.

I am one of the better users of Airtel ( I pay a huge monthly fee, make international calls, roam around a bit), yet my bill is still close to 40-50$. So think of the millions that have a cell-phone only for incoming calls (incoming calls are free in India) and pay a very nominal monthly fee. Bottom-line is when analysts take about the subscriber base in India, they would need to consider two kinds of bases. The one which gives a decent ARPU (Average revenue per user) and one which is dismal. That would give a more truthful picture.

At the same time,the only people who will benefit because of the huge volumes are those companies that are looking to load-test and benchmark their products.Nothing is as good as testing your product in live scenarios and if yours has withstood 80 million subscribers, it HAS to be good. India, sadly, as of today is more a testing ground than a viable market.

I believe the subscription rates are going to rise and that is good for the Telecom vendors/service providers. Not so good if you are merely a consumer.

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Nortel’s take on Cisco-Microsoft Partnership

Posted by tggokul on September 5, 2007

Tehrani has posted Nortel’s Tony Rybczynski reaction on Microsoft-Cisco partnership. What it tells me is that Nortel is not concerned too much about the new found love between Cisco and Microsoft.

It stems from the fact that Steve Ballmer made it very clear that they were on the same page with Nortel and were natural partners. Must have something to do with talks about Microsoft making a bid at Nortel. I predict it’s not going to be too long till we see a formal bid by Microsoft to buy Nortel!!!

Posted in Cisco | 3 Comments »

You don’t mess with Fantasy Football!!!

Posted by tggokul on September 2, 2007

I have been an active fantasy football (NFL, not soccer) player for the last four to five years and I have always been on yahoo free/paid leagues. This year we tried to be a little different and created a league in Fox Sports. The User interface/data everything seemed to be the same. but we were hoping that since Fox had been associated with Football for quite sometime, expert opinions would help us better when we select the roster.

How naive of us!!! So our draft time was Saturday morning 8.00 AM Indian time which translates to 10.30 PM EST ( Friday night) and 7.30PM PDT (Friday night). Our league consisted of people in all the three timezones mentioned above. Some guys actually altered their long weekend plans to be part of this live drafting. And I had to wake up by 8.00 in the morning, that too on a Saturday!!! So we are all up and kicking, ready for football and when we try logging into the live draft page, all we see is a blank page!!!

A thousand refreshes and one hour later, we all understood it was a futile attempt. (Btw, I think the software is powered by Microsoft since we need to login with a hotmail id). Our draft was cancelled and I went ahead and did the most sensible thing. Created a yahoo league and our draft is going to be on a weekday!!

When the Vicks of the world get punished, is it possible to get the Gates and Murdochs of the world punished for this as well? You can’t mess around with a man’s footbal and get away with it, or can you?

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