Funding for national broadband – money contained in this year’s landmark $787 billion economic stimulus package – has been dominating national headlines as well as those in the technology space, for months.
Just this week, Vice President Joe Biden announced a loan and grant program so that companies can develop infrastructure to deliver broadband, or high-speed, Internet access to rural areas. The Delaware Democrat this week revealed the availability of $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – better known as “economic stimulus package” – loans and grants to help bring broadband service to un-served and underserved communities across the United States.
That’s the first round of funding aimed at expanding broadband access to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building out Internet infrastructure.
Today, an official from a Germany-based company that makes VoIP phones for enterprises told TMC President Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) in an interview (printed in full below), that President Barack Obama’s focus on the Internet as a way to stimulate growth is a new version of an old view of communication technology.
“A long time ago, economists would count how many telephones were deployed in a country as a signal of emerging development and relative wealth,” Mike Storella (News - Alert), director of business development at snom technologies AG, told Tehrani. “This is why I think he put money in the stimulus plan to promote universal broadband access, so to me it’s a big plus.”
Storella, whose company is exhibiting at ITEXPO West in two months, also is a strong proponent of WiFi (News - Alert) who has some interesting thoughts on how businesses are viewing snom’s products during this economic downturn.
Their exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani: What has the economic crisis taught you, and how has it changed your customers?
Mike Storella: I think we have learned that ROI “rules” the day for customers to make a positive choice to buy a replacement solution for their voice communications.
RT: How is this down economy affecting your decisions to reinvest in your company or market, if at all? Where will you invest?
MS: We have been investing in our markets and products with no slow-down. Times might be tough, but it is no time to lose faith that your products solve problems and needs for customers as they try to compete better in their business. If our products do what we say they do, customers need them to increase their productivity.
RT: What’s the strongest segment in the communications industry?
MS: Unified communications, as customers look to become leaner and meaner.
RT: With the rise of smartphones and netbooks, many wireless technologies, such as WiFi, appear to be poised for rapid growth. For example, we’re seeing more and more airlines add in-flight WiFi. In general, how widespread should WiFi be, in your view?
MS: I think WiFi should be everywhere, our latest snom VoIP Desk phone 8xx series all do WiFi, I don’t know the percentages but it is drastically less expensive to deploy and all WiFi office eliminating cat5 cable runs and increased Ethernet switch deployments.
RT: Which nation or region of the world will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
MS: North and South America.
RT: In what ways is President Barack Obama helping or hindering the technology markets? What more can he do?
MS: I think he realizes that widespread access to broadband and the Internet is the new measure of a country’s readiness to innovate and create new wealth as productivity is realized. A long time ago, economists would count how many telephones were deployed in a country as a signal of emerging development and relative wealth. This is why I think he put money in the stimulus plan to promote universal broadband access, so to me it’s a big plus.
RT: What device or devices do you use, and what do you wish you used?
MS: VoIP business phones by snom, iPhone (News - Alert).
RT: What has the iPhone 3G taught us? I know it’s very new, but what about the Palm Pre? What are we learning from the smartphones based on the open source Google (News - Alert) Android platform?
MS: Sorry, still using my old iPhone 2g 4 gig model (two years old), I get attached to devices, but I will upgrade soon. I think everyone moving to 3g has made the original edge? network faster.
RT: I understand you are exhibiting Sept. 1 to 3 at ITEXPO West in Los Angeles. What will you show there? Describe the companies or people who should come to your exhibit.
MS: snom will have its full line of VoIP business phone at ITEXPO which has grown to 8 models. We are a worldwide provider and basically work with any platform that uses the SIP protocols for VoIP from 2 phones to thousands. We are very flexible to work with, believe strongly in providing good value for high quality products, innovative and looking to protect a customer’s investment for the future. Not enough space here to explain everything, check out www.snom.com
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
MS: Our products allow a customer to enter a new converged IP network world that when properly realized should help companies integrate business operations and their voice communications to the point where it boosts their capabilities to respond to their customer quicker, less costly thus increasing productivity.
Learn more about snom technologies AG at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit snom at booth #635 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now!
Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan