Google’s Grand communication plan

In its latest move towards becoming a veritable communications industry contender, Google Inc. has acquired GrandCentral Communications, which provides voice management services such as single-number reach, unified messaging and Web control. Like previous Google innovations, GrandCentral's services are only available in the US, but the acquisition is one of many that the Mountain View CA search engine company has made in the communications field. Earlier this year Google started an experimental voice search system. The firm also partnered with mobile phone manufacturers LG Electronics and Samsung to pre-install Google mapping, email and blog-management applications on handsets. Last November Google acquired the user-generated video site YouTube. And last August Google unveiled Google Apps for Your Domain, which lets website administrators serve email, voice, instant messaging and calendaring applications to end users.

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Community loses telecom employer

After opening its Hawkesbury ON contact centre just 15 months ago, StarTek Inc. says it's shutting the facility on August 30. The business-processes outsourcing firm says the centre is closing not for a lack of business, but perhaps too much: "…largely because of an insufficient labour pool to meet client demand in and around the Hawkesbury area," according to a July 3 press statement. StarTek says the majority of Hawkesbury workers will be offered positions in nearby Cornwall.

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Nortel focuses on wireless

Nortel Networks says it's increasing its research and development efforts in wireless, to create local- and wide-area network gear supporting access speeds three to six times faster than today's equipment does. In a press release announcing its "unwired enterprise" startegy the Toronto communication technology provider it would focus on the developments it has already made in the WiMAX wireless protocol, and the underpinning architecture of the emerging 802.11n front-end standard to release 802.11n-compatible products by mid-2008.

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Telemarketing guidelines finally released

The CRTC has laid out the complaints procedures, exemptions and registration guidelines for the still-fledgling national telemarketing do-not-call list (DNCL) in Telecom Decision 2007-48. The commission also said it would issue a request for proposals (RFP) this month for organizations interested in operating the list. Telemarketers are forbidden from contacting people who sign onto the DNCL, unless telemarketing for charities, political parties and candidates, opinion polling firms, newspapers, and organizations that have existing business relationships with the called parties. Telemarketers can also continue to contact business consumers. The commission has taken longer than expected to reach this point – the DNCL's foundation was laid in Parliament three years ago.

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Tim Hortons and MasterCard deal highlights momentum of contactless payments in Canada

Apple fritters and double doubles went high-tech last week. On Friday, Tim Hortons and MasterCard Canada officially launched a partnership that will enable Canadians to not only pay for their iced cappuccinos and dutchies with a MasterCard, but do it without a swipe or signature. Referred to as "tap and go," the new payment method combines traditional payment networks with RFID technology.

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Cisco pumps IronPort, hits the books

In a busy week, Cisco Systems Inc. made three significant announcements. First, the San Jose CA network equipment vendor said it had closed its acquisition of IronPort Systems Inc., a communication-security provider. Cisco said it would integrate IronPort's SenderBase into its "self-defending network" architecture. SenderBase tracks Web traffic, calculating the trustworthiness of senders.

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The fix is in Part II: kicking call centre training into high gear

For some, contact centres are among the most despised manifestations of communications technology. They're difficult to navigate, and agents aren't always particularly helpful. There's room for improvement. The following article, part II of Gerry Blackwell's investigation of call centre enhancements, provides advice to help companies get back into the client-aid game.

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