212 area code

What’s the big deal about having phone number with 212 area code? Well, for some it is the most important asset while others care less about what area code their phone is registered to as long as its working they are fine.

Let us say you are a NYC business, only way you can identify yourself is with the 212 area code. It’s has become a culture for those who do business out of NYC or for those who wish to have association with New York City ie., Manhattan.

They are may ways one could obtain the number. There are people or companies who sell them on Ebay for $500-$5000 for a single number. So how do you determine the value? Or is it purely derived based on what the customer is willing to pay.  While some of you fork out thousands of dollars for a single number, there are many options for you obtain a number. If all you need is a 212 number to ring on your phone? You can simply do this by subscribing to any call forwarding company who has 212 numbers. Most of the time these numbers could be rented for as low as $40 per month. Remember you always have an option to pay or rent a number. You can get a 212 number from EagleMessaging.com for $40/mo.

Furthermore, these local numbers give you local presence in any given area. If a customer is looking for a local business they don’t often call an 800 number instead they call local directory assistance to get a local number. If you looking to market your services in a local area try to get a local number which your prospects are familiar with and would feel comfortable to call.

 

 

Here is a video by Tom Friedman

Check out this 5 yr old video by Tom Friedman on Outsourcing to India. It is an interesting video program. If we look back into India on their outsourcing much has changed while some things are the same.

For example the living conditions of the poor Indian remains the same, while India has the most expensive single home in the world.

Take a look at this video.

Outsourcing – India

Outsourcing-

Outsourcing, defined simply, is hiring someone to do your work outside of your organization. This can be done within the same city, state or country or overseas. While outsourcing is a very broad term, many times it has become synonymous with work that is specifically contracted to India. This connection was magnified in the year 2000, when Indian programmers were called upon to fix a complicated issue that became known as Y2K. In the United States, countless companies panicked over the possibility that massive data loss and software failure were on the horizon, based on the need to switch from two-digit year entries, to four-digit year entries to account for the millennium. The United States based companies then turned to Indian outsourcing companies to resolve these issues in a timely manner as Indian programmers represent more than 1/3 of total global qualified human resources pool available.

After Y2K was resolved satisfactorily, many Indian programmers remained in the United States on H1B visa, and in their positions to continue to work within their outsourcing companies. Quickly Indian programmers from India infiltrated the fast growing market of the software industry when they began accepting jobs from overseas; in an effort to protect job availability in the US. This effort slowed down significantly when companies began sending more and more of their workload overseas, as a tactic to keep their costs low and their profits high to optimize shareholder’s values. This tactical approach for sourcing resources abroad became the present understanding of “Outsourcing.”

A number of difficult social, economical, political questions arose from this resource allocation conversion.  Let’s take an in-depth look into what’s going on.

One of the implication of this outsourcing trend affected Government resource needs. During this transformation of extracting more values for an organization, many state government and some federal jobs went to H1B visa holders, or overseas. Many people under these hard economic times want to know why our own state is giving away jobs to overseas companies? It’s simple: to manage operating budget under highly competitive global environment. Every state needs to reduce costs and spending to satisfy their constituency. From a political angle, we tend to hear a lot of talk from different states boldly announcing their opposition to contracts with companies that outsource their labor overseas. At the same time, THEY ARE the ones giving away the jobs to foreign companies.

In reality, outsourcing isn’t the fundamental problem. The problem manifests when local private companies apply the same hypocrisy?  Why do they do this?

Some customer service companies shut the doors on all their locations in the USA and outsourced their work to the Philippines or to companies who outsource to Philippine labor. Why the Philippine and not India or Mexico? In the Philippines, the laborers tends have better speaking accents to be better understood by US customers. However, when it comes to technical support… The Philippines fall short. Companies who need technical support then have to look to India to satisfy their labor needs. Do companies get complaints from customers on Indian accent? Of course they do. But when companies need to outsource to India, they have limited options.

Prior to India, in 1990’s, all work was sent to Ireland. When Ireland was handing all tech support there was no uproar – Why?

Isn’t Ireland a foreign country?

Aren’t jobs still going missing in the US?

Post your comments on why Ireland was never poked in 1990’s?

As we move forward, companies will inevitably continue to seek cheap labor globally, regardless of the country.  This mega trend of globalization can’t be stopped unless we become a socialist/communist country with a closed-off economy. We all know this will not happen, or would it?

If the US really wanted to control outsourcing, why allow Indian corporations control the global fiber capacity? I am talking about TATA Communications purchasing of Tyco Fiber and Reliance buying up of FLAG. Why didn’t US government step in and stop the sale? Is the answer that an openly capitalistic country we never do that? Do we simply allow to be affected by foreign companies and turning to the government to bail us out?

Of course, there needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift in our process of controlling and keeping the assets that yield our national security. This is only possible when the companies who own our assets are US citizens, and allow federal agencies with enough power to be proactive in keeping them secure.

In summary, outsourcing is a very complex subject with little truth known with many opinions and misconceptions – What a messy subject!! So far, at socio-economic level it has generated a negative connotation. Very few individuals represent this most misunderstood subject in a balanced manner. , Some people think that its the gum under your shoe- not going anywhere, and it is better if it’s left alone.  Outsourcing doesn’t have to be this necessary evil; it can be a welcomed benefit when managed and communicated properly. Would Mr. Henry Ford still have invented the automobile if he could foresee our dependence on foreign oil? YES- he would, he was a capitalist, and so are you. Continue to think in an opportunistic way in this wonderful land of opportunity and many great things will happen to all of us.

Is everything moving toward collaboration?

Is everything moving toward collaboration model?

Of course! Today, everything is moving toward collaboration and team-work environment.  Take youtube.com for example, would you steal from YouTube? Why would you?  YouTube is always available, and you can have it any time. I consider YouTube a mass collaborative tool; you can upload anything you want and someone else can upload something that supports or opposes your opinion.

Collaboration is not new. If we look back, from the scripts of the Agrarian era, to the Printing Press of the Industrial age, and later to the Internet, essentially launching the technological revolution, we see that collaboration has always been present in various forms. Now, in the age of Technology, the Internet provides global connectivity, allowing us to utilize the power of real time collaboration.

These days, we want to shut off lights in our homes remotely, or set a vacuum to clean automatically. We want to put an IP address on everything we own or we can connect to. We hunger for information and technology. Perhaps someday we will have a chip in a cow to find out when to milk the cow, or put solar powered GPS on it, so it can be found anywhere in the world. This hunger for information will only continue to increase, and with it, our bandwidth needs will increase.

Old websites were based on HTML, now it’s XTML. It’s all one big global super computer; we are part of the supercomputing fabric. Every time someone logs on to the Internet, they are actually populating it with more content. In 1992, when I collaborated with Dr. Leff, of Western Illinois University, on the creation ISP business, in Rushville, Illinois, we were busy constructing content for the web sites, and teaching people how to use gopher, www, telnet, ftp etc.,. Nowadays we don’t create content, we are simply caretakers or curators of the content, to index it and to manage it in a manner that’s easy for people to access. The actual content is being created by the people, for the people – truly a democratic collaboration in the world of computer networking.

How does this all link to collaboration? Well, if you use Google docs you can simply keep working on the same document with hundreds of people at the same time – this is also a form of collaboration. We can take it further to real-time collaboration. Tools such as Webex, Gotomeeting.com, and Adobe connect you to a real-time environment where you actually work with an application like Word or Excel, with multiple people, at the same time. I foresee that paid services will eventually be reduced in price, and ultimately become free, like conferencefree.com, due to the nature of our technological transition. In the same regard, surfing the web has transitioned from simply searching for a website, to being engulfed into the vast connectivity that is the World Wide Web.

We humans have become multi-media humans, with ambient computing.  Internet has also brought civic engagement upon us with innovative ideas to help ourselves.  Who needs a supply chain when we can work in collaborative teams, within peer initiated boundaries? We live in world of collaboration, openness, interdependence and sharing. However, this world of collaboration will not work unless we work with integrity and responsibility.

Conference call

Conference call

It’s amazing how the cost of a conference call has disappeared these days. When the conference call industry started back in 1970’s phone companies were charging $1/minute, by 1986 rates dropped to 66 cents per minute regardless of toll-free or toll. By 1989 there was competition among a handful of companies, but the majority of the market share continued to be with AT&T, charging more than 60 cents per minute. Meanwhile MCI 2nd largest long distance company at that time (now merged into Verizon after its bankruptcy,) and Sprint 3rd largest company at that time, was charging around 45 cents per minute. It’s 1989 folks! This was back when access rates were 12-24 cents per minute for rural phone companies. Access rate is the rate paid by one phone company to the other to terminate its call.  For example, if you call from a 212 area code in NYC using AT&T to a 515 area code, small town in Iowa, then AT&T was at the mercy of that rural company, paying whatever that rural company wanted to charge for the call. These rates were established to help rural companies recoup their costs in providing services. Since the 90’s conference call companies have joined hands with these rural companies to share the terminating access revenue, so they could provide conference call services at no cost to the end users and still make money. Until recently, terminating rates were as high as 5 cents per minute whereas conference call companies were paid 2.5 cents per minute. More recently these rates have dropped to 2-3 cents per minute to the phone company, resulting in a 1.5 cents or 2 cents per minute to the conference call company. Now in 2010 yes, you can still enjoy Conference Calls for free. You can continue to use www.att.com or www.Conferencefree.com it does not matter. As we say “you get what you pay for!”

My point is communication – people need to communicate regardless of where the economy is or where in the world we live.

I welcome your comments….. 

Collaboration tools

Collaboration tools
We have many collaboration tools in our modern world. Prior to 1970, collaboration meant meeting folks, and working on projects together. In the 80’s software called “Notes”  appeared and made big waves, in which many fortune 500 companies purchased “Lotus-Notes.” The success of Lotus-Notes  was purely driven by IBM, and its sales force.  During this decade, collaborative work on phone – tele-meetings or phone meetings –  were merely tools that enhanced the collaborative process.  In 1999 the celebrity drag queen, Rupaul, appeared on billboards across San Francisco, giving subliminal meaning to combining phone and Internet  in a program known as WebEx, that hosted web-based meetings. WebEx had many problems directly following their launch, which they managed  to fix quickly,  and soon after WebEx became the standard for on-line meetings. Prior to WebEx was Citrix, the sleeping giant, not as well-known in the consumer sector, but well-known in corporate sector, as having the best remote communication software tools. In the 21st century, Citrix enters the market of on-line meetings as hosted provider, challenged WebEx by introducing flat fee based services. Their brands: gotomeeting.com, gotowebinar.com, gotomypc.com etc.,.  Today in world of collaboration tools your main players are Cisco-WebEx and gotomeeting.com. Yes, there are several hundred small to medium-sized players, but they don’t make a dent into Cisco and/or Citrix revenues. Microsoft has its own collaboration software called officeLive, which in my opinion, isn’t user-friendly.
Now, let’s look deep into the collaboration software. Most of the collaboration software allows users to make PowerPoint presentations to their prospects or teams. One can also use data conferencing to hold application-sharing meetings online without ever leaving your desk. While everyone has the access to use application sharing, most of the users we talk to don’t use it.  We think users should use application sharing as it’s truly a collaboration tool, in which multiple users can work as a team on a single application. For example, multiple attorneys can work on the agreement/contract as the same time, without the need to circulate bulky email attachments. Prior to internet, we used fax machines, and more recently we used emails, but  if a document has to be red lined, and circulated among a group, it would consume hard drive space. Using an online email account such as gmail.com, each email takes time for upload/download but also clutters up email box.
One must change with the times – start-using collaboration tools for virtual meetings.  Now, you can use the free version by Google. They allow you to circulate the word, and excel documents, and leave them on the server for teamwork. If you haven’t used google, or google wave its time you should. Give it a try, its free. So you get your google collaboration tools from google.com and free conference from conferencefree.com.
Start collaborating now, its human.
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