The Telephone is a Platform

A Panel Discussion

Web 2.0
46 minutes, 21.4mb, recorded 2004-10-07
Topics: Telephony
As anyone who has traveled outside the US will attest, what used to be the telephone has become a primary data platform for much of the world. But that's just the start of a new world order for our venerable communications device. Major players like Cisco and AT&T are pushing VOIP, as upstarts like Vonage declare open season on crumbling telephony models. Our panel of experts from across this landscape will make sense of the historic -- and increasingly robust -- telephony platform.

Our panel of experts includes:

  • Om Malik, Senior Writer, Business 2.0
  • Jeffrey A. Citron, Chairman & CEO, Vonage
  • Hossein Eslambolchi, President of AT&T's Global Networking Technology
  • Services, AT&T's CTO & CIO, AT&T
  • Charlie E. Hoffman, CEO, Covad
  • Mike McCue, President, COO & Co-Founder, Tellme

Om Malik is a San Francisco-based senior writer for Business 2.0. He has covered technology and telecom for over a decade for publications like Forbes, and Red Herring. Om has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and MIT Technology Review. He is the author of Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist.

Jeffrey Citron, Chairman and CEO of Vonage, is a technology pioneer and visionary who transformed the financial services industry. In 1995, Citron founded The Island ECN, a computerized trading system designed to eliminate the problems associated with order execution. Today, the newly merged company is one of the largest global financial exchanges, and is responsible for more than one in four NASDAQ trades.

Following on the success of The Island ECN, Citron founded and became the Chairman and CEO of Datek Online Holdings Corp. as Datek transitioned into the online brokerage industry. Under his leadership, Datek had grown to become the fourth largest online brokerage in the US, and was recently acquired by Ameritrade Holdings for $1.3 billion. Citron departed Datek in 1999 and, recognizing a similar opportunity, founded Vonage.

Hossein Eslambolchi is President of AT&T's Global Networking Technology Services (GNTS, AT&T's Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO). He is responsible for the corporation's strategic technology direction, network operations, research and development, information technology systems and processes, and advises the chairman and senior leaders on technology issues. Eslambolchi is a member of AT&T's Executive Committee, the company's governing executive panel led by AT&T Chairman and CEO David W. Dorman.

As GNTS president, Eslambolchi leads all network development, engineering and operations, as well as the CIO and CTO organizations including AT&T Labs. The GNTS team provides the innovation, networking, and technology expertise driving AT&T's business transformation to improve Customer Care, Sales and Network Operations. He is responsible for the design, development, engineering, operations, and reliability of AT&T's global network, as well as its Global Network Operations Center -- AT&T's networking nerve center. Under Eslambolchi, corporate management initiatives for Concept of One (do it once, do it right, use it everywhere) and Concept of Zero (zero defects, zero cycle time and automate where possible), AT&T is streamlining and automating processes and systems across the company. In less than two years, these initiatives have significantly improved customer-response time, reduced error rates and distinguished AT&T as the industry's lowest-cost carrier.

Charles Hoffman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Covad Communications. Hoffman is a 25-year telecommunications veteran with experience in broadband, wireless, cable, and local and long-distance. Since joining Covad in June 2001, Hoffman has successfully restructured the company and dramatically reduced expenses while achieving 36% growth in subscriber lines and EBITDA profitability during 2003. Covad achieved cash-flow positive in the second quarter of 2004.

Prior to joining Covad, Hoffman was President and Chief Executive Officer of Rogers AT&T, Canada's largest, national wireless service provider. Under his leadership, the company grew from fourth to first place in a market of four national wireless providers. He also successfully negotiated the sale of one-third interest in this publicly traded company (NYSE and TSE) to a partnership of AT&T and British Telecom. While at Rogers, Hoffman also served as a Senior Vice President of Rogers Communications where he gained extensive experience with Rogers Cable, Canada's largest cable company, a leader in the roll-out of high speed Internet service.

Prior to Rogers, Hoffman held senior management positions at Sprint PCS, SBC Communications, AT&T and IBM.

Mike McCue laid the foundation and vision for Tellme’s business in February 1999 when he co-founded the company. He is responsible for overall company operations.

From 1996 to 1999 Mike was vice president of technology at Netscape. There he helped to establish the company’s client, portal and server lines of business.

This is a presentation delivered at the Web 2.0 Conference held in San Francisco, CA, October 5-7, 2004. Our thanks go to MediaLive International and O'Reilly Media, the producers of Web 2.0, for permission to bring you this session, one of many from Web 2.0 here on IT Conversations.

This free podcast is from our Web 2.0 Conference series.