Stories by Leon Erlanger

  • The why and how of voice portals

    For years, IT and business have heard the sexy promise of "IP convergence," which would allow all sorts of voice- and video-enabled applications to appear in business. However, for most organizations, this Jetsons-like vision has yet to occur.

  • Why businesses are embracing Macs

    It's not your imagination. Apple Macintoshes are turning up in businesses beyond the creative departments, increasingly becoming a normal part of the IT fabric. One recent IT survey by researcher Information Technology Intelligence shows that 23 percent of respondents had at least 30 Macs in their businesses, 12 percent had at least 4,000 Macs -- and 68 percent said they would let users choose Macs as their work PCs in the next year. A Forrester Research survey of larger enterprises showed that Macs now account for 4.5 percent of deployed systems. (Both IDC and Gartner report that Macs now make up 9.1 percent of all PCs sold to individuals.)

  • How to keep your tech career afloat

    Anyone who has worked in IT for more than five minutes knows that the field has been in a dramatic transformation for the past 10 years, invading and conquering other organizational domains such as communications and security, while also wrestling with the new issues that technology has wrought such as employee mobility. In most organizations, IT has had to transform itself from a bunch of techies installing and troubleshooting equipment to a key enabler of business strategy and competitiveness.

  • Verizon Wireless rings in desktop power savings

    The energy savings that Verizon Wireless reaped from deploying thin clients and power-management software at its call centers were both dramatic and immediate -- so much so that during initial testing at the company's Arizona call center, the local power utility called to find out if it had moved. All told, the effort has yielded a 50 per cent drop in energy consumption.

  • Sun plants pods for sustainability and savings

    Thanks to a massive datacenter consolidation, hardware refresh, and creative, energy-efficient facility design, Sun has reduced power capacity demand by 75 per cent at its California datacenter alone, saving US$1.1 million per year in energy costs, while increasing its datacenter processing power more than four times. Overall, Sun estimates that its consolidation efforts will save 4,100 tons of CO2 per year and cut 1 per cent from its total carbon footprint.

  • Unified communications: Here at last?

    While Todd Sharp is driving down the highway between Charlotte and Atlanta, a new sales order triggers a lookup for the customer phone number and salesperson (that would be Todd) assigned to it. The system then polls Siemens OpenScape UC (unified communications) software and checks Todd's presence status, discovering that he's working remotely and available only on his cell. OpenScape kicks off a VoIP call to Todd's cell phone and, using a text-to-speech engine, reads the sales order over the phone. It then prompts Todd to press 1 to autodial the customer. Minutes after the order arrived, Todd is thanking the customer from his car.