’s Top 6 Posts for October 2013

by Jeff Wiener on November 4, 2013

It’s been a tough month for Blackberry, with news of investor lawsuits, the search for buyers, and the company’s detailed forthright explanation of how it got into this mess in the first place. Of course Blackberry’s struggles really need no explanation, as the company’s inability to answer the ever-growing dominance of Apple—who released its new iPad Air this month—and Android is unarguably the answer.

On another note, there were certainly ghouls and goblins out this month as well, but they weren’t kids dressed up in Halloween costumes, they were companies circumventing this country’s privacy laws to collect an excessive amount of user data and HealthCanadaaccused of skewing the results of health studies related to wireless radiation. Scary indeed…

1. Avaya IP Office Release 9 – Finally, IP Office has Park and Page!

Of all the cutting edge features available in the next release of Avaya’s IP Office the one that has me most excited, oddly enough, is probably the simplest: the park and page feature. Its often strange what features you really miss until they’re gone, as from 1991 to 2005 Digitcom sold legacy Nortel Norstar and BCM phone systems, both of which had the park and page feature standard. It was so common, in fact, that I assumed that all phone systems had the ability to park and page, but obviously not.

And now, after eight years of missing this useful feature and after selling Avaya’s IP Office since release 3, the product will finally have the ability to park and page.

2. Mobilicity President Out as Debt Protection Extended

Although Mobilicity has fallen from the public eye in the last couple of weeks, the struggling Canadian wireless network provider continues to try and sort out its serious financial difficulties as it considers takeover bids. However the company was dealt another blow this week—at least initially—as current president Stewart Lyons will be departing the company in short order.

With Lyons’ departure, CCO will take over the role on an interim basis until a suitable candidate can be found to fill the void. The news comes just as Mobilicity has had its credit protection order extended by another two months after the initial order was set to expire in early October.

3. Data Collection Stretches Canada’s Privacy Law

Although Canadian privacy laws have set clear limits, the fact of the matter remains that the majority of companies engage in aggressive private data collection, according to Michael Geist, a privacy rights advocate and University of Ottawa e-commerce law professor.

In a recent blog post, he points to a mobile app signed by a respected company, the Royal Bank of Canada, which updated its mobile app for Android users earlier in October. While the app provides users with a convenient mobile banking solution, it comes at a price: as installing the app will allow their bank to access a wide range of personal data, data it has no business accessing.

4. We’re OK! Blackberry Attempts to Assuage Customer Concern

In an effort to assuage the fears that Blackberry has been soundly beaten, earlier this month the company wrote an open letter to its customers, taking out full page ads in many major newspapers explaining that while the headlines don’t look good for the Waterloo company that the company still sees a viable future for its Blackberry brand…it just has to find a way to get there in one piece, I would guess.

While the ad was meant to remedy concern and clarify confusion, it’s hard to argue with the headlines the company has been confronted with, as billion dollar quarterly losses, investor lawsuits, and courting financial consortiums over buyouts are not necessarily the way to rebuild confidence in the Blackberry name.

5. Apple Rings Pavlovian Bell, Consumers Salivate for iPad Air

Apple’s new iPad Air, released this month with all the company’s standard glitz and glamour, will no doubt excite and intrigue Apple fanatics the world over, but lets be honest here, Apple could throw an old banana peel in a box, slap it with some Apple branding, and have consumers lining up around the corner to get their hands on it. The problem for the iPad Air, and Apple as a company really, is that it won’t really excite anyone else.

6. Wireless Safety Panel Accused of Skewing Results

The health-related affects of radiation from wireless devices has been a contentious debate among the health, science, and technology industries over the past 20 years, with strong arguments appearing on both sides. With wireless devices now playing such a prevalent role in daily life, a scientific panel from the Royal Society of Canada is looking into the issue on behalf of HealthCanada and held a public forum on Monday so that consumers could air their views on the matter.

But will that give us the truth about wireless radiation? According to some, HealthCanada continues to skew the results of such studies, a concern for groups pushing for lower exposure limits on radio waves generated by our technology.

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