Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Archive for January, 2010

LG-Nortel launches joint venture for voice and data network

Posted by sweens on January 28, 2010

Published on January 28th, 2010
Canadian Press

The joint venture formed by Nortel Networks Corp. and LG Electronics of South Korea plans to tackle the U.S. business equipment market by mid-February with a new Taiwanese partner.

LG-Nortel said Thursday that it will pair with Accton Group to roll out a voice and data network for businesses operating under the name Edgecore Networks Inc.

LG-Nortel will hold a 60 per cent share in Edgecore while Accton will have the remaining 40 per cent.

The two companies will split responsibilities such as research and development, manufacturing, and marketing.

“This partnership will provide significant new opportunities to reinforce our brand, increasing our global competitiveness and helping our customers embrace the future opportunities and challenges of the converged communications market,” said LG-Nortel chief executive Jae Ryung Lee in a release.

Nortel holds a majority stake in the LG-Nortel joint venture, one of the few remaining pieces of the company that hasn’t been sold.

Toronto-based Nortel, formerly a giant of the global telecom equipment industry, filed for bankruptcy protection last year and has since been auctioning off its assets in an attempt to pay back debtholders.

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Corel privatization complete

Posted by sweens on January 28, 2010

Published on January 28th, 2010
Krystle Chow

The last step for the privatization of Ottawa-based Corel Corp. has been completed.

Corel shareholders earlier this week approved a stock consolidation that was part of the going-private deal with Corel Holdings LP, a limited partnership controlled by major shareholder Vector Capital.

Stakeholders who were not part of Corel Holdings and its affiliates will receive US$4 in cash for each pre-consolidation share held, the company said in a statement.

Shares of Corel, maker of popular software products such as PaintShop Pro and WordPerfect, have now been delisted from the Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock was priced at $3.33 on the TSX at its last trade on Jan. 27.

This is the second time Vector Capital has taken Corel private. Vector – a San Francisco-based private equity firm that owned about 68.3 per cent of Corel’s shares before this latest privatization – first bought out Corel in 2003, and in 2006 the software company ventured back into the public markets, with its shares debuting at US$16 at the time.

Vector attempted to buy Corel again in March 2008, offering $11 in a bid criticized by some analysts at the time as being too low, but that deal fell through in August of that year.

Corel continued to seek buyers to recapitalize itself, and announced shortly after the collapse of the Vector bid that it had identified a third-party buyer. However, the buyout talks sputtered a few months later, and Vector announced another bid in 2009, this time for only US$3.50.

The private equity firm then sweetened its bid to $4 in November.

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Posted by sweens on January 28, 2010

I would like to take this blog today and turn it in to more of a question then a rant.  I am wondering if many companies or professional services firms take inequity (differences in pay) into consideration when they look at staffing their projects.  As it is likely in any environment, when multiple people get together they are bound to talk and will likely expose information on their current consulting rates or salary.  As I have blogged before, if these rates are not indicative of the skill set for each person, you can have a serious problem. 

Often when it comes to staffing a large project (large testing environment, call centre, etc) an organization will put out a requirement calling for multiple resources.  As will always be the case, all the resources chosen to staff this project will come in with a varied skill set.  If resources are placed by different firms the rates can vary as each firm can negotiate for a different margin.  But this difference in price can cause problems down the road of people find out the team members are not being paid the same.

This is the same for employees who have the same responsibilities or skill set.  I am a recruiter for example, but I am not the only recruiter.  If I make more then someone else who does relatively the same thing as I do we should be making the same salary?  I know that I would be upset if someone was making more then I was. 

This is not to say that everyone is equal, and to suggest such a thing is simply incorrect.  Every organization is going to have a mix of talent.  Perhaps my suggest is rather that any organization needs to be able to justify or demonstrate why they are paying one person more then the other one in case someone brings it up.

It always helps to have something down so you could explain if need be why you feel such a person is worth the higher price take.  After all, this is a headache no one wants to deal with…

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Judge the Job

Posted by sweens on January 20, 2010

I came across this interesting website today while I was playing catch up on some of my networking and wanted to pass it on.  Judge the Job is an interesting site where employees leave anonymous comments/reviews/feedback on their employer both past and present.  I guess the idea behind the website is for individuals to make informed hiring decisions based on the reviews of current of previous employees. 

The website clearly displays a lot of information on its privacy settings which should protect any individual from being personally revealed.    One of the things I like is the satisfaction rating given to each employer.  Most of them seem to be positive so I’d hope all the reviews you would read on this site would not be all negative.

Check it out using the link above or the following URL –

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2010 to be all about mobile technology: Deloitte

Posted by sweens on January 19, 2010

Krystle Chow
Ottawa Business Journal
Tablet PCs, eBooks and other mobile technology are among the top trends sighted for 2010 in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors, or TMT, along with the dilemma of tightening resources versus burgeoning demand, according to Deloitte Canada.
Deloitte’s 2010 TMT Predictions report said the increasing popularity of mobile Internet will lead the charge for innovation in the year ahead, with the e-book topping its list of trends to watch.
The headline-grabbing Amazon Kindle e-reader has been flying off the shelves since its introduction in 2007, spawning imitators from Sony and fellow book retailer Barnes & Noble among others, but the report pointed to the actual reading medium as the way of the near future, rather than the reading technology, which it proclaimed a niche-filler.“Although e-readers are securing headlines, they are an interim technology and sales growth will not meet expectations, as competition from alternative devices will likely slow their growth rate in 2011,” the report said. “E-books are expected to do well, but not be limited to stand-alone e-readers and will mainly be read on smartphones, PCs and tablets.”Deloitte drew parallels between the potential challenges for Canadian publishers, writers and distributors and those of the music industry, which has been seeking ways to deal with declining sales of hard-copy, recorded music in the face of digital downloads.

Other key industry trends include the emergence of the tablet PC and the media’s struggle to gain revenues from online content, the study showed.

That’s in line with what the report predicted would be the major driver of the three industries in 2010, namely the demand for the ability to access unlimited data “anywhere, anytime and on any screen.”

However, Deloitte pointed out that the slow recovery from 2008’s economic downturn means that demand will have to be balanced with limited budgets and clogged networks.

“Yesterday’s technologies can’t keep up with tomorrow’s customers,” said John Ruffolo, chief of Deloitte’s national technology, media and telecommunications industry group, in a statement. “Clearing the network traffic jams created by new mobile devices will not be easy and will have serious ramifications for customers and carriers alike.”

The report pointed to the dangers of recent “all-you-can-eat” data offerings among mobile carriers, especially with the addition of new entrants such as Wind Mobile, and said service providers will likely turn to short-term quick fixes to tide them over while they plan out new networks to accommodate the increased bandwidth usage.

That could be where local companies such as DragonWave and Bridgewater Systems come in, since the former deals with bandwidth-maximizing packet microwave radios while the latter’s technology allows carriers to keep track of and manage subscriber plans.

“Canadians and Canadian companies are at the front lines of the battle between demand for data and the realities of pricing,” stated Duncan Stewart, director of Deloitte Canada Research. “This tension is driving the TMT world to opt for solutions that may not be perfect, but are good enough.”

The report also pointed to cloud computing – in layman’s terms, the increasing use of hosted, virtual IT services provided over the Internet instead of the traditional on-site hardware and software ­– as one of the fastest-growing technology sectors, although it said it is “not taking over the world quite yet.”

“Concerns over reliability and security continue to make large enterprises and governments cautious about adopting cloud. In contrast, consumers and small enterprises are the logical early adopters, as the global cloud computing industry is predicted to grow almost 50 per cent to $80 billion in 2010,” the report noted.

It’s another area where Ottawa firms could benefit, including companies such as Embotics, which helps customers manage their virtual servers from creation to destruction, ensuring that servers are not deployed unnecessarily or lying dormant once created.

Other trends highlighted by Deloitte include increased competition and the threat of oversaturation in the clean-tech industry, along with the shift to the $80-billion online advertising market, which is expected to continue to steal market share from traditional ad media.

The report is based on research, interviews and input from Deloitte clients and alumni, industry analysts, 100 technology, media and telecommunications C-suite executives from around the world, and more than 6,000 Deloitte TMT member firm practitioners.

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RAMTelecom wins $2.1M federal government deal

Posted by sweens on January 19, 2010

Krystle Chow
Ottawa Business Journal

RAMTelecom has resurfaced six months after its sale to Montreal’s OmniGlobe Networks Inc., with a three-year, $2.1-million contract from Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Ottawa-based RAMTelecom will provide, maintain and operate comprehensive Iridium satellite services and terminal equipment for the federal government under the contract, which was won following a competitive procurement process.

The deal includes the provision of hand-held satellite phones and hardware for remote expeditions and emergency communications, the company said, which will connect to 66 low earth orbit satellites to provide voice and low-speed data requirements worldwide.

RAMTelecom, which was formerly a stand-alone, publicly traded firm, was bought by OmniGlobe in June 2009 for $2.65 million.

The sale followed RAMTelecom’s long struggle with difficulties in raising enough capital and mounting losses.

OmniGlobe CEO Jason Neale had stated that the takeover would allow his firm to reach its goal of becoming the top rural and remote communications provider in Canada, as RAMTelecom’s satellite technology has been proven in the past to serve mining, oil and gas, forestry and government projects in remote locations.

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LOOK AHEAD 2010: Technology in the year 2010

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Published on January 11th, 2010
Jim Donnelly

OBJ asks six industry leaders what’s in store for the future

What are high technology’s prospects in 2010? We recently sat down with a clutch of high-powered paragons of the scene to find out what’s in store for Ottawa, for their respective markets, and for their companies. Here’s what they had to say:

DEBBIE WEINSTEIN, partner at Labarge Weinstein

We had a very busy 2009 for mergers and acquisitions and some public company financing, and this will continue in 2010. There are some very good companies in Ottawa that have quietly grown into industry-leading enterprises. We’ll see some IPOs and M&As from those entities. Venture capital activity will be sporadic at best in Ottawa; we’ll see it peppered over traditional IT as well as clean tech and life sciences – these latter two areas are due for a breakthrough, and there are some companies in these sectors that are possibilities to really shine in 2010. We will also see Ottawa grow in the digital and multimedia sectors.

With the permanent lack of new private venture capital, startups will be hard-pressed to find appropriate capital, outside of a few. The Ontario government has a fund which may help on some matching, but the lead must come from private sources – angel or VC funds. That being said, the city will continue to see lots of small, fledgling startups employing fewer than 10 people with no outside money. But this will not propel the next big one, which is what this city needs.

The newer public companies have done well in 2009 and this will bode well for a couple of others that we may see go public in 2010, if the public market stays healthy. With the selloff of Nortel practically complete, while all acquirers downsized as part of the integration post-closing, I’m confident we’ll see growth in employment from those businesses. Our workforce is exceedingly strong and competitive, as demonstrated by the increasing presence of foreign-run operations in Ottawa. Canadian companies like RIM and Open Text continue to see employment growth in the capital.

So, I believe Ottawa is well-insulated for employment growth but not necessarily stemming from well-funded, VC-backed companies.

KEVIN FORD, CEO of Parliant Corp.

In the iPhone application market, we’re pretty much saturated with stand-alone games in the (App Store by Apple). So I think the store will begin to focus on helping people find things they need. There are also some very elaborate applications we’re seeing emerge that tie into shipping, billing, and inventory systems that run on an iPod Touch, which is a $180 device. And (these applications) allow employees to update all these systems at the touch of a button. That’s the kind of application the press will never hear about, but what we’re going to see a lot of in the next 12 months.

In terms of Parliant, we have more people pounding down our door to write iPhone apps than we can handle. We average three to five requests per day. So I guess those numbers say that if we wanted to focus just on that market we could, and also hire a lot of programmers to do it. But we’re not going to do that, because this conference automation software we have seems to have stirred up a real hornet’s nest. It looks like there’s a lot of low-lying fruit we can pick up with it, so we’re going to do that. Because it’s highly visible, and it feeds back to our strengths.

So in 2010, we’re going to be focusing on selling our Phone Valet products, because they keep the money rolling in, while also continuing to develop other revenue streams.

JOHN REID, president and CEO of CATAAlliance

Last year was very much a “suspension year,” so you’ve got some pent-up demand that we’re going to see. We’re seeing some restoration of confidence, and that will flow into Ottawa.

One area to watch will be information security and public safety; that’s a big market. And through the expansion of networks, there’s a bit of a data deluge going on – there’s a tremendous amount of data being created right now – so there are storage searching issues as well. So those are some of the drivers, along with the consumer element with smartbooks and iPhones, etc., that we’ll see in 2010.

The cloud is now taking hold, where you have all these applications that allow companies to utilize resources in a more efficient way and also to be more agile. Because of this you’re going to see a new generation of leaders and spokespeople for the industry, and that marks a transition, and I think a very positive one. One thing that’s also grabbing hold is the utilization of social networks and how those can help brand a company.

ROB LANE, CEO and co-founder of

In (the online video application) space, we’re now moving from what I call early adoption into mass adoption. What I see is that in the retail space, the big retailers aren’t just thinking about whether they should do something with video anymore – they’re actively doing something in that space. They think video provides a better experience for their customers, and there’s some evidence that it does convert into somewhat higher sales. And I’m seeing that globally. I spent a couple of weeks in Europe before Christmas, and it very much reflected what I’m seeing here. What I’m seeing from people is that they’re saying, “Absolutely, we’re moving on this.”

Our challenge over the next year is difficult, because we’re into scale now – last year we delivered the product, which was video overlay for retail, and for now it’s all about scaling that into multiple channels, both indirect and direct. So it’s about market expansion and sales expansion. And our two biggest geographies are the U.S. and the U.K.; we opened an office in the U.K. last quarter.

It feels like the timing is right in the market with the product we’ve got, and that means we’ve got an opportunity. Twelve months from now, I’ll tell you if it all worked out.

MIKE DARCH, executive director of OCRI Global Marketing

I think (Ottawa) is in a very good position. Certainly, we weathered the financial crisis much better than a lot of other cities – we had to handle the double whammy of the Nortel bankruptcy and the financial crisis, and for a large part we came out of that very well. Our unemployment rate is still low, and our companies are diversifying in both thrust and markets. And we’re well-positioned to take advantage of that in 2010.

If we look at sectors, certainly the whole mobile world is going to move forward. You’ve got companies like DragonWave that are providing the infrastructure to make that happen, you have companies like Magmic and Fuel Industries that are doing well … so I think in that whole space, we’re well positioned. Certainly, clean tech is also well-positioned. In that space, we’ve got young companies that aren’t that well developed yet, but companies like Clearford and Plasco that are waiting for an opportunity. And certainly another area that’s on the rise is the virtual college and virtual education market, and we have a strong offering there as well.

Geographically, I think we’ll see the U.S. recover soon. Where will that be? Likely the wireless world, digital media, security, clean technology – all the areas where we in Ottawa have strength. So the rebuilding of that market will help us, but I think more importantly the emerging markets will be the strongest centres of growth.

Ottawa has always shown itself to launch a new set of companies during times like this. A lot of big, international companies are expanding here … and Ottawa has a history of using adversity to create opportunity.

ROB ASHE, general manager of analytics and performance management at IBM

The business analytics market we play in is estimated to be a $105-billion opportunity. It continues to be a top priority for CIOs, CFOs and CEOs who want to instantly parse mountains of diverse, disconnected pieces of data to move the business forward and improve performance. For the last four years, business analytics has remained a top priority of CIOs surveyed by industry analyst firm Gartner. In our last survey, 83 per cent of global CIOs polled identified business analytics as a top priority.

In 2010, customers will use our IBM Cognos software portfolio to monitor the effectiveness of stimulus spending across industries like health care, education, energy and social services, among other uses. Analytics are now being infused into the infrastructure of cities as municipalities work to improve the use of finite resources and aging infrastructures.

Businesses will continue to want to know where – and how – they are spending money so they can operate more efficiently. The advantages are not limited to corporations: governments are also looking to analyze statistics and make policy changes.

In 2010, the addition of the predictive element will become increasingly more important for customers as well. They want to be able to not only sense and respond to relevant business data, but also predict and take associated action on that data from any location or device.

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Can I submit my application with more then one firm?

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Many of the candidates I deal with for Government contracting are aware that on most Government contract opportunities, they are unable to submit their resumes to multiple firms for the same opportunity.  This means that you have to go with one firm and one firm only.  This is not usually a huge problem but when you have a very specific requirement where there are so few resources located geographically, the competition for those few resources picks up quickly. 

 This is where time of recruitment becomes such a key component of success.  With that being said, candidates need to be aware that they are unable to circumvent this policy.  Candidates that do agree to have their resumes submitted by two different companies for the same opportunity will be ruled non-compliant.

 There are some exceptions to this and from time to time an opportunity can come up where you will be able to submit yourself with more then one firm.  This usually takes places when a company is being asked to bid a project team rather then one individual resource.  Candidates need to be aware if they can or can not bid with more then one firm before they approach numerous firms about the same opportunity.

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Celebrating One Year of Blogging

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the people over the last year that have come to this blog. When I started this blog just over a year ago it was something I wanted to try and experiment with. It has since grown to something I enjoy doing and has becoming an integral part of my day.

The last year has seen us share over 150 blog posts while over 7000 of you have travelled to this website to view my blog. It is with a lot of gratitude that I say a sincere THANK YOU to each and everyone of you!

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