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Alteva Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Financial Results

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (Marketwired) -- 03/28/14 -- Alteva ("Alteva" or the "Company") (NYSE MKT: ALTV), a premier provider of hosted Unified-Communications-as-a-Service ("UCaaS"), today announced selected financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013.

2013 Financial Results Highlights

  • For the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company achieved Adjusted EBITDA* of $2.5 million, an improvement from $337,000 from the same period in 2012; Adjusted EBITDA* for the fourth quarter of 2013 and 2012 included $3.25 million of income from the Company's O-P investment;
  • For the full year 2013, the Company achieved Adjusted EBITDA* of $8.6 million, an improvement from $2.3 million in 2012; Adjusted EBITDA* for the full year 2013 and 2012 included $13.0 million and $11.0 million, respectively, of income from the Company's O-P investment;
  • The Company narrowed its operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2013 to $(2.3) million, as compared to $(13.6) million for the same period in 2012; the operating loss for the full year 2013 also narrowed to $(11.6) million from $(24.3) million for 2012;
  • The Company narrowed its net loss for the fourth quarter of 2013 to $(0.3) million, as compared to $(8.5) million for the same period in 2012; the net loss for the full year 2013 also narrowed to $(0.6) million from $(10.9) million for 2012;
  • For the fourth quarter of 2013, UC revenues increased by 14%, which includes the results of the Syracuse, NY operations that were sold in September 2013, to $3.9 million from $3.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2012; excluding the Syracuse operations, UC revenues increased 37% for the fourth quarter of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012;
  • For full year 2013, UC revenues increased by 17%, which includes the results of the Syracuse operations that were sold in September 2013, to $15.8 million from $13.6 million for full year 2012; excluding the Syracuse operations, UC revenues increased 27% for full year 2013 compared to full year 2012;
  • At the end of 2013, there were over 39,000 users on Alteva's hosted platform, which represents an increase of 33% of the installed base compared to the end of 2012; excluding the seats associated with the divested Syracuse operations, users on Alteva's hosted platform increased 51%;
  • Gross profit margin increased to 55% in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 46% for the same period in 2012; gross profit margin increased to 55% for full year 2013 from 49% for full year 2012;
  • Senior debt was reduced to $9.7 million at December 31, 2013, a decrease of $4.4 million, or 31%, from December 31, 2012;
  • In 2013, the Company continued to invest in its UCaaS platform technologies while strengthening its financial position; accordingly the Company has made enhancements to its service offerings to add new mobile applications that seamlessly integrate Alteva's HD voice with Microsoft's Lync Communication services, Google Apps for Business and leading cloud-based CRM applications like Salesforce.com;
  • The Company intends to continue its focus on profitable growth and we expect Adjusted EBITDA* to improve with rationalization of the business model, focused channel growth and business development.

Restatement

The Company restated its consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2012, and the condensed consolidated financial statements for the first three interim periods of the year ended December 31, 2013, related to the determination of the valuation allowance needed to reflect the deferred tax assets at the amount that is more than likely than not realizable under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") for income taxes.

Where applicable, comparisons in this press release reflect the restated figures.

Exercise of O-P Put Option

The Company intends to exercise the O-P Put option in April 2014. The expected gross proceeds of $50 million will be used to pay taxes on the related gain, repay outstanding senior debt, fund working capital needs and support growth initiatives, including supporting its current customers and deploying solutions for new customers. Following the exercise of the O-P Put, the Company will no longer have any interest in the O-P Partnership and will no longer receive any income.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Revenues were $7.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 6.6% from $6.9 million for the same period in 2012. Revenues increased 16% year-over-year excluding the revenue from the Syracuse operations that were sold in September 2013.

UC revenues were $3.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 14% from $3.4 million for the same period in 2012. UC revenues in the fourth quarter of 2013 increased 37% on a year-over-year basis excluding the revenue from the Syracuse operations, and improved by 6% from the third quarter on a similar comparison. As a percentage of consolidated revenue, the UC segment contributed approximately 53% of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2013 as compared with 49% for the same period in 2012. The increase in UC revenues was attributable to the addition of new clients and the increase in services to existing clients. Approximately 89% of fourth quarter UC revenues were from licenses and services which are expected to be recurring in nature, with the balance of revenues derived from equipment sales for UC customer implementations.

Telephone revenues were $3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, as compared with $3.5 million for the same period in 2012. The Telephone segment contributed approximately 47% of revenues in the fourth quarter 2013 as compared with 51% for the same period of 2012. Telephone revenues were slightly lower year-over-year as a result of continued access line losses, which were partially offset by an increase in access line rates earlier in the year and modest growth in broadband Internet services revenues.

Gross profit increased by 28% to $4.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $3.2 million for the same period in 2012. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues was 55% in the fourth quarter 2013, as compared with 46% for the same period in 2012. The improvement in gross profit primarily reflects the substantial increase in revenues contributed by the UC segment and the Company's ability to leverage its existing infrastructure, and impact of the cost reduction initiatives, which included the sale of the Syracuse operations, and the previously disclosed workforce reduction in the Telephone segment.

Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses in the fourth quarter of 2013 were $5.4 million, as compared with $6.5 million for the same period in 2012. The $1.1 million, or 16%, decrease in SG&A expenses was primarily associated with a reduction in wages, including the impact from the restructuring of the Telephone segment in the second quarter of 2013, the sale of the Syracuse operations, and other expense management initiatives implemented throughout the year.

Total other income for the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2012 was $3.1 million and $3.2 million, respectively. Other income included the income from the Company's equity investment in the O-P partnership of $3.25 million in the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2012.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company had an income tax expense of $1.1 million, or 137% of income before income taxes, as compared to an income tax benefit of $2.0 million, or 19% of loss before income taxes, for the fourth quarter of 2012. The fourth quarter 2013 income tax expense was negatively impacted by expense of $0.6 million for an additional valuation allowance against deferred tax assets. The fourth quarter 2012 income tax benefit was negatively impacted by expense of $2.5 million for an additional valuation allowance against deferred tax assets.

The fourth quarter 2013 net loss was negatively impacted by income tax expense of $0.4 million for an additional valuation allowance against deferred tax assets. The fourth quarter 2012 net loss was negatively impacted by income tax expense of $2.5 million for valuation allowance against deferred tax assets.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company's net loss was $(0.3) million, as compared to a net loss of $(8.5) million for the same period of 2012, which included an $8.9 million charge for impairment of fixed assets in our Telephone segment.

Basic and diluted net loss per share was $(0.05) for the fourth quarter of 2013, as compared with basic and diluted net loss per share of $(1.49) in the same period of the prior year.

Conference Call

The Company will conduct a conference call to discuss fourth quarter results on April 1st at 10:00 a.m. eastern. Investors and other interested parties can listen to the call by dialing the participant number of 412-317-6789 or 877-317-6789 (toll free), no access code required, approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the conference call. A simultaneous webcast of the conference call can be accessed through Alteva's website at www.alteva.com in the Investors section.

A replay of this conference call will also be available by dialing 412-317-0088 or 877-344-7529 (toll free), access code: 10043614, beginning 12:00 p.m. eastern on April 1, 2014 through April 23, 2014, and via the Company's website at www.alteva.com.

About Alteva
Alteva (NYSE MKT: ALTV) is a premier provider of hosted Unified-Communications-as-a-Service ("UCaaS") that significantly enhances business productivity and efficiency. Alteva's UCaaS solution integrates and optimizes best-in-class cloud-based technologies and business applications to deliver a comprehensive voice, video and collaboration service for the office and mobile workforce. Alteva is committed to delivering meaningful value to our customers through a consistent, high quality and unified user experience across multiple devices, platforms and operating systems. These attributes have positioned Alteva as a leading hosted communications provider and the partner of choice for a growing number of business customers nationwide and internationally. To learn more about Alteva, please visit www.alteva.com. You can also follow Alteva on Twitter @AltevaInc or LinkedIn.

*Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization adjusted to exclude non-cash stock-based compensation, severance related expense, and nonrecurring charges associated with the disposal of the Syracuse operations. A reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to net income (loss) can be found at the end of the following tables. Adjusted EBITDA is commonly used by management and investors as an indicator of operating performance and liquidity. Adjusted EBITDA is not considered a measure of financial performance under GAAP and it should not be considered as an alternative to net income (loss), or other financial statement data presented in accordance with GAAP in our consolidated financial statements.

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements, without limitation, regarding expectations, beliefs, intentions, growth, profitability, dividends, or strategies regarding the future. Alteva intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Alteva's actual results, performance or achievements or industry results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following: expectations of future profitability; general economic and business conditions, both nationally and in the geographic regions in which Alteva operates; industry capacity; demographic changes; technological changes and changes in consumer demand; the successful integration of Alteva's acquired businesses; existing governmental regulations and changes in, or the failure to comply with, governmental regulations; legislative proposals relating to the businesses in which Alteva operates; reduction in cash distributions from the Orange County-Poughkeepsie Limited Partnership; competition; or the loss of any significant ability to attract and retain qualified personnel. Given these uncertainties, current and prospective investors should be cautioned in their reliance on such forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, Alteva disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the results of any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future events or developments. A more comprehensive discussion of risks, uncertainties, financial reporting restatements, and forward-looking statements may be seen in Alteva's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

(tables follow)



                                ALTEVA, INC.
                   CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

                           Three Months Ended        For the Years Ended
                              December 31,               December 31,
                       -------------------------  -------------------------
                          2013          2012         2013          2012
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
                                   (as restated)              (as restated)

                        (in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

Operating revenues:
  Unified
   Communications      $    3,915  $       3,422  $   15,834  $      13,569
  Telephone                 3,470          3,503      14,268         14,373
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Total operating
 revenues                   7,385          6,925      30,102         27,942

Operating expenses:
  Cost of services and
   products (exclusive
   of depreciation and
   amortization
   expense)                 3,307          3,724      13,465         14,134
  Selling, general and
   administrative
   expenses                 5,400          6,461      23,989         23,702
  Depreciation and
   amortization               896          1,490       3,815          5,476
  Loss on disposal and
   restructuring costs         43              -         447              -
  Impairment of fixed
   assets                       -          8,883           -          8,883
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Total operating
 expenses                   9,646         20,558      41,716         52,195
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Operating loss             (2,261)       (13,633)    (11,614)       (24,253)

Other income
 (expense):
  Interest (expense)         (163)          (123)       (756)          (415)
  Income from equity
   method investment        3,250          3,250      13,000         11,021
  Other income
   (expense), net               4             51         166           (286)
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Total other income,
 net                        3,091          3,178      12,410         10,320
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Income (loss) before
 income taxes                 830        (10,455)        796        (13,933)

Income tax expense
 (benefit)                  1,139         (1,950)      1,442         (3,044)
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Net loss                     (309)        (8,505)       (646)       (10,889)
Preferred dividends             6              6          25             25
                       ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------
Net loss applicable to
 common stock          $     (315) $      (8,511) $     (671) $     (10,914)
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============


Basic loss per common
 share                 $    (0.05) $       (1.49) $    (0.11) $       (1.91)
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============
Basic loss per
 puttable common share $        -  $           -  $        -  $           -
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============

Diluted loss per
 common share          $    (0.05) $       (1.49) $    (0.11) $       (1.91)
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============
Diluted loss per
 puttable common share $        -  $           -  $        -  $           -
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============

Weighted average
 shares of common
 stock used to
 calculate loss per
 share
  Basic (common)        6,191,121      5,702,738   6,111,608      5,711,815
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============
  Basic (puttable
   common)                      -              -           -              -
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============
  Diluted (common)      6,191,121      5,702,738   6,111,608      5,711,815
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============
  Diluted (puttable
   common)                      -              -           -              -
                       ==========  =============  ==========  =============




                                ALTEVA, INC.
                        CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

                                                     December 31,
                                           --------------------------------
                                                 2013             2012
                                           ---------------  ---------------
                                                             (as restated)
                                            (in thousands, except share and
                                                  per share amounts)
                  ASSETS
Current assets:
  Cash and cash equivalents                $         1,636  $         1,799
  Accounts receivable - net of allowance
   for uncollectibles - $378 and $638 at
   December 31, 2013 and 2012,
   respectively                                      2,836            3,320
  Other accounts receivable                            480              187
  Materials and supplies                               237              512
  Prepaid expenses                                     774            1,145
  Prepaid income taxes                                   -              924
  Deferred income taxes                                108              117
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total current assets                                 6,071            8,004
                                           ---------------  ---------------
  Property, plant and equipment, net                13,837           16,446
  Intangibles, net                                   5,856            6,617
  Seat licenses, net                                 1,749            1,514
  Goodwill                                           9,006            9,121
  Other assets                                         744              420
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total assets                               $        37,263  $        42,122
                                           ===============  ===============
   LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
Current liabilities:
  Short-term debt                          $        10,126  $             -
  Accounts payable                                     944              886
  Advance billing and payments                         341              367
  Accrued taxes                                      1,692              619
  Pension and post retirement benefit
   obligations                                         267            1,089
  Other accrued expenses                             3,934            3,759
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total current liabilities                           17,304            6,720
                                           ---------------  ---------------
  Long-term debt                                       297           14,095
  Deferred income taxes                                649              114
  Pension and postretirement benefit
   obligations                                       6,007            8,095
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total liabilities                                   24,257           29,024
                                           ---------------  ---------------

Commitments and contingencies

Shareholders' equity
  Preferred Shares - $100 par value;
   authorized and issued shares of 5,000;
   $0.01 par value authorized and unissued
   shares of 10,000,000                                500              500
  Common stock - $0.01 par value;
   authorized shares of 10,000,000; issued
   6,970,626 and 6,576,542 shares at
   December 31, 2013 and 2012,
   respectively                                         70               66
  Treasury stock - at cost, 829,723 and
   817,700 common shares at December 31,
   2013 and 2012, respectively                      (7,612)          (7,486)
  Additional paid in capital                        13,279           11,826
  Accumulated other comprehensive loss              (1,436)          (3,999)
  Retained earnings                                  8,205           12,191
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total shareholders' equity                          13,006           13,098
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity $        37,263  $        42,122
                                           ===============  ===============




                                ALTEVA, INC.
                   CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

                                           For the Years Ended December 31,
                                           --------------------------------
                                                 2013             2012
                                           ---------------  ---------------
                                                             (as restated)
                                                    (in thousands)
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:
Net loss                                   $          (646) $       (10,889)
  Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net
   cash provided by operating activities:
  Depreciation and amortization                      3,815            5,476
  Write off obsolete material and supplies             166              216
  Stock based compensation expense                   1,457              867
  Deferred income taxes                                544           (2,810)
  Non cash interest and finance expenses               160              103
  Impairment loss on fixed assets                        -            8,883
  Distribution in excess of income from
   equity investments included in net loss          (5,729)          (4,731)
  Change in fair value of derivative
   liability                                             -             (131)
  Loss on disposal and restructuring costs             447                -
  Changes in assets and liabilities, net
   of effects of business acquisitions
    Accounts receivable                                324             (603)
    Other accounts receivable                         (260)             (13)
    Materials and supplies                              53              104
    Prepaid income taxes                               924            1,791
    Prepaid expenses                                   367             (414)
    Other assets                                      (328)            (216)
    Accounts payable                                    58             (829)
    Advance billing and payment                        (17)             (23)
    Accrued taxes                                    1,073               98
    Pension and post retirement benefit
     obligations                                      (353)             177
    Other accrued expenses                             169              361
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Net cash provided by (used in) operating
 activities                                          2,224           (2,583)
                                           ---------------  ---------------
CASH FLOW FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:
  Capital expenditures                                (544)          (4,031)
  Proceeds from sale of assets                         550                -
  Acquired intangibles                                 (79)               -
  Purchase of seat licenses                           (392)            (700)
  Sales of short-term investments                        -              259
  Distribution in excess of income from
   equity investments                                5,729            6,710
  Business acquisition, net of cash
   acquired                                              -                -
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Net cash provided by (used in) investing
 activities                                          5,264            2,238
                                           ---------------  ---------------
CASH FLOW FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:
  Proceeds from long-term debt                       1,902            8,463
  Proceeds from short-term borrowings               17,517                -
  Repayment of long-term debt and short-
   term borrowings                                 (23,504)          (1,139)
  Payment of fees for acquisition of debt              (63)               -
  Payments of amount due in connection
   with business acquisition                             -           (2,924)
  Repayment of capital leases                          (37)               -
  Dividends (Common and Preferred)                  (3,340)          (6,284)
  Purchase of treasury stock                          (126)            (547)
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Net cash used in financing activities               (7,651)          (2,431)
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents             (163)          (2,776)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of
 year                                                1,799            4,575
                                           ---------------  ---------------
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year   $         1,636  $         1,799
                                           ===============  ===============
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow
 information:
  Interest paid                            $           572  $           343
  Income taxes paid (received)             $          (910) $            21

Supplemental disclosure of non-cash
 investing and financing activities:
  Non-cash consideration used in business
   acquisition                             $             -  $             -
  Treasury stock acquired in connection
   with cashless exercise of stock options $             -  $           677
  Reclassification of puttable common
   stock to equity                         $             -  $         4,125
  Capitalization of loan financing costs   $            93  $            63
  Acquisition of equipment and seat
   licenses under capital leases           $           357  $             -




                                ALTEVA, INC.
           RECONCILIATION OF ADJUSTED EBITDA TO NET INCOME (LOSS)
      AS IT IS PRESENTED ON THE CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
                                (Unaudited)
                               (in thousands)

                            Three Months Ended        Twelve Months Ended
                               December 31,              December 31,
                         ------------------------  ------------------------
                            2013         2012         2013         2012
                         ---------  -------------  ---------  -------------
                                     (as restated)             (as restated)

Net loss                 $    (309) $      (8,505) $    (646) $     (10,889)
Depreciation and
 amortization                  896          1,490      3,815          5,476
Stock-based compensation       436            141      1,457            866
Severance related
 charges                       116            155      1,284            594
Loss on disposal and
 restructuring costs            43              -        447              -
Impairment of fixed
 assets                          -          8,883          -          8,883
Interest expense, net          163            123        756            415
Income tax expense
 (benefit)                   1,139         (1,950)     1,442         (3,044)
                         ---------  -------------  ---------  -------------
Adjusted EBITDA          $   2,484  $         337  $   8,555  $       2,301
                         =========  =============  =========  =============


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The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...