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Nov/Dec 2009 | Volume 1/Number 6
Feature Story

En Route with GCS Rating and Routing Provider Reels in a Big One, Goes on the Road

By Paula Bernier

It's been a good year for Global Convergence (News - Alert) Solutions. The three-year-old company has at least 60 customers. While they won't talk dollars and cents, company officials claim it's seen a revenue increase of five times and profit increase of eight times between 2008 and 2009. And it's debt-free and profitable. But the next few months have the potential to be even better.

The company, which outfits service providers with real-time rating and routing solutions, last month was set to announce its biggest customer yet – a household name no less. GCS also is in the initial stages of a "road show" and expects its initial round of funding early in the first quarter of 2010. Princeton, N.J.-based GCS has its roots in the professional services arena, but today also provides rating and routing software on both a licensed and SaaS (News - Alert) basis. Most of the company's 17 staffers (including CEO Neal Axelrad and President, CTO and Co-Founder Jay Meranchik) are former employees of ITXC Corp., the VoIP wholesale pioneer founded by Tom Evslin.

What GCS offers, however, is a very different brand of least-cost routing and rating, says Axelrad, and can be used by service providers of all stripes to optimize efficiencies and lower costs on both their own networks and the connections they lease from other carriers.

"We route every call on a call-by-call basis, and we have patented technology that allows us to do that," says Axelrad. "That's really our differentiator, our Dynamic Route Manager."

Say you're a large carrier, and you have TDM in your network. Youmight also have multiple brands of softswitches and perhaps a sessionborder controller solution from one or more providers. Undernormal circumstances, a hybrid network such as this would be managed at the edge via a network element, explains Axelrad. That means every time you want to make a decision based on quality or price, you face some major, manually-intensive changes to your network as well as approvals from various levels of your organization, he says. On top of all that, you probably need to do this for every network you operate that includes different vendor gear, so multiply the above effort by X.

"Managing rates and routes is incredibly complex," says Mark Delaney, GCS's chief marketing officer. "It's almost like a financial exchange where you've got information coming in on a daily basis from the customers that want to change what they're buying from you. You've got the actual traffic coming across the network that's routing based on your routing rules."

As you can probably tell from this explanation, the folks at GCS believe the current model is flawed and, thus, have created a solution wherein a business policy engine is interrogated at call setup so the network knows how to route each call and can do so in real time rather than based on past traffic trends, as traditional least-cost routing works.

Axelrad says that when he and his coworkers were offering white-label professional services for such companies as session border controller vendor NexTone (News - Alert) and others in past years, they became aware of a "gaping hole" in the rating and routing solutions space.

"As we queried that SBC marketplace we found time and time again that the thing they asked us for was to help them route complex code bases from a number of perspectives" including jurisdictional-based routing and source-based routing, says Axelrad.

So nearly a year-and-a-half ago, GCS launched the Dynamic Route Manager, which can scale to handle up to 100,000 concurrent calls. Six months later, the company unveiled Dynamic Rate Manager, a business engine that people across a carrier organization can use to create a common interface into how the network is performing and how calls are being rated and managed. It can handle 100,000 CDRs per minute. The company recently expanded its portfolio by bringing TCAP into the fold, which means that its carrier customers with TDM-based infrastructure can now use the company's next-generation networking tools.

GCS's solutions today handle millions of minutes per day.

And, as mentioned above, those minutes can be running over any kind of infrastructure.

"You can manage every one of those platforms with separate service levels and, in fact, you can have as many service levels as you want within each platform," says Axelrad.

"We've built a very powerful software, [gotten into] a difficult, competitive industry in a down market, and positioned ourselves to be the dominant player," he adds. "And we're close to being the dominant player in the U.S." GCS has a variety of distribution partners, the most noteworthy of which are probably Siphon Networks and Verscom, both of which are reselling GCS products. GCS also recently entered into a partnership with Telx, which is distributing its products.

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