TMC Labs Innovation Awards 2010 - Part 2

Special Focus

TMC Labs Innovation Awards 2010 - Part 2

By Tom Keating, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Editor  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

This is the second part of our 11th installment of the TMC Labs Innovation Awards recognizing the truly unique and innovative products and services within the VoIP industry. Over the years, TMC Labs has recognized some remarkable achievements in the VoIP and telecom space. While the VoIP industry has certainly matured and perhaps products are not as unique as they were, say, five years ago, we still encounter products pushing the leading edge by offering better performance, a slight variation in features, or a more comprehensive all-on-one solution that eliminates the need for several disparate products.

Take for example, Phone Power. The company has in some ways copied the magicJack USB VoIP stick, but it put its own spin on it by offering twin phone numbers, which you can read about in that write-up below.

Choosing the most innovative products and services is always challenging, but TMC Labs carefully scrutinized each applicant and came up with the 15 most innovative companies. TMC Labs proudly bestows each of 15 companies with a TMC Labs Innovation Award.

As noted in our last issue, details surrounding these awards are being published in two parts to accommodate our in-depth write-ups for the winners. The complete winners list is being published in both issues; however, we offered detailed write-ups in alphabetical order beginning with AccessLine Communications and ending with Hatteras Networks last month. This time around, we start with Phone Power and end with Transera Communications.

Company

Product

Web site

AccessLine Communications

Digital Phone Service

www.accessline.com

ADTRAN

TOTAL ACCESS 5000 platform

www.adtran.com

Aricent

Media EXP Suite enhancements for Android

www.aricent.com

ClearOne

CHAT 70

www.clearone.com

Epygi Technologies Ltd.

QuadroM8L

www.epygi.com

Grandstream Networks (News - Alert)

GXV3611 Fixed IP Dome Camera

www.grandstream.com

Hatteras Networks

Hatteras Networks' HN6100

www.hatterasnetworks.com

Phone Power

Phone Power VoIP Combo Pack

www.phonepower.com

PIKA Technologies (News - Alert) Inc.

GSM Module for PIKA WARP Appliance for Asterisk

www.pikatech.com

Polycom Inc.

Polycom HDX Series featuring H.264 High Profile

www.polycom.com

Radware

Content Inspection Director (CID)

www.radware.com

REVE Systems (S) Pte. Ltd.

iTel Mobile Call Back Dialer

www.itelmobiledialer.com

SIP Print LLC

SIP Print

www.sipprint.com

Speedflow Communications

Mediacore

www.speedflow.com

Transera Communications

Seratel

www.transerainc.com

Phone Power

www.phonepower.com

Phone Power VoIP Combo Pack

Phone Power offers a hosted VoIP service that is similar to magicJack due to its use of a USB stick for connecting a headset or regular telephone. There are some important distinctions though. The Phone Power VoIP Combo Pack includes both a two-line home telephone adapter with built-in router, as well as a USB travel adapter. The travel adapter has an embedded softphone, an RJ-11 phone jack for connection to a regular telephone, and a headset jack with an included headset. 

What’s unique is that both devices work with the same telephone number. So customers can have two separate lines at home but receive calls with either device. And when they travel, the small USB travel adapter allows them to make and receive calls with their phone number anywhere in the world that has a broadband connection.

Thus, the customer has the home adapter always connected at home, and/or the USB travel adapter plugged in while travelling. Both devices register to the Phone Power softswitch platform. NAT Traversal is handled by redundant Acme Packet Net-Net 4500 controllers. Phone Power explains: “As far as we are aware, Phone Power is the first to offer one monthly service and one number, connected to both a home and travel solution. We are also the first to offer a USB travel adapter that boasts both telephone (RJ-11) and headset capability in one device.” Some of the advanced features include selective call routing/call blocking, simultaneous ring, find me/follow -me, voicemail-to-email, and fax-to-email.

PIKA Technologies Inc.

www.pikatech.com

GSM Module for PIKA WARP Appliance for Asterisk       

The GSM module is the newest addition to the PIKA WARP appliance connectivity options. It provides GSM connectivity out of the box, allowing resellers and service providers to build a telephony application (IP PBX, notification system, etc.) with integrated GSM gateway functionality. The WARP appliance is the first PBX development platform with integrated GSM connectivity. There are many GSM gateway offerings, Asterisk based IP PBX’s and Asterisk hardware/appliances, but none that offer the customizability that the WARP appliance does, with GSM included.

PIKA tells TMC Labs: “Our competitors in the PBX platform market include board vendors who sell only one component of the PC-based IP  PBX solution. There are GSM gateway competitors who sell standalone gateways that integrate with a PBX. The PIKA WARP appliance integrates the boards (PSTN connectivity options), Linux, Asterisk and FreePBX, and a GSM gateway into a single, small unit which means ease of installation, maintenance, reliability and a single source vendor. In Europe and South America, we have been told there is no other vendor that offers a comparable platform that is completely customizable and brandable.”

Polycom Inc.

www.polycom.com

Polycom HDX Series featuring H.264 High Profile

H.264 High Profile (H.264/AVC) is a new standards-based video compression technology that reduces the bandwidth requirements for high-definition telepresence and standard-definition videoconferencing by as much as 50 percent, representing substantial network bandwidth cost savings for customers. H.264 High Profile was initially developed by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group together with the ISO/IEC (News - Alert) Moving Picture Experts Group and is used in such applications as Blu-ray discs, videos from YouTube and iTunes, direct broadcast satellite television service, and cable television services.

Polycom claims to be the first to adopt this new standard and embed it into Polycom video endpoints and infrastructure to lower the bandwidth requirements for HD and SD video/telepresence calls. Polycom has implemented H.264 High Profile initially across its Polycom HDX room telepresence system portfolio (6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 series), and will also implement it on its video bridging infrastructure (RMX line) and immersive telepresence systems (RPX, TPX, ATX lines) and recording, streaming and digital signage products, providing customers with a comprehensive solution.

Polycom explains to TMC Labs: “Polycom offers the HD and SD video quality for various resolutions and frame rates at up to 50 percent less than competitors like Tandberg and LifeSize, and even greater savings against Cisco (News - Alert), which uses less efficient, proprietary coding technology. When customers deploy larger numbers of telepresence and videoconferencing systems across their network, the bandwidth and associated cost savings offered by Polycom compared to the competition are significant.”

The H.264 High Profile technology complements existing Polycom technology to offer enhanced performance. For example, H.264 High Profile in conjunction with Polycom Lost Packet Recovery technology (forward error correction) allows customers to experience greater quality and a consistently high-quality experience over lower bandwidth and across best-effort networks, where packet loss and network congestion may occur. Polycom explains: “This is significant, as competitive systems from Tandberg and LifeSize (News - Alert) will deliver significantly degraded video quality starting at 1percent packet loss, and systems from Cisco can drop video calls altogether at less than 1 percent of packet loss. In contrast, Polycom systems deliver near-perfect video quality at up to 5 percent packet loss and continue delivering good video quality at up to 10 percent packet loss.”

Radware

www.radware.com

Content Inspection Director (CID)

Content Inspection Director (CID), Radware’s transparent smart redirection and dynamic policy enforcement device, lets carriers extend a full set of managed content security services to customers including anti-virus, anti-SPAM, URL filtering, Web application firewalls and parental control. CID enables the seamless deployment of best-of-breed content inspection tools with self-provisioning (RADIUS-based) and scalability across wireline and wireless networks. With CID, carriers can effectively support the delivery of high-performance, customized value-added subscriber content inspection services for business and residential customers.

Supporting up to 16gbps of throughput capacity, it delivers wire-speed deep packet inspection while sustaining multi-gigabit throughputs. CID eliminates service bottlenecks across best-of-breed content inspection tools ensuring carrier-grade availability and service continuity. By intelligently managing content inspection operations and enabling policy-based, service flow customization, CID supports advanced, value-added managed content security.

Radware claims to be the first in the industry to release a dedicated appliance in the application switching market for content filtering inspection and scanning in high-performance environments. Leveraging its security and content inspection controls, CID enables enterprises to define inspection requirements and flow management, allowing users to define the specific security tool to handle each type of traffic, user and content. It has been tested for interoperability with Aladdin, Forum Systems, McAfee, Symantec, Teros, and Trend Micro.

Importantly, CID blends the capabilities of an application switch with those of a DPI device, in one integrated solution. User QoE and service provider visibility and control are improved, enabling enhanced tiered billing capabilities and new network monetization opportunities. CID additionally employs techniques for wireline load balancing (with support for MAC-less devices), application acceleration (compression, caching, SSL offloading), flexible policy enforcement point, bandwidth management and traffic shaping, header enrichment and modification, active/passive redundancy, high VAS availability, device logging, AAA integration, and more.    

REVE Systems (S) Pte. Ltd.

www.itelmobiledialer.com

iTel Mobile Call Back Dialer

iTel Mobile Callback Dialer was launched in January this year to target call-back service providers. A lightweight 100kb application, it improves the user experience vastly for a user of a call back service from a mobile phone. This is a mobile application, which when downloaded in the mobile phone automates the entire call-back process, making it very easy for the end user to use call-back services. For the call-back service provider, this mobile application helps increase minutes of usage, as it is able to detect intelligently all long-distance calls and route them over the call-back platform (with an opt-in from the end user).

Call-back dialing can be complex – requiring long phone numbers and PINs, which can be misdialed or forgotten. This mobile application, when downloaded on the phone, is configured (one time) with the user’s PIN/account number. Thereafter it integrates with the phone book of the mobile handset. So the consumer just chooses the number from his or her phone book and dials (just like a regular mobile call). iTel Mobile Call Back Dialer senses the international long-distance calls and either prompts the user to choose between the regular mobile service or call-back service – or if the user has chosen to route all international calls over the call-back platform, routes the calls automatically to the call-back service provider.

When the call back from the service provider comes in, the dialer auto-intercepts the call and fast dials the destination number of the called party. The end user holds while the call connects – which is much faster than the regular manual process. Even if there is a line busy or any other error, the consumer just repeats the process by choosing the redial button. iTel Mobile Call Back Dialer integrates with phonebook memory of the mobile phone and stores all the necessary information like PIN, access code and user platform preference. So when the consumer makes a call from the mobile phone, based on the consumer preference stored and the destination number, the application automatically routes the call to the call-back service provider’s access number. When the call back comes in to the consumers mobile, it also auto-intercepts the call, fast dials the destination number, and helps connect the call much faster than the regular experience.

SIP Print LLC

www.sipprint.com

SIP Print

SIP Print is a pure SIP-based call recording appliance that is geared toward the SMB for those in the SIP/VoIP telephony market. SIP Print sits on the network and captures the VoIP RTP traffic. All it requires is a port mirroring switch so the SIP Print appliance can passively listen for VoIP RTP packets and record them to the hard drive. Access to the recordings is via an easy to use Web browser.

According to SIP Print: “SIP Print was first to market a pure SIP-based call recording appliance, and we are the first to deliver this product to the SMB market at a price for all to afford. We are also the first to have a redundant SIP recording appliance at an affordable price as well, and with the release of the Express we are first to market for the very small business model of 15 users or under.” SIP Print is now certified to capture and record several VoIP codecs including G729, G722 (HD), and G723. The company claims it is the first to market HD recording.

Speedflow Communications

www.speedflow.com

Mediacore

Mediacore is an integrated solution for VoIP network management. It features a Class 4 softswitch, dynamic routing engine, billing, and QoS control instruments. Mediacore is comprised of routing and billing modules that allows it to tackle all VoIP business processes. Mediacore is offered either as an integrated software solution or as separate modules (softswitch, VoIP billing, routing engine, guardian). The distinct advantage is that Mediacore's modules are compatible with most of various solutions available on the market.

Speedflow Communications explains: “Due to the modular structure and unique proprietary routing algorithms, Mediacore is highly efficient when serving high peaks of traffic. Billing and routing engines can work together either with Speedflow's softswitch alone or routing at the same time [with] media gateways from the different vendors. This architecture helps creating unprecedented reliability and performance in [the] SME market.”

Mediacore softswitch efficiency is more than 300 calls per second, which allows it to process more than a million calls per hour on a single server. The company claims this makes it the highest performance, per server, on a market. Speedflow also espouses its friendly support, though TMC Labs did not verify that claim. It has strong reporting features. A combination of reports generated by the billing system and guardian recommendations creates proactive work flow for routing and NOC engineers as well as outstanding performance for sales and account managers.

The company claims interconnection performance is three to five times more efficient than its main competitor. Importantly, only open source products are used in Mediacore system. It uses a Linux OS with PostgreSQL Database and Java-based Web interface. This allows for high efficiency, security, unique flexibility and the possibility of Mediacore system development.

Transera Communications

www.transerainc.com

Seratel

Transera’s virtual contact center software, Seratel, intelligently connects global callers and agents. Seratel runs in the cloud to help high-volume contact centers face constantly shifting demands for agent resources, manage multiple outsourcers and locations more effectively, and eliminate exorbitant capital expenditure outlays. Seratel includes a full suite of functionality for call centers such as global call queuing, intelligent call routing, and centralized monitoring and reporting. The software enables businesses to deploy a feature-rich call center with agents located anywhere in the world. A browser, a phone and an Internet connection are all that an agent needs.

Seratel also ensures callers consistently reach the most effective agents and that call centers obtain a single centralized view of their call center performance and operations. The software allows call flows to be reconfigured on the fly based on urgent business demands or spikes in volume.

The company leverages SIP to enable the Seratel application to communicate with the underlying telephony elements. Seratel’s call routing capabilities allow enterprises to track the performance of their contact centers in real-time and deliver calls to sites and/or agents that are performing best. For example, for sales calls, Seratel Scorecard Routing will monitor metrics such as revenue per call, sales conversion rate, and/or abandonment rate, and send calls to the agents that are performing best based on these defined business parameters. This ability to adjust dynamically the routing in real-time based on business metrics is unique to Seratel.


Tom Keating is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Technology Marketing Corporation, and Executive Technology Editor/SEO Director for TMCnet.com. To read more of Tom’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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