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December 11, 2008

Pactolus: Looking Back, Moving Forward

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor

2008 has been a year full of surprises. As a nation, we have watched some of the largest financial corporations crumble in the wake of a recession said to be as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s. We also saw the first African-American President elected to the White House.
Gas prices hit an all time high this summer, and in recent months, there have been record layoffs across the country as a result of the weakening economy. This past year proved to be very trying (and tiring) for many businesses, putting pressure on 2009 to offer a light at the end of this long, winding tunnel.
Serving the needs of a market gaining momentum even in a time of desperation, Pactolus Communications Software Corporation provides telecommunications carriers and service providers with innovative solutions that reduce their cost of delivering enhanced subscriber services.

Pactolus is a recognized pioneer in the development and delivery of next-generation IP communication solutions for either converged TDM/IP and/or SIP-enabled VoIP networks.
Ken Osowski (News - Alert), vice president of product management and marketing at Pactolus, took some time to share his thoughts on the current economy and made his predictions for the communications market in 2009.
TMCnet: Are you generally optimistic, Pessimistic or realistic?
KO: In this market, realistic is the only way to be. Forecasting just got a little harder.

TMCnet: How surprised are you at the global financial situation?
KO: The story behind the story - the levels of sheer, un-tethered speculation and the cascading losses - have caught almost everyone off guard.  

TMCnet: How is your company changing the way it does business as a result?
KO: Absolutely. Customer satisfaction, strict adherence to schedules, tight budgets, etc., have always been our operational mode. Now, we’re focusing even harder on these operating principles that have enabled us to outlive our competition in some cases.
TMCnet: How have customers reacted to the slowing global markets?
KO: Those that continue to provide a valuable, economic service are still going ahead with service sustaining plans.

TMCnet: Do you see this time as an opportunity or a rough spot to get through quickly?
KO: It’s both. Economical new services and revenue streams clearly present an opportunity, but we - like everyone - want to see the global economic uncertainty in the rear view mirror. 

TMCnet: What will companies need to do to survive this downturn?
KO: Telecom services define the consumer’s own ‘brand identity.’ From the mobile professional’s light-speed responsiveness to the young consumer’s playlists, tweets, live blogging, services are readily absorbed because they’re part of a much larger framework - the individual consumer’s individual and collective identity. VoIP companies will provide the impetus, economics and innovation for carriers to leverage the unprecedented, multi-faceted communications services that the core networks and end points enable, and that consumers readily absorb.

TMCnet: How do your company’s products help customers in a slow market?
KO: We enable service innovation far beyond traditional VoIP services - VoBB and IP PBX (News - Alert). Pactolus’ un-bounded service creation capabilities uniquely allow service providers to identify opportunities, and cost-effectively create and shape innovative services that meet them. 

TMCnet: What do you feel is the strongest segment of the communications space?
KO: Collaboration and Wireless networks that integrate VoIP. Both offer considerable value in a down economic environment, both for the professional an individual consumer’s ‘brand’ identity.

TMCnet: Which would you rather be president of and why?
KO: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft (News - Alert), Cisco, the United States. One of the portal companies because they are closely aligning innovation with users’ Web experiences.

TMCnet: What does President Bush need to accomplish before he leaves office?
KO: Keep America calm and facilitate the transition to the next administration.

TMCnet: What does an Obama administration need to do to help communications and technology become more pervasive?
KO: Increase broadband speeds, actively encourage IP collaborative technologies such as, for example, distance learning that can reduce higher education costs and make advanced education in high demand fields, such as healthcare, open to more students. 

TMCnet: Will this slowdown present an opportunity to reinvest in your company/market? If so, where will you invest?
KO: Our products and services are currently very will positioned to satisfy the service provider need for IP services that will begin to dominate the telecommunications landscape.

TMCnet: Which country will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
KO: North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico, but we have opportunity and customers around the world that continue to sustain and grow their Pactolus-based services.
TMCnet: What device(s) do you use and wish you used?
KO: I use the Blackberry Bold, but like the iPhone (News - Alert) for its Web browsing capabilities and support for the third-party developer community.  I am looking forward to seeing better business applications on smartphones such as conferencing and collaboration interfaces.

TMCnet: If Nokia, RIM, Google and Apple (News - Alert) devices are stranded together on an island, who survives and why?
KO: RIM because you can abuse them and they still work J

TMCnet: I understand you are exhibiting at ITEXPO which takes place Feb 2-4 2009 in Miami. What will you be showing there?
-- the only SCE-centric open source framework/open access developer resource with the power to drive successful, scalable telecom service creation.
-- The RapidFLEX Service Creation and Delivery Platform- the foundation for the industry’s most scaled, innovative IP services.
-- The full line of innovation-friendly SIPware turnkey voice services, including event conferencing, reservationless conferencing, pre and post paid, voicemail and business and residential VoBB.

TMCnet: What sorts of companies/people should come to your exhibit?
KO: TDM and IP retail and wholesale service providers seeking to create new revenues and cost-reduce capital and operational expenses - this includes the full range of Tier 1 and vertical market-focused service providers
Medium and large enterprises seeking to bring new efficiency and economy to business services such as conferencing and IP PBX, and third-party developers and integrators seeking a dynamic, flexible, user-intuitive and market proven open source platform for creating and integrating new innovative services
TMCnet: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions and how do they justify the expense to management?  
KO: Four key reasons - all Pactolus solutions:
-- Reduce or eliminate third-party service costs and provide compelling, economical service entry and expansion.
-- Drive innovation - Unlike competing service creation environments, we’re not limited to IP PBX and VoBB applications, we enable unlimited IP service innovation.
-- Provide unmatched ease of use and time to market - through both our turnkey services and our rich, easily-usable Service Creation Environment, whose object palette eliminates the need to acquire C++ and Java programming mastery, and expertise in protocols such as SIP and DIAMETER.
-- Ensure scalability and service flexibility - scale is a multi-faceted challenge that is often called the “Rubic’s cube” of IP services. Pactolus-based services let providers quickly, easily, flexibly scale and adapt services as market needs and competitive challenges evolve. 

TMCnet: I am a purchasing decision-maker, why do I need to speak with you before I buy?
KO: Pactolus has 10 years of experience building out NGN IP services networks that scale and deliver considerable revenue for service providers.

TMCnet: What is your favorite part of your job?
KO: Meeting and working with customers and prospects at forums such as IT EXPO

TMCnet: What do you look forward to in the future and why?
KO: IP Services are just in their infancy in the market but they will continue to accelerate quickly going forward as high-speed IP networks build out for broadband and wireless usage. In addition, communication services will continue to tie directly into Web applications for new levels of integrated usage. SIP will continue to play a significant role in this technology rollout.

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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