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Johanne Torres[October 1, 2004]

Uniqall’s Gridborg Changes Pricing Rules


Zagreb, Croatia-based Uniqall’s claim to fame—hardware-free Host Media Processing (HMP) has been blasted all over the news this week. The company accomplished any vendor’s dream when it became the first vendor to freely price its product in accordance with software development economics alone, the company says—all of this in 30 months and less than $200K in funding.

"Traditionally, telephony boards were priced in accordance with the number of concurrent calls that they are able to handle (ports) and the number of concurrent voice or conferencing resources (resources) that they can provide to those calls." said Boris Pavacic, CTO of Uniqall, Inc. "While perfectly logical in telephony boards business, ports & resources pricing for software only solutions has no sense, other than protecting existing hardware based revenues. Per processor, all you can eat pricing, is just much more appropriate."

Uniqall’s Gridborg technology could cause a significant change in the way telephony boards and HMP products are priced, even when compared with hardware based solutions it may lack few features.

For almost twenty years, telephony boards handled connection to telephone network and media processing tasks. Then, VoIP came along—eliminating the need for applications to be attached directly to circuit switched networks. However, we need to keep in mind that Moore's law made x86 processors powerful enough for the purpose of handling media processing tasks that were previously handled by dedicated digital signal processors embedded within telephony boards. Later on, Intel, Aculab, Brooktrout and NMS Communications—acknowledging that the future is in software-only solutions, announced its own HMP building blocks. However, according to Uniqall, the effort in positioning and pricing of their HMP products avoided jeopardizing existing hardware-based revenues—opening doors for the company to build market share.

By solving both network connectivity and media processing in software, Gridborg enables computer telephony application developers to use any VoIP media gateway instead of expensive telephony cards. Depending on the size of installation, price difference may even be in tens of thousands of dollars.

Uniqall is making Gridborg 1.0 free to developers for educational and other non-commercial use within educational institutions. For other commercial and non-commercial purposes, Gridborg 1.0 is priced $500 per processor or $50 per concurrent port, whichever is lower. OEM prices vary from $10-200 per processor, or $1-20 per concurrent port.

Gridborg 1.0 is compatible with Envox Communication Development Platform’s current versions. The Gridborg server is available for Windows and several Linux distributions, while Gridborg Envox driver, like Envox, is Windows compatible. The company will soon offer support for other application interfaces and additional operating systems and processor architectures.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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