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In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with Jonathan Shapiro, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Systems (news - alerts).


GG: What is Alliance Systems mission?

JS: Alliance Systems mission is to design, manufacture, ship, and support communications and computing equipment that provide the infrastructure for VoIP, wireless, security, and other applications. Through our engineering, manufacturing, and value-added services, Alliance helps customers optimize their businesses by enhancing profitability and reducing time to market. Our job is to help our customers get their products to market, support their channels of distribution on a worldwide basis, and support the complex implementations of VoIP (define - news -alerts) and communications applications.

GG: What is your vision for Alliance Systems and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?

JS: Our vision is to focus on customers and technology. Our customers include OEMs, service providers, resellers, and end users who are designing and building mission critical applications. The transition from fixed TDM networks to wireless IP networks is a huge opportunity for Alliance. We have over 13 years of experience designing and support leading edge communication systems. We have strategic relationships with all major suppliers in the VoIP industry and have installed more VoIP and communication servers than any company globally. Our products have been accepted in all areas of communications, and find their way into a wide range of mission critical environments:


Secure e-mail Gateways
Network Security Appliances
Interactive Voice Response
Call Logging
Automatic Call Distribution
Speech Recognition
Emergency Response Notification
Fax Services
NAS and SAN Storage
Microsoft and Linux Infrastructure

Service Providers:
VoIP Session Controllers
Network Management
Test Fixtures and Equipment
Policy Management
Media Gateways
Multimedia Conferencing
Prepaid Wireless
Unified Messaging Billing
OSS Systems
Auto Attendant
Instant Messaging

GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum?

JS: The biggest hurdle we see is the pace of new technology and applications and the increasing interoperability, deployment, and support of these solutions. The pace of innovation is so fast and the applications require so many technology suppliers that supporting increasing complex and very large scale systems takes tremendous technical and operational skills. We have been working with the leading technology partners since the earliest days of the industry and have development the systems, processes, and methodologies to build and support these complex applications. An example of the complexity we face is on any given day we are shipping dozens of highly complex session controllers, ATCA-based media servers, Open Source IP PBXs, and massive storage networks. Its taken us years to be able to design and support such a complex set of systems in an environment where five nines of reliability is considered the minimum.

GG: What are some of the technology areas where Alliance Systems is increasingly focusing, and why are these areas important to the future of your company?

JS: We are focused on several key markets: wireless, VoIP, enterprise communications, digital media distribution, and security to name a few. Within these broad areas we concentrate on high availability server design, clustering, DC power and IP networking, VoIP, Video, and wireless infrastructure solutions. We are seeing a huge potential in storage. The new service providers are coming to us looking for giant storage networks to aid in the delivery of IPTV, music, video, and entertainment content of all types. Within enterprises, regulations such as HIPPA and Sarbanes Oxley, as well as the demand for security, is creating demand for storage and logging of all types. We already have had requests for petabyte (1,000 terabyte) storage arrays.

GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.

JS: IP telephony is part of the worldwide transition to digital communications. As all devices become wireless and capable of full multimedia storage and content delivery, enterprises, governments, and service providers are all trying to integrate their separate networks. Part of the reasoning behind this is financial; IP traffic is a fixed rate cost, you pay for bandwidth versus the per-minute per call of the voice networks. Open, standards-based systems are much less expensive and more flexible. The future architecture will be composed of four basic building blocks.

1. Devices, every device imaginable will be IP enabled: cars, phones, TV, iPods, Blackberries.
2. Antennas, Antenna technology, whether its GSM, GPRS, WiFi, WiMax, will be capable of receiving ultrahigh bandwidth.
3. Routers, all the switches, PBX, cellular, TBD will be converted to routers.
4. Servers, all value added services will be run on servers, whether its storage, media, control. Open source, Web services, hosted services, and all VoIP networks are dependent on servers and software for intelligence.
Alliance is focused on providing the worlds leading design and integration services for the worldwide deployment of servers and infrastructure for this transition. This is the biggest upgrade opportunity of all time and we hope to earn our fair share of this multi-trillion dollar transition. IT

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