Arizona Cardinals Team Up With Cisco By David Sims
The Arizona Cardinals and Insight are teaming up to run a Cisco IP Communications system throughout their training facility in Tempe and their new football stadium, scheduled to open in 2006.
The system, implemented and managed by Insight, will provide approximately 750 Cisco IP phones at the new Cardinals stadium, which will open next August of next year.
In July, Insight hooked up the Cardinals Tempe, Arizona training center with voice, data, and video communications. Digital video technology operating from the converged network will, in the words of Insight officials, allow team members to participate, via video, in real-time training sessions from both the stadium and their Tempe training facility simultaneously, which brings a new dimension to the process of game preparation.
Video-enabled Cisco IP phones for executives will facilitate video conferencing and staff, allowing them to send data, game film and marketing materials from one facility to the other, saving time and operational expenses. The systems at both facilities will be fully linked, fully integrated and fully redundant.
In the new stadium, Cisco IP phones with touch-screen LCDs in the stadium suites will allow fans to pick players off of a virtual roster during a game to engage in a fantasy football game. Using the phones touch-tone color screen, fans will also be able to buy tickets for future games, shop at the Cardinals online store, order food and beverages and pull up football statistics.
New World Symphony, Northwestern Tap LifeSize By Johanne Torres
Thanks to a new partnership between New World Symphony, Northwestern University, and LifeSize, conference attendees from 207 universities will be able to experience live music instruction on high definition video and audio.
LifeSize, a high-definition video communications company, announced that it is currently working with Chicagos Northwestern University and New World Symphony in Miami to demo a live music instruction session using LifeSizes high-definition video and audio products.
The live, interactive demo will be conducted on September 20th during the Fall 2005 Internet2 Member Meeting featuring a high-definition video communications link between the conference site in Philadelphia, the instructor located in Chicago, and the music students in Miami.
We are tremendously excited to collaborate with LifeSize and Northwestern University in this demonstration of next-generation video and audio communications technology, said Tom Snook, New World Symphony CTO. New World Symphony is a virtual institution relying extensively on distance learning to provide our students with the highest levels of musical instruction. LifeSizes high-definition products enable us to enhance the remote communications experience for instructors and students, creating a learning environment very much akin to that of a traditional setting where all parties are in the same room.
According to the companies news announcement, Internet2 conference attendees will be able to view the three-way video multipoint live music instruction at up to 1Mbps with LifeSizes flagship high-definition video communications solution, LifeSize Room.
Even at a bandwidth-rich institution such as Northwestern, there is an appreciation for how lower bandwidth video technology can help us to reach new audiences for our teachers and researchers, reports Larry Amiot, senior digital video engineer at Northwestern University. By offering better quality conferencing at low bandwidths, LifeSizes high-definition video promises to dramatically improve the user experience for any organization.
www.lifesize.com www.northwestern.edu www.nws.edu
Toshiba Announces Video Communications Solution
Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Digital Solutions Division (TAIS DSD), announced its new Video Communications Solution (VCS) for its Strata CIX family of IP business communication systems.
Toshibas VCS will initially provide affordable point-to-point (P2P) video communications and collaboration (desktop and applications sharing) capabilities. Using voice extensions, video can seamlessly be added to telephone conversations. A number of default settings (on, off, non pop-up) can be configured to meet the individual users needs.
Integration Fully integrated with Strata CIX systems and pre-installed when shipped with the Media Application Server (MAS) and managed by eManager, VCS easily extends the users Multi-media experience, including video and data sharing with the VCS client running on Windows XP.
Video Friendly and easy-to-use interface allows participants to set up video communications and conferencing to see, hear and interact with each other.
Collaboration Participants can use various communications tools such as voice or Instant Messaging, share and collaborate
with their desktop applications or documents, and exchange files anytime and anywhere.
Functionality is integrated into the telephony capabilities with features specifically tailored to handle video telephony, including features such as hold, transfer, and forward.
Future releases of VCS will include features such as Presence (Ability to see where Strata users are in real time, what they are doing, and their individual preferred method to be reached), Instant Messaging, three-party video conferencing, and a Toshibas Multipoint Contact Unit (MCU) to support up to eight parties with full video conferencing and enhancements to collaboration capabilities.
Video communications takes productivity to a new level by allowing remote workers to see, hear, interact and collaborate on projects together, no matter where they are physically located. Whether its used for daily organizational calls or VIP communication, VCS provides the remote way to conduct virtual in-person meetings for staff education, field engineer support, sales staff support, and much more. Because it takes the place of face-to-face meetings, video communications can dramatically reduce the cost of business travel.
Toshibas new VCS works with not only Toshibas newer Strata CIX IP platform but also with older Strata CTX TDM business communication systems that have been upgraded with Release 3.1 to add IP capabilities. Meyer said, With VCS, our users can improve their communications and productivity with an affordable entry cost to video communications. Toshiba is once again delivering big company features and functionality to its SMB customer base.
VoIP Driving Security Appliance Market By Johanne Torres
A recent study conducted by research firm In-Stat found that more than seventy five percent of businesses that adopted VoIP-calling services have plans to replace their security appliances within the next year.
The firms analysts believe that while VoIP can add many desirable new features to business telecom systems, vendors and customers face difficult security challenges to realize these benefits. The study forecasts that the security appliance market is ready to grow over the next few years, possibly reaching gains of at least $7 billion by 2009.
Traditional firewall technologies can complicate several aspects of VoIP, most notably dynamic port trafficking and Network Address Translation (NAT) transversal, says Victoria Fodale, In-Stat analyst. Security product vendors are adding functions that address voice applications in their products, but, as history has shown, security typically lags behind advances in technology.
Recent research also found that companies with 500-999 employees increasingly show more concerns about VoIP security than companies of other sizes. Analysts also found that companies have begun to assign larger budgets for security appliance purchase.
In-Stats study titled Trends and Spending Plans for Security Appliances: Are We Ready for VoIP? also revealed that reliability is by far the most important criteria for the purchase of new security appliance products by businesses.
SERVICE PROVIDER NEWS
HP, Macromedia To Help Carriers Deliver Triple Play
By Robert Liu
Macromedias recently introduced, solutions-centric Flash Platform received a favorable endorsement as key programming model and developer toolset for the telecommunications field when Hewlett-Packard announced it will jointly integrate and market the software package as part of its HP Services Delivery Platform (SDP).
In its press release, Macromedia said the partnership will enable carriers, network equipment providers, and telecommunication ISVs to streamline the creation of new communications, messaging, and collaboration solutions across fixed, mobile, and broadband networks.
Flash Platform is a package that Macromedia introduced in June that is designed to leverage the massive Flash player installed base by tying in popular software titles like the Flash MX design tool, Macromedia Flex for applications development, Macromedia Breeze for delivering online communications, and Macromedia Communications Server for two-way audio/video streaming. Using those software tools, Macromedia engineered industry-centric vertical solutions in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach, making the partnership with HP SDP a natural fit.
Macromedia and HP are clearly hoping to capitalize on the urgency of telecom service providers to roll out next-generation communications that unify voice, video, and data. For example, instead of working with say IBM and its IMS solutions partner Ubiquity to create and deploy multimedia IP services, carriers can tap into the lightweight and widely distributed Flash technology to speed deployment. In fact, the solution has already been deployed by Telecom Italia, which has deployed a video chat application called Rosso Alice and Telecom Italias CTO Stefano Smareglia has previously stated that Flash has enabled its Rosso Alice to compete with other entertainment channels and platforms.
Carriers investing in multi-service IP networks will accelerate time to market for the broad adoption of services by leveraging the instant network effect of Macromedia Flash and the reach of the HP SDP, while still maintaining strong brand control and differentiation, said William Stofega, senior research analyst, VoIP Services, IDC. The Flash Platform combined with the HP SDP creates a robust, multiplatform solution for the enterprise that is suitable for stringent, mission-critical environments across the telecommunications network.
As part of the joint initiative, HP will offer turnkey systems integration services to the growing number of telecommunications service providers deploying Flash Platform products in their networks. Macromedia and HP will initially target their joint sales efforts to major carriers around the world that have deployed key elements of the SDP. As part of their professional services engagements, HP will resell elements of the Flash Platform, including Macromedia Breeze for delivering online communications and Macromedia Flex for developing rich Internet applications.
Most logically, the first application based on Flash to be integrated with the SDP is Macromedia Breeze, which has already been tightly integrated with popular platforms such as Salesforce.coms customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Cable & Wireless, KDDI, and Verizon have also been working to deploy the Macromedia Web conferencing solution within large enterprises for internal training and communications.
Pannaway Releases Broadband Access Manager
By Ted Glanzer
Continuing to make waves in the rural telco next-generation broadband service convergence market, Portsmouth, N.H.-based Pannaway Technologies, Inc., announced the release of its Broadband Access Manager (BAM), which is used to manage all components of its Service Convergence Network (SCN).
According to a company statement, Pannaways RUS-listed SCN is the industrys first end-to-end IP solution for secure, converged broadband transport services, allowing companies of all sizes to optimize the existing pipeline to the premise to build out a network for Triple Play services.
As part of the SCN, the BAM server is a sophisticated but extremely affordable broadband element management system that provides telcos the flexibility to leverage the benefits of IP while simultaneously reducing installation complexity and lowering operational expenses.
Priced at $17,200, the BAM server is delivered on a 1RU appliance that runs 24/7, and redefines the term truck roll for telecom service providers.
Indeed, the integrated capabilities of the BAM Server include the following:
Automated Line Qualification;
Auto Network Discovery;
Dynamic Service Activation;
Rapid Device Identification;
Enhanced Network Trouble Shooting;
Remote Device Analysis;
Group Device Management;
Automated Subscriber Management; and
SIP Call Control Manager Configuration.
Pannaway placed a big bet on an IP/Ethernet infrastructure early on and are now poised to reap the rewards, said Matt Davis, Director of Broadband Access Technologies at Yankee Group. Well-integrated IP/Ethernet networks will reduce [operational expense] costs through simplification, automation and by streamlining a variety of network management tasks.
Proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
The BAM Server was a primary reason why Gilmer, Texas-based ETEX Telephone Cooperative announced that it selected Pannaway for the delivery of next-generation broadband services.
ETEX Telephone, which supports 17,000 access lines in northeast Texas, said that it plans to transition their existing ATM network to one that leverages pure IP from end-to-end, according to a news release.
We knew early on in our evaluation process that a pure IP network would be a better investment for us based on the types of applications that we plan to deliver, said Charlie Cano, engineering manager at ETEX. Two big factors that led us to a Pannaway selection included their broadband access management system for end-to-end service provisioning, line testing and network troubleshooting, and their commitment to becoming more than just a technology provider, but a true partner in every sense of the word.
Another Pannaway customer echoed those sentiments.
Using BAM, we can leverage an automated management system to remotely qualify lines, deploy CPE and push out regular maintenance releases, said Carl Burgess, CEO of Bartow, Fla.-based CLEC REI Communications. This will minimize truck rolls, keeping our expenses down, ultimately translating to very competitive prices for our subscribers.
VoIP, Inc. Offers Private Network 911 Service
By Ted Glanzer
One thing has not been lost in the recent news regarding the Federal Communication Commission providing 30-day extension of time to PSTN-connected VoIP service providers to comply with the notice provisions of its E911 order.
The service providers are still required to offer E911 to their subscribers by Nov. 28, a deadline viewed by many as an unrealistic one to accomplish such a monumental task.
Thus far, several companies, such as Intrado and TCS, have stepped forward to offer solutions that route VoIP subscriber 9-1-1 calls into the dedicated wireline E911 network.
However, VoIP, Inc., CEO Steven Ivester said that in their haste to comply with the FCCs mandate, service providers are risking emergency call quality and security.
The industry has been focused on creating quick solutions to meet FCC deadlines related to recent regulatory actions that require VoIP service providers to offer 911 services to customers, he said. Some of these solutions continue to use unsecured, and best-effort transport of the Internet for critical emergency calls.
Accordingly, VoIP, Inc. has entered the FCC E911 fray, announcing the launch of the industrys first private network 911 service for broadband and packet communications, promising unprecedented quality and reliability.
We are changing the dynamics at VoIP, Inc., with this unprecedented move to go beyond the requirements of the FCC order to help ensure reliability and quality of 911 calls, Ivester said.
The service utilizes VoIP, Inc.s proprietary VoiceOne network; once a call is received on the network, it is analyzed for the proper delivery to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), call center, or other emergency location.
Based on the destination of the location required to deliver the call, it is maintained on the private VoiceOne MPLS backbone, ensuring the best-possible quality and redundancy for transport, compared to other solutions utilizing the Internet for call delivery, VoIP, Inc. CTO Shawn Lewis said.
According to the company, the 911 service feature can be managed by carriers, service providers, cable operators, and others through the VoiceOne Web portal or XML provisioning system in near real-time fashion a feature that is not offered by solution providers in the 911 industry today.
Offering IP related services, with the quality of service and reliability levels carriers and consumers demand and deserve, was our primary focus in designing this product offering, VoIP, Inc. CTO Shawn Lewis said. Secondly, making the service affordable and available to all with a simplified interface was critical.
StarVox Partners With Veraz To Upgrade Domestic VoIP Network
By Ted Glanzer
San Jose, Calif.-based next-generation service provider StarVox Communications, Inc., has upgraded its domestic VoIP network using Veraz Networks lastest softswitch release and media gateways. The upgrade, according to a company release, enables StarVox to offer business the premium voice quality that they are used to, using [service level agreements] that guarantee the Quality of Service of VoIP.
StarVox Vice President of Marketing Rich Barry explained that utilizing Veraz Networks equipment is key because businesses are very hesitant to switch to VoIP networks if they lose any voice quality.
Having Veraz Networks as our softswitch and media gateway supplier gives StarVox the most advanced and flexible next-generation network in the market, said StarVox President and CEO Doug Zorn in a prepared statement. This means that we can meet our goal of offering businesses the most advanced next-generation network solutions.
StarVox domestic VoIP network, which was launched in mid-July, has expanded to cover most major metropolitan areas in the United States, with long distance and toll-free calling within reach of over 80 percent of business sites, and local phone service to over 50 percent of business sites.
Barry said that StarVox has brought on a large number of wholesalers who are using the network and that the company is starting to gain retail customers through agent channels.
The next big thing, according to Barry, is the switch from the PSTN last mile to the VoIP last mile, in which a gateway is installed at a customers site. Such a switch would enable a customer to handle about three times the number of calls as a regular PSTN voice network.
There is a strong economic advantage to go to VoIP last mile, Barry said
Veraz Senior Director of Product Marketing Ed Camarena said that, the StarVox announcement represents an ongoing trend were seeing with service providers taking advantage of services oriented solutions for the customers.
StarVoxs roll-out of converged IP-based applications on a nationwide basis supports our vision of using the Veraz softswitch and media gateways as the core components of next-generation service provider networks, said Doug Sabella, president and CEO of Veraz Networks, Inc.
Recently, Veraz Networks, a global provider of softswitch-based packet telephony solutions, announced that it was the lead vendor for a deployed solution at Cable & Wireless for 600,000 prepaid residential and calling card subscribers in Panama.
Veraz also announced a recent win in June with one of the largest service providers in India.
Weve got a lot of traction in the U.S. and outside the U.S. Were very well-positioned on a global basis, said Camanera, noting that Veraz has delivered VoIP products to service providers in about 50 countries. [VoIP] is becoming the technology for the world.
SunRocket Picks XO For VoIP Termination
By Johanne Torres
Recently, XO Communications, Inc., announced that the company has been selected by SunRocket for VoIP termination services.
The new agreement calls for SunRocket to use the XO VoIP Termination to support its Internet home phone service. According to the companys news release, XO VoIP Termination enables SunRocket to hand off voice traffic to XO, allowing SunRockets customers IP-based calls to be routed across the XO IP network at the highest priority and terminated to the public switched telephone network at destinations across the United States.
SunRocket delivers reliable, best-of-breed services to our customers, and choosing the right network partners ensures that we continue to provide that outstanding quality of service, including enhanced 911, while growing rapidly, said Rob Mainor, chief operations officer at Vienna, Virginia-based SunRocket. XO is a leading enabler of VoIP service providers and will enable us to broaden our network coverage and performance as we continue to rollout SunRocket service nationwide.
By selecting XO to terminate VoIP traffic, companies virtually hand over their VoIP calls directly to XO for termination to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The agreement will allow SunRockets voice traffic to be routed across the XO OC-192 class of service-enabled network at a higher priority level. The traffic will pass through an XO softswitch gateway and will be carried across the XO IP network to an XO softswitch gateway nearest the final destination of the call. The process will convert the traffic by a XO softswitch to a format accepted by the terminating local service provider.
SunRockets selection of XO is another demonstration of our success in delivering advanced wholesale VoIP solutions for todays new breed of phone companies, said Ernie Ortega, president of carrier sales at XO Communications. Providers like SunRocket are driving the adoption of innovative voice services and we are proud to be a partner for them.
Paul Erickson and Joyce Dorris, former MCI executives who were responsible for MCIs 1-800-COLLECT and The Neighborhood Built by MCI, announced they set up VoIP-enabled call service company SunRocket back in November last year with the aid of Nokia Venture Partners, which provided the startups first round of financing.
SunRocket launched the SunRocket Signature Services, a new residential primary-line phone service priced at $24.95 monthly, with no activation charges, no contracts, term-commitments, activation fees, shipping charges, equipment charges, or cancellation fees. The service is currently available in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Boston.
Telstra Completes Vistulas VoIP Platform Implementation
By Johanne Torres
Telstra Europe, Ltd., has signed off on the technical implementation of Vistula Communications Services, Inc.s V-Cube platform.
Technical implementation of the VoIP platform represented the final clearance stage before full product launch by Telstra Europe, a subsidiary of Australia communications giant Telstra Corp., Ltd., of a number of hosted VoIP PBX services to client groups in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
According to Vistulas news announcement, Telstra is on target for its VoIP products going live in October of this year, although some customers have been using the services successfully since June.
This is a significant event for Vistula with V-Cube reaching its go-live status with a major Tier 1 carrier, said Rupert Galliers-Pratt, Vistulas chairman and CEO, we are obviously delighted with the progress to date and look forward to Telstras success in the UK and Irish markets.
We set ourselves an extremely aggressive launch target and are delighted with the progress we have made in creating our product set in line with the requirements of our Sales and Marketing divisions, noted Telstra Europe CEO Dave Thorn. We have been working hand in hand with Vistulas engineers for some months and feel that we have achieved everything that the company promised. We look forward to the next phase when we bring our paying customers on-line. We already have a healthy pipeline of enquiries for our service due to its feature rich applications and market leading price point and expect to make a series of customer announcements shortly.
Vistula announced back in April that Telstra had signed an exclusive, five-year contract to distribute Vistulas V-Cube VoIP platform in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In addition to a set of telephony features, the agreement called for Telstra Europe and Vistula to create a client Web-based portal that takes customers through sign-up, giving them control of their own VoIP domain, and access to online features such as Web-based voice mail and statistical information about their usage.
WiFi TELEPHONY NEWS
WildPackets Launches Portable VoWiFi Analyzer
By Johanne Torres
WildPackets, Inc., recently introduced the AiroPeek VX v1.0 Expert VoWiFi (Voice over Wireless) analyzer. The network analysis provider also upgraded its line of AiroPeek SE and NX WLAN analyzer products.
The three products now include simpler configuration settings that provide ready enforcement of wireless network security policies, GPS location-tagging to enhance site survey exercises, and real-time application analysis to better identify performance issues, including those masked by WEP and WPA encryption.
The AiroPeek product line has had a very large and loyal following worldwide since the SE version first shipped in 2001, noted Mahboud Zabetian, WildPackets CEO. Over 6,000 organizations own AiroPeek, and consistently invest in the products ongoing development through our maintenance programs. A wireless voice product is a natural progression for us and the next step for many of them. Our 15 years of self-funded growth and profitability have been made possible through focused delivery of relevant, affordable solutions for our customers for each emerging technology: in the wired world, in wireless, and now in voice.
The AiroPeek product line includes site surveys, security assessments, client troubleshooting, WLAN monitoring, remote WLAN analysis, complete VoIP analysis, and application layer protocol analysis.
All three products are currently available and have SRPs starting under $1,000.00 USD. Current maintenance customers receive v3.0 of their registered AiroPeek NX or SE product for free, along with a lower-priced upgrade offer for AiroPeek VX.
This news follows the companys recent announcement about it releasing version 3.0 of the Omni enterprise network analysis platform in June. The new version adds in-depth VoIP call analysis, support for PCI-based T1/E1 WAN analysis, and enhanced support for Datacom Systems and Net Optics matrix switches.
The company explained that the Omni architecture is comprised of OmniPeek Consoles and Omni DNX Engines that deliver coverage and analysis of local and remote networks. The service and product suite can analyze VoIP, Gigabit, WAN, Wireless, and Ethernet traffic from live data captured by Omni DNX Engines deployed in any local or remote location. WildPackets says that OmniPeek Voice adds real-time VoIP diagnoses to the statistical analysis and distributed, real-time network troubleshooting provided by the Omni solution.
VoIP DEVELOPER NEWS
Tripp Lite Introduces Digital UPS System With LCD
Tripp Lite has introduced a new UPS System that features a digital LCD display. The SMART1000LCD Digital UPS System features a large, backlit display designed to clearly and dynamically indicate input voltage, UPS battery capacity, and a variety of operational conditions.
The liquid crystal display featured in Tripp Lites new Digital UPS System is a radical departure from standard LED sets featured on traditional UPS systems in this class, said David Slotten, Tripp Lite Director of Product Management. The LCD display makes the UPS a more dynamic diagnostic tool that not only allows end-users to better understand their power conditions but also reassures them that their equipment is completely protected against downtime and damage.
The SMART1000LCD Digital UPS System provides 1000VA of conditioned power, long-lasting battery backup and eight outlets to accommodate a variety of computer and home entertainment components. Line-interactive operation including Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) corrects brownouts without using battery power. A versatile cabinet is adaptable for both tower and rackmount (2U) applications. The LCD display is rotatable for easy viewing in any position. The SMART1000LCD also features single-line phone/DSL surge protection (for phone, fax, modem or DSL connections) and single-line coaxial surge protection (for cable modem, DSS satellite, cable TV or antenna connections). The HID-compatible USB port supports the UPS monitoring functions built into Windows and MAC operating systems. PowerAlert Software, available as a free download, provides automatic unattended shutdown.
A New 4U 8-slot CompactPCI Subsystem
ADLINK Technology Inc., a global leader in developing CompactPCI and AdvancedTCA platforms, presents a new 4U rackmount CompactPCI enclosure with eight-slot 6U backplane and redundant power supplies. The cPCIS-6418 is designed to deliver optimal performance for telecommunications, CTI, Voice over IP, and network equipment providers.
The cPCIS-6418U is a high-performance CompactPCI platform with a 64-bit, eight-slot 6U backplane in a 4U enclosure. The eight-slot backplane dedicates one slot to the system CPU board and seven slots to peripheral boards. It supports a PICMG 2.5 compliant H.110 CT Bus. Featured with high availability and room for expansion, the cPCIS-6418U is compliant with the PICMG 2.5 computer telephony integration standards and is ideal for Voice over IP and network equipment applications.
This subsystem is equipped with a front access, hot-swap cooling system for effective CPU heat ventilation and high-density computing. The cPCIS-6418U uses hot swappable 500W + 200W redundant power supplies with a universal AC input. The cPCIS-6418U uses a 4U enclosure and is categorized as a high-availability model. The cPCIS-6418U was designed not only considering overall system power loading but also overheating issues from multiple CPU boards within the enclosure.
ADLINK also offers a compatible 6U CompactPCI CPU board for use with the cPCIS-6418U: cPCI-6860A and cPCI-6840. These two CompactPCI CPU boards are easily expandable and can be utilized to take full advantage of all the cPCIS-6418Us capabilities. The cPCI-6860A is a 6U CompactPCI dual low voltage Xeon processors Host single board computer and the cPCI-6840 is a 6U CompactPCI highly-integrated Pentium M processor PCI 64-bit/66 MHz Universal Blade.
The cPCIS-6418U is competitively priced at $2695 and is available with OEM discounts.
Phihong Multiport Midspans Now Compatible With Gigabit Systems
Phihong announced that the company now offers a multiport midspan power injector for Power-over-Ethernet applications that can be used with Gigabit systems. A key differentiator according to company officials, is that the Phihong Midspans are not limited to working only on 10baseT or 100baseT systems.
Our customers realized that Power-over-Ethernet was a smart solution to their networking needs, but the midspans on the market were not designed for high-speed applications such as broadband wireless, said Keith Hopwood, Vice President of Marketing for Phihong USA. We designed our low-cost injectors so that they can be applied to any network without compromising the data rate. Now IT professionals can take our Midspan and get PoE on any network without having to check compatibility.
Available in one-, eight-, 16 and 24 port versions, Phihongs high-speed Midspans offer full 15.4W per port at a cost that is 40 percent lower than competitor solutions.
PoE allows both power and data to be carried over an Ethernet cable. A midspan is used to implement PoE into an existing network where power can be inserted on the spare pair.
The enterprise midspan provides one to 24 ports to upgrade an existing architecture with total output power up to 370W. Offering 15.4W per port, the midspan will deliver full power to all ports so there is no need for calculating which devices to connect. Each midspan comes with software to control and monitor each port along with full power management capability for load shedding in back-up power conditions.
Pricing for the 24-port Midspans start at $295 in OEM quantities.
NETGEAR Chooses Centillium To Speed VoIP Platform Development
By Johanne Torres
NETGEAR has selected Centillium Communications, Inc., in order to speed things up as it develops a new VoIP platform for the consumer and small business markets. Specifically, NETGEAR selected Centillium and its newest Atlanta system-on-chip (SoC) system in order to reduce development time and preserve software investments across multiple platforms.
Centilliums Voice Services Platform (VSP), part of the Atlanta product and service suite, includes a VoIP media terminal adapter (MTA), a VoIP cordless phone, a two-line gateway and four-line SOHO router, and a triple-play set-top box. According to the companies news release, with the VSP in place, it should take NETGEAR less than three months to have the service up and running.
NETGEAR is committed to bringing our customers the most advanced solutions, and the software portability of Centilliums Atlanta family ensures that we are making a secure investment in a technology that can be easily upgraded as customer requirements change, said Patrick Lo, chairman and CEO, NETGEAR.
Atlantas high-performance routing and throughput delivers superior voice quality, while its versatile, configurable software facilitates cost-efficient, quick time-to-market. With each Atlanta family member optimized to deliver a different level of capabilities, the built-in software portability provides significant benefits for our customers to upgrade their service offerings without having to retool software, he added.
All devices in the Atlanta family are both Linux and VXworks-compatible. Other Atlanta products include the Atlanta A70, an entry-level SoC for clear voice quality; the A80 for an added capability to interface with any WiFi or high-speed adapter; the A90 for SOHO clients with four voice channels and a routing engine available at 100 Mbit/second; and the A100 for enterprise-level security and encryption of all data and voice.
IP CONTACT CENTER NEWS
Sendia Announces WorkSpace CRM 3.0
By David Sims
Sendia Corporation, a wireless business application platform vendor, is announcing the release of WorkSpace CRM 3.0 for salesforce.com, which features a host of powerful new features and upgrades, including support for salesforce.coms Customforce and other advanced capabilities such as filtered views, increased data capacity, and customizable lists.
Designed for salesforce.com mobile users, WorkSpace CRM 3.0 replaces Sendias Wireless Salesforce Automation 2.3 and is compatible with popular wireless handheld devices such as BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds and Palms Treo series.
Last December Sendias Wireless Salesforce Automation product for palmOnes Treo 600 and Treo 650 smartphones was certified by salesforce.com for the ASPs sforce on-demand platform, according to SmartPhoneToday.
The sforce on-demand platform lets third-party developers customize, integrate, and extend salesforce.com with custom CRM products. Other sforce members include IBM, BEA, Borland, and Microsoft.
Wireless SFA from Sendia extends salesforce.coms customer relationship management application to wireless-enabled handheld devices (such as Treo & RIM BlackBerry), making the information accessible and editable from the field, SmartPhoneToday reported.
With WorkSpace CRM 3.0, custom objects such as invoices, purchase orders, HR tracking, expenses, and project management originally created for the desktop version of Salesforce can be accessed on BlackBerry or Treo handheld devices. This allows administrators to decide the exact custom application functionality they want mobilized on their field teams mobile devices.
With WorkSpace CRM 3.0, custom objects created in the desktop Salesforce appear as individual tabs in the devices user interface.
Alex Klyce, president of Sendia said that WorkSpace is designed bearing in mind that most salesforce.com customers customize their applications.
For BlackBerry users, WorkSpace CRM 3.0 enables up to 60,000 records to reside on supported RIM BlackBerry devices, five times that of the previous version and the equivalent of 7.5MB of application data storage. For the typical user, this means that all of their existing Salesforce records will be available on the devices local database from installation.
As with version 2.3, data can be accessed through WorkSpace CRM even when a wireless connection is not available.
WorkSpace CRM 3.0 supports custom List Views, which offer customized ways of viewing the information on the handheld device. Configurable by the administrator or mobile user, List Views allows data to be quickly grouped or viewed in specific formats that are unique to the preferences of a company or mobile user.
According to Sendia officials this allows an administrator to create a custom object in Salesforce, selecting only the data fields that would be relevant to a mobile user to be featured on the device and configure the layout depending on preference and frequency of use.
PacificNet Brings CRM To China Telecom
By David Sims
PacificNet Inc., which sells CRM, call center, interactive voice response and other services in China, has announced that its PacificNet Epro subsidiary has been selected by China Telecoms Hainan Branch to provide CRM consulting and call center training services.
PacificNet Epro had previously served China Telecoms main customer service centers located in Jiangsu, Hubei, and Guangdong.
According to a company statement, China Telecoms 10,000 information hotline was, the first customer service center in Chinas telecom industry, and was designed to provide basic customer service such as answering customer questions, processing orders, and handling complaints.
Beginning in 2005, China Telecom has been trying to upgrade customer service as a competitive advantage in the increasingly competitive Chinese economy. Face it, a central command economy is great at producing Five-Year Plans but isnt the best incubator for responsive customer service, so as the Chinese consumer economy morphs into a competitive one, where customers actually have options, customer service is seen as a key differentiator.
PacificNet Epro is expected by China Telecom to help Hainan Telecom improve its CRM services with the specific goal of generating profit through CRM services, telemarketing and outbound telesales.
Tony Tong, Chairman and CEO of PacificNet, said that price is no longer the deciding factor for Chinese consumers, who are getting more sophisticated about quality customer service: Today, customers choose a provider in China not solely based upon price, but upon a number of factors including CRM service, loyalty and retention programs. This trend has created the demand for and deployment of large scale customer contact centers.
Tong called the CRM contact center the new competitive advantage for the market leaders in China, declaring that to become a market leader in China, whether as a product or service provider, a company needs to devote resources to CRM and customer service.
WCGS And AmeriVon LLC Team Up
World Communication Group Services, LTD, (WCGS) a full service Switch Partitioning and Co-Location Provider, in conjunction with AmeriVon LLC, a provider of consumer long distance products and services, have announced the product launch of the SmartCall long-distance dialer. This new product targets the prepaid calling card and debit card industries.
The SmartCall dialer is designed to allow dial up phone line users to have competitive long-distance pricing similar to that offered by VoIP providers without the added expense of a broadband connection or equipment.
The SmartCall dialer installs on the users phone line, requiring no external power source. Once installed, the device will direct all toll and long-distance calls directly to the WCGS network utilizing their custom network software. The customer dials long-distance and toll calls directly without the need to enter special pin codes or access numbers. Customers may have either a prepaid or postpaid account on the network depending upon the rate plan purchased.
We are very excited about the consumer acceptance of this product during our initial market testing, said Arnie Goodstein, CEO of WCGS. This product will open new sales channels for distributors of prepaid calling card and debit card products. The innovative software we have designed will produce significantly higher profit margins for the vendor and provide better prices for the end user than traditional calling card products. We are pleased to be associated with AmeriVon LLC and to be the provider of the switching platform for their SmartCall product.
We are delighted to offer SmartCall to the market place, said Bob Segal, President and CEO of AmeriVon LLC. We feel that our product offering paired with the switching and network platform from WCGS will provide new opportunities for the prepaid calling card and debit card industries.
Concerto Extends VoIP Functionality
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
Contact center solutions provider Concerto Software may have an appellation that is not long for this world, but that apparently hasnt halted innovation on the companys part.
The company, which is in the process of merging with the former Aspect Communications Corp. into a company to be called Aspect Software, recently announced that it is extending voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality in several of its principal products with new releases scheduled to be launched in the next two quarters.
The flexibility of IP allows contact centers to distribute the work to where it makes the most sense, regardless of geographic region, and allows them to quickly react and be proactive regarding changing business conditions, as well as meet regulatory and compliance requirements without compromising customer satisfaction or cost, said Ralph Breslauer, executive vice president of global sales and marketing at Concerto. Our focus is to continue providing solutions that enable contact centers to take advantage of those IP capabilities, in an evolutionary fashion, thereby still allowing companies to achieve their strategic business objectives in collections, customer service or sales and telemarketing.
That evolution includes support for the session initiation protocol (SIP) to connect the agent to the contact center and the contact center to the network. The products offering new IP capabilities that will enable customers to increase agent productivity and reduce costs without compromising existing technology investments, customer satisfaction, and agent satisfaction, include:
EnsemblePro, the platform for Concerto Unified Edition and a complete solution offering unified inbound, outbound and blended multichannel contact (voice, e-mail, Web and fax;
Spectrum ACD, which supports high-volume customer interaction by integrating ACD functionality with computer-telephony integration (CTI) applications;
Unison Predictive Dialer, an outbound customer contact product that integrates with existing voice and data systems and offers campaign development tools, predictive dialing, call blending, a browser-based agent desktop, real-time statistics and historical reporting; and
Conversations Predictive Dialer, which provides outbound call management capabilities to improve agent productivity, allows flexibility in managing operational costs and leverages existing technology investments. The upcoming release will offer agent VoIP connectivity via SIP.
When companies move to an IP infrastructure, it doesnt mean they have to sacrifice features and functionality to gain the cost benefits associated with VoIP. This is one of the reasons weve chosen to integrate SIP, which has matured into the technology that we feel confident offering to our customers, while providing the same comprehensive routing, reporting and monitoring features that are synonymous with Concerto, said Roger Sumner, Concerto chief technology officer.
THE CHANNEL NEWS
Microsoft In Hosted Model Delivery
By David Sims
In what has to be a fairly closely-watched experiment Down Under, Australian-based AIE Technologies is announcing the launch of www.Software4Rent.Biz, what they describe as a fully automated, Web-based service where users can rent popular Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint, Excel, Project, etc., on an ad-hoc basis such as by the hour, day, week, etc.
The Web site allows users to use a credit card to rent software for as little as $2 a day and can be accessed at www.software4rent.biz.
Garry Ohlson, AIEs CEO said that the service had taken three years to develop as a response to Microsofts Service Provider Licensing Agreements of 2002.
The system is built on version two of Microsofts .Net platform. It works similar to the way that Citrix works, like a thin-client. Everything runs on a host machine. Its so cheap to run, Ohlson says, his company only needs 20 customers to cover their expenses.
AIE calls their offering Software4Rent, and theyre billing it as a world first an online, Internet accessed system to rent various Microsoft products and soon other software such as accounting, security, design, CRM etc., on an as-needed basis, on demand, online and always available.
Microsoft Australia licensing product manager Thomas Kablau told ComputerWorld that Microsoft has around 62 direct SPLA partners in Australia that offer Microsoft products on a rental basis.
Based on AIEs CALPIM software asset management engine, Software4Rent allows SME, SoHo and private users to be one-hundred proof license compliant with their software at hosted prices.
Many people cannot justify what they perceive as a high license cost for their perceived low or private usage, Ohlson said, so rather than buy it, many individuals borrow or download a copy illegally. Now we can give them the option of renting it online very easily and cheaply, (making software) a utility like electricity, water or gas. You should only have to pay for software when you use it.
Jeremy Horton, AIEs Chief Architect said Microsoft is offering more and more of its products in this manner, as well as the other major software vendors such as SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com. AIE itself is considering hosting Adobe products as well.
Ohlson added that this model has been shown to have little impact on license purchases A license purchase is not cost justifiable for infrequent users, hence the worlds high level of software piracy in the public sector. In fact it is now quicker, simpler and easier to rent the latest and current versions of software legally on demand than go to the trouble of locating software that can be copied.
He credited the adoption of broadband worldwide and specifically in Australia recently for being the big driver behind this change in consumer patterns.
Avaya Inks Alliance With Equant
By Johanne Torres
Avaya Inc. and Equant have announced that they have inked a partnership to jointly deliver IP-based communications. The new agreement named Equant an Avaya Strategic Alliance Partner, enabling Equant to deliver an integrated Avaya-based system to its enterprise customers.
The companies have been working together since March of last year. They will first make available a managed IP telephony communications system designed specifically for multinational companies. The system integrates a layer of Avaya applications with a VoIP VPN service from Equant. The new joint service and product suite offer includes end-to-end support from consulting to implementation and on-going managed services support.
The combination of Avayas IP telephony and contact center applications with the Equant global network makes for a very powerful proposition to the global market place, said Denzil Samuels, vice president and general manager, Avaya Global Managed Services. The global services capabilities each company brings to the relationship further enhances our ability to respond to needs of our customers wherever they may be in the world.
According to the companies news release, Equant is licensed to resell Avayas industry leading portfolio of products as part of their Enterprise Telephony service in 95-plus countries. In addition, Equant will provide hosted IP communications services for selected customers based on Avaya technology.
This strategic partnership clearly highlights both companies commitment to providing first-class communications solutions that deliver business value to enterprises around the globe. As IT executives continue to move their organizations to converged IP communications, they will be looking for business technology partnerships that can deliver the right solutions on a global scale. Equant and Avaya will be at the forefront of this, noted Pierre-Louis Biaggi, head of Equants Integration Services Business Unit.
Vonage Activates One Millionth Line
By Johanne Torres
In a very short time, Vonage has woken up a dormant telecommunications industry and sparked a tidal wave of change, said Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp., as the company announced that it had activated over one million lines.
News of the milestone follows persistent recent rumors about the possibility of the company filing for an IPO. According to TheDeal.com, the VoIP service provider is planning to file for an initial public offering (IPO), in a move that would help the company raise as much as $600 million.
The company had already managed to raise a whopping $408 million in venture capital rounds led by Bain Capital, with strong participation from existing investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), 3i, Meritech Capital Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, in addition to other investors.
Last May, the company announced it had completed a successful $200-million private financing round, and then told a Red Herring magazine reporter that it had no immediate plans to file for an IPO.
A rumored Vonage IPO would be a huge deal in the VoIP market, wrote TMC president Rich Tehrani. It is huge because Vonage will be a barometer for the entire VoIP industry and more importantly its success or failure will be amplified a thousands times due to its influence on the companies in this space and the capital markets reaction (or over-reaction) to whatever develops.
Vonage has been busy announcing key partnerships in the VoIP industry. It recently teamed up with cordless phone giant VTech, along with Texas Instruments (TI) to bring the Vonage-ready IP-8100-2 cordless handset to over 8,000 retail locations around the U.S. The devices, designed by VTech and bundled with a VoIP chipset by TI, are configured with Vonages VoIP phone-based service and retail for $149.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate after 60 days of service. The ip8100-2 is currently being sold at retail locations nationwide, including SAMs Club, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples, Frys Electronics, Office Depot, and CompUSA.
The VoIP service provider has also been working with E911 technology provider Intrado to comply with the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) recent VoIP E911 ruling. The agency ordered that all providers have VoIP E911 access up and running before the end of November. Vonage, which reportedly set $10 million aside to be used solely for its E911 efforts, has been working with Intrado since November last year.
Jabber: The Reluctant Voice Player
By Robert Liu
Jabber plans to integrate Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) directly into voice capabilities of its core Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) occasionally referred to as the Jabber protocol by next spring.
The news underscores the growing importance of voice signaling in the instant messaging and presence realm. While AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft have long dominated the IM space, upstarts like Skype have demonstrated how even industry stalwarts can become marginalized if they dont stay on top of the latest trends.
IM offerings continue to increase their functionality to include features such as audio/video, conferencing, presence, and Voice-over-IP, so that they are increasingly resembling collaboration suites, according to Matt Anderson, market analyst at Radicati Group.
As such, Jabber, the company that founded and supports the open source instant messaging platform used across tens of thousands of Internet servers by millions of users, plans to introduce new SIP capabilities to its Jabber Extensible Communications Platform (XCP), eliminating the need for a gateway. Jabber will first introduce server-side components in the first quarter of 2006. SIP-based voice signaling will be introduced on the client-side at some point next year, explained Joe Hildebrand, CTO at Jabber.
From a Jabber device, youll be able to ring SIP phones, Hildebrand said.
Historically, Jabbers XMPP technology, which has been accepted as a standard by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), has tapped into SIP through an extension known as SIMPLE, which stands for SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions. But SIMPLE has been slow to gain industry-wide acceptance in part due to political wrangling as well as fragmentation by Microsoft, which uses its own version of SIMPLE in its Live Communicator Server.
Yet while SIMPLE has stumbled out of the blocks, the importance of SIP continued to grow exponentially. SIPs not going away. We have to interoperate with it, Hildebrand explained.
The confluence of events has led the Jabber Software Foundation (JSF) to accelerate work on its own proposal to conduct multimedia sessions in XMPP over the Internet, dubbed TINS or Transport for Initiating and Negotiating Sessions (Jabber Enhancement Proposal #111). Hildebrand explains the goal was to capitalize on all of the work already accomplished by the SIP community.
At first, we thought there should be some sort of convergence protocol between SIP and XMPP. But that wasnt practical, he said. There have been people in the JSF community that want us to take a separate path for voice signaling. We might as well re-use all the work done by the SIP community.
Currently in only experimental stage, TINS will be fast-tracked by the Jabber Council in the next few weeks so that it can advance quickly to draft status. The proposal essentially maps specific syntax of XMPP to the semantics inherent in SIP. The actual TINS specification is a document that says, When you see this in SIP, do this in TINS, Hildebrand said.
The move follows Googles recent decision to use XMPP as the basis of the technology for its Google Talk IM platform. Now analysts believe that endorsement along with the latest outline of its technology roadmap could breathe fresh life into the XMPP platform, which has been losing relevance because of the growing importance of SIP.
I was interested to see what Jabber was going to do eventually. I was surprised when Google chose XMPP. I guess it is kind of inevitable that Jabber integrates SIP-based functionality, Radicatis Anderson explained during a telephone interview.
The company currently offers a SIP/SIMPLE connector (Version 1.0) and will soon offer a connector to Microsoft LCSs flavor of SIMPLE (Version 1.1). The new SIP-based functionality will be released as Version 2.0. And the irony of inevitability wasnt lost on Hildebrand.
Voice is something that were adding because a lot of people are asking for it. But the core value of our system is really about data transfer, Hildebrand admitted.
TelTel Launches IP Telephony For Service Providers
By Johanne Torres
SIP-based Internet telephony technology provider TelTel recently launched the TelTel SIP Virtual Network Operators (SVNO) Partnership Program. The program is said to be able to allow ISPs, ITSPs, CLECs, carriers and other Internet service and content providers to offer SIP-based telephony and multimedia services without having to build their own SIP infrastructure.
According to the companys news announcement, TelTels SVNO Partnership Program is ideal for service providers that are seeking an immediately available total solution for rapid penetration into the VoIP marketplace. Additionally, partners will be able to either provide VoIP independently or as an added-on bundled service to existing offerings.
Businesses can sign up for a one-time fee, which covers access to the PsipTN platform, SIP termination and origination, a softphone available for partner customization, full integration with the partners existing operation and customization with legacy networks. Additionally, SVNO partners can deliver conferencing, voicemail, PBX features, and Web-based portals to manage services.
SVNO partners can offer customers co-branded and remote configurable SIP equipment such as IP phones, ATA and videophones. SVNO partners with proprietary networks can also connect the network to the SIP infrastructure by offering their own termination and origination to the PsipTN. They can still use the PsipTNs existing termination and originations for areas outside their coverage area.
The SVNO partnership program is an innovative business concept designed for rapid deployment of VoIP services within a partners current marketplace. said Jack Chang, TelTels COO. Our partners will have a strong competitive edge over others by leveraging TelTels proven expertise and know-how in delivering complete end-to-end VoIP solutions to their customers.
TelTel previously announced the launch of a Developer Kit for the TelTel Public SIP Telephone Network (PsipTN). The new kit gives service and platform developers access to the PsipTN, allowing them to develop TelTel Ready products and services.
The new PsipTN Developer Kit from TelTel features billing, provisioning, and co-branding APIs, together with a hosted TelTel Ready Asterisk-based platform for rapid application development and deployment. It offers the ability to create applications with commerce and communication capabilities such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Information and Entertainment Channels, Conferencing, Social Networking, Voice Messaging, Enterprise and Call Center applications, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and PBX hosting.
Nortel Launches SIP-Based VoIP Services In Rural Markets
By Johanne Torres
According to recent news, Nortel just finished its deployment of the DMS-10 platform in order to bring residential VoIP-based calling services to the rural U.S. market. With an expansion of the DMS-10 voice switch in place rural service providers will be able to offer Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-enabled VoIP calling services.
According to the companys news announcement, DMS-10 subscribers [have] the option to use traditional VoIP primary phone service and allows users to add cost-effective secondary VoIP lines. Users will also be able to modify call features and call routing through the DMS-10 Web-based portal. The company claims to already have more than 75 service providers scheduled to deploy the rural VoIP-enabled system this year.
We are happy to see the DMS-10 evolve to a packet-based solution, said Norman T. Welker, president of Colchester, Ill.-based McDonough Telephone, which has approximately 4,200 lines. With the addition of SIP-based services, we will be able to offer VoIP and phone service beyond our local territory to expand our subscriber base.
Nortel understands the challenges we face in evolving our infrastructure to a next generation, packet-based network and continues to demonstrate its commitment to rural market providers, said Roy Cranford, translations engineer for Randolph Telephone, which is based in Asheboro, N.C. and services 15,000 lines. By delivering the SIP-enabled DMS-10, Nortel has given us the ability to evolve our network at our own pace to meet our subscribers growing telephony needs. Our deployment went exceptionally well, including calls placed from a user 200 miles away while on vacation!
Nortel will be taking the system on the road as part of its Next Generation Networks Rural Market Tour 2005. More information on locations and dates of the tour are available at the companys Web site.