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Ericsson has unveiled its new Marconi OMS 1400 Optical MultiService Metro-Edge product at this week's Transport Network Strategies conference in Barcelona. The OMS 1400 expands the packet evolution capabilities of Ericsson's optical networking portfolio and strengthens its Full Service Broadband offering.  

As part of Ericsson's optical networking portfolio, the OMS 1400 plays an important role in building connectivity in metro-edge transport networks. It meets the demand from operators to evolve their network to support a new mix of services and traffic types, with dexterous backhaul connectivity that can be TDM or Ethernet-based.

Ericsson's Full Service Broadband offering is a framework for the provisioning of one single network optimised for packet-based services across all residential, business and mobile applications. OMS 1400 is a key element of this offering and enables such packet-service connectivity, meeting operator demand for telecom quality, flexibility and scalability. As part of Ericsson's broadband portfolio, the OMS 1400 complements other Ericsson offerings such as its microwave, broadband access and service-edge platforms for Ethernet networking.

Alfredo Viglienzoni, Head of Product Line Optical Networks at Ericsson, said: "The Marconi OMS 1400 greatly enhances our metro portfolio, and adds to our ability to support customers in their evolution to packet-oriented networking. It delivers technological advances which enable network operators to evolve their business models to be based on this mix of services, and to focus on a more optimized cost of ownership for their networks. "

The Marconi OMS 1400 will be commercially available in early 2008.

TT-Office, the provider of packaged quality solutions to businesses, based on TeleWare applications and THUS next-generation network solutions, has announced packaged voice solutions for flexible working.

TT-Office provides a ‘virtual' number that enables calls to be delivered, instantly, to any phone, over any network, worldwide.  The number will operate as a normal business number, delivering calls directly to the office and can be ‘pulled' to an alternative location, including home and mobile phones, when required.  All the features associated with a business telephone system can be retained, including information about who is calling, the ability to hold and transfer and the ability to record calls or use instant conferencing when needed.

 Flexible working programmes are increasing.  The UK now has 3.1 million home workers plus 8 million additional employees who regularly work from home 1 or 2 days of the week.  This trend looks set to continue, driven by legislative changes, corporate social responsibility, staff welfare and an organisational desire for increased performance alongside cost reductions.  Flexible working, whether home, office or mobile based, offers challenges to the business to support the users' voice requirements.

"Legislative compliance has been a key driver of the increase in flexible working," explained Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare plc. Aside from compliance, there are key performance related drivers that are motivating businesses towards delivering effective flexible working programmes.  Opportunities for greater cost effectiveness and efficiency, such as savings on overheads when employees work from home or less downtime for machinery when shifts are implemented, plus a reduction in wasted commuting time, result in improved competitiveness through being able to react effectively to changing market conditions," added Haworth.

Flexible working gives an organisation the ability to attract and retain a skilled and more diverse workforce, reducing recruitment costs.  It can increase job satisfaction and improve staff morale and create greater continuity of personnel, as staff that might otherwise have left are, instead, offered hours that suit their personal requirements.  An improved work/life balance has a positive impact on staff retention and on employee relations, motivation and commitment.

Without flexible work, each office employee requires a fully serviced desk costing from £5K to £20K; a flexible work programme will reduce the 1:1 planning metric.

Traditional telecom carriers can no longer rely on conventional competitive tactics such as price cuts, promotions and basic product bundling to maintain their edge in the consumer segment, has warned Gartner.  Speaking at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Gartner analysts said that non-traditional telecom players like Apple, Google and Nokia, which have a strong understanding of consumers, are adopting new business models that are forcing carriers to reassess their approach and service delivery. Faced with this competition, traditional telecom carriers will attempt to transform themselves by primarily exploiting content, but Gartner predicts that more than 80 per cent will fail.
 
"The players that will be among the successful 20 per cent will be the ones that provide a consumer-centric experience, for example through interactive TV, where users will be able to chat online while watching their favourite TV programmes," said Martin Gutberlet, research vice-president.
 
Owning infrastructure initially gives telecom carriers some competitive edge but this is mitigated by non-traditional competitors that don't own a network but bundle their services attractively. "As demonstrated by Apple and Google, three new attributes are coming into play and driving change in the marketplace that the traditional telecom players must embrace to become successful content enablers, which create and/or deliver content. They are trust, usability and an exciting customer experience," said Mr Gutberlet. "If customers trust your services, they are willing to grant you access to their personal life. Ultimately, improving the customer experience will increase customer loyalty."
 
In this changing landscape, the winners will be those companies that understand consumers' needs, focusing on usability and actually giving control back to the users. The losers will be the ones that focus on overly technical product differentiation that the majority of consumers will not understand and therefore not use.
 
Telecom companies need to make some strategic decisions, says Gartner, predicting that by 2012, half of the 20 largest carriers will establish new lines of business outside telecom, such as media entertainment, advertising and managed services, but more than half will fail. Further, leading carriers in developed markets such as Vodafone and BT will be able to derive at least 15 per cent of revenue from such non-traditional sources. "To uncover adjacent markets, carriers must leverage their unique assets, in areas such as billing, secure authentication and quality of service, and develop multiple partnerships to add creative talent to existing operational expertise.
 
According to Gartner, three business models are emerging that will help carriers remain competitive through 2012:
 
1. Content Innovator - Entering the Media Market: Embracing this model, content innovators produce and own their content and will use exclusive content to differentiate themselves. For example, France Telecom is investing in film production while SK Telecom acquired a record label. The risk of this model is a temptation to focus purely on content ownership at the expense of providing customer experience.
 
2. Aggregator: Unlike the content innovator model, the aggregator model will not involve the creation of content, rather the sourcing and packaging of it. Carriers that adopt this model realise that much future content will come from the internet. Their aim will be to make it as accessible as possible, given the constraints of networks and devices, especially mobile phones. Aggregators will engage in content location, rendering, billing, advertising insertion and customer care and, as such, will have the opportunity to offer comprehensive bundled packages. Examples include T Mobile's collaboration with Google for mobile search and Hutchinson's Xseries which embraces internet services such as Skype and eBay.
 
Gartner advises that a partnership or joint venture approach offers the best balance between risk and opportunity for carriers. They would have to establish themselves by teaming with content owners, producers, developers, distributors and media buyers.  BT is a good example of a traditional carrier that successfully understands and leverages wider media offerings. 
 
3. Bit Pipe Carrier: This represents a stable business model based purely on connectivity as a utility but with both lower revenue and lower margins than today. Rather than emphasising content and services, the bit pipe model is driven by operational excellence. In order to maintain profits amidst declining revenues, carriers that adopt a bit pipe approach are expected to reduce their core operational staff by at least 20 per cent by 2012, driven by internet protocol (IP) technology, infrastructure consolidation, process automation, operational outsourcing and cutthroat competition. "The risk of this model is making the wrong network investment decision," Mr Gutberlet said.
 
He added, "We envisage that carriers will use any combination of the three business models. A company that has successfully deployed this approach is Telefonica, which was once a content innovator and following its sale of Endemol became an aggregator and a bit pipe carrier."
 
"The telecom industry in 2012 will be very different from the one we know today. Developing strong partnership skills, focusing on customer user groups, embracing internet services and starting to talk the language of Web 2.0 will enable the carriers to thrive well into the future," concluded Mr Gutberlet.

Seeker Wireless, the zone detection technology provider, has today announced the launch of a cannibalisation calculator and a detailed study to highlight the loss in revenues operators can suffer as a result of inaccurate location technology. Seeker Wireless worked closely with a number of mobile operators and a telecom pricing data provider to ensure that the analysis was an accurate reflection of Fixed Mobile Substitution (FMS) trends worldwide. The calculator and study are designed to help operators effectively plan their FMS solutions.

Saturated markets in developed countries and rapid expansion in developing countries have led a number of operators to turn to FMS to expand their markets and drive revenues, offering consumers a single mobile handset for use at home and while out and about. HomeZones have become a key component of many operator FMS strategies; offering mobile subscribers competitive tariffs based on their location. Most HomeZone solutions however, have been based on network Cell-ID technology and this has delivered poor accuracy and significant cannibalisation of revenue.

The Seeker Wireless study found that with Cell-ID, up to 30% of calls are incorrectly tariffed as "at home" when users are actually outside the vicinity of their home, compared to as little as 3% with an advanced zone detection solution. The result is massive revenue cannibalisation with Cell-ID systems. The cannibalisation calculator allows operators to study their subscriber data and business case by country and compare the financial implication of deploying different technologies for HomeZone solutions.

Carrie Pawsey, Senior Wireless Analyst at Ovum comments: "Our research also shows that without increased accuracy, operators could experience significant revenue cannibalisation with traditional HomeZone solutions.
For FMS to be profitable, operators need the right technology to ensure an accurate service that delivers value and meets consumer expectations."

Dr Chris Drane, Chief Executive Officer at Seeker Wireless says: "The voice market is increasingly shifting from the traditional fixed-line towards a mobile future, and our study is further testament to our efforts to raise the bar on accuracy in location technology to make FMS truly profitable for operators. All too often operators considered accuracy to be the Achilles' heel in location technology; our study quantifies the impact of using network Cell-ID and demonstrates that the technology now exists to make location a real business driver."

SeekerZone developed by Seeker Wireless for the Fixed Mobile Substitution market has already been trialled by operators in EMEA and Asia Pacific and has been deployed in partnership with HP by one of the world's leading mobile operator groups. The detailed study demonstrates that by using Seeker Wireless's advanced zone detection system, operators are able to reduce zone size by up to 50 times and reduce cannibalisation of revenue by up to 90% compared to existing Cell-ID systems.

Ruckus Wireless has announced a deal with T-Home, a division of Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest communications provider.  Ruckus Wireless has been selected by T-Home to supply 802.11a Smart Wi-Fi systems to enable in-home wireless distribution of its Entertain Comfort IPTV service.

Available immediately, Deutsche Telekom is private-labeling the Ruckus system as the Speedport W 100 Bridge under its popular T-Home brand.  The Speedport W 100 is available to consumers from more than 700 Telekom shops and from the online portal www.t-home.de.  T-Home is offering the Ruckus Wireless Smart Wi-Fi system as the only in-home wireless distribution option for its IPTV service.  The SpeedPort W100 Bridge (a Wi-Fi access point and Wi-Fi adapter) is provided to T-Home customers at a one-time cost of Euro 149.99.

"Our Entertain Comfort IPTV service provides our customers with a new dimension in high-quality TV and multimedia communications," said Christian P. Illek, member of the board of management, marketing T-Home.  "The new high-capacity Speedport W 100 Bridge, with Ruckus Wireless technology, is easy to use and gives subscribers simple access to our broadband-based services, making our IPTV offering even more user friendly."

With the Ruckus system, German subscribers will now be able to extend the location freedom they enjoy with Wi-Fi to their television viewing experience, giving them the power to place TVs virtually anywhere in their homes without cumbersome cabling. 

The Ruckus Wireless system is the world's first and only Wi-Fi system specifically developed to reliably transmit IP-based streaming digital video over standard 802.11 technology.  It achieves this by continuously routing Wi-Fi signals over the best and highest performing paths while steering these Wi-Fi signals around interference in real time.

"Signing such a world-class carrier as Deutsche Telekom represents a defining moment for our company," said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless.  "Our partnership with Deutsche Telekom represents a major milestone for us as well as for the industry.  It signals to the world that conventional Wi-Fi just isn't good enough for applications that require more than merely surfing the internet.  We've built a company around this singular purpose: making extended range Wi-Fi that's reliable."

With over 13,000,000 broadband subscribers throughout Germany, Deutsche Telekom is one of the top three broadband operators in the world.

By the end of 2007 Deutsche Telekom will be able to provide 17 million households with its IPTV services.  With the extended range of its Entertain all-inclusive packages, Deutsche Telekom is consistently opening up the mass-market for IPTV.

The telecoms company is installing ADSL2+ technology to 16 Mbps in 750 towns and cities all over Germany and providing 27 cities with a high-speed network based on VDSL technology up to 50 Mbps.

Subex Azure, a leading global provider of Operations Support Systems (OSS) solutions for telecom operators , has announced that Telenor is deploying its Concilia Interconnect software to offer an internal interconnect bureau across the Telenor Group.

The deal further extends Subex Azure's relationship with the Telenor Group, as the company has previously deployed interconnect billing solutions for Telenor Networks and Telenor Mobil, and Telenor Global Services.   This new agreement will enable Telenor to offer an Interconnect bureau service across its entire business worldwide with Telenor Global Services being the first internal customer.

Harry Moen, Manager Interconnect Operations at Telenor, said, "By offering the interconnect bureau across the whole Telenor Group we can provide a very cost-effective service and a high degree of standardisation.   This will enable us to reduce costs and provide improved services to our internal customers and network partners."

Concilia Interconnect will provide Telenor with an easy-to-use and scaleable solution to manage interconnect data.  Concilia enables operators to quickly and accurately settle interconnect agreements with their network partners and gives operators the ability to adapt to rate changes quickly, enabling them to manage costs and revenues much more effectively.

Knut Ingvar Eriksen, Director of Operations at Telenor Global Services said, "Subex Azure has been a trusted Interconnect billing partner of Telenor for a number of years.   The bureau deployment will enable us to cost-effectively manage our interconnect processes and continue to be as accurate as possible with our billing."

Saul Nurtman, President EMEA at Subex Azure, said, "We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Telenor and this is a further endorsement of our credentials working with tier-1 operators worldwide.   Effective interconnect billing is vital and our bureau is a proven solution for operators of all sizes."

Subex Azure, a leading global provider of Operations Support Systems (OSS) solutions for telecom operators, has announced the launch of Syndesis Business Ethernet Fulfillment Solution, a new offering designed to simplify provisioning for operators providing feature-rich Ethernet services to enterprises.

Subex Azure's Syndesis Business Ethernet Fulfillment Solution enables telecom operators to accelerate the deployment of high-margin Ethernet services. It simplifies the inherent and growing complexity of customer-specific Business Ethernet services and allows operators to tailor Ethernet services to meet business requirements quickly and easily, ensuring higher customer satisfaction and retention. It also helps improve operational efficiencies by eliminating costly network provisioning errors caused by cumbersome manual processes, with automated troubleshooting and maintenance capabilities to help minimize customer downtime.
"This is a production-proven fulfillment solution that accelerates the creation and provisioning of feature-rich Ethernet services for operators' business customers," said Mark Nicholson, CTO of Subex Azure. "It enables service providers to address the requirements of large enterprises as well as Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) customers. We sought to ensure that the solution was optimal for the complexities of Ethernet deployments and we aimed to simplify all aspects of the service provisioning process for VPNs, Metro Ethernet and Carrier Ethernet Services."

To accelerate Ethernet service deployment and enable cost-effective service delivery automation, the Syndesis Business Ethernet Fulfillment Solution leverages off-the-shelf, industry-leading interfaces that support network elements from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and others. The flexibility of the solution also ensures that it can be easily integrated with existing processes and OSS systems using open interfaces, or with additional components from the existing Syndesis Fulfillment suite, including order management and technical workflow, data integrity management and adaptive resource management products.

Intec, a global provider of business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS), has announced that it has successfully completed the first phase of a pan-European convergent data mediation project at DHL, the world's leading express and logistics company. As part of a long term agreement signed this year with DHL's parent holding company, Deutsche Post World Net, Intec has entered the non-telecom data mediation market in Europe by delivering an integrated solution to DHL. The project combines the Intec Mediation platform with Intec CEMS (Centralized Error Management System), providing the courier company with a unified platform that can gather, process and distribute its shipping records in real-time, while also checking and identifying information errors that could potentially lead to significant revenue losses.

"Intec's data mediation technology is proven for robustness and scalability in the world's largest communications companies, where it handles billing records worth billions of dollars. That gave us confidence to select this solution as part of our future Order to Cash process," said Mark Jones, DHL Express's Head of OTC Optimization.

The first phase of the project has already successfully concluded with DHL's operations in Belgium going live with the platform in August 2007. DHL plans to roll out Intec's combined mediation and error management system across twenty-four other European countries by the end of the year. The server hosting the mediation platform is based at DHL's IT center in the Czech Republic.

"By getting involved with DHL's European operations Intec has won a major contract outside of its traditional telecom customer base and in a completely new market for us," explains Katrina Brodrick, Intec regional sales director. "The agreement, which came about as a result of DHL looking for a state of the art mediation (validation) solution meeting DHL's requirements mainly out of the box, proves that Intec's technology can not only mediate data records produced within telecom networks but can also manage any type of data record, including those generated by a global courier company."

Instead of performing its usual function of collecting and processing telecom Call Detail Records (CDRs), Intec Mediation along with Intec CEMS has been configured by DHL to mediate its shipping records. Intec Mediation is currently used to gather, process and distribute the logistics company's usage data. The solution's distributed, component-based architecture ensures that DHL can adjust quickly to its business needs, thereby delivering the highest quality of information to its downstream systems.

Intec CEMS, the second component of the combined DHL data mediation solution, was one of the main reasons why Intec was chosen to manage the courier company's data collection. Intec CEMS is a centralized error management system that gathers and analyzes comprehensive information that is critical to minimizing errors and overall revenue leakage. Together Intec Mediation and Intec CEMS can collect, de-duplicate, correlate and pass DHL's records to any of its various billing systems across Europe in real time, as well as providing high levels of detail, down to individual events if necessary - providing DHL with crucial data such as the weight of a package or a wrong tariff.

"We are delighted with the successful implementation of the DHL solution," said Gary Burch, vice president of EMEA for Intec. "Intec helped DHL complete the project on time and on budget, giving the company a fast return on its investment. From now on, DHL can rely on a data mediation platform which can help the company to maximize its revenue potential. Furthermore, the positive results of this project, combined with a global framework agreement signed with Deutsche Post World Net, has helped to position Intec as a mediation and billing supplier to a new business segment outside of the telecom market. We are extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to prove our technology's versatility and hope that other non-telco companies will consider us in the future as their preferred data mediation and billing supplier."

Huawei Technologies has recently rolled out its New Generation WiMAX commercial solution, with integrated 4G mobile technologies thawhich is claimed to provide operators with 30% cost-savings on base stations while doubling their system capability.

Huawei's ALL IP- based New Generation WiMAX solution adopts HSPA/LTE/UMB co-platform infrastructure, and integrates the 4G technologies including HARQ (Hybrid Automatic Repeat-reQuest), MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Out-put). The products include gateway, distributed base station, transmission, network management system and terminal. This solution can deploy WiMAX with GSM, CDMA, IMS, NGN and DSL integrated networks, and helps operators provide more high-speed mobile broadband service.

"We have applied our experience in UMTS/HSPA large-scale applications to create a WiMAX solution for operators worldwide," said Cai Liqun, Huawei's WiMAX product line president. "Our new generation WiMAX solution is able to provide managed mobile broadband soluti

Aculab, a leading provider of enabling technology for the global communications market, today announced the launch of the ApplianX IP Gateway - one of the initial products being made available within the ApplianX portfolio which includes a number of devices designed for network infrastructure roles in the developing converged networks of enterprises and service providers. 

By design, the ApplianX IP Gateway aims to help enterprises reduce operational costs, extend the life of existing TDM based equipment and take advantage of new IP based services and endpoints by being an easy to install, configure and manage network device.

The enterprise class ApplianX IP Gateway, is an easy to deploy SIP to TDM gateway, often installed within an enterprise or service centre.  It can be used to bridge between an internal VoIP or packet switched telecoms network and the external PSTN, a PBX or private circuit switched network. The ApplianX Gateway is easily configured and administered via a web HTML interface, which allows remote backup and restore of stored configurations and user data.

The ApplianX IP Gateway comes with 1, 2 or 4 E1 or T1 trunks supporting a wide variety of E1 and T1 protocols and approvals so that it can be deployed worldwide and connected to globally dispersed remote offices and service networks. 

In addition, the ApplianX IP Gateway provides comprehensive support for many PBX inter-working protocols, such as Q.SiG and DPNSS, allowing investment in legacy equipment such as PBXs to be protected - they can remain in service while new IP based services and endpoints can be taken advantage of.

Finally, a broad range of voice codecs are supported including G.711, G.723.1, G.726, G.729A&B and iLBC, guaranteeing connection to a diverse mix of endpoint devices.

The ApplianX portfolio will eventually include a range of voice and video IP gateways, SIP trunking gateways, media servers and associated devices, and will be available in both enterprise class and carrier class presentations of highly resilient, scalable, high availability configurations with capacities of up to 4 trunks in a single 1U server and 80 trunks in a cPCI, carrier class chassis.

Synchronoss Technologies, a provider of on-demand transaction management software to Tier One communications service providers (CSPs), has announced that its ConvergenceNow platform will be rolled out across Europe. Addressing the growth opportunities for network and device convergence, ConvergenceNow will be launched initially in the UK, Germany, France and Spain.

Synchronoss will be deploying and contracting directly with leading Tier One Communication Service providers. In order to accelerate time to market and transactional growth, Synchronoss has engaged major European system integration firms who have deep understandings of the back-office platforms at Tier One CSPs. Certified system integration partners selected by Synchronoss have committed financial, technical, and operational resources.

"We are truly excited about the growth opportunities that the European market offers us," said Stephen G. Waldis, president and CEO of Synchronoss Technologies. Waldis added, "We are convinced that our proven ConvergenceNow platform will allow European CSPs to create considerable value by optimizing the customer experience associated with activation and provisioning processes."

"Our research clearly indicates that converged networks and devices are expected to grow significantly over the next five years in Europe, with a variety of OEMs launching innovative handsets," said Omar Téllez, EVP of Marketing at Synchronoss Technologies. Téllez added, "We have seen first hand that European CSPs face significant challenges in deploying these converged services. We believe that our game-changing activation process is delivering the best customer experience possible. As the best in class solution in the United States on this front, we are excited as we begin our roll out of ConvergenceNow across Europe."

Thomson has announced its strategy for the delivery of interactive voice and video services over any fixed or mobile network using IMS ("IP Multimedia Subsystem") architecture. The announcement follows Thomson's on-going action to ease the deployment of new IPTV and interactive TV services and lower network costs.
 
Leveraging standard interfaces and mechanisms, IMS is a network architecture developed together by equipment vendors and telecom operators to deliver any type of service over any local loop and any device using a single infrastructure. It is seen by operators as the way to replace legacy telecom architectures with IP networks and launch a new breed of interactive and multimedia features to compete against "peer-to-peer" and Internet-based services.

"As one of the first telecom equipment manufacturers to announce the availability of IMS solutions, we are committed to the promotion of non-proprietary and open standards" said Frédéric Caussarieu, senior vice president of the Network Intelligence Solutions activity within Thomson's Systems Division. "In fact, our Cirpack telephony application and core IMS solution have already been deployed with large broadband operators as well as with fixed mobile convergence rollouts."

Frédéric Caussarieu added that IMS technology will resolve a number of IPTV issues which are becoming critical for operators wishing to deploy IPTV, including a lack of standards, bandwidth management, and a complexity that hinders the ability to offer cross services. He sees the combination of IMS technology and Thomson's video expertise as a unique asset that will give the company an edge in content distribution services across fixed and mobile broadband networks.

"Our IMS solution will clearly accelerate deployments of IPTV services, but will also enable content roaming and handover across networks and terminals to realize the vision of a unified TV experience that only telecom operators can bring to life" said Frédéric Caussarieu.

Thomson is a major contributor to standardisation efforts, chairing the DVB-IP workgroups and playing a key role in the European Telecommunications Standard Institute's "TISPAN 2" working groups currently finalising the IMS specifications for IPTV.
 
These new industry standards for IPTV are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2008. Thomson has already started to adapt its SmartVision IPTV service platform, and will make its full IMS solution available for trials in 2008. Existing SmartVision customers will be able to migrate smoothly to embrace IMS standards when desired.