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COLT, a leading European provider of business communications, has today added its voice to calls for greater progress to be made in the creation and adoption of industry standards in cloud computing.  COLT, now a member of the Open Cloud Manifesto, has made the call hot-on-the-heels of its recent announcement that it is ramping-up its managed services business in order to better serve its customers with COLT's network, utility computing applications and data centres.

Maggy McClelland, managing director of COLT Managed Services (CMS) argues, "There is a lack of  regulatory and technical cohesion in cloud computing standards. There needs to be greater effort and more activity in driving consensus around what represents good practices, particularly relating to which aspects need to be standardised and when.  COLT is fully behind the development of open cloud standards including a framework for certification and regulation of cloud computing services."

In addition to lending weight to the argument for the adoption of commonly agreed, pragmatic  standards in the industry, COLT is also urging for any such standards to address issues that are of real concern to businesses such as risk management, compliance, data retention, security and business continuity.  McClelland says, "When it comes to cloud services, the industry is too focussed on technological and technical debates.  It is our customers' business issues that motivates or restrict them from adopting cloud services and it is, therefore, imperative that any regulation or standardisation addresses these requirements."

COLT has already realised the benefits that certification and regulation can bring, having achieved ISO 27001 certification, the globally recognised standard for managing information security. The company has seen how a commonly understood method of certification can help users when choosing both services and vendors.  McClelland states, "COLT only works with business customers so we understand what is important to businesses when selecting a service provider.  Enterprise cloud is not about a customer just purchasing a commodity utility but is a means of delivering a managed IT service to a customer.  The certification of cloud services would enable customers to make informed choices about suppliers and would enable greater security of data and business critical applications."

COLT is leading a call-to-action for cloud computing customers to become informed about their exposure to risk when outsourcing their data and applications via cloud based services.  McClelland says, "It is particularly important that customers seeking a cloud provider understand that, wherever their data resides and with whichever vendor, the responsibility for that data still sits with the customer.  They still own their data and are responsible for it."

COLT's managed services solutions are built on its infrastructure combining 25,000km of network and 18 data centres across Europe. This footprint enables COLT to take full end-to-end responsibility for the security, availability and continuity of IT processes and computing capability. COLT's service level agreements are aligned to the customer's business and tailored towards service delivery, not the technology.  The company's enterprise cloud platform, launched in July 2009 enables COLT to deliver services that give its customers the freedom to choose when and how to take advantage of managed infrastructure and application services as well as increased flexibility to drive greater levels of business efficiency, security and performance.

This year's edition of the Comarch BSS/OSS Workshops will be held in Düsseldorf on the 6th of October, in Bonn on the 7th of October, in Vienna on the 13th of October and in Bern on the 15th of October and is dedicated to current customers and potential clients.
                      
The event is organized in order to provide an opportunity for networking between experts representing the communications industry and to develop new solutions aligned with more and less common challenges together. The workshops will also be an efficient platform for exchanging experiences and shedding new light on the following hot topics: optimizing operations costs through implementing modern inventory software with integrated process quality management, challenges in the area of CRM/customer service & support, introducing customer-centric service assurance, innovative application of ontologies in OSS, performance data visualization and aggregation as well as real-time revenue assurance in wholesale.

Comarch has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that have evolved over the past 16 years basing on the demands specified by customers for best responding to the current market needs and becoming even more efficient tools for CSPs' businesses. Workshop attendees will be able to define clear-cut requirements and new challenges and in turn drive the development of our offering.

"Comarch experts along with leading regional and international operators will be discussing current business models and potential improvements of business processes to achieve synergies across operations. Novel trends and challenges are certain to emerge during the discussion that will foster future cooperation and offer developments ensuring cost cutting and business agility on the operator's side," says Piotr Piatosa, VP Telecommunications, Member of the Board, Comarch SA.

NEC Corporation and NEC Magnus Communications, Ltd. announced today the international sales launch of a new multi access node with VDSL2 interface. The new product, AM3150R2, is positioned as part of Multi Service Access Node (MSAN) AM3100 Series, providing the latest VDSL2 interface which complies with ITU G.993.2 standards.

In recent years, broadband access lines using ADSL/SHDSL technologies in overseas markets have been expanding, and faster connections that serve larger areas are being required.  Furthermore, future demand for VDSL2 is expected to significantly increase due to its maxim transmission distance of 4km, which far exceeds the 1km maximum distance of VDSL1, its compatibility with ADSL/ADSL2+ and the easy migration to VDSL2 from existing systems.

The new product will provide fast broadband access with a transmission speed of 100Mbps and high quality transmission using existing copper wire telephone lines. This will support the creation of more reliable broadband network services for network providers.

Features of the new product are as follows:

            i. 100Mbps bidirectional transmission speed and easy migration from ADSL
            The new product's downlink line, which connects in-house equipment with metal cable, accommodates 24 and 48 VDSL2 port and provides a bidirectional transmission speed of 100Mbps (30MHz). The uplink connection between telephone exchange equipment and optical fiber networks can be either GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) or GbE (Gigbit Ethernet). Moreover, the product's ADSL fallback function accommodates ADSL/ADSL2+ modems, which enables easy migration from existing ADSL service.

            ii. A variety of functions to stabilize transmission quality
            The new product features the following functions for reducing noise, such as cross talk, between lines.

            a. INP (Impulse Noise Protection) Function
            Corrects errors caused by sudden impulse noise.

            b. Bit Swap Function
            When interference or obstructive waves appear at a certain bandwidth, this function transmits information at a different bandwidth in order to avoid interference.

            c. SOS Function
            When an error is caused by the sudden appearance of noise, this function will avoid the link down by immediately reducing the line speed.

            d. SRA (Seamless rate adaptation)                                                                               This function maintains suitable speed in response to mild noise changes.

            iii. Superior maintenance support function
            The new product has DELT functions and SELT functions  which are useful for determining the cause of lower line speeds and downlinks. In the event of a malfunction, it can remotely confirm network conditions from the telephone exhange.

            iv. Lower power consumption
            The new product is one of the earliest to be compliant with EU guidelines for the electric consumption of broadband equipment (EU CDC compliance 2009-2010 under 83.6watts with 24 ports).

The new product will start shipping from October, 2009. NEC is planning to offer the product throughout the world targeting Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, and aims to ship 60,000 systems over the next three years.

Sonus Networks, providing network transformation through IP communications technology, today announced the availability of Sonus NetScore, a new network performance analyzer that enables customers to increase operational efficiencies, reduce infrastructure costs and maximize return on investment. Sonus NetScore uses advanced analytics to determine voice network performance and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide consistent and meaningful data for understanding network quality, performance and reliability through call detail record (CDR) analysis.

Based on years of voice over IP network design and optimization expertise, Sonus has developed Sonus NetScore to provide an intelligent analysis of every call, offering a level of granularity previously unavailable. This enables network operators to better manage fluctuating call volumes, identify specific issues to protect quality of service for their subscribers and help to justify additional capacity investment to meet business needs.

"Voice networks are dynamic by nature. When making the strategic migration from TDM to IP, the ability to provide business managers with real time data about network performance becomes critical to maintaining maximum availability of the network as well as justification for continued investment for efficient growth," said Wassim Matragi, vice president, network technologies for Sonus Networks' global services group. "We have been helping customers to maximize their return on investments through Sonus professional services for many years, and now with Sonus NetScore, we are providing a platform to create and monitor these critical KPIs in real time."

The Sonus NetScore CDR analyzer provides a real time analysis of call detail records from across the network giving network operators a live view into the status, efficiency and available capacity of their core business asset. Key performance indicators such as answer seizure, answer bid, network effectiveness and disconnect category ratios are presented in easy to read graphical reports that can be analyzed against quality of service metrics, gateway to gateway IP packet loss and detailed gateway/truck group data to give the most comprehensive set of voice network data and analysis available to Sonus customers today.

"In today's environment, network operators need to understand current network performance before making additional investments," commented Elisabeth Rainge, director, NGN operations at IDC. "Maintaining call quality and the highest levels of customer service are dependent on the overall efficiency of the network. To stay in step with corporate goals, the network teams must develop and maintain metrics on network health as a foundation on which to build the business case to increase network capacity."

Hutchison 3G Austria has extended its existing contract with Nokia Siemens Networks to modernize its microwave radio network, to enable ultra high-speed downloads and prepare for a Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology roll out.

"Mobile Internet access is driving our growth and we want to continue to ride the wave," said Jan Trionow, CTO of Hutchison 3G Austria. "Nokia Siemens Networks will help us turbo charge data download rates in the mobile broadband network. This enables our customers to surf the web even faster and more effectively than using fixed line connection. Additionally we are now in a better position to offer new services like video on demand to the subscribers of Hutchison 3G Austria."

As the sole supplier of the operator's microwave network, Nokia Siemens Networks will build extra capacity in the existing network via Carrier Ethernet upgrades and all-IP backhauling. This will allow very high download speeds, with an option of delivering up to 155 Mbps once the operator migrates its network to LTE. Nokia Siemens Networks all-IP backhaul solution will make the transport network ready for LTE.

"Having long standing business relationship with H3G Austria we know the architecture of their network by heart. Therefore we  have the experience and established processes to smoothly handle their transition to future technologies," said Dietmar Appeltauer, Head of Central East Europe at Nokia Siemens Networks. "What's more, given the easy integration with existing elements of the network we can keep new expansions simple and cost efficient."

The Nokia Siemens Networks mobile backhaul solution comprising microwave radio and Carrier Ethernet transport is said to be optimized for carrying vast amounts of packet traffic in 2G, 3G, WiMax and LTE networks in a cost efficient manner, while ensuring lowest possible latency and synchronization. To ensure that the operator can monitor, manage and optimize the whole network in a simple way, the microwave element management will be integrated with the NetAct network management system. Also, Nokia Siemens Networks' implementation team will provide a smooth installation and commissioning for a timely launch.

Ipadio's new iPhone app, available in the App Store,  is said to give users the choice between recording high quality audio for publication later or streaming their calls live to the web - on www.ipadio.com or straight to their own web site.

For the first time, says Ipadio, iPhone users can choose to live stream audio to their own web site or pre-record up to 60 minutes of audio and upload it later. Callers also have the option to use SpinVox voice to text conversion to produce title, tags and a transcript, plus adding photos from the phone, geolocating the call and automatically integrating with social media (Twitter, Facebook) and popular blogging platforms. Listeners can subscribe to each "channel" as a podcast in iTunes, within an ipadio account, via RSS or even old fashioned email. IPod Touch users can of course record and publish via ipadio.

Dr Mark K Smith, CEO of ipadio, said, "From the day we launched, ipadio's iPhone users let us know in no uncertain terms that audio quality is paramount to them, and so here we are - up to 60 minutes call time at high quality. But we've decided not to stop there, and we hope that optional SpinVox conversion plus all of the rich functionality that can be managed from the web account will make ipadio a valuable addition to the serious blogger's toolset. In fact, several bloggers and journalists are setting their ipadio accounts to "private" and then embedding them to their own sites along with a more detailed article, so they never appear on ipadio.com at all. That's fine with us, and gives ipadians ultimate control over their audio content. Along with moderation it's just the functionality that many journalists are looking for."

On uploading a call, users have the option to leave their title, tags and description to SpinVox, or to type these manually. In practice, most callers are running a quick test and then leaving things to SpinVox. If the odd word is missed, it's easy to edit the text either in the iPhone app or through an account on ipadio.com.

As well as signposting the content, the SpinVox conversion will make the phlogs (phone blogs) easy for search engines to find. With the new app, users can call ipadio whilst on the road and appear in the search results before arriving home.

Ipadio's commercial service introduces workflow process (moderation, group access and distribution, database integration of calls), additional in-call functionality (in-call polling, "call push") to meet each company's exact requirement. Ipadio has already announced its partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh's Award to collect audio assessments.

The explosion in BlackBerry and smartphone use is posing a real challenge for  businesses trying to enforce email policies and legal disclaimers, says Andrew Millington, CEO of Exclaimer


Failure to sign off emails properly can be costly. As of 1 October 2008, new rules came into force concerning the trading disclosures that incorporated companies must make to demonstrate their legal identity. These now mandate that all outgoing business emails include the company's registration number, place of registration (eg Scotland or England & Wales), and registered office address. Non compliance can result in a fine of £1,000.

It is surprising, then, that so many casual business email exchanges seem to ignore this fact completely.

Perversely, this is despite the mis-use of email disclaimers by so many businesses, which so often can leave the recipient in a boiling rage.

Indeed, it seems the business world has arrived at two extremes over the years when it comes to the way everyday emails are processed. The first is the belt and braces approach - add three pages of comprehensive disclaimer text to every outbound email before it leaves the firewall. The second is the more casual strategy of handing out ‘email policy' guidelines to staff as they join the firm, only to then leave the whole thing to chance.

The BlackBerry boom
Now, the proliferation of different options for sending and receiving email - for example via webmail, Blackberries and smartphones - has propelled the challenge of enforcing email policies to the top of the agenda again.  The explosion of handheld email devices has heightened the growing administrative nightmare facing business and IT managers as they seek to regain control over the myriad different communication activities now available to their employees.

Unfortunately, many of the basic firewall or anti-spam disclaimer tools deployed previously by organisations are very limited in scope. As well as being restricted to plain text, which may jar with the look and feel of the main email, they are not managed using intelligent rules. This means they are typically sent out indiscriminately, with every outbound email. That's regardless of whether the email is a one-word reply as part of an existing thread, or whether the recipient will be trying to read this from a small-screen mobile device.

The indiscriminate addition of lengthy legal disclaimers to every email can cause untold frustration to the mobile email user, who is forced to scroll down through pages of text simply to follow a short email thread, or to locate the sender's contact details which may have appeared only once, in their initial message.

To handle disclaimers more thoughtfully and creatively, a more sophisticated tool is needed. This offers an organisation numerous advantages, including the personalisation and intelligent positioning of the added text, plus the ability to change what is sent and when according to the recipient and the context.

This requires integration with Active Directory. And, once you start managing disclaimers at this level - at the email server, rather than the firewall - the scope for creativity becomes even greater.

From disclaimers to campaign banners
Disclaimers are a necessary evil, but if well managed, they can serve a business very well, while paving the way for some handy brand-reinforcing benefits.

The standard addition of direct contact details is an important one. How many times has an email recipient been forced onto the web, or back through their email archives, simply to track down the phone number of the sender so they can continue a conversation in person?

Imagine how it could boost the business - and potential sales - if every email was automatically tagged with the sender's personalised business card details, even if the message has been sent from a mobile device or via webmail.

Being able to apply rules, and having the intelligence to adjust when these are applied (just as out-of-office messages can be adjusted to being sent only at regular intervals), requires transferring disclaimer and signature management to the email server.

Departmental & geographical differences
By managing the functionality on a centralised email server, organisations can relax, knowing that the right messaging is being added automatically to emails, but only in accordance with pre-defined rules, and in a way that is relevant to the particular user and their role in the business.

This also allows organisations to vary the required legal and corporate messaging by country, language, company department and employee status, simply by setting different rules for different users.

In one recent application of an intelligent disclaimer application, one company was able to set-up tailored automated disclaimers for 35,000 users across multiple countries - all from a single, central Exchange server. This could not have been achieved by a firewall-level disclaimer manager that does not have the functionality to encompass mobile devices which sit outside the company network.

Brand reinforcement
Placing an intelligent, rules-based disclaimer manager within the company email server has further benefits too. In addition to the ability to personalise content by user, location, role and status, while simultaneously applying appropriate contact details, these might include the ability to bring formatting and fonts in line with the main content of the email (standard, one-size-fits-all disclaimers are typically limited to plain text).

This would improve the look and feel of the email, and sharpen brand reinforcement. It also paves the way for further functionality, such as the centralised addition of timely marketing banners and slogans. Here, companies can automatically programme their Exchange server mail utilities to flag up forthcoming events, new product releases or recent awards that have been won by the business.

This content is then added in the same way as the legal disclaimer and signature/contact information - without any reliance on the active participation of individual end users.

Indeed, while the current economic climate demands that businesses avoid potentially expensive yet very avoidable legal trouble, and that they maximise cost-effective marketing opportunities, this is no time for companies to be assigning additional time to administration. Resources are already lean; this is a time for reducing bureaucracy, not adding more.

Intelligence and centralised, rules-based control are vital, then. These are unforgiving times, but when the last thing you or your staff have is time you can't afford to leave anything to chance. Automate it, and then forget about it, and get back to your day job.

Streamezzo, publisher of mobile development platforms, and Telemak, a specialist in webcasting and streaming content delivery solutions for mobile and broadband, today announced a partnership agreement to deliver mobile TV applications fully compatible with all major mobile operating systems.

The mobile TV solution is developed and operated by Telemak, using Streamezzo's framework. The mobile application developed is fully compatible with all the major mobile operating systems such as Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Java, Linux, Symbian and Windows Mobile and is interoperable with a wide variety of mobile networking standards and protocols, including: GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, CDMA, EVDO, and WiFi.

"This is a major achievement in Telemak's Mobile offer," says Christophe Lenaerts, Telemak founder & CEO. "Streamezzo proposes the only development framework enabled to overcome the hurdle of fragmentation and fully compliant with all the major Operating Systems of the market. Their technology will benefit directly to our customers by extending the number of subscribers and accelerate their return on investment."

"We are very excited with this agreement. Knowing that one of the European leaders in the content delivery selected our development platform comfort our vision" added Denis Bastiment, Executive Vice-President Sales and Marketing of Streamezzo. "The only solution to mass market applications with a constraining budget is to use a framework able to deliver one application package running whatever the handset. That's exactly what Streamezzo proposes"

Under the agreement, Telemak will deliver a turnkey hosted solution including everything from application development to network deployment, systems integration, operation and technical support.

Sofialys, a mobile advertising specialist, and Spanish  mobile content provider Arena Mobile, part of the Neo Mobile Group, have signed a partnership agreement  with the objective of monetising the Arena mobile properties on a global basis.

Sofialys will use its ad serving technology and its relationships with brands and agencies to help Arena leverage the potential of mobile advertising for its customers. Arena runs its own mobile Internet services as well as some operators' portals in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

According to Josep Aliagas, CEO of Arena Mobile: "It is crucial for us to work with a reliable ad serving partner capable of helping us meet our international customers' requirements. The Sofialys ad server is a tool that provides all the features necessary to target and reach the desired audience. On top of that, it gives simple access to brands and agencies to follow the results of their campaigns online and in real time. It was for these reasons that we were keen to collaborate with Sofialys."

Sofialys and Arena are said to have developed a proposition that allows advertisers to reach relevant end-users on the mobile Internet. Both companies believe that Sofialys'  network of agencies and Arena's global footprint  are ideal to run cross-market campaigns and therefore attract a large number of advertisers.

Julien Oudart, Sales and Marketing Director at Sofialys concluded: "Over the last 3 years we have been listening to our customers and constantly improving our ad server. We are therefore delighted that a company such as Arena Mobile has chosen to work with us. Not only does it put Sofialys on the map as one of the best Mobile Ad serving solutions on the market, but it also allows us to reach new customers and expand our operations in some markets with very high growth potential."

Myriad, a global specialist in mobile technology with software in over 2 billion phones, today announced that it has been selected by T-Mobile Czech Republic to provide the USSD platform for its customer care service. The solution exploits the strengths of the Myriad Services Platform to allow the operator to offer USSD as a simple trigger for subscriber self service, so helping to reduce customer churn.
 
The solution is a self-service system that allows customers to quickly access services and information on their mobile handset and change their settings. By entering a short-code in their phone, users are provided with a simple text menu which provides fast and direct access to various operator services such as service settings, service status and tariff information. The solution improves customer satisfaction, reducing the need for customer service requests and can be upgraded to support advanced self services using graphical interfaces in the future.

Myriad won the mobile self-service tender in 2008 and is providing the USSD channel that combines with the SCE module from VoiceObjects. The service was launched this month.

"Providing excellent customer service is a core value at T-Mobile and so we are constantly evaluating the best methods of communicating with our customers," said Jan Šafka, Head of Self Service at Deutsche Telekom AG. "The ability to immediately support our users' existing handsets via a simple to use mechanism made Myriad's USSD system the ideal choice."

"The Myriad Services Platform provides a simple to access communications channel that works on any handset without the need for any modifications," said Simon Wilkinson, Myriad CEO. "For T-Mobile the use of USSD provides an intuitive channel which allows any customer to immediately self-provision customer care."

EMC, a specialist in information infrastructure solutions, today announced that Vodafone has selected EMC as a preferred partner for storage and storage-related products in its European markets.

The deepening of the strategic relationship between the two companies will result in EMC receiving preferred vendor status for the next three years. Under the terms of the agreement, EMC's solutions will represent a significant proportion of the overall external storage capacity for all new storage-related purchases within Vodafone Information Systems' data center control. This will help to ensure that Vodafone continues to provide continuous availability of all customer and corporate data - with an optimal Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - across Europe.

Vodafone currently uses EMC high-end and mid-range Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network-attached Storage (NAS) systems in its global data centers, as well as EMC storage management software and services. With this agreement Vodafone and EMC have expanded their existing partnership to unify the maintenance and service for Vodafone's European storage environment, and to help increase efficiency by consolidating around - and upgrading to - EMC's industry-leading information infrastructure technology.

"Both Vodafone's global brand and its established reputation are founded on technical excellence. EMC recognizes the significance of the endorsement that Vodafone has made in moving to work with us as a preferred storage solution partner in the European theater," said Frank Hauck, EMC's Executive Vice President, EMC Storage Division, Global Marketing and Customer Quality. "We look forward to working with Vodafone more closely than ever, in this and in other areas of the EMC Information Infrastructure and Management portfolio."

Envivio, a provider of IP video convergence encoding solutions from mobile to HD, has announced that its Mobile Series video encoding platform has been installed by Digita Oy. Digita Oy, which is owned by France's TDF, is said to be Finland's leading distributor of radio and television services.

The Envivio platform is being put to immediate use to deliver ten channels of DVB-H encoded, free-to-air and pay-tv mobile television to be offered by mobile operators in Finland's top markets. Plans are in place to expand the platform with additional channels.