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Equinix, a provider of global data centre services, today announced that European-based carriers Exponential-e, Hibernia Atlantic and Tinet have signed up to participate in the recently announced Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange platform, a development programme to define enhanced solutions for the exchange of data traffic between carriers providing Ethernet services.

The new European-based participants bring the total number of carriers involved in the global programme up to nine.

The Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange programme will establish a platform for multi-provider carrier Ethernet interconnection that meets Metro Ethernet Forum standards.  The project focuses on Ethernet Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) as well as complementary features to enable a variety of benefits to participants.  The initial deployment locations include London, New York, Chicago and Silicon Valley at Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres.

"In order to offer Ethernet WAN solutions outside of our own geographical service area we currently need to establish separate interconnection relationships with other carriers on an individual basis; this process is both complex and time-consuming," said Mukesh Bavisi, VP of Engineering at Exponential-e.  "Equinix already plays a strategic role in our peering relationships with other Tier 1 service providers, so it is a natural choice that we leverage its carrier-rich interconnection hubs to develop an Ethernet interconnection infrastructure."

"At Tinet, we are focused on helping local and regional service providers fulfill their global networking requirements and deliver international VPN services to their corporate customers," said Paolo Gambini, Chief Marketing Officer of Tinet.  "In particular, we are seeing an uplift in demand for our global Ethernet Extension services.  Traditionally, we have leveraged our vast network footprint and a number of Ethernet Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) agreements we have developed with various providers worldwide for fast and secure Ethernet delivery. Now with Equinix's new carrier Ethernet platform, we can further remove the technical complexities, making interconnections both quicker and easier to facilitate.  This in turn means we are better able to support the growing network demands of our wholesale customers."

Demand for carrier Ethernet services is forecast to double within five years, according to Infonetics Research.  Additionally, in the past 12 months, Equinix has seen a significant increase in customer inquiries for a platform within Equinix that would enable carriers to easily interconnect their Ethernet networks.

"With more than 360 networks, Equinix's data centres are some of the most carrier-dense in the world; this makes them the ideal location for us to interconnect with complementary Ethernet service providers that operate beyond our Trans-Atlantic footprint," said Fergus Innes, VP of Sales EMEA at Hibernia Atlantic.  "Based on the feedback from our customers, we believe that this new platform will enable us to expand our Ethernet offerings into multiple communities."

Tesco Telecoms and Cable&Wireless Worldwide today announced a new five year deal engaging Cable&Wireless as the retailer's Wholesale Broadband Network provider.

Cable&Wireless will supply Wholesale Broadband services to support Tesco's broadband propositions, assisting the business in becoming one of the UK's leading providers of consumer broadband and phone services.

The partnership will enable Tesco Telecoms to develop propositions with 'very competitive pricing, attractive services and best in class customer service'.  It will also allow for the provision of bundled broadband and home phone services from Tesco for the first time.

The broadband market continues to grow with a million new connections in 2008.  However, there is significant customer dissatisfaction with service and experience resulting in churn rates of around 20% per annum. 

This is said to provide Tesco Telecoms with a huge opportunity to develop its services within this market place and bring simplicity, service and value to the consumer telecoms' market to make it the number one broadband and home phone choice for Tesco shoppers. 

Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile said: "We're delighted to be partnering with Cable&Wireless for our broadband and home phone services.  We share a commitment to providing excellent customer service and the new network capabilities will allow Tesco Broadband to offer enhanced services for our customers across the UK.

Jim Marsh, Chief Executive Officer, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, commented: "This is a landmark contract. We're delighted to be helping one of the most powerful brands in the UK to enhance its broadband offerings and we're thrilled to be providing the service. We're absolutely focused on putting our customers' requirements at the heart of our business and delivering great service - clearly, this is an approach that resonates with Tesco."

Oracle has today released research which is said to show that a lack of integration between departments and business systems is hampering the ability of communications companies to serve and retain customers effectively.  The study, entitled "Fostering Customer Intimacy for Communications Service Providers in Europe and the Middle East" and conducted by research house Vanson Bourne, involved a survey of 46 senior customer management executives for various communications service providers (CSPs) and 3,750 consumers across Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East (EMEA).

Key findings are said to include:

    a.. Two-thirds of CSPs (65 percent) admitted that customers are unable to resolve queries by calling just one number
    b.. More than three-quarters of CSPs (80 percent) currently don't have the systems and processes to identify and retain customers reaching the end of their contracts
    c.. Only one-third of CSPs are able to make context-based recommendations to customers both online and in call centres
    d.. CSPs are failing to capitalise on an overwhelming consumer preference for Web-based customer service

Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Communications, said "With technology and communications at the heart of their businesses, communications service providers want to be adept at capitalising on new modes of delivering personalised service. What the research shows, however, is that the industry faces a number of challenges in delivering a seamless and consistent experience across its customer service channels."

Fragmented systems and processes
The survey revealed a surprising lack of integration between customer-facing departments and their business systems.  Respondents at two-thirds of CSPs (65 percent) admit that customers are unable to resolve queries by calling just one number.

Only one in six (17 percent) respondents stated that all teams work from the same system and are directed to follow the same strategies for customer service, retention and recruitment across all channels.  Just a quarter (26 percent) were in the process of developing systems and processes to fulfill this goal.  The remaining half (56 percent) simply stated that there was some or little integration between customer-facing teams.

"With this lack of coordination between departments, providing a consistent brand and customer experience across retail, online and call centre channels is extremely difficult," said Gorti. "Today's consumers expect a seamless brand and customer experience irrespective of the channel serving them - whether they browse online before going into a shop or investigate in-store before ordering through a call centre, they expect to be able to pick up where they left off."

Inability to retain customers
Given the intense competition in markets across EMEA, retaining existing customers is widely acknowledged as a key priority for CSPs, especially since the cost of attracting a new customer is five to seven times more than retaining an existing one. 

And yet, the survey reveals that the systems in place at the vast majority of CSPs leave them unable to meet this fundamental requirement.  Just one-fifth (20 percent) of respondents confirmed that their organisations actively monitor customers reaching the end of their contracts with systems and processes in place to retain them.  One-third (30 percent) stated that although they could identify end-of-contract customers, they couldn't actively manage customer retention in this way, while 46 percent were looking to develop this capability as a priority.

This neglect was borne out by the public.  More than half (53 percent) of the 2,673 respondents with contracts stated that their mobile providers had never contacted them at the end of their contract to entice them into a new one.

Assuming average revenue per user (ARPU) of €20 each month, the total cost to European CSPs in lost revenue from customer churn could be as much as €46billion per year.

"CSPs spend millions on marketing in a bid to attract new customers, but this does not matter if their existing ones continue to leave," said Tim Vaughan, business development lead for self-service applications, Oracle EMEA.  "There are various options available to help CSPs reduce customer churn.  One is the ability to empower customers through social CRM tools; another is through technology that flags customers reaching the end of their contracts.  These options give CSPs the opportunity to contact customers with new offers."

Inability to meet demand for personalised, interactive services
Across EMEA, the public indicated a clear preference for Web-based customer service.  Asked to rank the various service channels in order of preference, 83 percent chose the Internet as their first or second choice, 62 percent chose e-mail, while just 32 percent selected a call centre and 16 percent a visit to a store. 

However, the survey reveals that consumers don't only want a static Web page; they want their Internet experience to be personalised and interactive.  When customers were asked what would encourage them to use the Internet instead of ringing a call centre:

    a.. 47 percent identified the ability to view account trends and ways of saving money
    b.. 45 percent selected a personalised online service with tailored offers
    c.. 44 percent were keen on access to support services, such as live chats with agents

In comparison, only just under half of CSPs (46 percent) offered the ability to view account trends and ways of saving money online, while a mere 13 percent provided online support agents with instant messaging facilities. 

More fundamental than these points however, was the CSPs' basic inability to meet customer demands for a personalised service due to the limitations of their systems: just one-third of CSPs surveyed were able to make recommendations to customers based on the context of each interaction both online and in call centres; 38 percent could only offer this in call centres, 11 percent only on the Web, while almost one-fifth (18 percent) were unable to provide this through either channel.

Gordon Rawling, senior marketing director, EMEA, Oracle, said "Whether we're talking iPhone applications, Facebook or Twitter, the technologies customers use in their personal lives have changed their expectations about how they want to engage with businesses.  They want a service that's tailored to their lives, preferences and habits. The vital first step in being able to deliver this level of personalised service is to connect the systems and processes across all the channels."

Excessive call centre resource spent on low value queries
The survey also found that CSPs spent a disproportionate amount of call centre time dealing with queries that brought little value to the business and that they could easily and more cost effectively handle online.  Half of the customer management professionals stated that between 40 percent and 80 percent of inbound calls concern billing queries.

However, although CSPs have attempted to drive these calls to the Web, with 96 percent stating that answers to common billing, product and service questions were available online, when they were asked to rate the level of success of their online self-service functionality (1 being unsuccessful and 5 very successful), the average score was 2.65 - demonstrating the failure of online self-service functionality.  By providing customers with online, self-service tools, CSPs can also experience immense cost savings, for example, they can reduce a single customer interaction from $4.50 on the phone to $0.10 online.   

Gorti concludes, "There is certainly an appetite among the public to deal with these queries online and the advantages delivered to businesses that provide such services are huge. Operators across Europe and the Middle East need to find better ways to draw customers into the Web experience, but this is only possible if customers feel confident that the self-service tools online are able to address and solve their queries appropriately."

BlueSky Positioning today announced its A-GPS (Assisted-Global Positioning System) technology for SIM products now provides full end-to-end security.  BlueSky Positioning's A-GPS SIM protects the sensitive location information from SIM card to SIM card (or smart card), critical for applications like child tracking, asset tracking and emergency service call pinpointing. These security techniques are claimed to provide the strongest possible security and privacy protection for mobile phone users and also for operators and other parties providing Location Based Services and applications with A-GPS SIM technology.

For the first time, Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM) security, including encryption, authentication and authorisation, has been used to control access to a GPS receiver and to the mobile phone location, resolving privacy and security issues, says BlueSky. In the A-GPS SIM, the USIM security processor acts as both a physical and logical firewall to the GPS receiver. This is claimed to provide 'unparalleled' security, ranging from access control and data encryption to data signature and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), to protect users and service providers.

"The new security feature is a key addition to our successful A-GPS solution, particularly in light of the recent developments in EU law with regards to 112 call tracking," added Velipekka Kuoppala, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BlueSky Positioning. "Our solution resolves security and privacy concerns for consumers which, in turn also appeals to the needs of operators and SIM vendors.  As such, we have already seen a lot of interest in our technology from many of the industry's leading network operators and LBS application developers."

Not only are the security features important for consumers, says BlueSky, but they are also essential for LBS application developers and service providers as they offer a secure API for development, enabling simple and rapid integration of GPS and LBS services into any mobile handset on the market. The range of applications that can be offered with A-GPS SIM technology is vast - including generic Location Based Services such as navigation, ‘find a place or person' services or location-aware games.

One of the key benefits of A-GPS SIM technology is that it provides the accurate position of any phone that has been used to dial the emergency services, as required by E112 and E911 legislation in the EU and the U.S respectively. As a member of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) Advisory Board, BlueSky Positioning says it is a leading supporter of bringing the technology to the mass market; ensuring emergency calls are tracked with precision.

"To adhere to the latest updates made to EU legislation concerning accurate caller location for 112 calls, it is crucial that companies and emergency service leaders work together to deploy solutions that will save thousands of lives throughout Europe," commented Gary Machado from the European Emergency Number Association (EENA).

BlueSky Positioning says its A-GPS SIM solution can be quickly and easily implemented into high and low-end handsets at very low cost - meeting mass market needs whilst giving operators the opportunity to offer advanced Location Based Services to customers with handsets that do not already integrate GPS capabilities.

Starhome, a provider of roaming services for mobile network operators, has released its Next Generation Intelligent Preferred Network Solution (NG-IPN).

Said to be the first fully automated Steering of Roaming (SoR) solution, NG-IPN enables operators to automatically steer their outbound roamers to preferred network partners based on revenues and Inter-operator Tariff (IOT) agreements. Optimised steering efficiency is achieved when NG-IPN detects the smallest deviation in the roamer's behavior pattern, profiles them, and initiates an automatic adjustment to the steering application. Therefore, NG-IPN's automated performance facilitates better steering results, maximizing targets set by mobile operators.

NG-IPN is also said to provide operators with an immediate snapshot of the usage status and distribution of roamers across all networks in each visited country, offering an up-to-date revenue status report. The automated solution provides efficient steering results by focusing on usage distribution rather than the number of roamers. In addition, NG-IPN eliminates costly and time-consuming manual provisioning as well as manual requests for daily status reports, culminating in across-the-board efficiency and accuracy.

Included in Starhome's evolved Intelligent Preferred Network solution is the ability to dynamically segment subscribers based on their current and previous usage. For example, high data consumption subscribers who use 3G data cards, such as iPhone and Blackberry, will be steered by NG-IPN to the network where the data targets are still outstanding; the same logic applies for voice-only users and sleepers (users who do not generate any roaming traffic).

According to Starhome, other Steering of Roaming (SoR) solutions focus solely on the distribution of roamers between visited networks rather than analyzing the actual usage and revenue patterns. To receive a revenue report, roaming managers must obtain reports from their billing departments, check each network to see if they are meeting targets, and modify the configurations.

"These enhanced capabilities dramatically increase steering effectiveness and help mobile operators achieve their roaming business goals quickly, more efficiently and with a minimal investment of resources," said Amit Daniel, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Starhome.

The solution features three main layers, which can work independently or together: SS7 signalling controls the handset registration process; over-the-air (OTA)/SIM control manages SIM data via OTA media; and the Hybrid mode integrates SS7 and SIM technologies for optimal redirection efficiency and response time for users and reduced signalling traffic, says the company.

Derdack, a provider of mobile messaging platforms and notification workflow software, today announced the launch of message master Enterprise Alert 2010 which combines automated alerts and notifications to enhance business continuity and systems uptime for critical services.  Using incident-forward communications, notifications can go beyond the enterprise's boundaries to customers and suppliers thus raising satisfaction levels, says Derdack.

Matthes Derdack, Managing Director of Derdack explained, "We could see that our notification workflow software provided many benefits to companies looking to maintain service uptime.  It was a logical step to extend the multi-destination notification functionality to communicate with a broader audience.  A proactive incident-forward communication strategy ensures users and customers are kept up to date on any issues that have affected service availability.  This prevents lost staff productivity, raises customer satisfaction levels and reduces the number of support calls that are generated regarding the same incident."

message master Enterprise Alert has become an established product for companies looking to consolidate and manage alerts and notifications for systems monitoring.  The software has been enhanced to make message master Enterprise Alert 2010 ultra reliable so it can function effectively as part of critical systems infrastructure.  There are a number of additional features for a fully redundant set up to ensure it is always available to act as a central alert and notification hub.

Derdack says a close working relationship with Microsoft ensures that users see a familiar interface leading to faster adoption and consequently quicker deployment and operation.

Other improvements include:

    a.. Greater two-way integration with third-party applications including industrial systems via OPC
    b.. Customers, suppliers and employees can define and self-manage notification subscriptions and preferences via an online portal
    c.. Easier reporting and export of data into applications such as Excel
    d.. Better filtering of double events
    e.. SOAP-based SDK for software developers

Matthes Derdack concludes, "The new version builds on the foundations established when we launched message master Enterprise Alert.  The software is proven in a wide range of customer scenarios to help maintain systems availability and reduce the mean time to repair (MTTR).  We have listened carefully to customer feedback and incorporated a range of exciting new features which will extend the product's capabilities around business continuity and customer satisfaction.  It also aids real-time managerial decision making, for example determining when to put a disaster recovery plan into operation."

Key features of message master Enterprise Alert 2010:

    a.. Links to multiple event sources such as IT (Microsoft System Center, IBM Tivoli, HP Openview, etc), facilities management, manufacturing and Business Process Monitoring (BPM) systems
    b.. Automated and intelligent alert and notification workflows following the closed-loop principle
    c.. Multiple 2-way communication channels, e.g. voice, SMS, email, IM, fax, MMS
    d.. Communication with multiple audiences, such as service technicians, managers, users, clients and suppliers
    e.. Full audit trail and real-time reporting capability

TM Forum, the world industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, announced today the results of its latest Business Benchmarking study which uncovers a direct link between Communications Service Providers (CSPs) levels of unbilled revenue and the maturity of their revenue assurance programs. The study results are included in TM Forum's latest Insights Business Intelligence Report, "Revenue Assurance: The Hidden Opportunity".
The report, which includes observations from recent TM Forum Business Benchmarks, finds that CSPs who target Revenue Assurance holistically differentiate themselves through high performance, efficient operations, and improved bottom-line contributions. Revenue Assurance success is best represented by the percentage of revenue that cannot be billed, a measure that reflects ability to identify revenue leakage as well as to recover leaked revenue. In the highest-performing CSPs included in the benchmark, 0.0% of revenue could not be billed, whereas poorest performing CSPs could not bill 6.4%.

Key Findings of the report are:

  • Revenue Assurance performance is directly correlated with the maturity of a CSP's Revenue Assurance program, making Revenue Assurance maturity an important investment. A strong Revenue Assurance capability is a core attribute of high-performing CSPs - a necessity and a differentiator.
  • Mature Revenue Assurance departments can look like cost centers if measured solely on revenue recovery, especially if there is little leaked revenue to recover. A better measure of Revenue Assurance success is the percent of revenue that cannot be billed. This measure reflects ability to identify revenue leakage as well as to recover leaked revenue. In highest-performing CSPs included in the benchmark, 0.0% of revenue could not be billed, whereas poorest performing CSPs could not bill 6.4%.
  • The best-performing CSPs had Revenue Assurance maturity metrics that were 0.50 to 0.80 points higher than the general survey population. The best-performing CSPs had highest maturity in Organization and People, followed by Influence.
  • Charging and third party settlements are becoming more challenging as a result of increasingly complex service bundles that often include third-party service components, growing transaction volumes, and an increasing number of suppliers. Revenue Assurance organizations play an important role in preserving margin on new revenue streams, including tracking new transaction types through to correct billing and third-party fund allocations.

The report analyzes the benefits of strong Revenue Assurance performance for CSPs at all levels of size and maturity. It includes observations from recent TM Forum Business Benchmarking Revenue Assurance benchmarks and Revenue Assurance Maturity Model surveys.

The report also includes perspectives from CSP thought-leaders about the contribution Revenue Assurance makes to their corporate success, and views from key industry suppliers on current and future Revenue Assurance challenges.

TM Forum's Business Benchmarking Program manages and delivers metric-based benchmarking studies, surveys on qualitative aspects of performance, and business intelligence reports. Regular Business Performance studies are completed on Broadband, Mobile, High-speed Business, and Converged Services, as well as on Billing and Revenue Assurance Performance. Qualitative surveys and business intelligence reports span a wide range of hot industry topics.

 "Mature Revenue Assurance organizations need to expand their remit beyond traditional measures into managing new revenue streams. The pay-off will be higher margins on new revenue streams, more success in bringing new services to market, and positive customer experience, " said Martin Creaner, president and COO, TM Forum. "Service Providers that embrace this hidden opportunity will be in a much stronger position than those that don't. It is an important differentiator."

"To determine their true contribution, Revenue Assurance organizations should be measured on more than recovered revenue. A good, but not sufficient, measure is unbillable revenue," added Tonia Graham, Business Benchmarking Program manager, TM Forum. "Recovered revenue doesn't have a measurable impact on the bottom line - unless, of course, you stop doing it. If you see your Revenue Assurance team as a cost center, you are missing an opportunity."

"The act of self-assessment itself has already helped us to identify room for improvements and I'm confident that the final result will point us down the path toward the next level of maturity," said Rose Moura, Director of Revenue Assurance, Swisscom AG.

According to a new survey report from Juniper Research, more than 3 million consumers have now used mobile coupons in the UK. The survey was conducted in October 2009.

The mobile coupons consumer survey, launched globally today, is said to provide detailed insight into consumers' current usage of mobile coupons. It also gauges the future prospects for new interactive mobile marketing techniques such as coupon services and smart posters, says Juniper.

Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research, commented: "The redemption rate for traditional paper coupons is typically 1% or less, but, based on our survey, mobile coupons offer 6 times these rates. This means that retailers and brands have the opportunity to exploit the mobile channel via personalised coupon offers direct to the ultimate personal device - the mobile phone."

The survey showed that in excess of three quarters of those questioned were aware of mobile coupons and that once people receive coupons then there is a strong probability that they will also redeem them. The Orange Wednesdays campaign is a prime example of a successful mobile coupons programme.

Smart Posters
As well as coupons, Juniper Research's new report ‘The Mobile Coupons Consumer Survey' found that smart posters are likely to be popular amongst the 16 to 34 age groups. The ability to tap smart posters to receive coupons and product samples presents opportunities to market products in new and innovative ways such as movie trailer downloads.

The report is said to contain comprehensive analysis of the survey results by gender, age group, socio economic group and working status.  

NextiraOne, a European specialist in communications services, has provided a new Unified Communications platform for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Completed earlier this year the project is now fully operational and is enabling the ICAEW to improve its quality of service and reduce its telephony and operating costs through the integration of voice, video and data networks and the introduction of advanced collaboration tools.

The ICAEW is the largest professional accountancy organisation in Europe and has over 132,000 members who run and advise businesses across every economic sector, spanning 165 countries and counting a number of the FTSE CEOs and FDs as its members. The ICAEW wanted to create a new voice, video and data environment that would enhance its business efficiency and quality of service, encourage collaborative working, whilst managing and reducing overall telephony costs, and ensuring business continuity. With its Head Office in London and an office in Milton Keynes, the ICAEW also has regional and international offices and a significant number of home-workers, all of whom needed to be connected in an efficient and cost-effective way through the new advanced voice, video and data communications system.

The infrastructure designed and implemented by NextiraOne for the ICAEW provides a combined solution based on technology from both Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco. NextiraOne used the best of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise technology for the IP telephony solution and the Contact Centre, plus a range of advanced applications for the working environment and introduced Cisco switching for local area networking at the London and Milton Keynes sites.

The result is a fully integrated Unified Communications system, providing an IP Telephony platform supporting 650 users across the business, including the Head Office in London, an office in Milton Keynes, international and regional offices and around 140 home-workers.  Based around an Alcatel-Lucent Omni-PCX Enterprise platform, the Unified Communications infrastructure has created an enhanced working environment, integrating many applications designed to improve efficiency and promote collaborative working, including My Teamwork, My Messaging, My Phone, One Number and My Instant Communicator, and providing a fully integrated desktop with Unified Inbox.

The NextiraOne solution also includes an Alcatel-Lucent OmniTouch Premium Contact Centre which allows the ICAEW to monitor and record calls, measure performance and analyse the results so that improvements can be made to the quality of service to callers, such as better response times. The Contact Centre solution also includes the Alcatel-Lucent desktop wallboard solution and NICE IP Voice Recording.

NextiraOne's core telephony solution incorporated several levels of resilience, based on dual servers with spatial redundancy in ICAEW's Data Centres in Milton Keynes and London, designed to ensure business continuity and provide Disaster Recovery. NextiraOne also provides comprehensive support and maintenance for the ICAEW's infrastructure through a Managed Services Contract and has worked closely with the ICAEW to produce training materials.

The new communications platform has significantly improved the way the ICAEW communicates both internally and with its clients and provides a springboard for the ICAEW's ambition to expand internationally. NextiraOne's substantial European presence in 17 countries is said to have been a significant factor in the ICAEW's choice of the company as its partner. This was complemented by NextiraOne's ability to understand the business case and demonstrate the practical benefits that its solution would have in increasing productivity and business efficiency.

"We had clear strategic objectives in implementing the new Unified Communications system," says Bill Wilson, Director of IT at the ICAEW. "Collaborative working was top of our wish list, along with improved quality of service and system reliability. NextiraOne showed us how we could achieve all this and also find significant reductions in operating costs. NextiraOne approached the project from a business perspective, seeing the technology as a mean to provide the benefits we needed."

NextiraOne has a direct sales and service presence in 17 countries, serving more than 60,000 customers. The company  designs, installs, maintains and supports sustainable solutions to meet the communications needs of its customers - from voice, data and video to mobility, security and applications.

Steven Skakel, Managing Director UK & Ireland at NextiraOne, said: "Using Unified Communications and collaboration tools was the ideal solution for an organisation like the ICAEW and we were able to deliver a scalable solution which can grow with the expansion of the ICAEW's international business. Our experts understand the business drivers of major organisations like the ICAEW and we were able to propose and implement a tailored solution designed to deliver specific and tangible benefits."

Said to be in response to increased demand for product and service management in the Communication Service Provider (CSP) industry in Croatia, Tribold and CRMT have signed a partnership agreement, which will bring Tribold's Enterprise Product Management solution to the South Eastern European region.

Slavko Kastelic, Managing Director at CRMT, said: "As the CSP industry in the region develops we are witnessing an increasing awareness of the key role that Product and Service Management plays in achieving and maintaining market positions and increasing efficiency in the areas of marketing, operations, network and finance."

Kastelic continued: "Tribold was an obvious partner for CRMT because of their Tier-1 references, the maturity of the Tribold 3 product, and particularly the leadership in the CSP community demonstrated through Tribold's activities in the TM Forum standards and specification processes. We are excited to be working with a company that not only provides the solution but actively shapes the Product and Service Management landscape in the CSP industry and we are looking forward to bringing the benefits of Tribold 3 to the operators and providers in the region."

Simon Muderack, Tribold COO and founder commented, "This partnership provides carriers in South Eastern Europe the unique opportunity to access the recognized global leader in the Enterprise Product Management software through a local partner with intimate knowledge of the regional market".

Envivio has announced that its 4Caster C4 video encoder is being used by Bouygues Telecom, said to be one of France's largest mobile network operators with ten million subscribers, to encode video for its TV 3G+ mobile video service. The Bouygues Telecom video headend is hosted by Cognacq-Jay Image, the content management and delivery subsidiary of TDF. TV 3G+ provides subscribers with access to more than 60 channels in a variety of standard and premium packages.

When launching the new service in November 2008, Bouygues Telecom and Cognacq-Jay Image elected to replace their legacy software encoders with the 4Caster C4 hardware encoder configured for Mobile TV. The multi-profile 4Caster C4 enables the TV 3G+ service to be optimized for the 176 different handsets currently in use by Bouygues Telecom subscribers. This includes a QVGA resolution, 3.5G HSDPA profile to deliver premium video quality for subscribers with high end devices.

"4Caster C4 from Envivio has helped us by delivering the reliability and performance needed to provide a good quality of experience for the end user, as well as flexibility that is enabling our company to follow the fast-moving mobile market." said Thibaut Keraval in charge of Mobile Services Solutions in Bouygues Telecom.

"Upgrading the existing infrastructure to an up-to-date Envivio platform was an important decision in the development of TV 3G+," said David Karoutchi, Business Development Manager - Mobile & Broadband, Cognacq-Jay Image. "The 4Caster C4 provides a high reliability, high performance foundation that offers the superior service levels we were looking for in order to ensure the best experience for subscribers."

The Envivio 4Caster C4 simultaneously delivers four channels of video with up to 32 different Mobile TV profiles per system, providing a compression platform for operators launching new services or upgrading early generation services based on software encoding platforms. The Bouygues Telecom deployment also includes the Envivio 4Manager headend management system, providing M:N automatic redundancy configuration for true carrier-grade service availability. This is claimed to transform mobile TV into a full-fledged service offering, based on a state-of-the-art professional headend infrastructure.

cVidya Networks, a global specialist in Telecom, Revenue Assurance and Dealer Management systems, announced today that 1&1 Internet, the Web host by known servers and a leading ISP in Germany, has deployed cVidya's revenue assurance product for partner invoice reconciliation. The software will enable 1&1 to more efficiently identify and manage disputable charges in inter-carrier invoices between their own organization and network and infrastructure owners. 

cVidya's Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution automatically recalculates invoices and verifies accuracy of inter-carrier payments for third party outsourced services such as leased lines and next generation infrastructures. This results in a major decrease in expenses for DSL access. By identifying discrepancies, the service provider is able to negotiate, prove and reclaim erroneous payments and bills.

"Due to the increasing complexity of communication networks, there is a growing demand for a solution that enables service providers to more effectively minimize and measure errors in settling accounts between operators and service providers," commented Alon Aginsky, the president and CEO of cVidya Networks. "Existing billing systems need to be updated regularly to optimally process the complicated accounting between wholesale operators and service providers. cVidya is pleased to be working with 1&1 towards the first deployment of its new Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution."

Markus Huhn, CFO of 1&1 Internet added, "We are confident that cVidya's Partner Invoice Reconciliation solution will be instrumental in enhancing 1&1's inter-carrier invoicing processes. By minimizing cost and required resources, this solution will increase efficiency of our invoice processing procedure."