European Communications

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Deutsche Telekom and Neuf Cegetel reach agreement on T-Online France

Deutsche Telekom AG has reached an agreement on the sale of its French Internet subsidiary T-Online France S.A.S. Neuf Cegetel will take over all the shares in the company, which operates under the Club Internet brand and operates as an Internet Service Provider.

The transaction is subject to approval by the French anti-trust authorities. Both parties aim to complete the transaction by the end of H1 2007.

The transaction forms part of the “focus, fix and grow” strategy announced on March 1, 2007, by the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management.

Axiom Systems demonstrates dynamic product creation through product and service assembly catalyst at TeleManagement World Nice

TeleManagement Forum (TMF) Catalyst shows service providers how to dramatically reduce the cost and time to market for new innovative services

Axiom Systems has announced that phase 2 of the Product and Service Assembly Initiative (PSA) will be demonstrating how broadband DSL, VoIP and IPTV with VOD capabilities can be dynamically created and rapidly delivered as a triple-play bundled product.

The PSA will be showcased on Stand C4 at TeleManagement World (TMW), from May 21-24, 2007, on the ground floor of the Acropolis Convention Center in Nice, France.

“The ultimate goal of the PSA was to build a service creation environment that drastically cuts new product delivery times for telecommunications service providers,” said Dave Milham, OSS Architecture and Integration at BT Group, and TMW Distinguished Fellow.   “Like all major telecommunications service providers today, BT is looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction and retention rates while reducing the time and cost if takes to roll out new IP-based services. The PSA has allowed us to explore a realistic and promising approach to these issues.”

“A major obstacle to implementing such a service assembly environment is the lack of agility in service provider’s front and back offices to support the ad hoc and rapid change paradigm that is needed in today’s competitive telecoms market,” said Brian Naughton, Vice President of Strategy and Architecture at Axiom Systems and Lead Architect for the PSA.  “The PSA reference architecture provides a blueprint that is cost-effective to deploy and supports the rapid roll out of new services by minimizing the need for customizations.”

The PSA draws its inspiration from other industries where Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are used to drive automated production. 

At the core of the architecture is the concept of an “Active Catalog”, where all of the service and product building blocks are modeled, for example network equipment, applications, or even more abstract building blocks such as work instructions or even instructions for rating. These building blocks are modeled as components within the Active Catalog and can be assembled into service or product offerings that make sense to the customer or to a product manager.

Initiated by Axioms Systems, the first phase of the PSA involved Atos Origin, BT, Cable & Wireless, Huawei, Oracle (Siebel) and TeliaSonera, and was successfully demonstrated at TMW Dallas 2006.

The second phase welcomed Microsoft TIBCO, QinetiQ and Convergys, and will demonstrate at how TMW Nice 2007 how innovative telecom products can be created extremely quickly and cost-effectively with little or no impact on customer or network facing systems.

Trustive launches Wi-Fi hotspot service for small and medium enterprises

Pooled subscriptions provide IT and finance directors with greater flexibility and cost control

Trustive, the European wireless hotspot access provider, has today announced the launch of its new Business Solutions service aimed at providing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with flexible Wi-Fi hotspot access across Europe for their mobile workforces.

Keeping track of communications usage and expenditure can be a major headache for many SMEs.  Despite Wi-Fi proving to be the most cost-effective service for people on the move, up until now there has been no real solution for SMEs wanting to provide their workforces with extensive, high-speed wireless Internet access. Trustive's pooled
subscriptions* from their Business Solutions service will provide employees with seamless access to more than 20,000 hotspots. Pooled subscriptions enable minutes from each individual user to be aggregated into one pool, so that usage can be shared out across an organisation, as need dictates, all at a fixed monthly cost.

Accounts can be easily monitored and changed online using Trustive's management tool, which allows IT and finance directors to easily add or delete users and track usage across their mobile workforce. This provides SMEs with total control and visibility and at the same time, the flexibility to modify their account to meet the ever-changing requirements of their mobile workforce.

Trustive offers seamless wireless hotspot access through a unified global network of hotspots.  Using Trustive's recently released HotSpotter software, users can easily detect hotspots anywhere in the world and have secure one click access to the network.  Trustive's 'per second' billing also means that users only pay for the time they actually use, rather than burn unused minutes unnecessarily.

The Trustive network covers over 20,000 hotspots, connecting more than 60 of the best European networks, including The Cloud, SFR, KPN Hotspots and Vodafone Italia. Trustive customers can access some of the prime wireless locations across Europe, including coverage at all major EU airports.

Bram Jan Streefland, co-founder and managing director of Trustive, said:
"Staying on top of communications expenses can be a nightmare for SMEs, particularly if employees are regularly travelling throughout Europe and the US.  Trustive's Business Solutions service aims to provide SMEs with the flexibility to manage their accounts online when travels habits or employees change, and at the same time provide them with greater cost control."

Martin Dawes Systems upgrades Vodafone CRM System for UK business customers

Martin Dawes Systems has announced the completion of a major project for Vodafone to upgrade the customer management systems at its UK Enterprise Business Unit (EBU).  This involved the implementation of the latest version of dise3G, the company’s end-to-end billing and CRM solution.

The Vodafone EBU provides a range of communication services and products for UK enterprises. These are supported by dedicated business customer support centres that utilize the Martin Dawes Systems’ solution to manage customer requests and queries.

The customer service agents who use the newly upgraded systems will benefit from a range of new features and functionality that enhance customer care.  Its provision of a 360° view of a customer will enable Vodafone to further improve customer service handling and build cross-selling of products and services, helping the operator reduce customer churn and increase ARPU.

Vodafone is also benefiting from greatly improved systems scalability and resilience by running in a single environment. This will deliver significant reductions in operational costs whilst improving system performance.

The extensive Vodafone upgrade, which consisted of an amalgamation of five major releases, was planned and implemented in just three months.  The software will be used by 270+ Vodafone customer care representatives in the EBU call centre.

Barry Dowd, Martin Dawes Systems Customer Support Director, said: “Vodafone is committed to the enterprise market and meeting the high expectations of business communications users.  We specialize in this area and the operator recognized the unique benefits our solutions bring to this complex environment.  We worked together to deliver this massive upgrade in a timely and efficient manner and we are extremely pleased to have helped Vodafone evolve its customer management systems with the swift completion of this latest project.”

Celona launches new generation of application data migration software

Celona Technologies, the accelerated transformation company, has today announced the release of Celona 3.1: the new generation of application data migration software. Celona 3.1 advances the practise of data migration further by providing the next step towards automated migrations. With Celona companies can now perform fast, low risk application data migrations from legacy systems, independently from other systems and from business-process transformations.

 Celona has built their reputation with global Tier 1 Communications Service Providers (CSPs) by accelerating business and systems transformations. Celona’s unique, patent-pending technology allows CSPs to migrate to new operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS) using a business-aligned approach.

 Celona completes migrations progressively and with business-as-usual throughout. By delivering independence between each migration project and between the users and system data, Celona 3.1 enables large migration programmes to be delivered more flexibly. Celona 3.1 brings to market a range of new features including:

 ·  configurable migration processing – enabling dynamic business priorities to flex the migration as it progresses

·   flexible and prioritised control of migration and synchronisation activity – ensuring independence yet mutual cooperation of business and systems

·   advanced model flexibility and independence – enabling rapid change to the migration process and data quality rules.

Tony Sceales, CEO of Celona says “We are very excited about bringing Celona 3.1 to the market and to be showcasing it at TeleManagement World in Nice. We will be able to demonstrate to the audience our world class product, which will allow companies to complete migrations smoothly, efficiently and most importantly on time and on budget.  The product also has the great benefit of enabling companies to rapidly move forward their system migrations without disrupting their business.”

Helsinki Host City Service brings Eurovision song contest to Internet

Finland's largest event portal brings Eurovision content to multiple platforms including mobile TV and Second Life

Forum Virium Helsinki today announced the opening of the new service, which brings digital content from the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest to the Internet in real time.

The event portal, designed for Eurovision guests and other visitors interested in the song contest and its host city Helsinki, offers a program guide to events in the Helsinki metropolitan area, as well as numerous themed routes for touring the city. The mobile-ready service provides a wide range of interactive real-time experiences for visitors, and it is the most extensive portal site ever launched for a single event in Finland.

A 90-student production crew of Arcada polytechnic's urban TV project DINA will produce a continuous stream of real-time video material covering events throughout Helsinki during the song contest. The fast-moving DINA Host City channel also utilizes user-submitted video material.

"The new service is an unprecedented innovation for an Eurovision Song Contest host city," said Mr. Jarmo Eskelinen, Director, Forum Virium Helsinki. "The event portal is also unique because the TV stream produced by DINA can be followed on no less than six different platforms. These are the Helsinki Host City web portal, Sonera MobileTV, DVB-H mobile devices, the Second Life virtual world, the DINA channel in Welho's cable TV network, and the Yle Extra digital television channel."

For culture enthusiasts, the Helsinki Host City portal offers several different routes for exploring Helsinki from various perspectives such as Design. Continuously updated program guide provides the latest information on current and upcoming Eurovision-related and other events in Helsinki. A mobile version of the guide can be downloaded to smart phones. Video material from the portal will be integrated into the Helsinki cityscape by projections on urban screen surfaces.

The community-driven Helsinki Host City service provides a dynamic portal for fans of the Eurovision Song Contest enthusiasts, whether onsite or located on the other side of the world. The easy-to-use service has been designed in cooperation with Eurovision fan organizations.

"With the new event portal, Finland is taking a pioneering role as an Eurovision Song Contest host," said Ms. Helena Hyvärinen, Concept Designer, Forum Virium Helsinki. "The service allows us to offer a unique multimedia experience and bring the excitement of the contest to a wider audience than ever before."

Forum Virium Helsinki is realizing the Eurovision multimedia portal in cooperation with Metropolitan Area Marketing, the City of Helsinki, the DINA project of Arcada polytechnic, TeliaSonera, Digita, Satama and the member companies and partners of Forum Virium. After the Eurovision Song Contest, the Helsinki Host City service will remain a part of the information offering of the City of Helsinki.

Macropolitan partners with Alcatel-Lucent to offer urban WiMAX sites for UK operators

UK’s largest owner of urban site rights signs partnership with Alcatel-Lucent: Combined offering provides best deployment service for WiMAX operators

Macropolitan and Alcatel-Lucent have announced that they have signed a deal to work together to provide UK operators with an offering that brings the technology and services leadership of Alcatel-Lucent together with Macropolitan’s ownership of the UK’s largest portfolio of exclusive telecoms rights at 8,900 urban sites.

Alcatel-Lucent can now offer UK operators a fully outsourced WiMAX network deployment in urban areas. Alcatel-Lucent is able to provide the WiMAX infrastructure, network planning, site acquisition, installation and maintenance services while Macropolitan will offer its portfolio of urban sites to Alcatel-Lucent. This partnership will deliver a best-in-class WiMAX deployment service, removing delays associated with traditional site acquisition.
“Alcatel-Lucent is offering UK operators a WiMAX network turn-key deployment service using Macropolitan’s leading urban site portfolio. We chose to work with Macropolitan to enable us to offer superior urban coverage to our customers and to further extend our strategic advantage in the WiMAX market” said Alan Mottram, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent UK & Ireland. 
Ryan Jarvis, CEO, Macropolitan stated that “Alcatel-Lucent has a proven track record in WiMAX innovation. Macropolitan is therefore pleased to provide our sites to Alcatel-Lucent so that Alcatel-Lucent can now offer the fastest WiMAX turn-key roll-out service available to any UK operator.” 
Many telecom operators are moving to outsource their network deployments to the major technology vendors. Alcatel-Lucent has recently won several major outsource contracts, such as with E-Plus in February 2007. As Macropolitan is a pure-play site provider it is well positioned to take a partnership approach with the major vendors. Unlike a traditional tower company, Macropolitan does not compete with a vendor’s managed services business. This vendor partnership approach is off to a strong start with a global leader such as Alcatel-Lucent.

Global demand for WiFi on trains, says BWCS

Train operators and service providers from all over the world will meet in London next month to discuss progress in providing passengers and rail staff with on-board internet connections. The conference, which is being organised by technology consultancy BWCS, will focus on the means and the benefits of supplying broadband signals to trains.

Train Communications 2007 will examine the ways that new technologies are dramatically altering on-board communications systems. As Graham Wilde, CEO of BWCS, put it "Suddenly train companies are being offered new and dynamic ways to make their services more profitable, more secure, more efficient and even more passenger friendly."

"Almost every train company which is currently offering or trialing on-board train internet services for passengers and staff will be at this year's conference," reports Wilde. "We feel this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from their successes and occasional failures, as well as to hear reports on progress from trials of new systems and services - straight from the horses' mouths."

Yet, despite great progress in this sector and in the face of overwhelming public demand for such services, only a handful of train companies have so far managed to supply customers with an internet connection. The latest example of this is the Heathrow Express, which now allows passengers to hook up to the internet as they travel between Paddington and London's major airport.

The response to this conference, which builds on a similar event last year organised by BWCS, has shown that there is tremendous interest in this topic amongst transport and companies and technology suppliers around the world.

One of the major themes of this year's conference will be the uses that operators can make of on-board train access to assist in security, safety and reducing staff costs. Delegates will discuss such issues as on-board CCTV being wirelessly relayed from train to trackside and wireless ticketing services.

The speakers will provide first hand accounts of the problems and pitfalls that can befall operators and explain how these can successfully be avoided and overcome. The proponents of all the main wireless access technologies will debate their strategies and solutions as well as discuss the future development of the industry.

Among those presenting at Train Communications Systems 2007 will be:
Virgin Trains, Capitol Corridors Joint Power Authority (US Train Operator), VIA Rail (Canada), Swiss Rail, NSB (Norwegian Rail), GNER, Nokia Siemens Networks, Lloyd's Register Rail, NS Trains, Icomera, Nomad Digital, T-Systems and many more.

Over two days, a combination of interactive workshops, panel sessions, presentations and networking sessions will explore the commercial and technical issues arising from the deployment of train WiFi around the world as well as other newer applications developed as wireless broadband on trains becomes a reality. Train Communications 2007 will be held in central London on the 6th and 7th of June 2007.

The conference is sponsored by Icomera and Lloyd's Register Rail with lunches sponsored by Nokia Siemens Networks and Nomad Digital. 21Net is sponsoring a cocktail event at the end of the first day.

New Nokia security appliances go deep to find threats, meet growing network performance demands

Nokia  has today announced two new IP security appliances, Nokia IP290 and Nokia IP690 security platforms, rolling out a scalable hardware platform design offering better IT investment protection and a greater choice of security software applications to address emerging threats to company networks and data.

Nokia IP690 is the first new IP security appliance with a multi-core and multi-threading architecture optimized for performance and scalability, readying businesses for processor-intensive security applications. The new hardware design offers investment protection by extending product life from two years to an average of five years. Nokia hardware platforms purchased today are upgradeable when newer versions of the Nokia IPSO(TM) operating system are released, and Nokia IP690 is expandable through various interface cards and accelerated data path (ADP card) technologies. This expandable approach allows customers to retain their initial investment for longer periods of time by offering the flexibility to expand performance at their own pace.
"Businesses today are looking to get as much mileage as possible from every IT dollar spent, but they simply cannot compromise on performance when it comes to protecting the security of the corporate network," said Tom Furlong, vice president, Security & Mobile Connectivity, Nokia. "By enabling our customers to boost the performance of their security appliance - when the time is right for them - we are giving them a way to protect their network while also protecting their IT investments."
Nokia IP290 combines powerful network performance with a compact ½ RU form factor, offering branch offices and extended enterprise sites a full-featured security appliance backed by Nokia global support. Expandable with an included empty PMC slot, Nokia IP290 ships with Nokia IPSO 4.2 and an updated architecture, making it a reliable platform for unified threat management (UTM) implementations.
Nokia security appliances detect and block the increasingly sophisticated threats companies face as mobile device usage among workers expands, and as new network traffic patterns alter business security requirements. Nokia security solutions use deep packet inspection to uncover vulnerabilities and provide protection against application-level threats in the perimeter, core and data center.
Nokia IP690
Nokia IP690 security platform is designed to meet the demanding price performance, multi-Gigabit throughput and port-density requirements of medium to large businesses and service providers. Nokia IP690 readies businesses for processor-intensive security applications by introducing multi-core and multi-threading architecture. Businesses planning to implement next generation security applications can take advantage of the native enhancements and expandability features of Nokia IP690 without costly 'forklift' upgrades. A compact 1RU (rack unit) security appliance, Nokia IP690 supports next generation ADP cards to accelerate firewall and VPN performance and delivers enhanced business continuity through features such as dual, hot-swappable power supplies and optional redundant hard disk drives.
Nokia IP690 Firewall/VPN delivers up to 7 Gbps (Gigabit per second) of throughput performance and up to 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports to run Check Point® VPN-1, Check Point Power and VPN-1 UTM suite of applications.
Nokia IP690 Intrusion Prevention with Sourcefire delivers a 1 Gbps sensor and offers the unique combination of highest port density and performance in a single rack configuration. The solution is built on hardware optimized for security and offers the ease of use, reliability and rich feature set of the Nokia IPSO operating system.
Nokia IP290
Nokia IP290 is a multi-purpose security platform ideal for small and branch offices, and extended enterprises that require robust, large-enterprise performance, simple remote management, and high reliability at a low total cost of ownership. Powerful yet cost-effective, the compact, ½RU form factor design allows for side-by-side redundancy in a single 1RU pull-out tray providing a low-cost/high-availability solution with IP clustering and VRRP technologies (virtual router redundancy protocol).
Nokia IP290 Firewall/VPN supports traditional firewall and next generation security applications such as Check Point VPN-1 UTM, which includes firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, anti virus and URL filtering. Nokia IP290 Firewall combines market-leading Nokia hardware design and quality with market-leading Check Point software and the Nokia IPSO operating system for maximum security, high availability, reliability and manageability.
Nokia IP290 Intrusion Prevention with Sourcefire, as part of the Nokia Intrusion Prevention (IPS) portfolio, ensures that whatever the performance requirements for a company's network, there is an intrusion prevention appliance to meet them. Nokia offers performance of 100Mbps, 250Mbps, 400Mbps and 1Gbps across the product range. Nokia IP290 also offers resellers and system integrators a lower point-of-entry for branching out beyond firewalls to deliver intrusion prevention systems.