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TM Forum, the world's premier industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, today confirmed two further defense conference tracks, a security management workshop and a live defense Technology Catalyst demonstration, as it continues to build on an already impressive defense line-up at the Forum's Management World 2009 conference in Nice next month.

With global interest from the defense industry in utilizing TM Forum best practices and standards already at an all time high, the conference tracks follow a theme of "Transformation Challenges in Coalition and Federated Defense Network Operations," and feature six new presentations:

  • Federated Service Management Concept and Related OSS Integration Challenges, NATO C3 Agency
  • Business Transformation for Core Network Convergence to an Open Network Services Architecture, QinetiQ Ltd.
  • Transforming the Management of UK Military Satellite Communications, Logica
  • NetOps Agility: A Key Enabler of Net-Centric Operations over the Global Information Grid, MITRE Corporation
  • Mission Collaboration and Service Management in Space Communications, Progress Software and Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
  • US/NATO Information Sharing for NetOps

Management World will also include a defense-related Technology Catalyst demonstration project as part of Forumville, TM Forum's Innovation Zone. "Collaborated End-to-End Operation and Service Management in Defense Communications" will demonstrate the first-phase results of a project developed through collaboration by six TM Forum member companies, showcasing  an integrated solution for collaborative service level management across the Areas of Responsibility (AOR) and operational Communities of Interest (COI). 

Using a Search and Rescue Mission as the backdrop, the project utilizes current and extended TM Forum standards to provide a common data and service representation in the enterprise information domain, while policy management facilitates service automation in the complex cross-operator service.  The project team decided to use the Forum's Technology Catalyst environment to accelerate the development of this solution due to its critical nature for satellite communications and as a way to quickly prove cost-saving measures that are necessary in tight budgetary times.

In addition, at the request of the Forum's Defense Interest Group, a Security Management Workshop has been added to the agenda. This roundtable working session will identify priorities and develop a work plan for incorporating Security Management into core TM Forum specifications.  The Forum sees this as an opportunity to greatly enhance their standards with input from the world's foremost security experts.

According to Christy Coffey, Defense Sector Head TM Forum, "This impressive line-up showcases the variety and depth of defense focused activities at Management World this year, and demonstrates an on-going commitment to evolving TM Forum standards and participation in our collaborative programs and conferences by the global defense community. Other Forum members will also benefit from the work being undertaken to evolve TM Forum standards in the areas of Policy Based Network Management and Security Management."

According to Tamas Halmai, Principal Scientist NATO C3 Agency, "The NATO Network Enabled Capability (NNEC) is a new networking paradigm, alongside the proposed federated service management system, gluing it together. To make NNEC a reality, interoperable and standardized management solutions are of crucial importance both on the procedural and technical levels. The NATO C3 Agency (NC3A) is pleased to work with the TM Forum together in its standardization effort by utilizing already available TM Forum standards and tailoring them to special military requirements. Management World 2009 in Nice is seen by the NC3A as a great opportunity to meet with other industry participants and collaborate on the future of NNEC and the related federated management concept."

Nick Shave, Program Manager, Logica commented, "As a major European systems integrator in the Telecoms and Defense sectors, Logica is sees tremendous value in participating in Management World 2009. This is a key annual event for us that helps enable important collaboration with industry partners and clients. In the defense conference track, Logica will highlight the innovation we have helped to introduce in the provision of secure satellite communications services through the comprehensive OSS/BSS we have recently delivered as part of the SKYNET program for Paradigm Secure Communications in the UK." 

Growth in user spend on mobile entertainment services will slow dramatically over the next two years unless key markets emerge from recession, according to a new report from Juniper Research. In addition, the report argues that slower deployment of content services meant that revenues were likely to be lower than previously forecast even after markets emerged from the downturn.

The Mobile Entertainment report found that, under a worst case scenario of a prolonged global recession, mobile entertainment revenues would increase by nearly $13 billion over the next five years, against a pre-downturn forecast of more than $26 billion. It argued that the decline in consumer discretionary spend was likely to lead to both reduced adoption of, and churn away from, subscription-based content, while the frequency of ad hoc, one-off downloads of games and music would also be adversely affected.

Furthermore, according to report author Dr Windsor Holden, other factors continue to constrain growth, notably ease of access and the cost of data services. "While operators have made significant strides in reducing the costs of bundled data, the overwhelming majority of mobile users are prepaid customers who want to sample mobile Internet usage before committing to a bundle. And in most cases, data costs are so high that they act as a disincentive to such initial usage."

Nevertheless, the Mobile Entertainment report notes that despite the downturn in growth, the revenues derived from Mobile Entertainment Services will still be significant.  "Andrew Bud, global chair of the Mobile Entertainment Forum, said "We concur with this report's identification of so many factors driving growth in mobile entertainment worldwide.  It is clearly positive that Juniper concludes this market will grow so substantially over the next few years despite the recession."

Other findings from the report include:

  • Mobile TV is likely to be the most severely impact sector of mobile entertainment, followed by music and user-generated content
  • The Far East & China region will generate the largest share of entertainment revenues

Bridgewater Systems, the mobile personalization company, today announced that mobile operators can prevent ‘bill shock,' comply with proposed European Union (EU) mobile data roaming regulations, and deliver personalized services with the Bridgewater Policy Controller with Smart Caps.

Bill shock occurs when a subscriber inadvertently runs up high mobile data bills while travelling or downloading applications. The EU has proposed new regulations that cap mobile data roaming fees to alleviate bill shock. By as early as March 1, 2010, subscribers may be able to opt for a maximum personal data roaming limit and be warned when they reach 80% of that limit. If subscribers have not opted for a limit, a set limit would be imposed automatically. 

Mobile operators can comply with proposed EU regulations and deliver personalized services using the Bridgewater Policy Controller with Smart Caps. Smart Caps are precise policy controls that adjust usage levels based on real-time factors such as the subscriber's data consumption during a mobile data session, roaming status, and level of network congestion.  

This enables operators to:
o Improve satisfaction and reduce churn by proactively notifying subscribers when they are near their data roaming charge or usage limit to prevent bill shock. Operators can also provide real-time choices like service extensions or data usage boosts to drive incremental revenues.

o Deliver personalized services including applications on demand, promoting new applications with a day pass or a trial period with no usage limit, multiple flat-rate tiers, and special event based offers. 

o Empower subscribers to set their own policies by providing self-service portals that allow them to set data roaming thresholds and notifications, and implement these changes in real-time.  

The Bridgewater Policy Controller is a PCRF-compliant policy control function that provides real-time network, application, and subscriber policies that allow operators to offer personalized services, lower operational costs, and generate incremental revenues.  

David Vorhaus, Senior Analyst, Yankee Group said: "As mobile operators are tasked with ensuring tight control of subscriber activity and delivering highly personalized services to each subscriber, a dedicated policy management and control solution is a must. Not only does this enable compliance with the EU's proposed regulations around roaming limits, but it can spur revenue growth through the introduction of new services, bandwidth boosts, applications on demand and other value-adds."

David Sharpley, Senior Vice President, Bridgewater Systems added: "Subscribers want real-time control over their mobile experience including service plans, billing, and applications.  The market leading Bridgewater Policy Controller with Smart Caps provides a unique approach to preventing ‘bill shock' and enabling mobile operators to offer personalized services that improve the subscriber's mobile data experience, generate new revenues, and reduce churn."

Turkish operator Avea will introduce high-speed mobile broadband services to its 12 million+ subscribers using WCDMA/HSPA and mobile backhaul technology from Ericsson, after the companies signed a four-year contract for a HSPA-enabled network.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be one of the main suppliers and will integrate and deploy WCDMA/HSPA radio access and packet core networks, as well as a complete mobile-backhaul solution based on microwave transmission and optical transport. The new HSPA-enabled network will ensure mobile broadband without bottlenecks, allowing Avea to offer innovative multimedia services and high-speed mobile internet access. Additionally, Ericsson will expand and upgrade the speed and capacity of Avea's existing GSM network.

Ericsson will also be responsible for network deployment, systems integration and support including spare-parts management. Deployment and integration work has already started.

Cüneyt Türktan, General Manager of Avea, says: "With Ericsson's leading HSPA technology, we can position ourselves in the dynamic and competitive Turkish market, and ensure our subscribers enjoy a richer communications experience, including high-speed mobile broadband that enables anytime-anywhere access."

Anders Lindblad, Head of Ericsson Turkey & Israel, says: "We are honored to be chosen by Avea to help them bring advanced high-speed mobile broadband services to their customers across Turkey. This strategically important deal strengthens our partnership and reaffirms Ericsson's global leadership in HSPA and mobile backhaul."

VTLWaveNet, part of the Viatel group, has announced the expansion of its fibre network into Telehouse 2 in Paris, Global Switch in Amsterdam and Global Switch 2 in London.

Global Switch in Amsterdam provides a second backbone transmission POP which allows VTLWaveNet to provide diverse services from its Amsterdam metro service to Paris and London.  Additionally, VTLWaveNet has purchased extra fibre into Telecity 4 in Amsterdam which it plans to add to the metro network in the near future, as it continues to extend its backbone and offer additional services across its sites and network.

Jo Macarty, senior vice president, wholesale said.  "At VTLWaveNet, we have seen significant growth since the launch in 2007.  This extension of the fibre network alongside the DWDM network expansion to Switzerland, Belgium and France announced last year, will allow us to offer diverse services right across Europe."

It is an exciting time for VTLWaveNet as we continue to announce upgrades, offering a service that very few others are able to.  By avoiding the Channel tunnel and London, customers can be confident of a reliable and cost effective service, between mainland Europe, the UK and USA."

The recent investments in the fibre and DWDM network infrastructures has reduced the network cost to the point where services can be delivered on a cost base amongst the lowest in the industry.  The company's Network Operations Centre (NOC) also ensures that services stay up and running with a support team continuously monitoring and proactively correcting faults.

7 layers, a global group of service centers for the wireless industry, has already been involved in the development of important wireless technologies in the past. With LTE (Long Term Evolution) gaining momentum, 7 layers is once again showing its commitment to be at the forefront of new wireless communications technologies. The 7 layers test and service centers in Asia, Europe and North America are presently involved in the development of new services that will ease the evolution from UMTS to LTE. Based on our experience in developing software tools and test solutions for demanding test set-ups, 7 layers is currently supporting various partner companies with their LTE projects:
  • Together with a manufacturer of base stations, we are currently developing an R&D tester for LTE that supports terminal manufacturers in early R&D phases.
  • We have also integrated the LTE tester of a leading test solution manufacturer into our InterLab Software System. This enables users to optimize their product verification management and certification test processes. The InterLab Software System in combination with this high-tech test equipment eases the test set-up and the test plan generation. It fully automates both the test equipment and the mobile terminal. Test results are available in real-time, providing a high level of detailed information at log file level, important especially for R&D purposes.
  • Due to the experiences we have gained in our test laboratories, one of our service centers is taking over the intricate task of validating LTE test equipment.
  • Thoroughly testing LTE terminals for R&D purposes and later on during the certification process is important to quickly turn this new evolution into a much used, reliable mobile communications technology.

    However, ensuring the capabilities of newly set up LTE networks is another important success factor, which 7 layers is turning to. Presently we are supporting the development of a mobile terminal that will be used for testing LTE networks, by defining the product features and capabilities of this apparatus.

"With all these steps we want to do our bit to bring LTE forward", states Michael Horn, consultant of the 7 layers Systems House. "However we carefully watched the implementation of other wireless technologies in the past and noticed, that especially inexperienced players in the industry often underestimate the commitment, time and expense that is necessary in order to bring reliable and attractive end-user products to the market. Especially the early development of test cases, necessary during the product development phase, is a costly and time consuming task, smaller manufacturers can hardly master. Experience shows however that all those technologies that were open to a large number of various players right from the beginning have turned out to be the most successful in the end. In order to enlarge the number of LTE players and make LTE an overall success, working together at an early stage might be a good solution for the industry in order to bring LTE forward even in difficult times."

7 layers is ready to support the industry with a variety of services, supporting them to turn LTE into a success story for a large number of players. 

Celona Technologies, a specialist in business-centric application data migration solutions, has announced that it has been chosen by Swisscom, Switzerland's leading Telecoms provider, to provide its zero-downtime application data migration platform for a major converged billing programme. Celona will provide its solution to enable Swisscom with a 'low risk' and 'cost effective' migration from legacy to newly upgraded billing application infrastructure based on Oracle BRM.

Charles Andrews, CEO of Celona commented: "We are delighted to have been chosen by Swisscom, who have recognised the importance of application data migration to ensuring the successful implementation of applications in the OSS/BSS environment. Application data migration is arguably the highest risk factor in any application deployment or Telecoms transformation programme and at Celona we are focused on purpose built solutions that provide assured application data migration across key applications areas such as Billing, CRM, Order Management, Provisioning and Network Inventory with minimal business disruption."

Joost Eringfeld, Head of Billing domain of Swisscom commented: "Application data migration is key to the successful deployment of applications in the new convergent OSS/BSS environment. We have chosen Celona for their purpose built software and expertise in Telecoms application data migration, which provides us with a clear business driven approach to what can be a complex and disruptive process".

G3 Telecommunications, a supplier of bespoke IP telephony solutions, has signed a partnership agreement to offer the Veropath telecoms expense management service to its customer base. G3 designs and delivers innovative voice and data communications solutions that make the most of customers' existing infrastructure and best suits their business requirements.

"The Veropath service will provide a perfect match to our approach of finding the best solution for customers' needs," commented Tony Parish, Director of G3 Telecommunications. "We often find that many of the existing systems and infrastructure provide the basis of the optimum solution, but it's just a matter of how it is configured and used. Veropath will help us select the right tariffs, provide independent proof and enable our customers to manage the systems effectively in the future."

"I am delighted that G3 has chosen Veropath," noted Paul Gibbs, Channel Account Director of Veropath. "Veropath offers a key service for resellers in today's market enabling them to deliver greater value to their customers and, in many cases, freeing up ICT budgets."

The cost savings generated by the Veropath service can free up ICT budgets and help customers plan for future trends. Gartner research estimates that 80% of telecoms bills contain errors and up to 35% of all fixed telecoms assets are surplus to requirement. Veropath brings billing information for fixed lines, mobiles and data services from all major suppliers into a single platform for customers. All telecoms suppliers offer billing information in different electronic (and paper) formats making it difficult for customers to reconcile the information. Veropath enables customers to view billing data and interrogate the information to verify if it is correct, to allocate it to cost centres accurately and to make informed decisions.

The active management of telecoms expenses enables companies to save an average of 30% on telecoms expenditure and often more, whilst also allowing them to make informed decisions about suppliers, tariffs and equipment. Most organisations over-pay for their telecoms services by being on incorrect tariffs from their suppliers, paying for services no longer being used and from incorrect billing.

Squire Technologies, a global provider of SS7 and VoIP telecommunication products and solutions, and IP Directions, a leading VoIP service provider in France, announce that they have successfully completed interconnect tests (ISUP SPIROU) with France Telecom.

With FT approval, deploying the software only SVI_MGC Media Gateway Controller provided a bridge between the France Telecom SS7 network and IP Directions SIP based service.

The SVI series of SS7 VoIP gateways & controllers have been adopted by major operators throughout the globe, and are designed to offer ease of use with proven interoperability. For any new entrant wishing to compete with multiple VoIP service offerings, France Telecom interconnect further extends the market opportunity, providing greater access to competitive IP solutions, for which end users are more commonly demanding throughout France.

Gilles Bernard, CTO IP Directions, Yerres, France. "We had a pure SIP requirement, and needed a signaling system able to present our SIP network as SS7 to France Telecom. The SVI MGC Media Gateway Controller fulfilled our proposal for a redundant system that supported our incumbent Media Gateways and was ready to support a future direct SIP interconnection, meaning we could future proof our investment without an expensive overhaul of our current infrastructure. The France Telecom approval means as a service provider we can press on streamlining our IP services to our fixed and mobile customers."

Simon Dinnage Business Development Director, "We are delighted to have passed the France Telecom interconnect process, which was implemented smoothly and with time to spare, as well as thanking IP Directions France for their support. We now look forward to increasing our presence in France and working with operators seeking to deliver new and innovative VoIP services."

Spb Software, a  specialist in mobile applications, has announced the release of Spb TV - a practical mobile TV player with patent-pending on-screen controls and fast channel switching technology, use of intelligent stream correction, picture-in-picture mode, and an integrated TV guide with export of show reminders into Outlook. Spb TV is a subscription-free and international live mobile TV solution that is geared up to utilize the new generation of faster wireless networks.

The now standalone mobile TV solution for Windows Phones, Spb TV was first introduced to the market in September 2008 as the flagship feature of Spb Online. Since then, it has hosted millions of mobile TV sessions. Spb TV is unique in its approach to the mobile TV experience, offering the unexpectedly natural simplicity of watching live TV on a phone. Spb TV goes a long way to support the genuine TV watching behavior on a handset: quick TV guide check-up and channel hopping, on-screen controls for volume and backlight, neat integration of TV functionality with other mobile features (such as messages, calls, and battery life monitoring).

"Mobile TV is an additional fun factor for phone users, who expect hassle-free access to a nice selection of international TV channels from their handsets," - comments Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, Spb Software CEO. "This is why Spb TV is subscription-free, optimized for 3G and WiMax networks, but works great with WiFi connections too. We also look to cooperation with mobile operators, to provide more customized and branded mobile TV experiences to their subscribers," Sebastian concludes.

TTY conformance testing - required by PTCRB - involves a large number of manual interactions between the test operator and the mobile phone under test. Tedious manual interaction however often results in people making mistakes. It should be kept to a minimum if manufacturers want to achieve reliable and fast test results. The InterLab Test Solutions from 7 layers already provide a high level of test automation. Via a sophisticated Electronic Man Machine Interface (EMMI) they make use of existing mobile phone automation interfaces. But those interfaces have one major disadvantage; they differ from the actual user interface the end user will utilize.

"And this is where the Intelligent Handset Tester (IHT) from JOT Automation comes into play. The IHT automation is based on exactly the same buttons, keys and display information, available to the end user. It presses buttons, navigates through menus and verifies displayed icons just like a human operator would do," explains Tom Wellner, product manager of the TTY Test Solution-CMU200.

7 layers and JOT have now achieved an improved way of test automation: Via the EMMI component the TTY Test Solution now remotely controls the IHT. This ensures that the phone is in the correct mode before e.g. TTY signaling or performance tests continue. Based on this interaction test automation reaches a new level for most TTY conformance tests, thus reducing the need for human interaction considerably.

"Combining the capability of the InterLab Test Solutions to run automated tests in a fully controlled, emulated environment with the IHT's external handset control, provides an unprecedented level of automation", states Oleg Fishel, Product Manager of the IHT. "Even tests which require direct interaction with the handset display or audio output can now run for days or weeks without any human interaction in a completely repeatable way. Additionally the IHT makes records of each test, thus providing a direct trail of what the handset was doing throughout the test process. A significant leap in troubleshooting in case of failure."

This remote interface is not limited for usage within the TTY Test Solution-CMU200. It could also be introduced to other InterLab Test Solutions of 7 layers, allowing a level of automation and convenience unknown before.

The Juniper Research LTE Mobile Broadband report claims that revenues from LTE mobile broadband subscribers will exceed $70 billion globally by 2014.

Juniper Research found that the technology will create a new connected era for devices such as portable games consoles and digital cameras, with vendors already eyeing the prospects. In this way, LTE will bridge the gap between the mobile and consumer electronics worlds. 

However, the report determined that there are several open issues that need addressing before the market takes off. Report author Howard Wilcox cautioned: "LTE will offer broadband speeds of up to 100mbit/s or more: this is at least five times faster than the best mobile broadband now and around 20 times faster than most people experience via fixed DSL. The challenge for mobile operators is how to make profits yet keep prices attractive enough for subscribers to sign up. It's all about the business case."

Further findings include:

  • LTE's main markets will be the developed nations of North America, Western Europe, the Far East and China, which together will account for 90% of the market by 2014.
  • Mobile commerce and payments, the mobile web and the need to return to economic growth will all drive mobile broadband.
  • Although the recession could have short term impact, LTE's longer term prospects should not be adversely affected.