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Accanto Systems (formerly Sunrise Telecom Protocol Products Group), a specialist in Customer Service Assurance  solutions for converged networks, has announced the availability of its new intelligent  Customer Service Assurance (iCSA) solution designed to help wireless and  wireline service providers manage the complexities of next-generation services  in converged network environments.    

Accanto Systems'  iCSA is a monitoring and troubleshooting solution designed to  give service providers a more accurate, customer-centric view of services. By  correlating massive amounts of information collected from the network,  services, subscribers and devices themselves, Accanto iCSA provides service  providers with a single unified tool to effectively monitor, and proactively  solve, problems specific customers are experiencing with the quality or usage  of services. Accanto iCSA also links easily with Customer Relationship  Management systems, resulting in faster troubleshooting and resolution of  complicated issues.      

"We have spent a lot of time working with service providers and are delivering a solution and  services that will provide them with more customer-centric data and views in  their Customer Care and Network Operations Centers," says Jarkko Multanen, CTO of Accanto Systems. "While  there has been a lot of hype about Service Assurance and Customer Experience  Management, few companies have delivered tangible products and services such as  these. Expect to see us evolving quickly in this space and continuing to  introduce new features and services based on this solution."

iCSA is composed of Accanto's high performance probe/protocol analyzer products (NeTracker,  3GMaster and MSA-QX), its award-winning Traffic Analysis and Monitoring System  (TAMS), as well as newly developed "X-Ray" application modules, which are based  on powerful Oracle business intelligence. Accanto iCSA is also highly  customizable, and integrates easily into the service provider's existing  operations systems, thanks to consulting expertise from its newly merged group  of OSS  consultants (formerly LTE Innovations). 

"Service providers  have struggled recently when introducing new IP-based services, especially  those that share the same infrastructure as legacy circuit-switched offerings  such as voice," said Karl Whitelock,  Senior Consulting Analyst at Stratecast, a Division of Frost and Sullivan.  "Working closely with Oracle, Accanto is delivering a working customer service  assurance solution, which operators can use to gain significant empirical  insight into how customers actually perceive and use these new services."   

According to Michele Campriani, CEO of Accanto, "We have been systematically  building this solution from the ground up for years with a great deal of involvement  from service providers. Collecting millions of records from signaling and  traffic data and correlating it with customer, service and network information  in a way that gives more intelligent insights into the customer's actual  experience is not an easy task. We suspect we are ahead of our competition in  our ability to deliver a usable system, based on the advantages we have in our  probing, architecture and recently acquired professional service expertise.  This is more than evidenced in our sales, which has neared 50 new customers within  the last 15 months alone." Examples of Accanto System's intelligent Customer Service  Assurance (iCSA) solution applied to typical Customer Care and Network Operation Center  scenarios are being demonstrated this week at TM Forum's World Management  Conference 2009. Concurrently, a customer win that uses this system is being  announced this week as well, with more to come in the months ahead. 

Huawei today announced that it has been selected by Telekom Srpske to deploy its UMTS/HSPA network and packet switch (PS) core network in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to Huawei, the agreement represents a breakthrough with Telecom Serbia Group in the mobile infrastructure arena.

The new 3G network will enable Telekom Srpske to offer high-speed mobile broadband communications, such as high-speed mobile internet and other advanced multimedia services. With Huawei's 4th Generation NodeB and SingleRAN solution, Telekom Srpske can upgrade its network in the future.

"We are very glad to join hands with Huawei and to extend collaboration into the mobile field," said Mr. Predrag Culibrk, CEO of Telekom Srpske. "By introducing Huawei's leading HSPA/UMTS solution, Telekom Srpske will be able to rapidly launch 3G services and our customers can enjoy a fast and reliable multimedia mobile network wherever they want."

Yan Linxiang, managing director of Huawei's Serbian office said: "We are delighted that Telekom Srpske has placed their trust in Huawei. With our state-of-the-art mobile solutions and proven record, we are confident of quickly deploying a robust, high-quality network across Bosnia and Herzegovia that will help Telecom Srpske further strengthen its market position."

Wider availability of wireless broadband networks, proliferation of ‘smart' converged devices, and broadening ranges of mobile connectivity solutions will foster growth of ‘unwired enterprises', a new report from Juniper Research has found. In particular approximately 80% of business mobile devices will be operating via 3.5/3.9G networks by 2014, it says.

By that time, 722 million business mobile connections will be in use worldwide; this will represent an overall increase of almost 60% over the forecast period covered by the report.

Throughout, handsets will dominate, accounting for upwards of 70% of business devices in the latter part of the period. However, businesses will increasingly make use of embedded and plug-in wireless modems (so-called ‘dongles') via laptop PCs and the new generation of netbooks to increase the effectiveness of employees in the field.

Future Mobile Enterprise report author Andrew Kitson believes that the rapid evolution of mobile computing devices is of particular relevance. "By the end of 2009, portables will account for around 60% of annual PC sales, suggesting that businesses are placing less emphasis on desktop machines and investing on combined laptop-and-phone packages for employees. As 3G networks proliferate, so it will become more cost effective to replicate the desktop solution with a wireless device." And with dongles proving to be easy to lose or damage, so businesses will increasingly turn to inexpensive notebooks incorporating wireless accesses.

Other findings include:

  • Usage of wireless dongles is losing ground to usage of devices with embedded wireless modems and will peak in 2010/2011
  • The number of enterprise portable computers with embedded wireless connectivity will grow by more than 300% between 2008 and 2014
  • Annual portable computer shipment volumes will exceed 300 million by 2014, accounting for over three quarters of all computer shipments that year
  • Revenues generated by mobile enterprise service usage worldwide will grow to $247 billion by 2014


TM Forum, the world's premier industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, announced today that Chunghwa Telecom and NetCracker Technology as the winners of this year's prestigious 2009 Excellence Awards. The awards featured two categories that recognized best practice within the industry - one for communications service providers, the other for solution suppliers and system integrators.

The winners were announced to a packed audience of more than 2,800 senior executives from the communications and media sectors at the Forum's flagship Management World 2009 conference in Nice - Chunghwa Telecom winning the Best Practices Service Provider Category and NetCracker Technology the Best Practices Supplier/Systems Integrator Category.

More than 40 leading companies from across the industry including, for the first time, entries from the Cable and online services sectors, battled to win. "Competition this year was very fierce and in spite of raising the bar and asking each entrant to demonstrate innovative and cost-effective transformation with quantifiable results, the membership rose to the challenge. Each entrant clearly showed the value of TM Forum standards, delivering significant cost and risk reductions through a range of innovative transformation programs." said Colin Orviss, Chair of the Judging Panel 2009 and Vice Chairman, TM Forum.

This year, for the first time, the winner of the Best Practices - Supplier/System Integrator award was chosen exclusively by potential customers from within TM Forum's service provider membership.  More than 300 individuals representing over 100 different service providers from the telecom, mobile, cable and defense sectors voted to decide the winner of this category. "The final decision was put the hands of service providers this year," added Orviss, "By giving the supplier's customers the opportunity to decide the winner, we recognized not only the supplier that demonstrated industry best practice, but also the solutions that service providers see as key to transformation."

Openet, the leading provider of Transactional Intelligence for the world's largest network service providers, today announced the immediate availability of FusionWorks Policy Manager 2.5. This release extends communication service providers' ability to manage libraries of policy rules, minimise network latencies, and implement updates to subscriber-specific policies.

Operators are implementing increasingly complex policies within their networks to protect their subscribers and implement new business models.  These policies cover a range of strategic issues like fair usage, and new engagement and business models such as dynamic service tiers.  Operators need a more robust capability to effectively define, deploy, and administer these policy initiatives.

FusionWorks Policy Manager 2.5 enhances the ease with which policy decisions are created and implemented.  The new enhancements enable operators to:

* Easily define policy rules using a template-driven graphical workflow tool;

* Visually associate complex rule sets, including detailed chaining of multiple rule sets;

* Test new and updated policies with a robust Rules Simulator to assess the impact of potential changes on the network, service level agreements and the subscriber experience;

* Dramatically reduce network latencies involved in policy control decisions by actively deploying in-line policy caching.

"FusionWorks Policy Manager continues to lead the industry in flexibility, power, and performance.  Policy Manager 2.5 is a direct response to the needs of our Tier 1 customers, and positions Openet dramatically ahead within this market," said Joe Hogan, CTO of Openet.  "By deeply integrating Policy Manager with Openet's FusionWorks suite of real-time charging, rating and balance management products, Openet provides a comprehensive solution for realising new business models while maintaining control of increasingly valuable network resources."

Built on Openet's FusionWorks Platform, Policy Manager 2.5 is scalable and convergent across all type of networks.  In conjunction with its charging solution, Openet provides the core expertise across both sides, enabling its Tier 1 customers to utilise one vendor and one Policy and Charging controls architecture. This enables operators to capitalise on future business models by leveraging policy management's ability to control network resources to maximise customer satisfaction and revenue streams.

Infonova, a Next Generation BSS vendor, today announced the successful deployment of the Infonova BSS Release 6 on Amazon Web Services

The deployment, from first discussion to successful testing, was completed in less than a week. "The speed and ease of deployment on Amazon Web Services of Infonova's BSS Release 6 provides a useful benchmark for operators that want to pilot new business models" said Andrew Thomson, VP Infonova Solutions.

Infonova BSS Release 6 is a multi-tenant front & back office "Order-to-Cash" platform for Telco 1.0 and Telco 2.0 business models. All entities, the wholesaler aggregator, the retail operators get their own product management configuration, customer management, online & offline fulfillment, billing and collections capabilities.

It is designed to automate both the customer experience as well as the back office functionality and thereby enable a retail shopping cart capability to the retailer. Turning on a new retail operator with their own brand is only a matter of mouse clicks.

Designed and built using Java technologies, the Infonova BSS Release 6 uses virtualization and a virtual private database architecture to support multiple business models simultaneously. Each retail operator / tenant can configure, bundle and price next generation service portfolios including Broadband IP, VoIP, IPTV, as well as legacy PSTN & Mobile with other third party services, e.g. media, insurance, - for their target markets.

"The Infonova BSS with its virtual harness is ready for demonstration of core capabilities & functionality. Using an agile approach, an operator can now determine necessary configuration & other changes required and in two weekly cycles rapidly see orchestration of their legacy systems and activation of their new business models" said Andrew Thomson, VP Infonova Solutions.

Ontology Systems has announced the launch of OSS/CAD 2.0, the semantics and ontology led service management application that uses virtual Unified Service Modeling to deliver overall BSS/OSS data integrity and alignment, revenue assurance, stranded asset identification, and SLA impact analysis to service providers.

Launched at last year's conference, Ontology Systems' OSS/CAD 1.0 has been widely used by fixed, mobile and next generation carriers to build and deliver OSS Service Management applications including revenue assurance, stranded asset identification. Version 2.0 now brings a wide range of new features and functional improvements including a revenue assurance, stranded asset identification and Service Impact Analysis OntoPacks and the OSS/CAD Modeler development tool.

  • Service Impact Analysis OntoPack exploits OSS/CAD semantics capabilities to deliver an out of the box SIA application with a very low total cost of ownership.
  • OSS/CAD Modeler is a visually driven toolkit for rapidly building, deploying and managing OSS/CAD service management applications.

Ontology's CTO, Leo Zancani, commented: "I am particularly proud of OSS/CAD 2.0 and the talent and capability of the engineering team behind it.  We have leveraged semantics and Ontologies to deliver a service management application that has been deployed in a wide variety of scenarios including: overall BSS/OSS data integrity and alignment, stranded asset identification, revenue assurance and service impact analysis with a significantly reduced cost of ownership.  ".  Zancani continued:  "In operator deployments we have been able to align up to 7 separate OSS/BSS systems in under 3 weeks".

OSS/CAD 2.0 is already in use with service providers across the globe including South African based converged services provider, Internet Solutions.   Richard Askham, Senior Operations Manager - Systems at Internet Solutions commented: "We originally embraced OSS/CAD 18 months ago and have continually increased its use.  We have recently deployed OSS/CAD in an OSS data integrity application to detect and rectify misaligned systems, misused and unused assets and thus speed us on our path towards end-to-end service management"

OSS/CAD 2.0 can be seen at Management World 2009 in Nice.

Tribold 3 has become the first enterprise software application to be awarded a TM Forum Certification Mark for the Forum's Information Framework (SID). The certification recognizes the degree to which Tribold's Enterprise Product Management (EPM) solution complies with the TM Forum's Information Framework model, and therefore the ease with which Tribold 3 can be integrated into communications service provider (CSP) technical architectures, delivering lower cost implementation, reduced integration effort and alignment to a strategic data model. The Forum's Information Framework embodies an extensive, flexible and widely proven model that defines business concepts, their characteristics and relationships, and describes these in an implementation independent manner.

Catherine Michel, Tribold founder and CTO, commented: "Naturally we are delighted that Tribold has been awarded TM Forum SID compliance certification. We're focused on delivering rapid returns and business benefit to our customers and adhering to the SID can only assist in this aim."

Keith Willetts, TM Forum Chairman and CEO, added: "Standards are all well and good in theory, but it is only when they are brought to life through real-world implementation that they truly mean something to business. Our TM Forum Certification Mark delivers certainty and predictability to CSPs and we congratulate Tribold on being the first company to be awarded the Mark."
The Information Framework is a corner stone of TM Forum's Solution Frameworks (NGOSS), providing the tools and language to model corporate data from the very highest level to specific inclusion in software solutions.

Amdocs, provider of customer experience systems, has released the results of a first-of-its-kind survey exploring service providers' use of managed services to support their operational support systems (OSS).

The survey finds that almost all (91 percent) of service providers view modernisation as a key component of OSS outsourcing engagements.  Additionally, benefits such as increased service profitability and improved time to market ranked nearly as high as operational cost savings, demonstrating the expanded business value of OSS outsourcing. More than two thirds (67 percent) would prefer to outsource business support systems (BSS) with OSS

As expected, 88 percent of those surveyed stated that the long-term benefit of outsourcing OSS is improved operational cost-savings. In addition, service providers cited the following benefits could be achieved from outsourcing OSS - all of which are important in today's competitive and challenging economic market:

  • Achieve faster time to market for new services or applications (85 percent);
  • Increased services profitability (84 percent);
  • A better customer experience (77 percent );
  • Business transformation (74 percent );
  • Stronger integration between OSS and BSS (70 percent)

Nearly half of respondents say they outsource at least one OSS function today including network management, provisioning and activation, planning and inventory.  Service providers identified future challenges as "swivel chair" automation (time-consuming manual operations), and increasingly complex next-generation network services and technologies. When choosing to outsource, nearly 60 percent favour a vertical model, in which the sourcing partner manages complete functions within OSS, as opposed to sourcing one aspect such as application management, across multiple functional domains.

"Adopting cost-saving measures like managed services is a good business model in any economy, but more so in today's economy when the pressure for immediate cost benefits is even more pronounced.  Service providers are outsourcing important OSS functions to modernise their systems and achieve more seamless integration between their BSS and OSS-two ways to improve the customer experience and competitive advantage," said Michael Couture, head of Amdocs Global Marketing.

Coleman Parkes Research conducted this Amdocs-commissioned survey in April 2009. Its researchers interviewed more than 100 executives with financial and operational responsibility from wireline and wireless service providers in North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific.

Spb Software, a maker of mobile applications, has announced the amendment of Spb TV channels catalogue with over 40 new mobile TV channels. The majority of the newly added channels were suggested by Spb TV users.  Today, approximately one hundred of international mobile TV channels are available via Spb TV.

Spb TV is a subscription-free mobile IPTV viewer, designed for tuning in to publicly available digital TV channels from all over the world.  A downloadable software client, Spb TV makes a wide range of international live TV channels available for viewing directly on Windows Mobile phones.  Spb TV does not only provide users with access to a world of live TV streaming on the go, but it offers exclusive on-screen controls and an integrated TV guide.  Spb TV supports fast channels switching, use of intelligent stream correction, picture-in-picture mode, and export of show reminders into Outlook, brining the genuine TV watching experience onto mobile.  Spb TV requires a high speed mobile data connection which may be available via 3G, Wi-Fi, or WiMax networks.

Among the recently added channels are Comedy Time, Chick Comedy, and Comedy Time Latino.  According to Comedy Time, it is the number one viewed omedy channel on a mobile platform.

TM Forum, the world's premier industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, today announced results for the financial year ending March 31, 2009. For the fifth consecutive year, the international not-for-profit organization has achieved revenue and membership growth of more than 25%. The results show an organization well placed to weather the current global recession, and reinforce the Forum's leading position in helping its global membership tackle the effects of the economic crisis.

TM Forum exists to help its 737 member companies - which include service providers and suppliers in the telecom, mobile, cable, defense and media sectors across 185 countries - by providing leadership, guidance and practical solutions that improve their business effectiveness. In the current economic climate as service providers seek to reduce operating costs, the Forum's extensive set of best practices and standards provide a stable, low-risk roadmap for cost-base transformation. In addition, the Forum is leading the way for delivery and monetization of new services, exploring new business models and opportunities with partners in an extended value-chain of content and media players.

According to Keith Willetts, chairman and CEO, TM Forum, "Very few of the countries where TM Forum has active members have escaped the effects of the global financial crisis. For a long time we have been saying that - sooner or later- service providers everywhere will need to radically change the way they do business or their cost base will sink them.  The global downturn has brought this line of thinking into very sharp focus."

The Forum's flagship Management World conference being held this week in Nice, France, will tackle these key issues head on. The conference - which has proven itself as the communication industry's conference of choice for 2009 - exposes the value of the Forum's best practices and standards through more than 100 service provider led presentations and case studies. "Moving onwards through 2009, the Forum is well placed to help its members triumph in these difficult times," added Willetts.

Amdocs, the provider of customer experience systems, today announced its support for service providers looking ahead to a not-too-distant future, when more than 1 trillion devices will be connected to the network, an industry phenomenon the company calls "Tera-play."

Forecast to arrive by 2015, the Tera-play is being driven by growing demand for ubiquitous connectivity and connected devices. The related customer experience and bandwidth-consumption concerns will render service providers' operations exponentially more complex and potentially very costly. For example, already, support costs for smartphones are 400 percent higher than regular phones, and their penetration is expected to climb from 30 percent today to 75 percent within five years. With a new consulting service and core company capabilities, Amdocs can competently guide providers as they plan to meet the challenges and opportunities of Tera-play as it emerges over the coming years.

According to Amdocs, in a Tera-play environment, service providers must be able to deliver against the following six core competencies:

  1.. Profitably manage unique, personalised and contextual experiences across trillions of devices and global access points
  2.. Surface and act upon customer intelligence to maximise revenue, profit and partnerships
  3.. Ensure flexible pricing and dynamic offering composition, including bundling and blending, for on-demand customer experiences
  4.. Adopt non-traditional business models and utilise data, infrastructure and customer interaction assets to attract third-party partners and incrementally increase partner-based revenue
  5.. Contain the costs of supporting customers with their own portfolios of diverse networked devices
  6.. Profitably manage network costs as the demand for capacity expands an order of magnitude; adopt dynamic bandwidth allocation, intelligent network planning and roll-out 

To ensure that service providers have a firm footing on the path to achieving these Tera-competencies, Amdocs announces several consulting services to help scope Tera-play opportunities and approach: Amdocs Transformation Strategy, Customer Experience Definition, Operational Blueprint & Roadmap, Business Case Modeling and Benefits Realisation Modeling.

The Amdocs CES 7.5 Portfolio provides the ideal foundation for service providers to embark on the journey towards Tera-play, with applications for network, device and service management, business intelligence and personalisation, service delivery and partner management, and more, designed to deliver these Tera-competencies. Also, the company's business process expertise is the product of best-practice implementations with leading service providers; its combined installations daily deliver more than 1.5 billion customer experiences worldwide. Amdocs is committed to working with customers and industry forums like the TM Forum, to further the standards and innovations that will be demanded to enable a successful journey.

"There is an urgency, intensity and complexity about doing business in a Tera-play environment that service providers have to be thinking about-and considering-right now as they make decisions regarding the evolution of their BSS, OSS and SDP environments," said Mike Couture, head of Global Marketing at Amdocs. "Smartphones are only one complicating factor we see today. Every day, new devices are being connected to the network-cars, book-readers, appliances, security systems, medical devices-and all consuming bandwidth. In terms of network connectivity and service complexity, the Tera-play defies imagination."

"Certainly, there is great opportunity in Tera-play, but significant challenges, as well," Couture continued. "For example, how can service providers deliver a simple, compelling experience across dozens of connected devices in a single home and trillions of devices worldwide? How can they secure a central role in this vast value chain? Can they profitably manage a trillion always-on network connections? We believe that doing business will be vastly different in a world where communication literally never ends. An experienced partner like Amdocs can help light the way."

Clarity, a specialist in Unified Operational Support Systems (OSS), has announced that it is demonstrating its Integrated Service Operations Centre (iSOC) at Management World 2009, Nice, to complement the launch of the white paper by Stratecast, "Service Operations Centre - An Essential Necessity - An Executive Brief Featuring Clarity".

The iSOC is now critically important to service providers as the shift from network and technology to customer and market gains momentum across the industry. Without a customer centric view of the network, service providers are effectively left in the dark. They are unable to assess which customers are impacted by what network planned outages or faults and what the commercial ramifications of these might be. They are unable to assess which problems to resolve in order to improve the customer's experience and address the most important jeopardy situations. They are unable to identify which provisioning activities are over-running, and what agreements are in jeopardy as a result.

The "Service Operations Centre - An Essential Necessity" white paper provides essential insights for those service providers who are investing or considering investing in an iSOC. It describes the new paradigms of customer experience management and customer service assurance, and how an iSOC addresses these. It concludes by describing a practical example of the deployment of a iSOC. Copies of this paper will be available from Clarity's Stand at Management World, which takes place from 6-8 May 2009 in Nice.

"As our converging industry places greater emphasis on the customer, it comes with a strong need for new tools and new ways of doing business", commented Karl Whitelock, Senior Consulting Analyst OSS BSS Global Competitive Strategies at Stratecast a division of Frost and Sullivan. "Service- and Customer-oriented operations are essential to any business strategy that places the customer first. It is the next step in the evolutionary chain for managing services involving more than a network connectivity pathway be it mobile or fixed-line broadband."