Tuesday, January 4, 2005

pulver.Communicator Interconnects with Skype

FWD Communications announced that the pulver.Communicator application now interoperates with Skype's VoIP service. The pulver.Communicator is the first outside application to offer Skype functionality.

Key features of the free pulver.Communicator application now include:

  • the ability to make free calls to millions of VoIP users worldwide (not only to other pulver.Communicator users, but also to subscribers from the more than 80 VoIP service providers with whom FWD Communications has established peering partnering agreements), as well as to a wide variety of Free-Call services in the US, UK, Holland, Japan, France and numerous other locations

  • the ability to initiate on-the-fly conference calls

  • the ability to establish person-to-person IM sessions with other pulver.Communicator contacts, as well as between contacts on the four most popular IM networks (AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and ICQ!)

  • the ability to establish multi-party IM sessions that cross IM service provider boundaries

  • the ability to place video calls.

Since its official launch in October pulver.Communicator has been downloaded more than 50,000 times.

FWD Communications is a division of the Pulver.com group.

Shaw Deploys Nortel's Multimedia Communication Server

Shaw Cablesystems, one of the largest Canadian multi-system cable operators, has deployed multimedia solutions from Nortel, including its Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5200.

The SIP-based platform could be used to deliver a variety of multimedia services, including desktop video calling, voice call management, instant messaging, collaboration tools, and personalization services. Shaw plans to offer these services in conjunction with its high-speed Internet service and is expected to be the first cable operator in Canada to offer SIP-based multimedia services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hanaro Telecom Deploys Juniper's Edge Platforms for Premium Services

South Korea's Hanaro Telecom has deployed the Juniper Networks E-series edge routing platform and SDX-300 Service Deployment System to enable an enhanced suite of per subscriber management broadband services. The deployment is the first phase of a complete plan to enable a wide range of new user-provisionable services including unified Web login authentication based on RADIUS and DHCP. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ultra-Wideband Companies Showcase Consumer Applications

At this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) several UWB Forum members are demonstrating the viability of Direct Sequence Ultra-Wideband (DS-UWB) technology for consumer applications. These include:

  • Motorola and Freescale Semiconductor are showcasing proof-of-concept cell phone that connects wirelessly to a laptop and downloads MP3 files from the Internet or photos taken with the phone. Visitors can also experience UWB while watching football in the Freescale-sponsored HDTV Sports Lounge. Freescale's UWB technology to wirelessly receive the broadcasted television programs from a cable source across the room.

  • Global Sun is showcasing UWB modules designed to allow customers to quickly and easily implement a UWB solution using the popular mini-PCI interface. Freescale's UWB technology to wirelessly receive the broadcasted television programs from a cable source across the room.

  • Haier is showcasing UWB-enabled HDTVs. http://www.haier.com/english/

  • Samsung and Intellon are showcasing hybrid wireless home network. http://www.intellon.com/

  • USI is showcasing turnkey 1394 module solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) eager to incorporate UWB immediately into their products.

France Telecom to Launch "MaLigne visio"

France Telecom is preparing to launch a large-scale IP video telephony deployment called "MaLigne visio."

The service will deliver real-time video chat, video messaging, video streaming, and information on demand over ADSL. When customers subscribe to the MaLigne visio service, they are given a special phone number. Using ADSL , they now have two phone numbers on the same line (their regular phone number remains the same).

MaLigne visio provides customers with a free voice and video messaging service that allows users to retrieve voice and video messages from any other location. Photos and video can also be shared and discussed by users by connecting a digital or camcorder to the videophone for a true video conferencing experience.

Pricing for the service is expected to be lower than the price of typical wireless service.

Taiwan-based Leadtek is supplying videophones for the deployment. The Leadtek videophones will be offered for around EUR 199 (US$260) or they can be rented. At launch, MaLigne visio will be available to about 75% percent of the French population.
  • As of the end of Q3 2004, France Telecom was serving 4.2 million ADSL lines in service in France (not including unbundled lines).

  • In December 2003, France Telecom launched its "MaLigne tv" TV-over-DSL service in Lyon.

Microsoft and KT Extend Strategic Alliance

Microsoft and KT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) renewing their current strategic relationship. The companies are investigating the creation of a joint research and business development (R&BD) center in Korea. Its mission would be to establish new business models and new technologies in conjunction with KT's five new "growth engine" businesses. In addition, Microsoft and KT will investigate forming a joint fund through which the R&BD center could access third-party content, technologies and external human resources. Finally, Microsoft and KT plan to participate in an employee exchange programhttp://www.microsoft.com/http://www.kt.co.kr/

Delphi and Comcast Target In-Vehicle Mobile Video

Delphi is working with Comcast on a system to deliver video content to an in-vehicle, mobile entertainment system. The goal of the agreement is to leverage Delphi's 802.11 enabled rear-seat video system and allow users to securely transfer content to their vehicles. The agreement includes an anticipated timeline of 6 months to 18 months for evaluation and development.

Texas Instruments and AT&T Announce VoIP Alliance

Texas Instruments and AT&T are working together to provide VoIP equipment designers and manufacturers new platforms for the development of VoIP products compatible with AT&T's global IP (Internet Protocol) network. As part of the alliance, TI-based reference designs for voice gateways will be compatible with AT&T's CallVantage Service, via AT&T's certification lab testing. One of the first TI-based VoIP products that will be available through AT&T's CallVantage Service is VTech Communications' VoIP6322 Dual Line Corded/Cordless Broadband Telephone System. The VTech system, which can be expanded to a total of eight cordless handsets, can use either traditional landlines or broadband phone services.
  • In September 2004, AT&T announced a VoIP Innovation and Interoperability Program based on its own proprietary specifications.

  • AT&T has invited a number of application developers, equipment and device manufacturers, and silicon manufacturers to incorporate the specifications in order to deliver new capabilities compatible with its VoIP portfolio of services. AT&T Labs has licensed AT&T intellectual property to these companies to achieve interoperability and compatibility of end user devices.

  • Charter Members of the AT&T VoIP Innovation and Interoperability Program include leading silicon providers Broadcom, Centillium Communications, Intel and Texas Instruments; customer premises equipment manufacturers D-Link, Linksys, and NETGEAR; IP PBX vendors Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel Networks, Siemens, and carrier-grade softswitch and gateway provider Sonus Networks.

ST Launches Single-Chip Decoder for Windows Media 9 and H.264/AVC

STMicroelectronics announced a single-chip Set-top Box (STB) solution supporting the High Definition H.264/AVC and VC1 specifications, which are poised to enable the next generation of high quality consumer video systems and broadcast services. The new device is based on an innovative video decoding architecture that combines hardware and software techniques to allow systems to be upgraded in the field to support new standards as they become available. The latest advanced codec technologies for DVD-Audio and DVD security encryption are embedded in the new decoder. http://www.st.com
  • In June 2004, STMicroelectronics and Microsoft announced a partnership to develop a series of new integrated circuit components for extending the reach of high-quality, secure Windows Media 9 Series content, in both standard and high definition, to a wide range of popular devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players. ST will supply these new components to consumer electronics manufacturer for use in set-top boxes, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), Portable Media Centers, home-networking devices, etc. In addition to standard formats, the devices will includes the following audio and video technologies: Windows Media Audio 9, Windows Media Audio 9 Professional (which delivers 5.1 or even 7.1 channels of discrete digital surround sound at bit rates as low as 128 kbps, and supports 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rates to deliver better-than-CD quality sound), and Windows Media Video 9 (including VC-9).

Korea's TTA Selects RADCOM for VoIP Testing

The Korean Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) has selected RADCOM's Omni-Q to verify operator compliance with VoIP quality of service standards set by Korea's Ministry of Information and Telecommunication. The TTA, a non-governmental IT standards setting body, is responsible for testing products from leading Korean manufacturers and service providers. It will use the Omni-Q to conduct pre-licensing certification testing of more than twenty VoIP service providers.

RADCOM's Omni-Q is a distributed voice quality monitoring system that intelligently manages end-to-end voice and signaling quality on packet and circuit switched networks.

SIRIUS Selects Windows Media for Mobile Video Service

SIRIUS Satellite Radio has selected Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 for use in a new mobile video service that it plans to launch in the second half of 2006. SIRIUS Satellite expects to devote 2-3 channels of premium video content designed primarily for children. The video would be delivered to satellite receivers in automobiles for families and travelers. According to SIRIUS, its automotive partners are eager proponents of the service, given the strong demand for rear seat video entertainment.
  • SIRIUS radios are currently offered in vehicles from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Infiniti, Jeep, Lincoln-Mercury, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Nissan, Porsche and Volkswagen. Beginning in February 2005, SIRIUS will also be available in Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles.

  • SIRIUS Satellite Radio ended 2004 with 1,143,258 million subscribers, exceeding its end-of-year target of 1 million subscribers.

Pure Networks Unveils "Magic" Home Networking Software

Pure Networks, a start-up based in Seattle, introduced its "Network Magic" software for home networking. Network Magic is consumer software that connects and unifies the many different PCs, routers, gateways, and networked devices found in today's home into a seamless home network. The software resides on each computer within a home network, allowing them to communicate and share files and folders with one another, as well as with other networked devices such as routers, printers, video cameras and media adapters. In addition, Network Magic enables easy, secure Internet access to files for friends and family, via any Internet-connected computer.

Network Magic will initially be distributed to consumers by America Online, Inc., D-Link and Pure Networks.

Pure Networks also launched its Network Magic Optimized Program, in which hardware and software manufacturers leverage the Network Magic Compatible APIs to extend the capabilities of their devices or softwarehttp://www.purenetworks.com/
  • In September, Intel announced a strategic investment in Pure Networks as part of its Digital Home initiative.

  • Pure Networks is headed by Tim Dowling, who previously spent 14 years at Intel Corporation in a variety of roles, including leading Intel's consumer Internet initiatives and launching Intel's line of networking products into Europe.

Procera Raises $4.6 million for Security Appliances

Procera Networks, a developer of optimized network security and compliance systems, based in Campbell, California, raised $4.6 million through the sale of its restricted common stock. Procera's OptimIP intelligent network appliances provide wire-speed internal network protection and application optimization. The appliances work with existing networking and security gear as a transparent network overlay at the edge and core of internal business networks.

Netgear and Video54 Incorporate 7 MIMO Antennas in Wi-Fi

NETGEAR will enhance certain of its Wi-Fi products with a new "BeamFlex" system from Video54 Technologies, a start-up based in California. Video54's BeamFlex technology incorporates seven smart MIMO antennas to deliver 127 unique antenna patterns that adapt "on the fly" to the network environment by adjusting to RF interference, locations of clients, and physical barriers, resulting in improved range and high-speed data transfer performance. The companies said that by reducing throughput variance caused by signal fade and interference, the technology can deliver a consistent stream of data, eliminating video freezing and jittering, and connection drops. The technology is compatible with the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.
  • Video54 Technologies is headed by Selina Lo, who previously served as Vice President of Marketing for Alteon WebSystems and took on the position of Vice President, Architecture for Nortel Networks' Data Networking Unit after Alteon was acquired by Nortel Networks. Previously, Selina was a co-founder and Vice President of Marketing for Centillion Networks and Vice President Marketing for Bay Networks' Centillion Business Unit when Centillion was acquired by Bay Networks.

  • Video54 was co-founded by Bill Kish (previously at Lightera/Ciena, Berkeley Networks and Fore Systems) and Victor Shtrom, who previously was a key team leader and developer of the industry's first MIMO/OFDM silicon at Iospan Wireless.

  • Video54 is funded by Sequoia Capital.

Kodeos Raises $6 Million for Optical Subsystems

Kodeos Communications, a start-up based in South Plainfield, New Jersey, secured an additional $6 million in equity financing from Highland Capital Partners and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) for its 10 Gbps enhanced-performance optical subsystems. Kodeos' products, based on the company's "double-reach" optical transmission technology, serve a variety of applications: 2.5 Gbps to 10 Gbps upgrades (without additional in-line equipment), large metro and regional rings requiring no dispersion compensating equipment, long single span links and long-haul and ultra long-haul applications.

Vonage Reports 400,000 VoIP Lines

Vonage has activated its 400,000 customer VoIP line, doubling its subscriber base in less than six months since reaching the 200,000 line mark. The company ended 2004 with more than 390,000 lines in service having added 115,000 lines in Q4 2004 alone.

BEA Systems Acquires Incomit for Telco Software

BEA Systems has acquired Incomit, a privately held Swedish company that provides infrastructure software for the telecommunications industry. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BEA Systems said the acquisition would augment the BEA WebLogic Service Delivery Platform, its telecommunications solution framework.

"BEA's acquisition of Incomit is part of our strategy of helping our telco customers successfully transform their businesses to meet the new demands of the industry," said Olivier Helleboid, executive vice president, corporate strategy and development, BEA Systems. Currently, more than 24% of BEA's revenues are derived from telecommunications customers.

XM Satellite Radio Surpasses 3.2 Million Subscribers

XM Satellite Radio has signed up more than 3.2 million subscribers, representing more than 1.8 million net additional subscribers in 2004. XM added more than 700,000 customers for its paid radio service in Q4 -- its best quarter to date. By the end of 2005, the company expects to have 5.5 million subscribers.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) estimates that factory-to-dealer shipments of satellite radio receivers alone totaled nearly 3.5 million units in 2004, with approximately $300 million in wholesale revenue generated from receivers and accessories -- a 249% increase in receivers shipped and a 145% in wholesale revenue over the previous year.

XM is also introducing new portable radios by Pioneer Electronics and Tao, a new brand from Giant International. The two units, which will be available at retailers this spring, feature a "live" listening mode and a time- shifting "memory" mode. The live mode enables users to listen live to XM's commercial-free music channels and wide variety of news, sports, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather channels. The time-shifting memory mode --allows users to store five hours or more of XM's content The Pioneer and Tao XM2go radios are each expected to have an MSRP of $349.99.