Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sigma Designs to Acquire UWB Chipset Start-Up Blue7

Sigma Designs, which specializes in silicon-based media processors for IPTV set-top boxes, digital media receivers, high definition DVD players and other consumer media devices, agreed to acquire Blue7 Communications, a start-up focused on the development of advanced wireless technologies, and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) semiconductor products.

Blue7 is currently developing its "Windeo" chipset, encompassing an all-CMOS solution with the Baseband and MAC integrated chip along with an RF front-end chip, both of which are expected to move into production during the second half of 2006. Target applications for these high-performance, wireless chipsets include wireless video/audio streaming within the home, wireless connections from set-top components to HDTV displays, and future potential for a wireless USB standard.

Sigma Designs will pay a total of approximately $14 million for all outstanding shares of Blue7 capital stock and the assumption of all outstanding employee stock options, less amounts for securities held by Sigma in Blue7.

"Wireless connectivity is becoming an integral part of the consumer entertainment landscape," said Thinh Tran, chairman and CEO of Sigma Designs. "With Sigma's focus on IP video and networked consumer products, the addition of wireless communication products and technologies will enable us to address broader solutions and increase our value-add in each product."
  • In August 2005, Sigma Designs has begun sampling its new SMP8634 media processor, designed for IPTV set-top boxes and high-definition DVD players. The device represents a milestone for media processors in that it not only decodes H.264 (AVC), VC-1 and MPEG-2, but also supports multi-stream decoding of any format, up to the equivalent of two simultaneous high-definition streams, along with full-screen graphics. In the years ahead, Sigma said it expects to see a digital media duopoly shared by two new video codecs: VC-1, a SMPTE specification based on Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9), and H.264, a shared specification from ITU and MPEG associations, also known as AVC (advanced video codec) or MPEG-4 part 10. Moving forward, Sigma said VC-1 and H.264 appear destined to equally share the role as next generation digital media standards.

  • Blue7 was founded in 2002 and is currently located in San Jose. The company employs 20 people, 18 of which are engineers with experience in wireless LAN, CDMA, CMOS mixed signal RF, and other wireless technologies. A total of 13 patent applications have been filed during the development of Blue7's technologies.

RADVISION Releases Click to Meet for Microsoft LCS

RADVISION announced that its video conferencing over IP software, Click to Meet, now supports Live Communications Server, Communicator, and Live Meeting from a single platform.

Click to Meet for Microsoft Office expands the functionality and reach of Live Communications Server and Live Meeting by providing multi-party voice and video capabilities and by enabling connectivity with any standards-based communications device, making it easy to deploy and integrate into the Microsoft workflow environment.

Some key features of Click to Meet for Microsoft Office include:

  • Single implementation: Click to Meet for Microsoft Office enables implementation of a single installation to support both Live Communications Server and Live Meeting environments.

  • Universal endpoint support: Click to Meet for Microsoft Office supports IP, PSTN, and 3G networks and standards including SIP, H.323, H.320 and 3G-324M. This enables full connectivity to common communications devices used throughout the enterprise, including wired and wireless phones, 3G mobile, handhelds, and desktop and room video conferencing systems.

Ellacoya Supplies Broadband Service Control for WISP

Ellacoya Networks has supplied its IP Service Control System to, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) in Minnesota. is using the Ellacoya platform to identify and manage application traffic on its broadband network. gains granular visibility into application and subscriber usage, enabling it to manage traffic based on that data and to ensure fair usage. operates a broadband wireless mesh network powered by the Tropos Networks MetroMesh Architecture.

The Ellacoya system, consisting of Ellacoya's e30 switches and Service Logic Software (SLS) identifies application traffic flowing to and from's broadband wireless mesh network and the public IP network. It is configured to manage bandwidth-intensive applications, based on parameters set by the wireless service provider, to make certain they do not adversely affect the performance of other users nor consume excessive amounts of capacity. The result for has been increased customer satisfaction, reduction in customer service calls, and significant cost savings from not having to add more capacity to the network.

KPN Moves its Employee Communications to Nortel VoIP

KPN has announced it is moving its employee communications to an all IP-based platform based on Nortel's Communications Server 1000. Roll-out of the new voice and multimedia capability across KPN will occur in phases beginning in February 2006. Specifically, KPN is using Nortel's Communications Server 1000 to provide 20,000 voice over IP users. Among these 20,000 employees an initial 12,000 employees will also be using Nortel's Multimedia Communications Server 5100 for voice, data, messaging, video and presence awareness.

Using Nortel's multimedia communications platform, KPN's employees will be able to use their PDAs, laptops and PCs for voice, instant message, file sharing, email and video conference applications. KPN's employee communications will be further enhanced by presence awareness.

Google, Microsoft and Sun Fund Internet Lab at Berkley

Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems will provide $7.5 million over five years to fund research at the Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed systems laboratory, or the RAD Lab, at the University of California, Berkeley. The National Science Foundation, the UC Discovery and the Microelectronics Innovation and the Computer Research Opportunities (MICRO) programs are also providing funding.

RAD Lab researchers will focus on developing alternatives to traditional software engineering, which follows a "waterfall" model of development. Instead of infrequent, well-tested upgrades, code for Internet services is continually being modified on the fly as the product is scaled up to accommodate millions of users. The lab's founders say this fix-it-as-you-go feedback loop enables speedier deployment, but it also requires a large technical support staff to make sure operations are not disrupted as bugs are resolved.

"Our goal is to create technology that will enable individual inventors and entrepreneurs to provide new services of value similar to large Internet services people use every day," said David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and founding director of the RAD Lab.

IPeria Secures $5 Million for SIP and VoiceXML

IPeria, a start-up based in Burlington, Massachusetts, secured $5 million in a new round of funding for its messaging and communications software for VoIP.

IPeria's flagship product, ActivEdge software, is a highly scalable suite of architecturally open, standards-based messaging applications that enable carriers to deliver new services. IPeria's ActivEdge software is based on open industry standards, such as SIP and VoiceXML, and leverages off the shelf hardware components.

Friedli Corporate Finance, a venture capital firm based in Zurich, Switzerland, provided the funding.

NTT DoCoMo and KT Freetel Enter Partnership

NTT DoCoMo announced a strategic partnership with KT Freetel, the second largest mobile operator in Korea with 12 million subscribers. DoCoMo will invest approximately KRW 564.9 billion (approximately JPY 65.5 billion) to acquire a 10% stake in KTF.

NTT DoCoMo said the alliance enables both companies to provide better services to customers in their respective markets through the development and promotion of mobile technologies and applications. The nationwide deployment and early stabilization of KTF's W-CDMA network, with DoCoMo's technical support, is key to achieving these objectives
  • KTF launched its EV-DO service in 2002.

Reuters Extends Global Security Agreement With MCI

Reuters has extended its contract with MCI to monitor Reuters' global enterprise network providing early warning threat identification and detection capabilities. Under the three-year deal, MCI will continue to monitor Reuters' managed firewall and network-based intrusion detection devices located at sites in the United States, Europe and Asia. Reuters plans to deploy additional intrusion detection and intrusion prevention devices to meet its stringent security objectives.

Brightcove to Offer On2's Flash 8 Video Encoding

Brightcove, a start-up building an open Internet TV service that would help video producers to monetize their content, will offer On2 Technologies' Flash 8 video encoding technology to video publishers participating in the Brightcove commercial preview. Under the arrangement, hundreds of Brightcove commercial preview customers will receive a free license of On2 Flix Pro for Flash 8 to encode their content in Flash 8 video for distribution through Brightcove.

Brightcove is currently available in an invitation-only commercial preview, which is being used by a variety of publishers ranging from independent producers to large cable broadcasters. Using the open online service, publishers are able to reach consumers through a wide range of broadband channels on the Internet while generating revenue from advertising and pay media sales they control. Brightcove will be generally available in 2006.
  • In November 2005, Brightcove signed a video content distribution partnership with AOL. Brightcove and AOL will market a co-branded version of the Brightcove service as the self-service platform for publishing video on Through the syndication to AOL, publishers will be able to generate revenue from the advertising and pay media sales of their content on and other video gateways on the AOL network of web properties.

    Separately, Brightcove closed $16.2 million in venture funding led by AOL and included IAC/InterActiveCorp, The Hearst Corporation, and Allen & Company, as well as existing investors Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners. The investments complete a Series B financing round that will fuel the company's growth and the launch of its products and services.

LG Ranked #2 in U.S. Market for Handsets

LG Electronics MobileComm has captured the number two spot across all mobile phone manufacturers in terms of shipment volumes in the U.S. for Q3 2005, according to figures from IDC reported by the company.

LG sold 7.8 million handsets in the U.S. in Q3, giving it an overall market share of 19.6%.

In addition to rising to the number two position in mobile phone shipments in the U.S., LG gained the number one ranking in terms of sales of CDMA phones globally for the third quarter of 2005. LG's overall global market share for CDMA phones jumped 5.1% for a total of 24.3%. In addition, sales of CDMA phones in the U.S. for Q3 of 2005 sustained its number one ranking.

STMicroelectronics Debuts "Spidergon" Network-on-Chip

STMicroelectronics unveiled an innovative on-chip interconnect technology aimed at future system-on-chip (SoC) designs. The new technology, called STNoC (ST Network on Chip), builds on ST's existing on-chip communications expertise while adding radical innovation derived from its research in Network-on-Chip (NoC) technologies.

ST expects NoC architecture will play a major role in improving design productivity. The innovative interconnection topology, called "Spidergon, will link the many intellectual propoerty (IP) blocks that make up a SoC device. Typically, these include one or more high performance processor cores as well as complex, dedicated IP blocks such as audio/video codecs, a wide range of connectivity IPs (USB, Ethernet, serial ATA, DVB-H, HDMI etc), and memories. Up till now, the interconnection between these blocks has been implemented via traditional circuit-switched buses but it has been widely accepted in recent years that a new interconnection methodology is required to develop SoC devices that contain a billion or more transistors organised in tens or even hundreds of IP blocks.

ST said traditional on-chip bus architectures are becoming a bottleneck. In the long term, techniques such as optical intra-chip communications, in which ST has already reported world-leading R&D results, may eliminate this problem. In the medium term, new intra-chip interconnection technologies will be required to maintain the combination of price/performance/power improvements required by customers.

NoC technology replaces the traditional circuit-switched bus by a packet-based paradigm incorporating a layered protocol stack analogous to a very simplified version of the networking paradigm. In this scenario, proven IP such as processor cores, cache memories, connectivity I/O functions, or specialized IP blocks such as audio/video codecs are simply plucked from a library, added to the SoC design and communicate with each other via a high-speed, low-power, small silicon area, packet-based communications protocol.

In the Spidergon topology, all of the IP blocks are arranged in a ring and each IP block is connected to its clockwise and its counter-clockwise neighbour as in a simple polygonal ring topology. In addition, however, each IP block is also connected directly to its diagonal counterpart in the network, which allows the routing algorithm to minimise the number of nodes that a data packet has to traverse before reaching its destination. A particularly important benefit is that the functional diagram for a network of 16 connected nodes shown on the left of the image corresponds to a simple planar implementation shown on the right in which the wiring only needs to cross itself at one point. This is a key benefit in translating theoretical approaches into actual solutions that deliver the maximum price/performance benefits.

Sunrise Telecom Withdrawn from NASDAQ

Sunrise Telecom, which supplies communications test and measurement solutions, received a notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market that shares of its common stock will no longer be eligible for quotation on The Nasdaq Stock Market effective at the start of business on Friday, December 16, 2005 for failure to comply with market regulations.

Sunrise Telecom said the delisting does not impact its daily operations, our strategic plans, or our customer relationships.

Level 3 to Provide VoIP for United Online

Level 3 will provide underlying telecommunications services for a new consumer VoIP service from, United Online, a provider of consumer Internet subscription services. NetZero Voice, which was launched in November 2005, provides:

  • Free unlimited PC-to-PC calling

  • Free voicemail with online message center

  • Free NetZero e-mail account

  • Instant messaging

  • Caller ID

  • Call waiting

  • Call blocking

  • A personal telephone number with choice of area code

  • Up to two GB of e-mail and voicemail storage

  • 3-way calling

  • "Find Me Follow Me" call forwarding, which allows incoming calls to be forwarded to up to five phone numbers in succession and answered on any telephone.

Level 3 provides United Online with its (3)VoIP Local Inbound Service and (3)Voice Termination.

Redline and Intel Deliver Live WiMAX Demo

Redline Communication and Intel delivered a WiMAX demonstration at the 3rd Middle East Mobility and Wireless Summit in Dubai this week. The demonstration featured Redline's high-bandwidth WiMAX base station and customer premise equipment (CPE), which incorporates the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 WiMAX modem silicon, and is expected to be WiMAX Forum Certified this year. Applications shown included video gaming and VoIP.

BellSouth Cuts 1,500 Manager Job Cuts

BellSouth announced a management reduction of approximately 1,500 employees. The reductions will take place in supervisory and non- supervisory management positions, including staff support functions. Most of the reductions are expected to occur through the acceptance of voluntary severance packages and are to be completed by 30-April-2006.

BellSouth will record an after-tax charge of approximately $95 million, approximately $50 million of which will be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Cingular Wireless Launches Video Services

Cingular Wireless is preparing to launch its on-demand streaming video service, featuring a content partnership with HBO. Cingular Video uses the company's new 3G network.

HBO will produce exclusive mobile content for Cingular. HBO Mobile and HBO Family Mobile will offer select episodes, clips and bonus material from HBO shows, cartoons and never-before-seen comedy and sports. While the video content will be available early next year, the downloadable content is available starting this week.
  • In early December, Cingular Wireless officially launched its 3G national network featuring HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology. The service provides average mobile data connections between 400-700 kbps on the downlink and bursts to more than a megabit per second.