Thursday, April 6, 2006

SupportSoft Names New CEO

SupportSoft has named Joshua Pickus as President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Radha Basu, who has served as Chairman and CEO of SupportSoft since 1999. She will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.

Pickus joins SupportSoft from Computer Associates where he served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Clarity Division.
Pickus joined Niku Corporation in 1999, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2002 until Niku's acquisition by Computer Associates in 2005. Prior to joining Niku, Pickus was a General Partner in the private equity group at Bowman Capital Management, a leading technology investment firm, and a Partner at Venture Law Group, a Silicon Valley law firm.

CableLabs Approves Real Networks' Helix DRM

CableLabs has approved Real Networks' universal Helix DRM solution for OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) devices connected to new PCs. Real's Helix DRM will enable the secure delivery of content to the media center PC environment through CableCARD removable security modules. The OCUR device receives encrypted digital cable content from the CableCARD and then re-encrypts that content with Helix DRM. The secure IP output of the OCUR follows CableLabs' "Digital Receiver Interface" (DRI) protocol specification, which allows connection to compliant PCs that also have Helix DRM.

Helix DRM is a comprehensive and flexible platform for the secure media content delivery of standards-based as well as leading Internet formats, including RealAudio, RealVideo, MP3, and MPEG-2, AAC, H.263 and AMR. It is the second DRM system to complete the due diligence necessary for approval by CableLabs for use with the OCUR and PCs. Prior approvals of digital rights management systems and secure digital output and recording technologies include DTCP over IEEE-1394, HDCP over DVI and HDMI, WMDRM over DRI, and VCPS and CPDO for optical media recording and hard drive storage, respectively.


CableLabs Issues Specifications for Advanced IP Services

CableLabs issued a series of new PacketCable specifications covering areas such as existing standards-based SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), security, quality of service, network address translation (NAT) & firewall traversal, and device provisioning. The specifications will enable cable operators to deliver IP-based communication and entertainment services to customers' televisions, personal computers, and fixed-line and mobile phones.

The specifications were developed in alignment with the Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture developed by the 3GPP - 3rd Generation Partnership Project, a collaboration of a number of key telecommunications standards bodies. Using widely accepted standards-based protocols such as the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) SIP, these specifications will offer operators a flexible way to deploy network capabilities as required by their specific service offerings, while maintaining interoperability across a variety of devices from multiple suppliers.

These documents extend the industry's PacketCable architecture, originally defined in 1999 and now widely deployed over cable broadband networks. According to recently published market data, nearly 3 million cable customers receive digital voice service from PacketCable-based networks with that number expected to grow to 6.5 million by year-end.

"This is a huge step for our industry in its quest to extend the IP service delivery capabilities of our network," said Comcast Corporation Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning Mark Coblitz. "We are nearing a position of being able to provide IP services to a much greater range of consumer devices and that is exciting," Coblitz added.

"The PacketCable specifications will provide the basis for open, multi-vendor solutions which will enable the industry to utilize the best of what the vendors have to offer in a flexible way," said John Coppola, Director, DOCSIS Technology and Engineering, Cox Communications, Inc. "I look forward to the commercial availability of these new generations of PacketCable products," he added.

The specifications are available online.

QUALCOMM Expects EV-DO Rev. B in 2007 -- 14.7 Mbps Downlinks

QUALCOMM said its upcoming CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision B chipset is on schedule for commercial release in 2007.

QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) solutions for EV-DO Rev. B will be highly integrated with advanced functionality, support the operation of up to three simultaneous channels of 1.25 MHz each for higher-speed data rates and deliver significant space-savings for devices that are thinner, smaller and lighter.

The EV-DO Rev. B standard supports up to 4.9 Mbps in each channel for a combined three-channel data speed of up to 14.7 Mbps on the downlink.

QUALCOMM expects the first commercial EV-DO Rev. B products to be data modems available in late 2007, with additional wireless devices available soon thereafter.

EV-DO Rev. B. technology is part of the Company's DO Multicarrier Multilink eXtensions (DMMX) platform, a set of technology and product innovations announced in November 2005.

Extremely high-performance devices could support forward-link data rates of up to 73.5 Mbps, while lower-cost or pre-existing devices could support 4.9 Mbps. Network operators may reduce their costs by allowing a greater percentage of spectrum to be allocated to IP-based services. The DMMX platform also includes numerous QUALCOMM-developed techniques to further enhance the voice and data performance of EV-DO networks.

"Consumers want devices that are smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, as well as fully featured and with longer battery life," said Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "We are committed to enabling our customers to meet these market demands, rapidly moving forward in the evolution of CDMA2000 technology to bring unprecedented levels of data throughput and network capacity with EV-DO Rev. B - capabilities that are necessary to support tomorrow's high-performance wireless applications."
  • In October 2005, QUALCOMM reached a milestone in the development of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A networks and handsets -- the completion of an end-to-end call.

    The Rev. A standard represents the next evolution of the EV-DO technologies that support the 3.1 Mbps forward and 1.8 Mbps reverse link data rates and higher system capacity required for next-generation wireless multimedia.

ARRIS Partners with UTStarcom on Fixed Mobile Convergence

ARRIS announced a joint development, licensing and supply agreement with UTStarcom to enable the fourth leg of the quadruple play for cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) worldwide.

The joint solution will allow end customers with a Wi-Fi-enabled dual-mode handset to seamlessly roam between their cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

ARRIS' fixed mobile convergence (FMC) solution enables MSOs to add mobility features to their service portfolio. The company said it will support IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and PacketCable 2.0 specifications as they are finalized.

Specifically, ARRIS will license FMC software from UTStarcom. The licensing agreement has an initial term of three years, after which ARRIS will have the right to exercise an option to retain rights in the software. Under the conditions of the development agreement, both parties will jointly create improvements and new and enhanced features for emerging FMC solutions according to the set milestones. The supply agreement calls for UTStarcom to provide ARRIS with the hardware and software for sale to the global cable MSO community. ARRIS will have exclusive marketing rights to the global MSO community per the terms of the supply agreement and UTStarcom will retain exclusive marketing rights to the telco community.

The ARRIS FMC solution is planned for shipping in the second half of 2006 with early customer testing already underway. UTStarcom's Continuity FMC solution is available today and is currently in telecom carrier trials.

The ARRIS FMC solution consists of an ARRIS Mobility Application Server (MAS) located in a cable headend that controls the communication between a cable operator's telephony operations and the cellular operator's network. The communication between networks allows for seamless mobility between cellular and IP access networks via standardized cellular signaling mechanisms. In the home, the customer's dual-mode handset voice traffic and signaling is carried via their WiFi connection (such as the ARRIS Touchstone TM552 wireless telephony modem (E-MTA)) through the High Speed Internet access provided by the MSO's CMTS (such as the ARRIS Cadant C4 CMTS).


OpenTV and C-COR Offer Open Architecture Switched Digital Broadcast

OpenTV and C-COR introduced an open architecture switched digital video system that involves the integration of an interactive program guide based on OpenTV Core 2.0 Middleware running on Motorola's DCT-2000/2500 set-top boxes and C-COR's nABLE Global Session and Resource Manager (GSRM) providing the session and edge resource management.

The solution offers cable operators the ability to employ SDB on the Motorola box as well as any other set-top box on the market, freeing up bandwidth for other core competitive offerings such as high definition broadcasting and video-on-demand. Switched digital broadcasting enables instant bandwidth allocation for infrequently used channels, rather than the current means of allocating bandwidth to lesser used channels all the time.


BigBand Targets Advertising and Programming by Switching Digital Video

BigBand Networks is showcasing new capabilities that would enable cable operators to precisely target advertising and other content to groups of subscribers or even specific subscribers using switch digital video.

BigBand noted that over the last several years, local insertion into digital programming has become increasingly geographically precise through zoning. With targeting, different subscribers within the same zone watching the same program could receive different advertisements based on their demographics or other relevant factors. This would be achieved by individually directed streams with switched broadcast, or techniques in which subscribers' set-top boxes dynamically tune to different digital streams or frequency channels at moments of ad insertion. Switched broadcast may also play an important role in the latter case by freeing sufficient capacity to accommodate the inserted advertisements.

In a practical example of how targeted advertising could work, a viewer changing to a cooking program after a significant amount of time watching sports might receive an ad about an upcoming local sporting event. This is based on the subscriber likely being a sports fan, even when watching something different.

ARRIS Offers CMTS Circuit Emulation from Resolute

ARRIS is partnering with Resolute Networks Ltd. to introduce a Touchstone Commercial Services Modem (CSM) 470 T1/E1 MTA, enabling Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) to provision T1/E1 services over standard HFC DOCSIS infrastructure. The solution is based on ARRIS' DOCSIS technology implementation and Resolute's standards-compliant CES technology. This solution was developed based on a grant from the BIRD Foundation.

The customer premises part of the solution consists of the ARRIS Touchstone CSM 470 Commercial Services Modem with one T1/E1 port, in addition to a standard 10/100BaseT Ethernet port. With Resolute CES module technology, standard T1/E1 connectivity is provided without the need to replace or reconfigure the T1/E1-based PBX, frame relay access, router or other equipment already installed at the customer premises. The head-end solution includes a dedicated pseudo-wire CES aggregator based on Resolute module technology, and is designed to minimize rack space and power consumption, while supporting scalability through a range of aggregation density options for handoff of T1/E1 traffic to the carrier TDM network.

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation promotes strategic partnerships between Israeli and American companies in various technological fields.