Monday, July 24, 2006

Warner Bros. Added to iTunes

Warner Bros.' vast television library is now available for purchase and download on the iTunes Music Store. The new content includes shows such as "Friends," sci-fi epic "Babylon 5" and "MADtv," as well as animated classics including "The Jetsons" and "The Flintstones."

Apple's iTunes store now offers over 150 TV shows for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod.

Redback Posts Q2 Revenue of $68.2 million, up 18% over Q1

Redback Networks reported Q2 net revenue of $68.2 million, an increase of 18 percent from the first quarter of 2006. Net revenue was up $33.7 million, or 97 percent, over the second quarter of 2005.

Redback Networks generated $112.8 million in cash in the second quarter of 2006, including $83.1 million from a secondary offering in May 2006.

Including stock-based compensation expenses, GAAP net loss for the second quarter of 2006 was $1.8 million or $0.03 per share attributable to common stockholders compared to a GAAP net loss of $7.2 million or $ 0.13 per share in the second quarter of 2005.

"As the evolution of broadband networks accelerates on a worldwide basis, Redback continues to make significant progress on its business strategy," said Kevin DeNuccio, president and chief executive officer, Redback Networks. "We believe Redback and SmartEdge technology are becoming synonymous with Triple Play and IPTV build outs around the globe. Our vision of a single converged broadband network for all communication and entertainment services continues to gain mass adoption with customers."

Motorola Intros HSDPA and EV-DO Handsets

Motorola introduced its MOTORAZR xx, MOTORAZR maxx, and MOTOSLVR L7c handsets for wireless broadband.

The MOTORAZR xx and MOTORAZR maxx - are High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) handsets that enable download speeds as fast as 3.6 Mbps. The MOTOSLVR L7c leverages EV-DO technology.

Adding premium metal finishes and colors, plus HSDPA and EDGE technology, users can watch live streaming video over broadband-like connections and conduct two-way video calls with 15 frames per second. A compact multimedia machine, the MOTORAZR xx includes an integrated music player and Bluetooth stereo music profiles for streaming music to compatible Bluetooth-enabled wireless stereo headphones. The devices are expected to be available in Q4 2006.

Agere Posts Revenue of $382 Million, Announces Share Buy-Back

Agere Systems reported GAAP net income of $47 million, or $0.27 per share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2006, above the company's April guidance. In the third quarter of fiscal 2005, Agere reported GAAP net income of $120 million, or $0.65 per share. The latest quarter included a $27 million tax benefit; the year-ago quarter had a tax benefit of $120 million. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2006 totaled $382 million.

Richard Clemmer, President and CEO, said, "Agere Systems turned in a solid third quarter, demonstrating the leverage we have created in our business model and the clear progress we are making in our turnaround plan. Moreover, we expanded our customer base during the quarter, giving us a firm foundation for driving revenue growth.

Agere also announced a new $200 million share repurchase program.

Hutchison 3G Austria Selects Siemens for HSDPA

The Austrian mobile carrier Hutchison 3G (3), which is headquartered in Vienna, selected Siemens to build out its existing W-CDMA network. The carrier currently provides coverage for around 98 percent of Austria's population and offers W-CDMA services to around 50% of the country. By the end of 2007, plans call for some 95 percent of the country to benefit from HSDPA. The multimillion dollar deal is based on a turnkey contract comprising supply of the W-CDMA technology and a Managed Services.

PT and Interphase to Deliver AdvancedTCA and MicroTCAT Products

Performance Technologies will partner with Interphase for select AdvancedMCT I/O modules for PT's application-ready platform solutions.

The partnership aims to broaden Performance Technologies' Advanced Managed Platform by leveraging the company's Linux-based NexusWareT software suite for use with Interphase hardware elements. NexusWare will add additional value to these elements while offering a consistent software offering to that of other Performance Technologies products. Additionally, the partnership will allow Performance Technologies to bring new and enhanced platforms to market.

ENUM Expected to Significantly Increase in Next 24 Months

The use of routing directories in telcos for IP services and telecom Web services will increase in the next 24 months, according to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Nominum, citing leading telecom executives' views of ENUM and their respective plans for the build out of IP networks.

ENUM is an emerging standard that facilitates voice call routing across IP networks by bridging the gap between traditional phone numbers and Internet name identifiers. Industry bodies such as the GSMA (GSM Association) and telecommunications providers globally have embraced and are adopting ENUM to solve inter-carrier routing for VoIP and next generation services.

Key findings include:

  • Schedules of Next Generation Network (NGN) deployments vary by operator, but all are finding the ENUM Routing Directory function to be an important component enabling interoperability and the eventual monetizing of communications products.

  • NGN functions are in early deployment stages. Operators are progressively implementing NGN strategies, with some telecommunications providers planning to phase out their public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) by 2011.

  • ENUM Routing Directories need to scale efficiently in order to sustain the load to be generated by next-generation services. Operators must maximize the horsepower of their networking functions such as routing directories in order to maintain predictable and scalable returns of NGN deployments.

  • The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Nominum took place in the first half of 2006 and participants included CTOs, architects and head of NGN strategy across 11 large telecommunications providers worldwide. Copies of the report are available from Nominum.


    Myths about ENUM
    has a critical role to play in telephony services convergence. Although
    many carriers are adopting ENUM there are myths swirling around the
    confuse newcomers. Here's a list.




Wipro and Motorola Announce Joint Venture for Managed Services

Wipro Technologies and Motorola have formed a joint venture to deliver managed services to public and private network customers. The joint venture, named WMNetServ, will deliver outsourced telecom services to help customers focus on their core business and gain access to capabilities not available internally.

The companies said WMNetServ is a strategic move that demonstrates a commitment to investing in services and offering new business opportunities to meet the changing needs of customers. Motorola's managed services portfolio helps customers reduce and control costs by taking advantage of Motorola's capabilities in out-tasking, build-operate-transfer, and total outsourcing. By combining Motorola's portfolio with Wipro's resources and expertise, WMNetServ will deliver and manage services in planning, deployment, optimization, security, operations and support.

WMNetServ will host a Global Network Operation Center (GNOC) platform that will integrate seamlessly with Motorola's existing NOCs in North America and Europe to provide 24/7 network monitoring capabilities to customers. WMNetServ's primary delivery center, including the GNOC will be based in India. Headquarters and a regional subsidiary for the joint venture will reside in Europe. WMNetServ will be lead by a Wipro representative while the Board of Directors will have representation from Wipro and Motorola senior management.


Level 3 Reports Second Quarter Results

Level 3 Communications reported consolidated Q2 revenue of $1.53 billion, compared to $1.27 billion for the first quarter 2006. Communications revenue was $819 million in the second quarter, versus $804 million for the previous quarter. Information services revenue was $695 million in the second quarter, compared to $445 million for the previous quarter and $504 million for the same quarter last year.

The net loss for the second quarter 2006 was $201 million, or $0.23 per share, compared to a net loss of $168 million, or $0.20 per share, for the previous quarter.

During the quarter, the company reviewed its estimated useful lives, used to calculate depreciation for optical fiber. Based on this review, the company determined the useful life of its optical fiber should be extended. Accordingly, depreciation expense decreased by $18 million, or $0.02 per share, in the second quarter.

The company also recorded a loss of $55 million in the second quarter, or $0.06 per share, attributable to the amendment and restatement of the Level 3 Financing, Inc.'s $730 million credit agreement. Included in the net loss for the first quarter 2006 was a gain of $27 million, or $0.03 per share, that was recorded as a result of the company's $692 million private debt exchange offer, which was completed in January 2006.

"During the second quarter, our margins in the communications business increased and the company generated positive free cash flow," said James Q. Crowe, CEO of Level 3. "Additionally, the communications business saw positive contributions from the benefit of the WilTel integration, recent acquisitions and continuing demand for our Core Communications Services."

Some additional highlights:

  • As of June 30, 2006, the company had cash and marketable securities of approximately $2.2 billion compared to approximately $992 million at March 31, 2006. Pro forma for the July 13, 2006 redemption of its outstanding 9 1/8% Senior Notes due 2008 and 10 1/2% Senior Discount Notes due 2008 and the closing of the acquisition of TelCove, Inc. on July 24, 2006, the company had cash and marketable securities of approximately $1.1 billion at June 30, 2006.

  • On July 24, 2006, Level 3 closed its previously announced acquisition of TelCove, Inc., a privately held Pennsylvania-based telecommunications company. Level 3 paid consideration to the TelCove security holders of 149,944,647 million shares of Level 3 common stock and approximately $445.8 million in cash. Also in connection with the closing, Level 3 is using approximately $132 million in cash to pay off outstanding TelCove debt. The transaction also included approximately $13 million in capital leases, which are expected to remain outstanding.

  • On June 5, 2006, Level 3 announced a definitive agreement to acquire Looking Glass Networks. Under the terms of the agreement, Level 3 will pay total consideration to Looking Glass' security holders of $96 million, consisting of $87 million in unregistered shares of Level 3 common stock and $9 million in cash. At closing, Level 3 will also pay Looking Glass debt of approximately $69 million. Closing is expected to occur by mid-third quarter 2006.

  • On May 31, 2006, the company closed its previously announced acquisition of ICG Communications, for consideration of approximately 26 million shares of Level 3 common stock and $45 million in cash, subject to adjustment based on the subsequent calculation of actual closing date working capital.

"A substantial portion of the integration of WilTel is complete, and we've begun to see the benefit of the synergies we expected from this acquisition," said Kevin O'Hara, president and COO of Level 3. "Our primary focus going forward will be to complete the WilTel integration and continue the integration efforts of our metro acquisitions. The integration of our metro acquisitions, Progress, ICG, TelCove and the pending acquisition of Looking Glass, are different from traditional consolidation transactions, where the majority of value is derived by eliminating duplicative costs. These companies are high-margin, growing businesses, and the primary benefits of integration are the extension of the Level 3 network into regional and local markets and the elimination of certain third-party network expenses for the existing Level 3 communications business."

Motorola to Acquire Broadbus for TV-on-Demand

Motorola, agreed to acquire Broadbus Technologies, a start-up offering solutions for Television On-Demand. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Broadbus has developed a solid-state server architecture that enables the distribution of on-demand content to consumers through multiple devices. The company's technology leverages intelligent configuration and management of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). As a result, the platform can use less space and power than traditional hard-disk based technology, while providing performance, reliability and scalability improvements for video ingest, streaming, and storage.

Motorola said the acquisition would enable it to extend its video delivery platform with new content management and distribution capabilities that address growing market opportunities such as mobile video, video on-demand (VOD), time-shifted TV, network-based digital video recording (nDVR), on-demand ad insertion (ODAI) and switched digital video (SDV).

Broadbus Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1999 and currently has more than 60 video-on-demand deployments with service providers worldwide, including Comcast, Charter Communications, and Time Warner Cable. Key financial investors included Battery Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Comcast Interactive Capital and Star Ventures.
  • In November 2005, Broadbus Technologies released version 3.0 of its B-1 Video Server with Stream Commander, which uses DRAM-based streaming server technology to scale to 80 Gbps of output. Broadbus said its design can produce nearly 20,000 streams per chassis and offer virtually unlimited ingest capabilities. The B-1 can ingest hundreds of live and pre-recorded programs simultaneously, enabling television on-demand (TOD) and network PVR (nPVR) applications.

    The Broadbus Stream Commander) management application is designed to configure, coordinate and monitor up to 256 networked B-1 video servers via a web-based graphical user interface. The software manages all ingest, storage and streaming activities and maintains an active database of configuration profiles and status, alarm, stream and content statistics. It also manages the propagation of content to and from near-term storage libraries virtually eliminating content replication.

    Broadbus said that by separating DRAM video streaming and RAID content storage structures, its B-1 server permits independent configuration and low-cost upgradeability for additional streams and storage. The decoupled design means that stream counts and storage modules can scale to meet the exact needs of service providers and that modules can be hot-swapped.

    New enhancements included in version 3.0 of the B-1 and Stream Commander include hot-swappable blades with full failover capability, hot-swappable, redundant Fibre Channel controllers, improved diagnostics, application and process-level resiliency, and the ability to stream live television within five seconds of ingest.

CloudShield Delivers Content Control and Security for 10 GigE Networks

CloudShield Technologies introduced a platform designed to help large network operators control and secure their move to 10GbE architectures. Specifically, CloudShield will provide a scalable, multi-use, multi-function content processing solution for operator-specific control policy and application requirements. CloudShield's compact CS-2000 platform will inspect, analyze and control network content - including voice, video and data - at faster 10GbE rates.

CloudShield's new Deep Packet Processing Module, the DPPM-800, supports a range of network applications for 10GbE in the CS-2000 chassis. While the DPPM-800 is specifically for the CS-2000, CloudShield's extended architecture is 'chassis neutral,' enabling deployments of CloudShield's high-speed network processing and content control applications within open blade server chassis as well.
  • In October 2005, CloudShield Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $$10 Million in additional funding for its multigigabit, open network services platform for security, VoIP, and traffic management applications. The additional funding came from current investors TPG Ventures, ComVentures, Foundation Capital, and Paladin Capital all participating.

  • CloudShield's CS-2000 platform is designed to help service providers develop custom packet processing applications for emerging content-based services. The company also sees an opportunity with federal government agencies that need to harden their network security.
  • Regional Wholesale Transport Providers Deploy MetaSwitch for Core VoIP Networks

    Wholesale transport providers MAIN and IRIS Networks are deploying MetaSwitch's softswitches in their fiber-optic networks. The two regional network operators manage a total of more than 4,400 fiber miles over which they each offer IP-based carrier services with TDM and IP hand-off to local exchange carriers, as well as regional and national inter-exchange carriers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    MAIN (Montana Advanced Information Network), a division of Vision Net, and IRIS Networks, of Tennessee, were both established in the 1990s by consortia of local exchange carriers. Both have the goal of building regional fiber-optic networks to lower signaling and transport interconnection costs for their member companies and other carrier customers. MAIN, and IRIS Networks will be using MetaSwitch's core softswitch as part of initiatives to build out their next-generation networks, offer a broader range of Class 4 and Class 5-based solutions, and expand their businesses beyond pure transport to higher-value multimedia services. MAIN is expanding its network with distributed media gateways controlled by a centralized softswitch call agent, which is a significantly simplified network compared to traditional switching architectures.

    IRIS Networks is initially deploying MetaSwitch's core switch for long distance SIP trunking over its Cisco-powered OC-48 DWDM network. The company plans eventually to offer higher level voice services to its carrier customers.

    Broadwing Appoints Stephen E. Courter New CEO

    Broadwing appointed Stephen E. Courter as its new CEO and member of its Board of Directors. He previously served as Chairman and CEO of fiber-optic service provider Neon Communications until its merger with Globix Corporation in 2005. Prior to Neon, Mr. Courter served as CEO of Enertel in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and was also a Vice President for Sprint and Sprint International.

    Courter succeeds Dr. David Huber, Chairman of the Board, who transitioned out of the CEO role earlier this year. Mr. Courter will be supported by the senior management team that has operated Broadwing in the interim, a team comprised of Scott Widham, President of Sales & Marketing; Lynn D. Anderson, Chief Financial Officer; and Kim Larsen, Senior Vice President, M&A/Corporate Development and General Counsel.

    Boingo Adds Taipei's City-Wide Wi-Fi Net to Roaming System

    Boingo Wireless announced a roaming agreement with Q-Ware Systems of Taiwan that adds its network of Wi-Fi hot spots -- including Taipei City's WIFLY city-wide wireless network -- to the worldwide Boingo Roaming System. Boingo is the first foreign service provider to be granted roaming access to the WIFLY network. As a result, Boingo Roaming System subscribers traveling to the country will now be able to access both the Taipei City metro Wi-Fi network and all Starbucks locations across Taiwan through their easy-to-use Boingo software.

    The Taipei City network, which was launched in December 2005 and is known as WIFLY, uses approximately 4,100 access points (APs) throughout 42 main roads in Taipei, providing wireless signal coverage to most residential and business/commercial districts. The network makes Taipei the world's largest wireless city in terms of scale, number of APs, and speed of installation, and provides citizens with Internet access in addition to a range of planned e-government and e-lifestyle services.

    Boingo now provides access to over 45,000 locations from more than 130 leading Wi-Fi operators.

    IEEE Forms Higher Speed Study Group for Next Gen Ethernet

    The Ethernet Alliance, an industry group dedicated to the continued success and expansion of Ethernet technology, today announced that the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 working group has formed the Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) to evaluate the requirements for the next generation of Ethernet technology.

    Current 10GbE technology is being widely deployed in Internet exchanges to provide the capacity to accommodate bandwidth-intensive applications like IPTV and personalized content. Additionally, early use of 10GbE was traditionally in the switch-to-switch interconnect market. The industry is now seeing microprocessors driving higher bandwidth requirements in servers, and 10GbE is meeting that demand. With 10GbE taking its place within the network ecosystem, the industry is now turning its attention to what will follow to aggregate 10GbE pipes.

    "This is an exciting time for the Ethernet industry as there are a number of activities helping to drive the volume adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). IEEE 802.3an, also known as 10GBASE-T, was ratified June 8, 2006. This standard enables a low cost, ease-of-use, copper cabling solution for the transmission of 10GbE. Additionally, SFF-8431, also known as 10GbE SFP+ (small form factor pluggable) optics, offers lower cost and reduced power consumption. SFF-8431 is expected to be ratified by the end of 2006," said Brad Booth, president of the Ethernet Alliance and director of advanced products for Quake Technologies.

    AT&T U-Verse Rollout Targeted for 15-20 Markets by Year End, 342,000 New DSL in Q2

    AT&T reported Q2 earnings per diluted share of $0.46 on a reported basis, up 53.3 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Before merger-related costs, earnings per diluted share were $0.58, up 34.9 percent versus comparable adjusted results in the second quarter of 2005. This marked AT&T's fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in earnings per share before merger-related costs. Second-quarter net income totaled $1.8 billion on a reported basis, up 80.8 percent from the year-earlier quarter. Before merger-related costs, earnings were $2.3 billion, up 59.6 percent from pre-merger results in the second quarter of 2005. Cash from operating activities totaled $4.7 billion, up 24.1 percent versus the year-earlier second quarter.

    "We delivered another strong quarter, with excellent growth in both earnings and cash flow," said Edward E. Whitacre Jr., AT&T chairman and chief executive officer. "Cingular generated solid subscriber growth and its best-ever churn. Enterprise trends continue to be encouraging. Regional wireline revenues extended their growth record. Our SBC/AT&T merger integration projects are very much on plan, generating synergies and benefiting customers.

    Some highlights:

    • Second-quarter consolidated revenues totaled $15.8 billion, up 53.2 percent from a pre-merger $10.3 billion in the second quarter of 2005 and up 0.1 percent sequentially. Second-quarter operating expenses totaled $13.2 billion on a reported basis, up from a pre-merger $8.8 billion in the year-earlier quarter but down 2.9 percent sequentially. Expense trends reflect early results from SBC/AT&T integration and progress in operational initiatives.

    • AT&T's wireline revenues , including the combined former SBC and former AT&T wireline operations, were $14.8 billion, up 59.3 percent versus a pre-merger $9.3 billion reported in the second quarter of 2005 and up 0.1 percent from results in the first quarter of this year. Versus pro forma results for the second quarter of 2005, AT&T's second-quarter 2006 wireline revenues declined 5.0 percent. This compares with a 5.5 percent year-over-year pro forma decline in the first quarter of this year. More than two-thirds of AT&T's year-over-year wireline revenue decline in the second quarter came from former AT&T Corp. national mass markets -- primarily stand-alone long distance and local bundled services -- where AT&T Corp. discontinued proactive marketing in 2004. Excluding results from this customer category, wireline revenues declined 1.8 percent year over year and grew 0.7 percent sequentially.

    • Regional consumer revenues were up 1.5 percent to $3.6 billion, driven by a 637,000 increase in consumer connections over the past year to
      33.1 million. Consumer connections is a measure that combines retail access lines plus DSL lines and video connections.

    • Total DSL lines increased by 342,000 to 7.8 million -- up more than 1.8 million, or 30.3 percent, over the past year.

    • AT&T | DISH Network satellite television connections increased by 42,000 to reach 533,000 in service.

    • Additional lines declined by 106,000, consistent with results over the past several quarters, in large part due to the migration from dial-up Internet access to DSL. Primary consumer lines declined by 320,000, reflecting second-quarter seasonality in addition to migrations to wire�less, cable and other competitors. Primary consumer line and DSL line disconnections are both typically higher in the second quarter due to end-of-college-year moves.

    • In June, the company began offering its "AT&T U-verse" services in San Antonio -- its first IPTV market. AT&T said it is pleased with initial results and expects to offer its U-verse services in 15 to 20 markets (metropolitan statistical areas) within its traditional 13-state wireline area by the end of 2006. Markets beyond San Antonio are expected to be launched late in the fourth quarter, generally following the deployment plan being used in San Antonio.

    • Enterprise revenues were $4.4 billion -- essentially flat with results in the first quarter of this year, reflecting continued strong volume growth along with double-digit growth in IP data services. The second quarter's 0.3 percent sequential decline in enterprise revenues compares with a sequential decline of 3.8 percent in the first quarter of this year. Versus pro forma results for the second quarter of 2005, enterprise revenues declined 7.5 percent. Excluding revenues from a payphone unit that the former AT&T Corp. sold in June of 2005, enterprise revenues would have declined 6.9 percent.

    Updated Guidance

    • AT&T now expects its full-year adjusted consolidated operating income margin to be in the 17 percent to 18 percent range, up from its previous outlook of 15 percent to 16 percent.

    • AT&T now expects to achieve full-year 2006 operating expense synergies from SBC/AT&T merger integration of $700 million to $900 million, up from its previous target range of $600 million to $700 million. Through the end of the second quarter, approximately $300 million of expense synergies had been realized.

    • In January, pension and retiree costs were expected to dilute full-year earnings per share by $0.06 to $0.08. AT&T now expects pension and retiree costs to dilute 2006 earnings by $0.04 to $0.06.

    • Project Lightspeed costs are now expected to reduce earnings per share in 2006 by $0.05 to $0.07, down from the $0.08 to $0.10 in January's outlook, reflecting timing of scaled launch occurring later in the year.

    • Driven by demand for data services, capital expenditures in 2006 are expected to be at the high end or slightly above the previously outlined $8 billion to $8.5 billion -- in the low teens as a percentage of revenues. This total includes capital for merger integration projects and Project Lightspeed deployment.

    • AT&T's outlook for 2006 free cash flow after dividends is now expected to be in the mid-$2 billion range, up from its January outlook of approximately $2 billion, even with the majority of AT&T/SBC merger integration costs occurring this year. (Free cash flow after dividends is cash from operations plus AT&T's proportionate share of Cingular free cash flow less capital expenditures and dividends.)

    • These updated expectations do not include any expected impacts from AT&T's pending acquisition of BellSouth.

    Lucent and ICS Telecom Win $50 Million US DOJ Contract

    Lucent Technologies and ICS Telecom (ICS) are one of two teams awarded a multiple award, multi-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Executive Offices of the U.S. Attorney (EOUSA) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The 7-year contract is valued at up to $50 million and includes the planned migration to a secure VoIP network, in addition to providing traditional telephony equipment and maintenance services.

    The converged EOUSA communications network will support 260 offices throughout every state and U.S. territory. The multi- purpose network carries unclassified, sensitive and classified information and also extends to share critical information with both local and state law enforcement agencies.

    Over the past 18-months, Lucent was a part of the EOUSA efforts to design and implement a pilot VoIP program. The pilot program included solution planning and design, system architecture, integration, testing and migration planning for 4 cities and up to 120 users.

    Firetide Announces Wireless Mesh/RFID for Automobile Dealerships

    Firetide Inc., a developer of wireless mesh networks, is offering a customized solution for automobile dealerships. Bob Lewis Automotive, which has dealerships in San Jose and Newark, California, deployed Firetide's wireless mesh to enable outdoor operation of its key and inventory management system. The system utilizes the wireless mesh to create a property-wide wireless infrastructure to support the dealership's new KeyWhere Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking system that maintains live data on any vehicle on the lot. The KeyWhere system developed by Performance Analytics Inc., consists of portable electronic lockboxes attached to each automobile, enabling sales personnel to instantly access ignition keys for test drives by swiping a personal RFID card and entering a PIN on a lockbox keypad. The ignition keys also have RFID tags to indicate each time they are removed from or returned to the lockbox. A Wi-Fi or ZigBee wireless interface in each lock box transmits the collected data to access points attached to the Firetide wireless mesh network. The mesh is also connected to an Internet gateway inside the dealership office. All of the data and reports are maintained on a web-based database application developed for the automotive industry by Performance Analytics. By keeping the keys with the automobile at all times, the dealership was able to increase the number of test drives, leading to higher sales and faster inventory turnover.

    3G Americas Publishes White Paper on IMS

    3G Americas, the industry association whose mission is to promote and facilitate the deployment throughout the Americas of GSM and its evolution to 3G , has published a white paper that focuses specifically on IMS architecture, as defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), as the new application enabler for IP-based multimedia services.

    The paper, entitled IMS: Application Enabler and UMTS/HSPA Growth Catalyst, addresses the ways in which 3GPP IMS architecture is best suited for the blending of real-time and non real-time multimedia services, and how it optimizes the application life-cycle through rapid and efficient service creation and deployment. Further, the paper illustrates how basic IMS services such as Presence, Messaging, and others, can become enablers of larger, personalized, interactive and collaborative multimedia services. The paper describes how IMS will play a key role in the introduction of these new revenue-generating services, and how the deployment of the GSM evolution through UMTS/HSPA will improve the user experience and generate demand for additional services.

    Motorola and Huawei Create UMTS Venture

    Motorola and Huawei Technologies announced a joint venture to bring an enhanced and extensive portfolio of UMTS and HSPA infrastructure equipment to customers worldwide. The companies will establish a joint research and development center in Shanghai, China, where employees from both companies will work on development of the architecture and portfolio of products and services. Motorola will contribute to the collaboration its services expertise in network design, deployment and integration as well as providing value added services such as network performance, network security, network management and Operation Support Systems (OSS). Huawei will also contribute its expertise in technology innovation, research and development.