Tuesday, April 1, 2008

PMC-Sierra Appoints Greg Lang as CEO

PMC-Sierra has appointed Greg Lang as its new president and chief executive officer. The position will become effective immediately upon the resignation of Robert Bailey as the company's president and CEO following the filing of the Company's first quarter 2008 financials next month. The Company's Board of Directors also elected Mr. Lang to serve as a director effective as of the next meeting of the Board. Mr. Bailey will continue as PMC-Sierra's Chairman of the Board.

Prior to his appointment at PMC-Sierra, Mr. Lang was president and CEO at Integrated Device Technology Inc. (IDT), a company he joined in 2001. Mr. Lang led the transformation of IDT from a commodity SRAM supplier to a very profitable mixed signal solution provider. He was responsible for the integration of several successful acquisitions and more than doubled revenue over the course of his term at the company. Prior to IDT, Mr. Lang spent 15 years at Intel and was vice president and general manager of the Platform Networking Group, where he built Intel's client-side wired and wireless networking businesses. Mr. Lang is also a member of the board of directors of Intersil Corporation, a high-performance analog semiconductor company.http://www.pmc-sierra.com

Yahoo! Debuts Voice-Enabled Mobile Search

Yahoo! unveiled a new version of its mobile search service, allowing users to initiate searches faster using text or voice.

Yahoo! also plans to provide greater relevance through richer, more detailed search results by opening up Yahoo! oneSearch to publishers to integrate content, simplify search input with Search Assist and voice-enabled search, and make search instantly accessible on the idle screen of many phones.
Open search results are expected to debut with initial partners in Q2 2008.

Some of the key enhancements include:

  • Predictive text completion - as you begin to type, Search Assist surfaces the most common search queries in real time that match the letters you have submitted so far. As soon as you see a query that matches what you were typing, select it and your results are returned.

  • Contextual recommendations Search Assist is intelligent enough to recommend more refined results than your initial query. At launch, Search Assist is available for the iPhone and is expected to become available on additional AJAX-compatible devices over the coming months.

Yahoo! said that with the voice-enabled version of oneSearch, users can search for anything, including flight numbers, locations, Web site names, local restaurants, and more, by simply speaking. Key features include:

  • Wide-open voice-enabled mobile search - Speak anything and get relevant results returned through oneSearch.

  • Personalizes to your voice - Voice-enabled Yahoo! oneSearch adapts to your voice the more you use it.

  • Multi-modal input - Allows users to switch between speaking and typing at any time, enabling consumers easy access to refine queries.

NextPoint Enhances Integrated Border Gateway, Adding PDIF and Tunnel Termination Gateway

NextPoint announced a number of mobility enhancements to its Integrated Border Gateway (IBG) including Packet Data Interworking Functionality (PDIF) and Tunnel Termination Gateway (TTG) capabilities -- key capabilities enabling seamless handoffs in Wi-Fi FMC or femtocell services deployed by mobile operators.

NextPoint's IBG, which consolidates Session Border Controller (SBC) capabilities with Security Gateway (SeGW) in a single ATCA-based platform, now includes an IP Mobility Suite that provides Packet Data Interworking Function (PDIF) to support CDMA-based operators and Tunnel Termination Gateway (TTG) for GSM/UMTS-based operators. This session tunneling functionality enables mobile roaming between multiple IP networks. The platform scales to support hundreds of thousands of IPsec tunnels and subscribers per blade.

Nextpoint said its PDIF and TTG IP Mobility Suite will extend beyond voice roaming to include "combinational" voice and data services to mobile IP users, ensuring subscribers' continuity experience across IP networks for both sessions and data.

As part of NextPoint's FMC solutions, which enable seamless handoff of voice and data across service providers' networks, PDIF is applied to CDMA mobile networks for interworking wireless local area network (WLAN) deployments, including Wi-Fi and Femtocell applications, as well as WiMAX deployments. TTG -- a subset of the Packet Data Gateway (PDG) specification -- is applied to UMTS networks for inter-worked WLAN or WiMAX deployments. PDIF and TTG rely upon and enhance the security gateway to protect resources and packet data services from unauthorized access.

NextPoint now offers three versions of the IBG. One version provides a single-component security gateway while a second version integrates intelligent session management capabilities. These two versions provide intelligent edge solutions to mobile and fixed-line operators' to address their requirements for management and implementation of network elements from access edge to network core.


Monsoon Multimedia Offers TV Place-Shifting for the Nokia Internet Tablet

Monsoon Multimedia announced HAVA support for the Nokia N800 and N810 Internet Tablets (updated with the latest operating system), and the upcoming Nokia N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition, allowing customers to view and control their home TV from anywhere in the world over WiMAX or WiFi. Users can control the TV source (whether cable or satellite, receiver or DVR, standard or high definition) connected to the HAVA device they have installed in their home.

Monsoon said an upcoming version of the HAVA PC Player application will also enable the Nokia Internet Tablet to function as a "PVR-on-the-go", allowing users to record their favorite TV shows and later watch them on their tablets from local memory.http://www.myhava.com/http://www.monsoonmultimedia.com

Alcatel-Lucent Enhances Long-Haul Microwave for TDM-Ethernet Migration

Alcatel-Lucent has enhanced its long-haul microwave solution, the Alcatel-Lucent MDR 8000, to support operators' migration from time division multiplexing (TDM) to Ethernet transport over wireless transport networks. The platform provides mobile backhaul and long-haul trunking serving various markets, including homeland security, defense, utility and energy infrastructure, and transportation.

With this new release, MDR-8000 features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and 32 DS1 circuit interfaces, and allows dynamic reallocation of capacity in-service with no disruption as the transport rate for IP services grows.

It provides multiple interface options (DS1, DS3, OC-3, and 10/100/1000 Ethernet interfaces) and operates in a range of frequencies from 2 GHz to 11 GHz, covering all microwave bands per FCC Part 101, Industry Canada and NTIA. In addition, it operates in unlicensed bands at 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz, as well as the market-specific bands such as 1900 MHz for Personal Communications Service (PCS), 1700 MHz for US Federal Government and 2.3 GHz for Wireless Communications Service (WCS).

AT&T U-verse TV Tunes Into Flickr

AT&T launched an Online Photos service from Flickr for its AT&T U-verse TV customers.

Users can watch slide shows and browse their online photos from flickr.com on their U-verse TV screens. Flickr is Yahoo!'s photo-sharing service.http://www.att.com

Aircell Receives FAA Approvals to Launch Inflight Broadband

Aircell received two critical FAA approvals, clearing the way to launch its in-flight mobile broadband service over the U.S.

Aircell is now the first and only communications operator to receive approvals from the FAA to provide air-to-ground (ATG) in-flight mobile broadband for U.S. domestic flights. The two FAA approvals received include a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), permitting installation and operation of the company's ATG network on commercially operated Boeing 767-200 aircraft.

The second FAA approval is a Parts Manufacture Approval (PMA). This approval authorizes the manufacture of aircraft parts at the company's Bensenville, IL facility. Aircell said it is now producing the equipment needed to bring its in-flight Internet service to American Airlines and Virgin America in 2008.http://www.aircell.com/.
  • In January 2008, Aircell completed its nationwide wireless Air-To-Ground (ATG) network. As part of this build-out, the company constructed cell sites throughout the country. Placement of cell sites ranged from windy, snow topped mountain peaks at 12,000 feet to remote desert terrain below sea level. The company said network completion was accomplished far ahead of time requirements set by the company's FCC license agreement. The first site was activated on August 25, 2007 and the final site, which finalized the nationwide network, went live on January 29th, just five months later.

Telstra Deploys Ericsson's Blade-based Mobile Softswitch Solution

Telstra is deploying Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch Solution based on blade technology. Telstra started this transformation in 2007 when it became the first operator in the world to implement a common GSM-WCDMA Mobile Switching Center-Server (MSC-S) pool network, which is now in full commercial service. Commercial implementation of the next-generation Mobile Softswitch Solution using the new MSC-S Blade Cluster has just started.

Ericsson said the new blade design will also reduce the energy use of the softswitch by up to 60 percent per subscriber. It supports up to eight million subscribers with only two cabinets. The footprint can be as little as 10 percent of that for existing servers, reducing energy consumption. With the MSC Server Blade Cluster deployed in a pooled network, Telstra will be able to reduce the number of MSC nodes in its network by 75 percent.

Telstra will be the first operator to implement the MSC-S Blade Cluster commercially after selecting Ericsson to upgrade its mobile core network with the next generation of Mobile Softswitch Solution. http://www.ericsson.com

Tellabs discontinues current GPON activities focused on Verizon

Citing economic reasons, Tellabs announced that it will discontinue current GPON activities focused on Verizon. Tellabs said the decision serves the best interests of both companies and their respective stakeholders. It will continue to be a multi-product and services supplier to Verizon. Tellabs also noted that it will continue its current access strategy, including BPON and GPON.http://www.tellabs.com

EXFO to Acquire Brix for US$28.5 million

EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering agreed to acquire Brix Networks, a provider of converged service assurance solutions, for US$28.5 million in cash and an additional earn-out based upon the achievement of bookings levels exceeding US$16 million in the 12 months following the closing date of the transaction. Total purchase price could reach US$37.5 million.

Brix Networks, a privately held company headquartered near Boston, specializes in IP service assurance technology that was developed through substantial R&D investments in the last nine years. The company's distributed, probe-based solutions proactively monitor next-generation, converged IP networks to assure that voice, video, and data services are delivered with the quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) demanded by users. Brix Networks offers VoIP and IPTV testing.

Brix Networks posted sales of US$15.2 million, a gross margin above 70%, and a GAAP net loss of US$6.8 million in calendar 2007. EXFO plans to retain Brix Networks' management and technology teams totaling about 85 employees, while some administrative and operational activities will be consolidated.

"This strategic acquisition represents another step in EXFO's long-term growth strategy, enabling us to expand share of wallet with NSPs through Brix Networks' deep technological advantage, global customer relationships, and strong market presence in the fast-growing service assurance market. We believe that network monitoring is the next logical step in our strategic plan, given the 64% CAGR in the last two years of our protocol test business, which focuses on next-generation IP networking. The combination of Brix Networks, recently-acquired Navtel Communications, and EXFO will create a new force in the test and monitoring marketplace with full technology lifecycle coverage for NSPs," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's Chairman, President, and CEO.http://www.brixnet.com/http://www.exfo.com

Vlingo Secures $20 Million including Yahoo! Investment, for Mobile Voice Interface

Vlingo, a start-up based in Cambridge, Mass., secured $20 million in Series B financing for its voice-recognition technology. The funding round was led by Yahoo!, which just announced a voice-enabled version of Yahoo! oneSearch that leverages Vlingo's technology. Additional investors include Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners.

The voice-enabled version of Yahoo! oneSearch supports unstructured, open-ended voice searches that allows the consumer to speak their query as they would type it into the search box.

Vlingo launched a beta version of its voice-powered interface in August 2007. Its first beta application enables users to look up any local establishment with the power of their voices while on-the-go without having to use constrained language choices.http://www.vlingo.com
  • Vlingo was founded by Mike Phillips (a co-founder of SpeechWorks, now Nuance) and John Nguyen, and funded by Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners. In April, the company recruited mobile industry veteran Dave Grannan, most recently a general manager at Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone company, as CEO.

Verizon Plans to Offer 1,000 HD VOD Titles This Year

Verizon announced availability of HD VOD service in parts of eight more states where FiOS TV is available, including California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. The company began offering HD VOD last December in Florida, Indiana, western Pennsylvania and Virginia. FiOS TV customers in New York and Oregon will receive HD VOD in the coming weeks.

Verizon also announced plans to offer more than 1,000 high-definition video on demand titles this year. Its VOD library currently includes 10,000 VOD monthly titles. http://www.verizon.com