Monday, July 7, 2008

Nielsen Reports Rise in TV, Internet and Mobile Video Usage

The average American is watching more traditional TV than ever before (127 hrs, 15 min per month), while also spending 9% more time using the Internet (26 hrs, 26 min per month) compared to last year, according to a new report from The Nielsen Company. At the same time, a small but growing number of Internet and mobile phone users are watching video online (2 hrs, 19 min per month), as well as using their cell phones to watch video (3 hrs, 15 min per month).

Some other highlights from the report:

  • As of May 2008, more than 65% of U.S. homes receive digital cable and satellite combined. These digital TV homes receive nearly 160 channels. In addition, 25% and 35% of U.S. homes have DVR and Video on Demand respectively.

  • Two hundred twenty million Americans have Internet access at home and/or work and 73%, or 162 million went online in May.

  • A total of 119 million unique viewers watcjed 7.5 billion video streams in May 2008. In addition, as of Q1 2008, 91 million Americans (36% of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.) owned a video-capable phone.

  • As of Q1 2008, 91 million (36% of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.) owned a video-capable phone.

  • As of Q1 2008, there were already 13.9 million persons (6% of U.S. mobile subscribers) paying for a mobile video
    plan, up from 8.4.

Microsoft Unveils Pricing and Partner Model for Web-Based Collaboration Services

Microsoft announced new pricing, packaging and partner compensation details for Microsoft Online Services. Specifically, the is introducing two new suites of subscription services as part of the Microsoft Online Services family: Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker. A Deskless Worker Suite, including Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker, will be available for $3 (U.S.) per user, per month. Customers can also subscribe to each service independently.

Exchange Online Deskless Worker will provide e-mail, calendars, global address lists, anti-virus and anti-spam filters, as well as Outlook Web Access Light for access to company e-mail.

SharePoint Online Deskless Worker will provide easy access to SharePoint portal and team sites and search functionality, giving employees read-only access to important information such as company policies, training and benefits.

Microsoft Online Services is open to resale partners, who will will receive a recurring revenue stream for as long as their customer subscribes to the services. Partners that sell the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, Deskless Worker Suite or any of their components receive 12 percent of the first-year contract price and 6 percent of the subscription fee ongoing. This can translate into 18 percent of the subscription value in the first year of the partner's relationship with the customer.

Microsoft announced a number of partners who have already become authorized resellers of Microsoft Online Services, including Accenture, Ascentium , Atos Origin. BT Group, CDW, Evolve Partners, , Getronics, HCL Technologies, K2, M3 Technology Group, Mamut Software Ltd., Neudesic, PointBridge, Susquehanna Technologies, ThoughtBridge and Unisys Corp.

Juniper Appoints VP of Corporate Development

Juniper Networks has appointed Luis Avila-Marco to the position of senior vice president of corporate development, with responsibility for corporate strategic planning, as well as the development of key strategic relationships for the company. Mr. Avila-Marco joins Juniper Networks from Scientific-Atlanta, a Cisco Systems, company, where he served as vice president of corporate strategic planning.

Mr. Avila-Marco succeeds Spencer Greene who has taken on a new assignment, serving as the company's senior vice president of customer advocacy.

NTT Plala Selects A10 Server Load Balancers for 'Hikari-TV' Service

A10 Networks will supply its AX Series server load balancers for "Hikari-TV," a video-to-television distribution service provided by NTT Plala Inc. The company said its AX Series was selected because it meets the IPv6 and high performance requirements for accommodating anticipated growth in the number of users. The load balancers feature an Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS) tuned for multi-core CPUs and offer Layer 4-7 capabilities, RAM caches, and SSL.

Consolidating "OCN Theater," "OnDemand TV" and "4th MEDIA," which were previously operated by the NTT group as its three main video distribution service brands for TV, NTT Plala's "Hikari-TV" provides services to deliver various video content for home TV. "Hikari-TV's" services include those for video-on-demand and multi-channel broadcasting via NTT East and West's "B FLET'S," NGN commercial service "FLET'S Hikari Next," and NTT West's "FLET'S Hikari Premium."

Panasonic Avionics Licenses iDirect's Satellite IP Router

Panasonic Avionics, the leading supplier of in-flight entertainment (IFE) and communication systems, will license iDirect's satellite IP router technology as a core component of the Panasonic eXConnect in-flight satellite transmission platform. Panasonic eXConnect provides two-way broadband connectivity for a broad range of passenger and crew applications, including Internet access as well as live video programming, telemedicine and the ability to monitor and report critical flight information in real time.

Panasonic eXConnect features significantly lighter airborne electronics equipment, an ultra-small satellite antenna, iDirect's highly efficient spread spectrum mobile waveform and Intelsat's global Ku-band broadband coverage. In addition, Panasonic eXConnect leverages iDirect's "Group Quality of Service" bandwidth management technology, which enables airlines to integrate and deliver a wide range of services beyond basic Internet access. These include live and premium in-flight entertainment services as well as voice applications, and allow airlines to capture additional pay-per-use and advertising revenues.

iDirect said its satellite IP router technology enables Panasonic to reduce the operating cost and complexity of supporting in-flight broadband connectivity and offer the service for both continental and inter-continental flights. iDirect's spread spectrum mobile waveform diffuses the transmission of satellite bandwidth while maintaining a high data rate. Through the iDirect satellite router, the eXConnect system leverages Intelsat's global fleet of 53 in-orbit satellites and on-the-ground teleport facilities. In addition, iDirect's Global Network Management System allows Panasonic to manage and track each satellite router from a single network management system, instead of using multiple systems typically required to manage a global, hybrid network. iDirect's Automatic Beam Switching feature enables the antenna to automatically transfer connectivity from one satellite to the next as an aircraft travels across satellite footprints.http://www.idirect.net

Aircell Announces Completion of Third Phase of $265 Million Financing

Aircell closed on the third tranche of a package of equity and debt financing now totaling $265 million. The latest step is the closing of a $35 million senior secured term loan facility arranged by Scotia Capital, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, which rounds out the prior two-stage equity investment led by Ripplewood Holdings, a major private equity group, Blumenstein/Thorne Information Partners and other investment entities associated with investor/entrepreneur Oakleigh Thorne.

In early 2008, Aircell completed its nationwide wireless Air-To-Ground (ATG) network, which provides coast-to-coast, mobile broadband coverage for commercial airlines and business aircraft. Aircell has announced that its Gogo service will launch initially on American Airlines and Virgin America, with other airlines anticipated to follow within the coming months.
  • In April 2008, 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.

  • 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.

DataPipe Secures $75 Million for Managed IT Services

DataPipe, a global provider of managed IT services,secured $75 million dollars in combined credit and equity financing led by Goldman Sachs.

DataPipe provides application management, hosting, professional services, and security services for mid to large-sized organizations in a range of vertical industries. The company has over 1500 customers in six data centers and eight office locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. DataPipe was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey.

AT&T to Provide Network Services for Muzak

AT&T was awarded a three-year, $6.4 million contract to provide network services to Muzak, a provider of music and professional sound systems for retailers. The contract will provide services to 40 Muzak locations across the U.S. and support Muzak's nationwide service network of more than 1,300 employees.

AT&T is installing AT&T IP Flexible Reach, which combines network-based data services with local and long distance voice capabilities. The solution from AT&T also includes an Avaya IP Telephony (IPT) system, which will streamline the way Muzak handles customer calls and will give field representatives the ability to route calls to any Muzak site at any time.

This contract also extends Muzak's mobility services with AT&T, delivering BlackBerry wireless service to more than 700 employees.

Tellme Opens Voice Services Platform for Microsoft Contact Center Partners

Tellme, a Microsoft subsidiary, is opening its voice services platform for contact center and customer care partners. The program, now available to the extensive Microsoft partner community, allows partner companies to bring flexible and cost efficient speech-based solutions to enterprise customers. The partner program provides access to Tellme's speech engineers, UI designers, developers and network operations professionals. More specifically, customer care and general practice partners gain the opportunity to market, sell and deliver voice recognition services using the automation capabilities of the Tellme platform.

Tellme said it will focus the next year on enabling partners to deliver and manage Tellme-based solutions.http://www.tellme.com
  • Tellme provides consumers with up-to-date information via its toll-free number (1-800-555-TELL).

  • Microsoft acquired Tellme in 2007.

Verizon Wireless Awarded ENERGY STAR Rating for Retail Stores

Two of Verizon Wireless Communications' retail stores have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ENERGY STAR for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. The Verizon Wireless stores are two of only six retail locations nationwide to be awarded the 2008 ENERGY STAR.

The stores, which are located in Omaha, Nebraska, and Toledo, Ohio, installed temperature sensors and energy management systems to monitor heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system use; control temperature set-points and internal and external lighting schedules; and track data usage history for maintenance and service requirements. The systems help Verizon Wireless save on energy costs by activating the ventilating, heating and lighting systems automatically based on the stores' operating hours.

To further reduce energy usage, Verizon Wireless installed light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs and installed a microcontroller on vending machines. The stores also feature insulated water heaters to reduce heating costs and properly sealed building "envelopes" and entry doors to prevent the loss of heated or cooled air.

"Energy-saving initiatives are not only good for the environment, they also make us a more efficient and customer-friendly company by helping us keep operating costs down and allowing us to redirect those resources to improving the customer experience," said Jack Plating, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless. "That's why we apply these principles across our business, from our store operations to our easy-to-use online Green Bill to our use of energy saving technologies in our offices and network facilities across the country."http://www.verizonwireless.com

ARRIS Sees Q2 Revenues Below Guidance

ARRIS provided an update to its financial guidance, saying it now anticipates that revenues for the second quarter to be below previous guidance. GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share are expected to be at or near the lower end of previous guidance and that bookings and backlog will be much improved as compared to the first quarter. Specifically, revenues in the second quarter 2008 are expected to be in the range of $278 to $280 million. The company also anticipates a sequential increase in order backlog and estimates book-to-bill ratio for the second quarter to be approximately 1.20.