Monday, September 8, 2008

O3b Networks to Deploy Broadband Satellite Constellation for Wholesale Services

O3b Networks, a start-up satellite operator based in the UK, announced plans to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The venture has attracted a number of prominent investors, including Google, Liberty Global, and HSBC Principal Investments.

O3b Networks said its system will serve developing region by offering fiber performance over satellite to local telcos and ISPs, at prices comparable to fiber in developed regions. By allowing direct connection to core networks and 3G Cellular/WiMAX towers, the O3b Networks system hops to completely change the economics of telecommunications infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing markets for communications services.

O3b Networks' operational and technical development is well underway. Production of the initial constellation of 16 satellites has begun. The system's 2,300 transponder equivalents will deliver low-latency Internet backhaul at speeds reaching 10 Gbps. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010. The scalable nature of the system allows for additional satellites to increase capacity and meet growing demand.

"Access to the Internet backbone is still severely limited in emerging markets. Only when emerging markets achieve affordable and ubiquitous access to the rest of the world will we observe locally generated content, widespread e-learning, telemedicine and many more enablers to social and economic growth which reflect the true value of the Internet. O3b Networks will bring multi-gigabit Internet speeds directly to the emerging markets, whether landlocked in Africa or isolated by water in the Pacific Islands," said Greg Wyler, O3b's CEO.
  • O3b's satellites are being developed by Thales Alenia Space. The unique satellite design features steerable Ka-Band transponders designed to enable the high speed flow of data between locations on the ground. Twelve (12) fully steerable antennas ensure an optimized connection to the area where data is needed. O3b said its design also allows for inter-antenna data transfer in a variety of ways. Each steerable antenna can be moved onto a location in minutes and each provide up to 1.25 Gbps of throughput.

New IP Media Device API Specification Targets Physical Security

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), an industry group that was formed in February 2008 to promote the interoperability of IP-enabled security devices, released its first IP Media Device Application Programming Interface (API) specification.

The scope of this initial API specification is centered on IP-enabled video surveillance devices, such as IP cameras, encoders, and digital video recorders. It enables physical security and video management systems to recognize and change the configurations of various IP media devices and control their behaviors. It also eliminates the need for device driver customization in order to achieve interoperability among products from different manufacturers.

The following 19 industry leaders have recognized the importance of collaborating on open industry standards and endorse this initial specification: Adesta LLC, ADT Security Services, Cisco, CSC, DVTel, GE Security, Honeywell, IBM, IQinVision, Johnson Controls, March Networks, ObjectVideo, Orsus, Panasonic, Pelco, Santa Clara Consulting Group, Texas Instruments, Verint and Vidyo.

"The IP Media Device API specification addresses important issues, such as device discovery, configuration, and command and control, and it represents one of the first steps toward true interoperability and industry-wide convergence," said Pete Jankowski, PSIA Video Expert Group chairman and chief technology officer of Cisco's Physical Security business unit. "The specification describes a uniform set of methods for communicating with standard IP networks and offers manufacturers, system integrators, and application developers an opportunity to improve interoperability and add substantial customer value."

Sony Ericsson's G705 Offers Google Shortcuts

Sony Ericsson unveiled its new G705 mobile phone featuring 3G, Wi-Fi, a 2.4" screen, and a full HTML browser. In addition, Sony Ericsson is pleased to today announce a partnership with Google meaning that YouTube will be integrated into selected upcoming models from Sony Ericsson. This capability will allow users to instantly download and upload video directly from their phone to YouTube. The G705 will be YouTube compatible and further models will be announced at a later stage.

Key features of the new G705 include:

  • Large 2.4" screen

  • HTML browser -- surf the net how it was meant to be

  • Automatic rotation -- switch from portrait to landscape with just a tilt of the phone

  • Google shortcut key -- Go to Google from the idle screen with one key press

  • Inbuilt aGPS combined with Google Maps for Mobile and Wayfinder

  • Wi-Fi and DLNA certified -- connect the way you want

  • 3.2 megapixel camera -- snap and share your favourite images via Bluetooth

  • YouTube compatible

Ericsson Launches IMS-integrated IPTV Middleware

Ericsson introduced its own IMS-integrated IPTV middleware with the goal of offering network operators greater choice, open standards, and better integration with their other infrastructure platforms. The middleware provides the glue for offering a personalized and interactive TV experience with interactive, mobile and on-demand functionality.

Ericsson's new IPTV middleware is based on Open IPTV Forum specifications and is the first solution in the world to be pre-integrated with IMS. It ties in with the company's open, standards based, end-to-end IPTV solution, which also includes network infrastructure, video processing solutions and video-on-demand technologies, as well as with third-party products from key TV players such as Accedo Broadband, Agama Technologies, Amino, HP, SecureMedia, Sun Microsystem, Tilgin, Verimatrix, and ZyXEL.

With IMS, the TV experience is extended with integrated communication, and delivers convergence enablers such as presence,
messaging/chat, extended parental control and numerous other innovative features.

"Our new IPTV middleware has been designed in line with open standards so that it can fully interoperate with third-party suppliers. This means that as prime integrator, we can offer our customers a choice of best-in-class, fully-tested products, as part of a pre-integrated end-to-end system," said Eric Cooney, head of TV Solutions, Ericsson.

Alcatel Shanghai Bell and Datang Mobile to Expand TD-SCDMA Collaboration

Alcatel Shanghai Bell and Datang Mobile signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to facilitate the wide-spread commercial deployment of TD-SCDMA systems in China and overseas. The companies will form a joint team responsible for developing a comprehensive strategy to create the resources and manufacturing infrastructure required to meet future demand for TD-SCDMA technology in China and the rest of the world, through developing standard manufacturing, quality controls and testing procedures. As part of that effort, the two companies will share documents on manufacturing, testing and quality control.

In China, Datang Mobile will designate Alcatel Shanghai Bell as its privileged partner for TD-SCDMA market cooperation and the two parties plan to jointly bid on key projects.
  • In March 2006, Alcatel Shanghai Bell established a joint TD-SCDMA interoperability laboratory with Datang Mobile. The joint lab provides a real network environment dedicated to interoperability testing between GSM and TD-SCDMA applications to ensure the seamless provision of wireless services to end users. The closer cooperation made possible by this new agreement demonstrates that the two parties are prepared to meet the anticipated demand for TD-SCDMA and capitalize on the market opportunities of TD-SCDMA in China and around the world.

AT&T Offers Support for Global Virtual Classroom Program

AT&T Inc announced a $50,000 contribution to support the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) - a free online collaborative learning project that fosters teamwork, creativity, cross cultural understanding and teaches IT and website design skills amongst students working together from around the world. GVC provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students from different countries to work with and learn from students in other countries, as they collaboratively design a website on a topic of their choosing.http://www.VirtualClassroom.org

Verizon Adds Wholesale SIP Gateway Outbound Service

Verizon has added a SIP Gateway outbound service to its wholesale VoIP portfolio. The service allows calls to originate from Internet formats URI and URL as well as the traditional numbering format. SIP Gateway Service Outbound also adds the security mechanism Remote Party ID as an accepted signaling configuration to the P-asserted ID signaling configuration, which is already available.

In addition to SIP Gateway Outbound Service, Verizon Business SIP Gateway Services are available in three other configurations: Inbound Complete, Two-Way Local and Two-Way Complete. Since Verizon launched its wholesale VoIP products in 2005, growth of VoIP minutes has reached billions of minutes annually.

Verizon Wireless Introduces City ID, Other Apps

Verizon Wireless introduced a mobile Caller ID application which displays the city and state of incoming calls.

"City ID", which is initially available on the Voyager by LG, automatically displays the city and state where an incoming phone number is registered, providing additional information to help Verizon Wireless customers recognize unknown numbers.

City ID, an application from Cequint, features information on more than 20,000 cities in North America, providing enough detail to be useful identifying numbers calling from both across town and across the country.

Some other apps introduced by Verizon Wireless:

  • ToneMaker from Sonic Boom -- lets Verizon Wireless customers layer their own vocals to pre-recorded beats and music elements. The musical clips that are created can be used as personalized ringtones and can be shared with other subscribers. ToneMaker is available for $4.49 per month.

  • YouTones from FunMobility enables Verizon Wireless customers to create mobile audio media in the form of ringtones or audio messages by combining their own voices with pre-recorded, thematic YouTones performances. Customers with Get It Now-enabled phones can create individual YouTones for $2.49 each.

  • mSpot Make-UR-Tones application allows users to create customized ringtones from a catalog of over 250,000 full-tracks. Each customized ringtone is available for $3.49.

Toshiba Targets 240 GB 1.8-Inch HDDs at Portable Devices

Toshiba Storage Device Division announced the world's first dual-platter 240 GB and single-platter 120GB 1.8-inch HDDs for integration into portable media players, camcorders and compact ultra-mobile PCs. Toshiba's two new Parallel ATA HDD families feature the industry's highest areal density at 344 gigabits-per-square-inch, using fourth-generation perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology, which was first introduced and commercialized by Toshiba in 2005.

The 240GB drives is also optimized for power performance, featuring a 33 percent overall improvement in energy consumption efficiency over Toshiba's previous generation two-platter, 160GB 3,600 RPM 1.8-inch model.

Apple's App Store Downloads Top 100 Million

Since launching its App Store on July 11, 2008, Apple has recorded more than 100 million downloads to iPhone and iTouch users. There are currently 3,000 applications available on the App Store, with over 90 percent priced at less than $10 and more than 600 offered for free.

Two additional milestones noted by Apple:

  • The iTunes Store no has over 8,500,000 songs, 30,000 TV shows, and 2,600 movies

  • NBC programming has returned to the iTunes Store.