Monday, November 10, 2008

IntelePeer Raises $18 Million for its Appworx Open Platform

IntelePeer, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, raised $18 million in third round funding for its hosted on-demand rich media communications. The funds will be used to expand IntelePeer's global presence and to support business and technology development of its hosted on-demand rich media services and extensive voice peering grid.


IntelePeer has developed an "AppworX" open communications platform and voice peering grid network that gives application developers the ability to create high-quality interactive voice, video, SMS, data and other rich media services that boost productivity while reducing telecommunications and operational expenses through the hosted business model. A communications-as-a-service (CaaS) offering, IntelePeer AppworX could be used for increasing collaboration among business application users, fostering closer connections with customers and introducing communications-enabled business processes that drive efficiency and deliver cost savings.

IntelePeer operates its own carrier-grade network carrying more than 6 billion minutes, with worldwide coverage delivered through an IP and TDM peering grid with over 50 leading service provider peering partners.

The financing was led by new investor VantagePoint Venture Partners of San Bruno, California, with participation by existing investors.

Cisco Debuts ASR 9000 Aggregation Services Router

Cisco unveiled its ASR 9000 Aggregation Services Router providing up to 6.4 terabits per second of total capacity and designed for the delivery of video services over next-gen access networks. The Cisco ASR 9000, which will be offered in 10- and six-slot models, leverages the same 40-core "QuantumFlow" processor that is featured in the smaller capacity Cisco ASR 1000 edge router introduced earlier this year. The QuantumFlow processor can be used for advanced subscriber management functionality and/or silicon-driven security processing per packet. The ASR 9000 also uses the same IOS XR as the network core 92-terabit Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System (CRS). Each of the slots on the ASR 9000 delivers up to 400 Gbps of capacity, enabling it to handle high densities of 1, 10, 40 or future 100 Gbps links. Cisco said it spent four years and over $200 million to develop the platform

The Cisco ASR 9000 will also extend IP over dense wavelength-division multiplexing (IPoDWDM) with Ethernet services to the aggregation edge by integrating optical transponders. Cisco argues that by providing IPoDWDM from core to edge with Cisco CRS-1, Cisco XR-12000 and Cisco 7600 Series Routers, its IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture can significantly reduces network complexity and cost while reducing the carbon footprint.

The Cisco ASR 9000 also incorporates the Cisco Advanced Video Services Module (AVSM), which enables terabytes of streaming capacity at the aggregation edge while simultaneously offering content caching, ad insertion, fast channel change and error correction. More specifically, the Cisco AVSM eliminates the need for standalone content-delivery network elements and inherits all the high-availability characteristics of the router, which optimizes the network insertion point for advanced content services and moves content sourcing closer to the consumer. Fast channel change and onboard error correction for both unicast and multicast video traffic helps ensure that errors can be detected by any set-top box and retransmitted within milliseconds to maintain a transparent and optimized visual experience for the audience.

As for scalability, Cisco said its ASR 9000 Series brings six times the capacity of competing products to Carrier Ethernet backhaul. Moreover, every Cisco ASR 9000 line card is SyncE-ready, which means that it inherently works with cell site routers to deliver seamless mobile handoff capabilities, avoiding the need and costs incurred to dedicate slots for additional synchronization cards.

Cisco is also introducing a number of green features with this platform, including a modular electrical power system that consumers energy only when slots are put into active service. The six-slot unit has design advantages utilizing a patent-pending side-to-back ventilation scheme that helps service providers free up side-by-side rack space.

In summary, Cisco is positioning the ASR 9000 series as the "Carrier Ethernet Foundation for the Zettabyte Era." According to the "Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast and Methodology, 2007-2012" study, which analyzed network traffic data from major Cisco Service Provider customers globally, IP traffic will increase at a combined annual growth rate of 46 percent from 2007 to 2012, nearly doubling every two years. This will result in an annual bandwidth demand on the world's IP networks of approximately 522 exabytes, or more than half a zettabyte. This demand on networks is equivalent to downloading 125 billion DVD movies per month.
  • In March 2008, Cisco introduced a new aggregation platform powered by its 40-core "QuantumFlow" processor and designed for massive scalability in packet intelligence in both service provider and enterprise networks. The new Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 is the company's most significant new product since the CRS-1 debuted in 2004. The Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 series, which was developed over more than five years at a cost in excess of a $250 million, packs up to 20 million packet per second (PPS) forwarding rate performance in a compact single router platform. As such, the ASR 1000 could be used to consolidate a number of networking appliances, including firewall, IPSec VPNs, deep-packet inspection (DPI) and Session Border Controllers (SBC). Over 42 patents were filed on the Cisco Aggregation Services Router 1000 Series.

Mavernir Releases IP SMSC Converged Messaging Solutions

Mavenir Systems, a start-up based in Richardson, Texas, announced the commercial availability of its IP SMSC Converged Messaging solution. The solution has been in numerous trials, globally, and is currently deployed with a Tier 1 operator in North America.

Mavenir's IP SMSC is an ATCA-based platform that offloads the traffic from SMSC and SS7 transport networks to cap the investments in legacy systems. Mobile operators get a system capable of handling both traditional SMS and next generation SIP/IMS Messaging on a single converged platform.

Microsoft Mediaroom-Powered Services Surpasses 2 Million Subscribers

In less than a year, subscribers to TV services powered by the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV and multimedia software platform have more than doubled, reaching over 2 million subscriber homes and powering services on nearly 4 million set-top boxes worldwide. In the past quarter alone, Mediaroom customers have connected 500,000 new subscribers across the globe.

Microsoft noted that its customers are beginning to maximize the functionality of its Mediaroom platform to differentiate their service offering with features such as personalized weather and sports information, the freedom to play back standard-definition and high-definition recorded programs on any connected TV in the home, or the ability to set the digital video recorder (DVR) remotely via a PC or mobile device.

Motorola Teams with BlackArrow fon On-demand Advertising

Motorola is collaborating with BlackArrow, an independent provider of multiplatform ad-management systems, to deliver a SCTE 130-compliant addressable advertising solution. Through this integration, ads can be selected in real time by BlackArrow's powerful ad decision server and added dynamically to on demand content using the Motorola B1 on demand server.

Motorola's B1 on demand video server provides a flexible, high performance platform for video on demand (VOD), time-shifted TV and network-based digital video recorder (nDVR) devices. One of the server's key features is the ability to create ranged playlists that enable it to dynamically insert targeted ads at any point in on-demand content. Combining this capability with the BlackArrow real time ad decision server (ADS) means that accurately targeted ads can be dynamically inserted before, after, and during on demand content playback. As a result, it is possible to deliver pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll advertisements that are always fresh, relevant and targeted.

Verizon FiOS VOD Library Reaches 1,000 Titles

Verizon's is now delivering more than 1,000 HD video-on-demand (VOD) titles per month for its FiOS TV service. Originally promised for the end of the year, Verizon has expanded its HD VOD library with more great titles, including HD content from several movie channels: Starz, Showtime and Sundance Channel.

Broadband Forum Outlines BroadbandSuite 3.0 Plan

The Broadband Forum, formerly the DSL Forum, unveiled its BroadbandSuite 3.0 plan. This includes specifications for triple-play delivered via GPON and bonded DSL over a QoS-enabled Ethernet architecture, and remote management beyond the gateway to address video and storage devices.

BroadbandSuite 2.0, released in 2007, provided a roadmap for triple-play access via ADSL2plus, but over the past 12 months, the Broadband Forum has responded to an industry need for the ability to deliver triple-play services, such as IPTV, over a variety of different access technologies.

The Broadband Forum said key capabilities of BroadbandSuite 3.0 include triple-play augmented via GPON and bonded DSL over a QoS-enabled Ethernet architecture; full support for multicast to IPTV streaming; and integrated remote management of set-top-boxes (STB) and attached storage devices.

"With over 17 million IPTV subscribers around the world -- two and half million in the US alone -- the ability to offer triple play services is essential if a service provider is to remain successful in such a competitive market. However, different geographical areas and landscapes demand different access technologies. The Forum understands these demands and is working hard to establish specifications that cover the range of access technologies, from DSL to fiber, ensuring Quality of Service and Quality of Experience for all customers, wherever they are. We believe that our BroadbandSuite Release Plan, which provides a clear and concise blueprint, is the way to do this," said George Dobrowski, President and Chairman of the Broadband Forum.

Avaya Offers Proactive Contact Center Solutions

Avaya launched two new contact center solutions tohelp businesses use outbound communications and self service automation to drive new efficiencies, improve cost-savings and enhance customer experiences.

Avaya's Proactive Outreach for Financial Services and Proactive Outreach for Healthcare enables companies to deliver important information to customers -- such as appointment reminders or bill payment requests -- and let them complete transactions using automated menus or speech commands. The Proactive Outreach capabilities help financial companies and healthcare providers deal with large volumes of incoming customer calls on a daily basis.

Vodafone Revises its Growth Strategy

Vodafone reported first-half revenue of £19.9 billion, an increase of 17.1%. In Europe, revenue up 14.3%, with outgoing voice usage up 11.6%, while in emerging markets revenue growth was 25.7%, reflecting the acquisition in India. Meanwhile, group data revenue was up 48.6% to £1.4 billion. Vodafone's first half group adjusted operating profit was up by 10.5% to £5.8 billion and group EBITDA increased by 10.3% to £7.2 billion.

Citing the more difficult macro economic environment., slower growth in mature markets, increased competition and growing regulatory pressure, Vodafone outlined changes to its overall corporate strategy.

In terms of growth prospects, Vodafone said that while prices are likely to continue to decrease in Europe, the scope for usage growth remains significant, as demonstrated in markets such as the US and India. Mobile data is also proving to be in high demand: effective communications drive productivity benefits, meaning businesses and individuals need more, not less, of our services. A greater range of data devices and portable computers, at increasingly lower costs, are enlarging the addressable market.

On the cash cost side, Vodafone said only about a third of its operating costs are fixed, and about a quarter depend on growth in voice minutes and data traffic. Of the remaining component of costs, some 40%, is market driven, providing significant scope for to adapt in the event of greater economic pressures.

Going forward, Vodafone's strategy will now be focused on four key objectives: drive operational performance, pursue growth opportunities in total communications, execute in emerging markets and strengthen capital discipline. The company is less likely to pursue mega-merger to fuel growth.

The Group will seek to trim its current operating costs by approximately £1 billion per annum by the 2011 financial year to offset the pressures from cost inflation and the competitive environment and to enable investment in revenue growth opportunities.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nokia Siemens Networks Updates Job Cut Plan

Nokia Siemens Networks outlined the proposed remaining headcount reductions following the merger of Nokia and Siemens last year. When the plan to form Nokia Siemens Networks was announced on June 19, 2006, Nokia and Siemens said that they expected the merger to result in a headcount adjustment in the range of 10-15 percent of the global workforce. In May of 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it expected the adjustment to remain within that range, at approximately 9,000 employees. To date, the company has achieved an adjustment of more than 6,000 employees and continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees.

In May 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it expected a reduction of 1,500‑1,700 employees in Finland, not including the transfer of employees to trusted partners. To date, the company has achieved approximately 500 reductions through its active restructuring process, with substantially all through the use of voluntary severance packages. Headcount in Finland has been further reduced through natural attrition and the transfer of employees to trusted partners. Nokia Siemens Networks is now proposing a maximum reduction need in the range of 750 employees in Finland, bringing the planned total reductions through active restructuring to less than 1,300. At the completion of the planned synergy-related headcount restructuring activities, Nokia Siemens Networks expects to have in the range of 7,000 employees in Finland, from an initial base of approximately 9,200.

In Germany, Nokia Siemens Networks announced in May 2007 that it was targeting active reductions in the range of 2,800-2,900 and reached agreement with employee representatives on an initial reduction of 2,300, which was completed on May 28, 2008. Since then, a further assessment of the business impact of merger-related synergy requirements, corresponding organizational and portfolio changes, and continued challenging telecommunications market conditions have shown the need for further reductions, primarily in the company's Munich Hofmannstrasse site.

As a result, the company has no alternative but to discontinue its activities at the Hofmannstrasse site. The proposed reduction will affect approximately 500 employees and is planned to be completed by the end of October 2009. The company's information technology organization located at Tölzer Strasse in Munich will not be impacted as that facility is subject to a long-planned separation from the Hofmannstrasse site.

Juniper Introduces Data Center Switching Infrastructure

Juniper Networks introduced a data center switching solution that leverages its EX series Ethernet switches, high-densities of 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, JUNOS operating software and "virtualized chassis" technology. Essentially, the new data switching solution aims to remove an entire tier of aggregation switches and supporting security platforms typically seen in today's mid-to-large sized corporate data centers.

Juniper achieves this by allowing up to ten 48-port EX 4200 switches to be logically aggregated into a single virtual switch. This saves interconnect and uplink ports, as well as eliminates the need to deploy the typical panoply of security appliances. A single SRX-series platform can now serve this role. Juniper estimates its data center architecture can significantly reduce network complexity and total cost of ownership by up to 52 percent in capital expenditures, up to 44 percent in power, up to 44 percent in cooling and up to 55 percent in rack space.

In addition, by deploying Juniper MX-series edge routers, IP/MPLS Layer 3 VPNs can be mapped via the EX switches directly to individual servers in the data center. Mirroring and back-up applications can also be mapped via VPNs to secondary data centers.
  • In January 2008, Juniper Networks unveiled a new family of Ethernet switches running on its JUNOS software and designed to meet the technical, business and economic requirements of a service-enabling network infrastructure. The new EX-series, which includes three Ethernet switching families, the EX 3200, 4200 and 8200, are based on three key tenets -- operational simplicity, carrier-class reliability, and integration and consolidation.

    The EX 3200 series switches are fixed-configuration Ethernet platforms offering a simple, cost-effective, standalone solution for low-density regional and corporate office deployments. Installed in wiring closets to provide network access, the 24- and 48-port EX 3200 switches offer plug-and-play 10/100/1000BASE-T connectivity. Full and partial Power over Ethernet (PoE) options are available for supporting IP-enabled devices such as telephones, security cameras and WLAN access points. Optional four-port GbE and two-port 10GbE uplink modules with pluggable optics are also available for supporting high-speed connections to other switches or upstream devices such as routers.

    The Juniper EX 4200 series

    The EX 4200 series Ethernet switches with Virtual-Chassis technology combine modular systems capabilities with the economics and flexibility of stackable platforms. Target applications include data center, corporate and regional office environments.

    Like the EX 3200 switches, EX 4200 series switches offer 24- and 48-port 10/100/1000BASE-T configurations with full and partial PoE and optional GbE and 10GbE uplink modules, plus a 24-port fiber switch offering 100/1000BASE-X support.

    The Virtual Chassis technology allows up to 10 EX 4200 series switches to be interconnected over a 128 Gbps backplane, creating a single virtual switch supporting up to 480 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and up to 40 GbE or 20 10GbE uplink ports. All EX 4200 series switches include HA features such as redundant, hot-swappable internal power supplies and field-replaceable, multi-blower fan trays to help deliver maximum uptime.

    The Juniper EX 8200 series

    The modular EX 8200 series Terabit Ethernet switches are aimed at high-density 10GbE enterprise core and aggregation deployments. Juniper will offer two EX 8200 series switches -- an eight-slot 1.6 Terabit Chassis and a 16-slot 3.2 terabit Chassis.

    The EX 8200 switches will feature enterprise-class routing tables and deep, hardware-based packet buffers. Wire-speed 10GbE port densities will scale to 64 ports in the eight-slot chassis and 128 ports in the 16-slot chassis. Two fully-equipped 16-slot EX 8200 switches will fit in a single 42-unit rack, delivering 256 wire-speed 10GbE ports per rack.

Nortel Announces Q3 Numbers, Job Cuts, Reorganization

Citing a worsening of economic conditions since its last financial update in September, Nortel issued its Q3 financial report and confirmed plans for further job cuts.

Revenue in the third quarter of $2.32 billion decreased 14 percent year over year and down 1 percent on a year-to-date basis. The decline compared to the year ago quarter resulted from a challenging economic environment, competitive pressures and reduced spending by key carrier customers.

Plans call for the reduction of approximately 1,300 positions, with about 25 percent of the net reduction taking place in 2008 and the remainder in 2009. This is expected to result in annual gross savings of approximately $190 million, with total charges to earnings and cash outlays of approximately $130 million. In addition to deeper cuts in spending, the company is considering possible sales of its real estate holdings.

Effective January 1, 2009, Nortel will decentralize several corporate functions and transition to a vertically integrated business unit structure. This includes:

  • Enterprise customers will be served by a highly focused and dedicated business unit that will drive product and portfolio development, R&D, marketing and sales, partner and channel management, strategic business development and associated functions. Led by Joel Hackney it will include the entire communications solutions portfolio (voice, data and unified communications), advanced software and the associated value-added services and solutions.

  • Two business units with full responsibility for all product, services, applications, portfolio, business and market development, marketing and R&D functions will serve Nortel's Service Provider customers: Carrier Networks (consisting of wireless and carrier value-added activities), led by Richard Lowe; and Metro Ethernet Networks, led by Philippe Morin. A dedicated global carrier sales organization will support both business units, led by Darryl Edwards.

There is no update at this time on Nortel's review of the potential divestiture of the MEN business.

ShoreTel Expands its UC Suite with Conferencing and Collaboration Tools

ShoreTel has extended its Pure IP Unified Communications (UC) solutions by integrating its enhanced ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 solution with the ShoreTel 8.1 Call Manager. The combination lets users quickly host meet-me audio and web conferences, chat securely via IM, and instantly share documents -- all with a single mouse click from the same interface they use for voice communications. ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 also encrypts the instant messaging flow between enterprise users, ensuring proprietary information is safe from exposure to the open Internet.

ShoreTel Converged Conferencing 7.1 creates a single vendor solution for ad hoc collaboration, providing enterprise-grade audio, Web conferencing and secure Instant Messaging.

"In this challenging economic environment, companies are looking for communications solutions that can help them reduce costs while delivering enterprise-grade security and reliability. Today, our customers can affordably extend the tools they use for voice calls to conferencing and collaboration -- simplifying their communications, increasing productivity, and significantly driving down costs by eliminating the expense of a hosted service," stated Kevin Gavin, Vice President of Marketing, ShoreTel.

Motorola Offers IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service

Motorola will begin offering an IPTV Ecosystem Integration and Support Service to help service providers design, deploy and integrate IPTV systems. The IPTV services suite can help tailor an IPTV deployment for the needs of each service provider. Motorola' said its professional design, installation and integration services can enable seamless integration with existing network infrastructure and fast rollout of new, high-quality service offerings. Benefits include:

  • Streamlined operations - A single point of contact and accountability for solution design, deployment and integration across partners and platforms.

  • Lower costs - Eliminating the need for dedicated resources reduces costs on deployment and integration for service providers.

  • Quality assurance - Optimizing operations and ensuring service quality can ultimately increase customer loyalty.

Nokia Launches Public Pilot to Gather Traffic Data using GPS-Enabled Mobile Devices

Nokia launches Mobile Millennium, a public pilot that will collect and study traffic data received from GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as the Nokia N96, Nokia N95 and Nokia E71. Based in part on the results of an earlier experiment, Nokia believes that a community of users with GPS-equipped mobile devices can help reduce traffic and the amount of time spent on the road. Providing real-time information about traffic congestion helps drivers make more informed decisions - such as whether to take alternative routes, public transport or reschedule their journey.

Nokia Research Center is collaborating with UC Berkeley's California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and NAVTEQ to design, execute and analyze the traffic system. The project is being funded in part by a grant award from the US Department of Transportation under the SafeTrip-21 initiative.

Using GPS-enabled mobile devices can provide a rich source of traffic data without the need to invest in expensive new infrastructure. Traffic flow data can be expanded to include city side streets, rural roads or any roadway where a cell phone can get a signal. The Mobile Millennium traffic data is based in part on the backbone technology of NAVTEQ Traffic, which provides nation-wide aggregated traffic data in the US from a variety of sources, now including real-time data from GPS-enabled mobile phones in vehicles traveling on the highways.

Participation in Mobile Millennium is open to anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile phone from a range of manufacturers, an unlimited data plan and the ability to install and run Java applications. The Java application enables participants to receive real-time traffic data and incident reports for main thoroughfares throughout much of the United States. In the Northern California area, a number of arterials and highways that are not currently equipped with sensors will begin to show traffic data as more users join the network. While the user-generated content is completely anonymous, each data point contributes a piece to the traffic picture which can benefit the entire user community. The pilot will operate over four to six months and up to 10 000 members of the public community can participate.

"The global proliferation of GPS-enabled mobile devices has driven tremendous growth in location-based experiences" said Henry Tirri, Vice President and Head of Nokia Research Center. "Mobile Millennium, with its unique collaboration of private and public stakeholders, is designed to demonstrate that everyone can help address problems such as traffic congestion. Nokia is proud to be part of this research."http://traffic.berkeley.edu

Telefónica selects Alcatel-Lucent for UC in Spain

Telefónica named Alcatel-Lucent as the sole supplier to deliver mailbox services in Spain making use of a single next generation multi-service platform. In addition to supporting the voice, video and fax mailbox services already implemented in Telefónica's networks, Alcatel-Lucent's solution will enable new, advanced messaging services such as: visual voice mail, where voice mail messages can be seen on screen, eliminating the need to dial in and listen to messages in sequence; and speech-to-text, where voice messages are converted to SMS or email. Alcatel-Lucent's solution will allow Telefónica to assign different profiles for each customer and launch segmented offers with special features targeted at consumers, enterprise users (with combined mailboxes for fixed and mobile services) and for mobile virtual network operators, all using a single platform. The companies said the platform can operate across all of Telefónica networks, both fixed and mobile, and support circuit, packet and IMS technologies as well as virtually any device subscribers would like to use to check their messages. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide project management, application and software integration skills for this solution. Additional professional services provided as part of the overall solution include installation, deployment and migration support of the various existing solutions to the new multi-service platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent Develops "Sustainable Power" Professional Services Suite

Alcatel-Lucent will begin offering a professional service to help mobile and wireline service providers, independent telecommunications providers, government agencies, corporations, municipalities and campuses implement eco-friendly, sustainable network energy solutions in order to reduce their current energy consumption and costs.

The Alcatel-Lucent "Sustainable Power" practice is a multi-vendor solution designed for. It ranges from detailed power and battery assessment, grounding survey, power design order, equipment engineering, material sourcing services, equipment installation and equipment and battery removal and disposition. The solution also supports planning and design services, which mitigate the risk of a network outage, and business contingency plans when implementing network power solutions.

Alcatel-Lucent will now offer the following services:

  • Energy assessment service to analyze existing network power infrastructure and upgrade current systems to meet new environmental requirements

  • Expanded multi-vendor power product and services portfolio with alternative energy systems including wind, solar and fuel cell

  • Expanded equipment removal service that includes recycling capabilities to dispose of assets in a eco-friendly way that complies with U.S. federal and local regulations

"Today, energy consumption is a global business challenge dramatically impacting the bottom-line of virtually every organization. We believe energy system assessments and improvements will be critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in an era where resources are increasingly expensive and constrained," stated Andy Williams, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Services business activities.

AT&T Unveils VideoCrawler Search Engine

AT&T launched a public beta of VideoCrawler, a free Web site for people to search for, organize and share online videos and other multimedia content. Developed in collaboration with Divvio, VideoCrawler indexes hundreds of millions of video clips from thousands of sites, with new sites and millions of clips added every day. The site will be financial supported through banner adverstising.

"We want to do everything possible to connect customers to the content they want, and today more than ever, what they want online is social media," said Sean O'Leary, vice president, AT&T Business Development. "With thousands of popular video Web sites, it's become more and more challenging to find, sort and manage all of the best clips that are out there. That's exactly what we're working to solve with VideoCrawler by allowing users to search from an index of the most popular media sources from across the Web."