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IP Telephony news wrap-up for Jun 27 - 2006

Microsoft Introduces 2007 Office Capabilities & Launches Partnership Program

Microsoft has introduced the suite of new products associated with its 2007 Office system and detailed how the products will interoperate to provide enterprise communications that integrate voice, conferencing, instant messaging and collaboration. The new product line includes Exchange Server 2007, Speech Server 2007, Communications Server 2007, Communicator 2007, Communicator phone experience, Live Meeting, and RoundTable.

Office Communications Server 2007 is a SIP-based platform that enables presence-based VoIP call management; audio, video and web-conferencing; and instant messaging within and across software applications, services and devices.

Exchange Server 2007 has been designed to support email, voicemail, and faxing functionality, as well as speech-based auto-attendant.

Communicator 2007 interworks with Office Communications Server 2007 to deliver a presence-based enterprise softphone, instant messaging, and connectivity to instant messaging networks such as MSN, AOL, and Yahoo! The technology combination also supports one to one and multi-party video and audio-conferencing and web-conferencing. Office Communicator will be available in desktop, brower, and Windows Mobile-based versions.

Live Meeting, a tool for training and delivering presentations over the Internet, has been enhanced to support e-learning, VoIP, and integration with Microsoft Office.

RoundTable is an audio-video device with a 360 degree camera that enables meeting participants to get a panoramic view of the conference room as well as a close up of individual participants as they are speaking. The company did not say if the new camera added 10 pounds to users.

The Office Communicator phone experience is software that interworks with Office Communications Server 2007 to run third party voice and video devices such as IP desktop phones. Partnership participants in this initiative initially include Polycom, LG-Nortel, and Thomson.

The partnership program or ecosystem also has a division for peripheral devices such as USB handsets, wireless USB headsets, USB webcams, and PC monitors with built-in audio and video components. Initial participants in this effort include GN Netcom, Logitech, Motorola, Plantronics, Samsung, and Tatung.

Microsoft has also established partners to support the entire 2007 Office system including HP, Motorola, and Siemens. HP will provide hardware devices and systems integration services. Motorola will deliver mobile devices and network hardware. Siemens will provide technology for integrating all of the system's functionalities into a single platform.

The components to 2007 Office will begin rolling out later this year, with the entire portfolio available in Q2 of next year.

Expect a huge wave of vendors to announce their intentions to participate in developing products for this system. Within 24 hours of the announcement, Quintum had announced that it would modify its Tenor switches and gateways to interoperate with the new platform. Dozens more are likely to release similar announcements this week.

Microsoft
The FCC has adopted a modification to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that requires VoIP service providers operating in the United States to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF), which provides funding to support telecommunications services in rural and impoverished areas in the U.S.

For interconnected VoIP providers, the FCC has established a safe harbor percentage of interstate revenue at 64.9% of total VoIP service revenue. Interconnected providers also may calculate their revenues based on their actual revenues or by using traffic studies.

Another modification was made for wireless carriers.

FCC
JDSU has introduced NetComplete Service Assurance, a collection of test, measurement, and monitoring applications for VoCable. Among its capabilities, the system measures HFC characteristics, the CMTS, and the IP network. On an individual VoCable subscriber basis, it correlates data and presents an analysis to a tech on a single screen, to quickly identify the root cause of a service problem.

NetComplete can also perform analysis of MOS and simultaneous customer calls. The analysis can be correlated to the signal's RF performance from a single centralized location.

JDSU
Samsung has introduced a network infrastructure platform for enterprises, with plans on expanding its portfolio to include voice communications, mobility and security. The first product, the Ubigate iBG, provides routing, switching, security and voice integration. It supports both analog and digital voice interfaces as well as VoIP.

The iBG product line includes 4 models - two for small businesses, one for medium to large businesses, and one for large enterprises. The first three mentioned will be available later this year with the latter scheduled for availability in Q2 of next year.

Samsung's technology partners include Avaya, Meru, and Microsoft.

Samsung Electronics
KPN has merged its international wholesale business with iBasis in a deal that calls for iBasis to acquire Global Carrier Services and receive $55 million in cash in return for the issuance of approximately 40 million shares of iBasis common stock, which represents a 51% interest in iBasis on a diluted basis. The merger will make iBasis one of the top five international wholesale voice carriers in the world.

Other terms of the agreement include the issuance of a cash dividend of $113 million to iBasis shareholders of record. Outstanding common stock options will be adjusted to preserve their value.

KPN will be bringing iBasis a strong presence in Europe and Asia, along with partnerships with 100 mobile operators.

Ofer Gneezy will remain president and CEO of the combined company.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year. The merger is still subject to certain regulatory and shareholder approvals.

In other news, iBasis' stock has been relisted on NASDAQ under its previous symbol of IBAS. The stock had been trading over the counter under the symbol IBSE since the company implemented a reverse stock split on May 3. iBasis executives will ring the closing bell on the exchange on July 11.

Since being relisted, the stock has been trading between $8.50-$8.75 per share.

iBasis
KPN Global Carrier Services
BroadLight, AudioCodes, and Legerity have teamed to develop and market a GPON reference platform that enables VoIP services to be added to GPON ONT. The technology employs BroadLight's BPON/GPON SoC, AudioCodes' VoIP processor and Legerity's telephone line interface solutions. The reference design provides PON OEMs and ODMs with a hardware and software implementation of two or four VoIP channels, including full media processing, SIP signaling, and support for calling features such as 3-way conferencing, call forwarding, call hold, and call waiting.

Xavi Technologies, based in Taiwan, will be the first company to use the new platform.

BroadLight
AudioCodes
Legerity
Viola Networks' NetAlly Lifecycle Manager, a VoIP assessment and monitoring suite, now supports management of Avaya's Communications Manager, Mitel's Enterprise Manager, and Cisco's CallManager and voice gateways.

NetAlly is a software suite for managing VoIP assessment, deployment, network monitoring and network optimization. It simulates VoIP traffic levels over an existing network to measure call quality, determine the maximum call volume and analyze the infrastructure to suggest configuration and network changes prior to deployment.

In passive monitoring mode, NetAlly collects data on all IP phones, monitoring the call records and quality statistics, independent of the vendor specific collection methods. MOS data is calculated and aggregated for call quality monitoring and reporting purposes. If call degradation is detected, the system's Active Traffic Agents automatically diagnose the call path to analyze and isolate the source of route quality problems.

Viola Networks
BellSouth will deploy Tektronix's GeoProbe for VoIP monitoring throughout the provider's IP network.

Singapore-based Viewqwest has deployed Tekelec's 6000 VoIP application server to provision a hosted business service.

InterCall will deploy Convedia's CMS-1000 and CMS-6000 media servers to support the company's audio-conferencing and collaboration services.

Primus will deploy Acme Packet's SBCs to support a residential VoIP service in Australia.



BellSouth
Tektronix
Viewqwest
Tekelec
InterCall
Convedia
Acme Packet