Top Stories of the Week – March 24, 2012

Skype co-founder’s FreedomPop to offer free mobile broadband

FreedomPop, which has major involvement from Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, plans to upheave the wireless industry. Unlike Verizon Wireless, FreedomPop does not make customers pay first for mobile broadband service. Instead, the startup company aims to give away some of its mobile broadband service for free while offering eight different paid add-on mobile services. That strategy makes FreedomPop’s business model similar to cloud-storage company Dropbox, which uses a free model for service.

Blue Jeans Network connects Skype and Cisco users

Videoconferencing has already become mainstream, but there are still a lot of challenges getting different technologies like Cisco's TelePresence and Skype to work together seamlessly.

Now, Blue Jeans Network, a California-based startup company that says it has found a solution to the problem. The company makes income by selling a cloud-based service that allows everyday Skype or Google Chat users to use videoconferencing with users of much pricier room-based systems. Up until recently, Blue Jeans was not competing with the makers of videoconferencing solutions, like Cisco and Polycom. It was just providing a web-based tool for customers of the various video vendors to conference with each other, even if they were not using the same equipment.

UNI President defends major budget reduction on IPTV

The president of University of Northern Iowa, Ben Allen, defended the mjor budget cuts to academic programs last week in a TV interview. "We had to take action to do two vital things," Allen said. "One, to face the immediate budget problem and two, to take action to be stronger financially in the future." But facing the budget issue comes at a cost to the university students. The Iowa Board of Regents voted recently to cut nearly 60 majors, minors and graduate programs.

Allen said the budget cuts will allow the university to focus on its strongest programs. "We have to pull our resources where there is more demand to make this university better," he added.

Cisco offers virtualized video surveillance

Cisco recently released a virtualized version of its Video Surveillance software for use on its Unified Computing System (UCS) platform for enterprise – or government-operated video-camera deployments.

Based on the Cisco’s UCS platform, the Video Surveillance Manager on UCS is being assembled several ways to appeal to either simpler branch-office use or in large data-center deployments that support thousands of video cameras for urban surveillance and protection, in campus environments, business sector, the energy sector or the healthcare industry.

Cisco and Avaya tighten their grip on enterprise voice

A new report from Synergy Research Group shows that enterprise voice equipment revenues reached US$2.4 billion in the latter half of 2011, bringing total revenues to US$9.6 billion for the year. The market has become dormant over the last three years, with quarterly revenues staying within a narrow range of US$2.3 billion to US$2.5 billion. While total market size has remained consistent, the market segmentation is shifting quickly. From 2009 to 2011, the IP telephony segment of the telecom market grew from 61 percent to 66 percent, leaving traditional PBX/KTS/hybrid systems to account for an ever smaller share of equipment revenues.

The shift from traditional phone systems to IP telephony has resulted in major changes in vendor market shares. Cisco and Avaya have increased revenue significantly since 2009, primarily at the cost of their European and Asian competitors. Cisco’s market share grew from 26 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2011, while Avaya made even greater shares, increasing from 12 percent to 22 percent of global enterprise voice equipment revenues.

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