IP Capsule E-Newsletter, March 8, 2006

Wed, 03/08/2006 - 3:12am

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March 8, 2006

IP portends the power of partnership
Partnerships, strategic alliances, joint ventures, M&As (Mergers and Acquisitions). Call them what you want, but they are dominating the IP world. The rising complexities in the development and management of sophisticated VoIP, IPTV and data networks, not to mention the integration of them into existing single- or dual-application networks, is mandating companies in the IP space to partner with others that provide crucial complementary, core competencies.

Evidence is everywhere. ABI Research points to Cisco System Inc.'s acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta, Motorola Inc. assimilation of Kreatel, Tandberg's purchase of SkyStream, and other players—including HP, IBM, Nortel and Lucent—that may be looking to acquire or partner with IPTV specialists.

"As the technology has become more mainstream and IPTV subscriber numbers have increased, established equipment vendors have begun to enter the fray, often by acquiring the pioneering start-ups that once controlled the industry," says Michael Arden, ABI's principal analyst for broadband and multimedia research.

Some other companies ripe for mergers or outright acquisitions? Orca Interactive, Kasenna, Bitband, Optibase, 2Wire and Entone, Arden notes.

The result of all this? A smaller number of vendors providing all-encompassing IP network solutions, including video infrastructure, Arden concludes.

With the biggest merger of recent times just announced—AT&T's future fusion with BellSouth and Cingular Wireless—and a host of smaller alliances within the IP vendor community (some of them noted in this week's issue)—the parade of partnerships, alliances, ventures and M&As marches on, and the route is likely to be a long one.

Amino partners with Trimedia
IPTV set-top maker Amino Communications will partner with Trimedia Broadcast Ltd to provide an end-to-end system for corporate IPTV. The combination of Amino's AmiNET set-top boxes and Trimedia's Captive Audience Network (CAN) is designed to deliver highly targeted advertising or informational services to different audiences, including corporate cable networks, the companies reported.

Netopia gateways get optimized by Sling
A broadband gateway from Netopia Inc. has been tested and verified for compatibility with Sling Media's Slingbox, a "place-shifting" device that enables consumers to watch home TV anytime, anywhere, through virtually any Internet-connected device.

mPhase and Best Data on same IPTV track
mPhase Technologies and Best Data Products Inc. will collaborate in the marketing and selling of their respective IPTV gear to service providers.

The two companies will test and certify a pre-configured and optimized solution for telecommunications operators for advanced IPTV service using Best Data's carrier-class DSL modems and the mPhaseTV+System.

Why the teamwork? Combining mPhase's open middleware with Best Data's modems gives both companies a better chance of surviving in the competitive IPTV space.

AT&T, BellSouth get the urge to merge
The proposed blockbuster merger of BellSouth by AT&T Inc. for a stunning price, reportedly valued at $67 billion, is hard evidence of the new partnerships, alliances and acquisitions dominating the broadband and telecommunications worlds.

The merger will not only create significant value for the new company, but streamline the ownership and operations of Cingular Wireless, which is jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth.

The new company, it was announced, will combine the three companies into a single fully integrated wireless and wireline IP network offering with greater financial, technical, research and development, network and marketing resources.

An ominous inclusion in the merger announcement for the cable industry? "Consumers seeking a real alternative to cable monopolies should see faster and more economical deployment of next-generation IP television networks and similar services as a result of AT&T's groundbreaking entry into IPTV," the companies claimed.

The merger is expected to close within 12 months, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Avaya and Samsung team on IP
Avaya Inc. and Samsung Electronics have formed a strategic alliance to jointly develop and market IP communications solutions to businesses around the globe.

The pair will co-develop and market IP-based products for the video, voice and data converged market, with Samsung initially marketing and re-selling Avaya's contact center and IP telephony solutions in Korea. The longer term strategy for the alliance? Co-develop technologies that will drive Avaya's current IP-based mobility and convergence products.

Verso SIPs on VoIP
Verso Technologies Inc. is launching a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based VoIP gateway that will include an integrated IP router, the company announced.

SIP, destined to become a key element of the CableLabs PacketCable 2.0 specification, is a signaling protocol used to create, manage and terminate sessions in an IP-based network. Verso's new gateway model, NetPerformer, is designed to provide IP and TDM connectivity for both carrier and enterprise markets, the company added.

Vodavi and Alanysis prefer an alliance
Vodavi Technology Inc. and Alanysis have agreed on a preferred vendor arrangement that provides a pre-deployment VoIP network assessment program to determine the readiness of IP telephony networks.

Alanysis will conduct the VoIP network assessments remotely, and can be performed on a single-site LAN or WAN or Internet installations up to dozens of sites in size, the companies said.

BroadSoft and Vonair join ventures

BroadSoft and Vonair Inc. will develop, market and distribute a VoIP client management solution together, they announced. The collaboration, dubbed Netria, will focus on resolving client management challenges such as integration, deployment and management of SIP-based customer premises equipment (CPE).

"This joint venture enables us to address the complex integration and scalability challenges in the growing VoIP market," says Michael Tessler, president and CEO of BroadSoft.

Cox, Juniper get some backbone
Cox Communications is expanding its network as part of the MSO's national backbone upgrade, and will use Juniper Networks' T-series core routing platforms to increase scalability and performance, the companies announced.

The two companies have done business before, as Cox has already deployed Juniper's M-and T-series routing platforms to support the MSO's multiple applications including peering, CMTS aggregation, high-speed Internet and video in its metro core networks.

The plan is for Cox to leverage Juniper's M and T-series MPLS and point-multipoint capabilities for a seamless, nationwide network that can deliver the triple play services of video, voice and data and mission-critical applications.

Why the upgrade? Cox is responding to the rapidly increasing demand for advanced video and VoIP, and with 6.6 million subscribers and more than 1 million triple play customers, the company acknowledges that an upgrade of its national backbone network is mandatory.

"Cox's backbone is a key asset for the company and all potential IP services going forward, and Juniper will provide all of the core and edge routers in the backbone. The consistent feature set and performance across all elements of the network allows the focus to be on delivering new advanced services, and not trying to work out interoperability between vendors," says Randy Kinsey, director of IP engineering for Cox Communications.


March 2006
Issue Contents »

Company: Cbeyond Communications
Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.
CEO: James Geiger

Claim to Fame: Cbeyond offers an integrated package of local and long distance telephony services, high-speed, T-1 Internet access and IP-based applications to small to mid-sized business customers.

Recent news of note: Cbeyond recently opened its Los Angeles market, its sixth, and added 1,450 new customers in 4Q of 2005. The company now has a total of nearly 21,000 customers.

CTHRA Spring Symposium
March 9
San Diego, Calif.
More information

March 19-23
Las Vegas, Nev.
More information

CCMI's Profitability Assurance 2006
March 22-23
San Diego, Calif.
More information

Internet Home Alliance
Spring 2006 Connected Home Research Planning Conference

March 29, 2006
Orlando, Fla.
More information

NCTA National Show
April 9-11, 2006
Atlanta, Ga.
More information

ACA Washington Summit
American Cable Association
May 8-9
Washington, D.C.
More information

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
June 20-23, 2006
Denver, Colo.
More information

2nd Annual C-COR Global IP Summit
June 28-29
Athens, Greece
More information

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