New Products - January 2013
ZyXel adds Wi-Fi hotspot functionality to access point
ZyXel Communications announced a turnkey commercial Wi-Fi hotspot upgrade to its CloudEnabled Business Access Point – the NWA1100NCE.
This cloud-based hotspot functionality helps businesses and managed service providers (MSPs) deploy and manage custom Wi-Fi networks for business customers and guests. It also reduces the cost and complexity of providing Wi-Fi access for a wide range of businesses in the hospitality, education, retail and healthcare markets.
The access point's hotspot functionality leverages CloudCommand, Power Cloud Systems' cloud-based software platform for networking. CloudCommand provides SMB WLAN networks with enterprise-grade Wi-Fi features, including configuration, security, management and reporting.
"With the addition of hotspot functionality, ZyXel continues to enhance the applications of its cloud-managed Pro Wi-Fi solution, making it easy for solution providers to find new business opportunities with a familiar product," said Steven Joe, executive vice president of channel business for Americas at ZyXel.
Key benefits of the hotspot functionality include the ability to:
- Customize branded login portals
- Convert any network into a hotspot without the need for additional costs for service gateways or switches
- Build either free or revenue-generating service plans based on multiple parameters such as pricing, usage, time of access and bandwidth
- Provide flexible access plans with options for different hotspot services to different users simultaneously
- Offer free initial service with options for a paid upgrade
- Deliver time-limited free access activated through text messaging
- Process online credit card payments with no setup required.
ZyXel, in addition, is introducing three different subscription levels for its CloudCommand service, offering customers maximum flexibility in selecting the cloud service level that best suits their needs and budget. Switching between services is also allowed.
Cycle30 improves billing for small ops
Cycle30 has developed commercial business billing software designed for cable companies, suitable in particular for use by smaller cable operators.
Many of the billing platforms currently used by smaller operators are not equipped to manage the complexity associated with product catalogs for commercial accounts, according to Cycle30, the billing services company spun out of GCI several years back.
The company designed its new Commercial Business Billing software to make it simpler to set up; configure; provision; select devices; and handle the taxation, duration and fees associated with business services agreements.
In contrast to residential services, where there is a finite set of service permutations, customers are more likely to take a custom mix of products and services. Building and configuring the product catalog tends to be far more complex, the company said.
“Cable operators are all heavily incented to take advantage of the commercial services revenue potential within their service areas, but many are being hamstrung by back office limitations,” said Jim Dunlap, president of Cycle30. “We have spent the past 10 years in refining our business commercial billing solutions by developing applications specifically designed for commercial services billing – including orders, provisioning, workflow, billing, product catalog, customer hierarchies, taxation and the like. Cycle30 has taken the complex and made it very simple for the operator to understand and execute.”
Concurrent has Smart TVs covered
Concurrent has modified its video system so that it will now be able to deliver content directly to Smart TVs.
The company expanded the software for its MediaHawk platform to enable the delivery of on-demand content to Internet-connected devices, specifically Smart TVs, bypassing traditional set-top boxes.
Each Smart TV has unique integration requirements, the company said, so it is important to provide operators with a flexible video delivery solution that is certified against the most popular TV brands. Concurrent said it has been working with a European operator it declined to identify to extend video-on-demand services to a wide range of Internet-connected TVs using the MediaHawk platform.
“After purchasing a new Smart TV and connecting it to the Internet, it is critically important for consumers to be able to access cable- and telco-based video service offerings right alongside those available from over-the-top suppliers,” said Erik Weston, director of product line management for Concurrent.