Archive for the ‘Technology & Telecom’ Category

Alcatel-Lucent gets $1 billion Reliance Communications contract

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Indian company outsources management of fixed and mobile networks to vendor, including transfer of thousands of staff.

Telecommunications-equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent Wednesday said it received a $1 billion contract to manage Reliance Communications Ltd.’s telecommunications networks for eight years in eastern and southern India.

The contract comes at a time when equipment companies such as Alcatel-Lucent are facing a major challenge in India, as local telecom operators have slowed down investment.

India’s telecom market is one of the largest in the world, with the number of telecom subscribers second only to China’s. But local telecom operators are facing regulatory uncertainty and, for about a year, a shrinkage in subscriber additions.

Click here to find out more!Mumbai-based Reliance Communications, part of Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Group, is India’s second-largest mobile phone companies with about 130 million subscribers.

Reliance Communications will outsource network management for both its wireless and fixed-line operations to Alcatel-Lucent, the companies said in a joint statement.

As part of the deal, about 4,000 employees will be shifted to Alcatel-Lucent from Reliance Communications, Gurdeep Singh, chief executive of Reliance Communications’ wireless business, told reporters in Mumbai.

Alcatel-Lucent India Managing Director Munish Seth said the deal is one of the local unit’s “largest and most strategic contracts” to date.

Currently, Reliance Communications’ wireless networks are managed by its equally owned joint venture with Alcatel-Lucent. The term of the joint venture, which was formed in 2008, will end in June.

Reliance Communications said it will make a separate announcement on managing its networks in the western and northern regions.

Reliance Communications’ rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd. and the local unit of Vodafone Group PLC also outsource network-management operations.

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Etisalat interested in Vivendi’s Maroc Telecom stake

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

UAE operator becomes latest to submit expression of interest in Vivendi’s Moroccan telco shares.

Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat said on Thursday it is interested in acquiring French conglomerate Vivendi SA’s 53% stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom.

Etisalat, which operates in 18 markets across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, has submitted a preliminary expression of interest in the Maroc Telecom stake and is one of a number of bidders, according to a statement posted on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website.

“Should there be any developments on this subject, we will keep the stock market updated in due course,” Etisalat said.

Click here to find out more!Vivendi SA has been looking to sell its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom since last summer, as part of a broader strategic shift of the company away from telecommunications and its media and content assets. The Paris-based conglomerate company is currently also auctioning off its Brazilian phone and broadband unit GVT. Vivendi hopes to get at least one of the deals nailed down before its annual meeting in April, according to people familiar with the sales processes.

Etisalat’s preliminary expression of interest comes as several other companies are kicking the tires of the African cellphone operator. Korean operator KT Corp. said in December that it had submitted a letter of intent for a potential purchase. France Telecom SA and others have also expressed interest a potential bid for the company, the people familiar with the sales processes said.

France Telecom chief executive Stéphane Richard confirmed the company’s interest in a press conference on Monday, but said the company was “not prepared to fight for Maroc Telecom at any price.”

A Qatar Telecom spokesman said the company has also submitted a non-binding initial bid.

In October, Ahmad Julfar, Etisalat’s group’s chief executive officer told Zawya Dow Jones that “following the global crisis there are good opportunities in the market. In the next 18 months we will be eyeing the opportunities and jumping on the good ones. If it brings good value, we’ll look into that.”

Etisalat, which is facing strong competition in its home market from rival Du, has looked to its international operations to boost revenues. In the third-quarter, while consolidated revenues remained flat at AED8 billion, Etisalat said revenue from its international operations rose 7% to AED2.4 billion–contributing 30% to the top line.

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The 10 Best Lines From the Apple-Samsung Trial

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

After three weeks of testimony, the federal trial in San Jose pitting Apple (AAPL) and its iPhones and iPads against Samsung (SSNLF) and its Android phones and tablets has resulted in a big win for Apple. It may prove to be just another battle in the endless war over mobile technology property rights, but the trial did churn out some memorable quotes. In no particular order:

“Since it is too similar to Apple, make it noticeably different starting with the front side.”
Internal e-mail citing notes from Samsung’s senior designer out of a meeting with Google officials, who requested changes in Samsung’s devices.

“In addition to my formal analysis, I had the experience of being confused.”
—Apple witness Susan Kare, who designed the “happy Mac” icon, testifying that she confused a Samsung phone for an iPhone at a pretrial meeting.

“Wouldn’t you agree that by the time the consumer turns on the phone, and goes through the steps we looked at, seeing the Samsung sign prominently for several seconds, that the consumer knows it’s a Samsung phone?”
—Samsung attorney cross-examining Kare.

“Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth.”
—The “crisis of design” memo written in February 2010 by Samsung executive J.K. Shin, cited by Apple as proof the iPhone helped shape Samsung’s design. Samsung said it was intended for motivational purposes.

“My recollection was that the breast feeding had to come to a stop.”
—Samsung designer Jeeyuen Wang, describing how she slept two to three hours a night while working on the Galaxy S phone, and the effect of spending so much time away from her newborn child.

“I mean, come on: 75 pages! 75 pages! You want me to do an order on 75 pages, [and] unless you’re smoking crack, you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called when you have less than four hours.”
—Judge Lucy Koh responding to an Apple lawyer’s request for a late crush of witnesses.

“It is inconceivable that Mr. Jobs, CEO of Apple during a portion of the relevant time period and inventor of the ’949, ’678, D’087, D’677, D’270, D’889, D’757, and D’678 patents, actually had so few e-mails on issues in this case and none between August 2010 and April 2011.”
—Samsung, arguing to the judge that Apple was withholding e-mail evidence it requested.

“The kids refer to it as the bellybutton. It’s an innie.”
—A Samsung lawyer’s suggested name for the iPhone home button. Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller testified he had not heard that before.

“The content is jittering spasmodically.”
—Apple expert witness Karan Singh, describing on-screen tablet behavior that Singh claimed shows patent infringement.

“I need everyone to stay conscious during the reading of the jury instructions, including myself. … We’re going to periodically stand up, just to make sure we’re all alive.”
—Judge Koh before reading 109 pages of legal instructions to the jury.

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Call Center Software Predictions for 2012

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Call centers have long been an element integral to a business’ success, but this year in particular showed considerable improvements and progress in terms of how agents interact with customers.

The rapidly approaching year is looking to be no different, as the contact center as a whole will certainly integrate next-generation features and technology that empowers agents to handle large numbers of inbound inquiries and outbound contacts.

Based on developments that occurred throughout 2011 in the contact center, here are some predictions for what call center software tools will help take contact centers to the next level in 2012.

IVR self-service: The call center industry will surely take on a more dedicated approach to improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, but will still heavily rely on IVR self-service to handle call influxes and disperse high-value customers to live agents. Much like a traffic cop, a call center’s IVR system can immediately handle call queues and direct each call to the appropriate department. According to recent statistics from Global Industry Analytics, the global market for IVR systems is projected to hit $2.78 billion by 2017, with much of this growth to kick-start next year.

Social media: As social media continue to come to the forefront, call centers are increasingly adopting this technology as an additional layer to customer outreach. In 2011, social media proved to be a channel of rapid and voluminous feedback from customers, especially with the prevalent tendency of people to voice their customer experiences – negative or positive – on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. In 2012, we will see social media become more of a requirement and less of an option as more companies move to assess the benefits to their customer service processes.

Unified communications: Video conferencing and instant messaging definitely underwent a big audition in the enterprise in 2011, but easily made the team as effective communication tools for businesses. In 2012, conferencing and chat will potentially become “captains” in the call center, as contact centers come to terms with these technologies as being additional interactive methods for agents to communicate with customers. Thanks to faster broadband and more emphasis on collaboration, conferencing and IM capabilities will continue to secure their niche in the contact center in the New Year.

Virtualization: As opposed to traditional contact centers, which require lofty set-up costs and installation wait-time, cloud-based call centers – or those in which agents work from remote locations and require just a headset and computer – are rapidly gaining traction. In addition to speedy deployment, virtual call centers enable businesses to easily scale their workforce based on current business demands, trimming down on costs and boosting productivity. In 2012, call centers will increasingly move to the cloud in an effort to achieve financial and technical advantages without being limited by geography.

Performance management: Call centers will always be customer-centric, which is why in 2012, contact centers will hone in on gauging how well their agents are performing, and how satisfied their end-users are with service. Using specialty call center software, such as recording and analysis tools, call centers will be able to gain an objective method for measuring and evaluating the performance of all contact center activities. The clearer the picture, the more likely agents will deliver a more superior performance that will positively impact customer satisfaction, as well as callers’ brand experience and revenues.

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Categories: Technology & Telecom

Bandwidth Management is now a critical

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Bandwidth management is now a critical part of any organization’s connectivity strategy. It is defined as the processes, products and policies designed to ensure optimal results for both public Internet access and private link such as MPLS. Bandwidth management consists of managing all carrier links and how traffic flows through them, with the right strategy for continuity when disaster hits.

To deliver consistent bandwidth management, the most appropriate devices are Link Balancers, defined as network-based appliances that have the capabilities needed to fully manage bandwidth, and multiple ISP or private links. In a majority of situations, these devices are typically installed between the firewall and modems and/or routers.

Some of the functions that Link Balancers provide are: link failover, which allows for one or more links to take over in place of a faulty ISP link until service returns to normal; outbound traffic balancing, which enables the link balancer to delegate traffic coming from the organization and going across various links that work in conjunction with organizational preferences; inbound traffic balancing, which is, in essence, a link balancer able to distribute incoming traffic across all chosen links; and session persistence management, which is when certain types of traffic including SIP (VoIP), HTTPS (secure web site access) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) cannot be balanced. Most organizations with a Link Balancer will use outbound balancing for VPN clients as well.

According to Elfiq Networks, the leading provider of bandwidth management technology such as Link Balancers, the benefits associated with implementing these solutions are bountiful. First, business continuity is easily attainable as the use of many ISP links simultaneously creates a dramatically increased connection speed. This then helps the organization to be able to handle online activities, even in cases when certain ISPs are not working. Crucial processes such as web surfing, VPN access and voice traffic will always remain intact and business operations can continue without any adverse affects. Second, productivity is increased as the ability to run multiple links directly through one Link Balancer allows for a business to complete multiple activities such as uploading and downloading in a short period of time. Third, cost is greatly reduced due to the fact that downtime is virtually eliminated and employees can continue their work even if a link ceases to work. Fourth, help desk are decreased because Internet access will continue to work under various circumstances and users will no longer need assistance. Fifth, sales departments will gain traction as prospective employees have continuous access to the company’s website and their product offerings. If a website is rendered as functioning improperly, a customer can quickly lose interest and instead travel to a different competing organization.

When building a bandwidth management strategy, a diverse combination of ISP technologies can yield significant advantages and it is recommended to choose ISps with different carrier technologies. T1/E1/fibre circuits are very popular within organizations and offer symmetrical bandwidth. In addition, these ISPs come complete with SLAs that provide increased uptime. DSLs on the other hand are lower in cost than many ISP links. The most common type is ADSL which allows for increased download speeds. Cable modems power increased download speeds as well and usually operate on a parallel physical network so if a carrier’s network stops functioning normally, the second one will be available to take over the operation. With fixed wireless carriers, services have the potential to reach up to 100Mbps.

Mobile networks allow for 3G mobile telephony services and give organizations access to the Internet or other services, if in the case where wired providers become inactive. WiMax and LTE offer increased performance functions over 3G networks, while utilities’ ISP links offer another type of bandwidth distribution, either through electrical grids or fibre through natural gas pipelines. These ISPs can even act as an alternative network in situations where ISPs fail. Satellite links are prevalent all over the globe, which makes them a great option when either geography or local ISPs are major obstacles but throughput is limited while latency is high.

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Top Criteria for Choosing a Managed Network Services Provider

October 28, 2011 1 comment

Before deciding on a managed network services partner, companies must first understand their goals for what truly is an ideal provider.

One expert in managed network services, Spacenet has provided in a white paper some of the criteria that enterprise-level executives should be mindful of when making this critical choice.

First, Spacenet recommends organizations search for a provider that is scalable enough to support small to large, multi-location and multi-vendor networks. One option is to search for a provider that possesses peer-to-peer architecture so that when an organization’s managed network grows, it can simply add more peer appliances.

Next, the managed network services provider of choice should offer an end-to-end solution with automated processes and procedures. This includes a single point of contact, problem ownership and resolution, the option for an operating system and configuration downloading, as well as second- and third-level support. And, when it comes to support coverage, it should certainly be 24/7.

In order to effectively meet business goals, organizations should also require their managed network services provider to have service level agreements on availability, as well as mean-time to repair and additional parameters.

Meanwhile, Spacenet says the ultimate managed network services provider will also offer standard and customizable performance and problem management analysis; centralized architecture and delivery; and rapid, efficient and simple customer implementation.

Lastly, as any provider of services should offer to customers, the ideal managed network services provider should ensure business continuity in the case of an outage, support for deployment of custom applications and specialized solutions, and what is certainly a no-brainer, lots of experience in supporting large networks.

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What are SIP Endpoints?

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The term SIP Endpoints refers to the architecture that is responsible for enabling advanced call processing and call management functions.

SIP clients typically use TCP or UDP on port numbers to connect to SIP servers and other SIP endpoints. These SIP endpoints are typically referred to as the user agent client and the user agent server. A SIP user agent client is typically tasked with sending SIP requests while the user agent server receives the requests and returns a SIP response. The user agent client and server only assume these roles for the duration of a SIP transaction.

According to industry experts, because of the widespread use of instant messaging, SIP endpoints have become commonplace. Instant messaging applications such as Microsoft MSN Messenger and Apple iChat are SIP clients that can be used to transport voice and video free of charge. As a result of the growing popularity of instant messaging, specific instant messaging protocols based on the SIP standard have been created, including Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) and Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). These two protocols allow presence information to be exchanged between SIP endpoints.

SIP is an industry that has quickly burgeoned, particularly because of the growing availability of open source PBXs and hosted service offerings. SIP phones allow businesses to route calls over the Internet, through VoIP, which guarantees them reduced hardware costs and increased savings on monthly bills. SIP phones are the “wave of the future,” according to many industry experts.

Many SIP leaders attempt to distinguish themselves in this competitive market place by making sure that their phones are certified by Digium’s Asterisk and BroadSoft’s Broadworks, in particular. Other SIP providers will ensure that their SIP phones boast: noise reduction technology; lower power consumption; HD Voice in all series models; and multi-year warranties.

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