First Coffee for June 8, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for June 8, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an old favorite, 2004’s The Platinum Collection, Frank Sinatra during his Capitol Records years of 1953 – 1961:

More happening at Supercomm ‘05 Chicago, the town that Billy Sunday couldn’t shut down. As noted in yesterday’s column the Officially-Approved Show BuzzTM is Internet Protocol television, but triple play is getting some noise as well.

Alcatel hits a buzz twofer as company officials claim the company has “leadership in the area of providing triple play solutions, including Internet Protocol Television capabilities, to its customers.” If First CoffeeSM had a quarter for every “leading” he deletes from company statements this’d be First ChampagneSM instead, and sure enough Alcatel thinks they’re “the leading triple play solutions provider.”

Granted they have done over 25 IPTV deployments around the world, and at Supercomm they’re unveiling the Alcatel 7342 Intelligent Services Access Manager FTTU Gigabit Passive Optical Network, which they announced a week ago. They’re also introducing the 5750 Subscriber Services Controller, what company officials call “a comprehensive policy management solution” for service providers to use to centrally manage their customers and services.

In Alcatel’s view, this “unlocks the full revenue potential of triple play by offering an unprecedented user-driven environment.” They’re also announcing a collaboration with global chip maker Freescale Semiconductor to create GPON-standards compliant silicon to further advance the adoption of triple play services (voice, video and data) delivered via standard fiber to the home.

ZyXEL Communications, a provider of secure broadband networking and Internet connectivity and routing products, is stepping up to the triple-play plate to… hmmm, not a good metaphor there, sorry, ZyXEL. Anyway, the company’s demonstrating its triple play bona fides at Supercomm ‘05 Chicago, that toddlin’ town, showing off its suite of VoIP, ADSL and VDSL products to deliver quality voice, video and data integration to address what company officials describe as “the growing demand for triple play applications by telecommunications providers.”

Specifically, ZyXEL will showcase its Prestige 2000W v2 VoIP Wi-Fi phone, one of its most promising new technologies. “As telcos worldwide are evolving their networks to offer value added services to their customers, the market need for triple play has gained momentum,” company officials say. And as they claim “the largest modem/router shipment in the world,” ZyXEL officials see the company as “uniquely positioned to deliver solutions that offer the seamless integration of speed, security, quality of service and ease of use.” This suite includes a video phone, wi-fi phone, integrated access device, modem router series, access multiplexer and VDSL modem.

Munira Brooks, vice president of sales, marketing and business development for ZyXEL notes correctly that “telcos worldwide require a cost-effective, easy to manage solution that provides their customers with a more interactive experience. To attract customers and raise average revenue per unit, telcos are looking at value-added services such as premium video content, messaging capabilities and bill consolidation.”

Extreme Networks, Inc.’s network product is part of what’s being billed as the largest multi-vendor interoperability demo ever staged by the Metro Ethernet Forum, on display this week at Supercomm ’05 Chicago, the Second City.

The demonstration, in conjunction with MEF alliance partners, is showcasing Officially-Approved Show BuzzTM Internet Protocol TV streams at 10 Gigabit speeds powered by Extreme Networks’ BlackDiamond 10K and new Summit X450 switches equipped with the ExtremeWare XOS operating system.

Extreme Networks will be showing off its claim to triple play fame, as attendees can see their Metro Ethernet switching products which company officials say “deliver IP multicast support, network resiliency protocols and Quality of Service capabilities… features enabling the smooth delivery of triple play services including robust streaming video, VoIP, and guaranteed rate Internet access over a single connection.”

“In 2005, network operators throughout the globe are re-engineering their networks to support triple play services that are more reliable, fast and predictable than ever before,” said Craig Easley, director of service provider marketing for Extreme Networks and member of the board of directors for the Metro Ethernet Forum.

That Little Ol’ Software Firm From Redmond, Microsoft has “staked its claim to VoIP and other emerging advanced Internet services at Supercomm 2005 with a clear statement of its continued interest in next generation, ‘triple play’ telecommunications services” according to Matthew Friedman.

Microsoft wants to improve its standing in telecommunications, giving carriers and service providers “software for the delivery of revenue-generating services over IP,” Friedman says. The first step towards that was jointly developing and marketing an enhanced VoIP product with Sylantro. Friedman says Microsoft plans “to add VoIP functionality to its Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration by integrating it with Sylantro Systems’ Application Feature Server.”

In a statement released earlier Microsoft corporate vice president for the Communications Sector Maria Martinez noted that “we believe it’s not just one killer app or service that’s going to drive the growth of telecommunications services, it is services over IP, or more specifically, the aggregation of services over IP that will transform the way we work, live and play, today and well into the future.”

PacketFront flew from Stockholm to Supercomm ‘05 Chicago, city of broad shoulders with their open access FTTH technology and next generation broadband aggregation to see the sun for a bit and announce “the launch of its pioneering online help desk application for triple play networks.”

PacketFront officials describe The Helpdesk Management Tool as “a series of web-based integrated modules specifically designed for complex triple play environments, the main purpose of which is to reduce issue resolution time by empowering both end-users and network operators to solve problems quickly.”

HMT is an extension to BECS, PacketFront’s control and provisioning system for triple-play capable networks. HMT is composed of a series of integrated modules that function as a single system, thus – theoretically, anyway – providing maximum flexibility for service providers, and simplifying the task of setting up help desk applications.

HMT communicates with the BECS Subscriber Management Tool database, where information about each end user, such as name, address, billing ID, network username and service subscription, is maintained for customer service personnel to have all relevant user details immediately to hand.

“Getting customers to sign up to services on triple-play networks is only part of the challenge for operators and content providers, they also need to retain those customers by providing the right level of support,” said Martin Thunman, CEO of PacketFront. “If end-users experience faster problem solving, it is likely that their loyalty to the service, and ultimately their profitability to the service provider, will increase.

The unassisted triple play, where a defensive player inflicts three outs by himself in an inning is one of the rarest and most exciting plays in all of baseball – there have been 21 bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, down by three grand slam home runs, 19 perfect games pitched but only 12 unassisted triple plays in major league history.

For an unassisted triple play to happen there must be no outs and at least – usually only – two runners on base who are running with the pitch. Eleven times what’s happened is the defender catches a line-drive hit for the first out, steps on a base, usually second, to put another runner out and tags a third.

But in 1923, according to a fine history of the unassisted triple play, in a game against the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox first baseman George Burns “caught Frank Brower’s line drive, tagged Walt Lutzke off first base and actually ran to second base, sliding in before Riggs Stephenson could return from third.”

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