First Coffee for 16 May 2006: Verizon's Busy Day in Europe, Elisa's Contact Center And CRM Improvements, D2's vPort VoIP Software Implemented

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David Sims
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First Coffee for 16 May 2006: Verizon's Busy Day in Europe, Elisa's Contact Center And CRM Improvements, D2's vPort VoIP Software Implemented

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bix Beiderbecke’s 1927 recording “Singin’ The Blues,” generally regarded as the first jazz ballad, featuring Beiderbecke playing what jazz historian Benny Green has called “the most plagiarized and frankly imitated solo in all jazz history:”

Verizon’s certainly been busy recently, let’s check in:

Verizon Business today announced the availability of a global VoIP Gateway Service for the wholesale market. The service, provided through Verizon Business’ International Partner Products business unit, enables wholesale customers to offer full IP Telephony to PSTN trunking services and global termination of calls through one single, scaleable product.

The resulting benefits, Verizon officials claim, are “lower operational costs, reduced cost of ownership, competitive wholesale pricing and access to Verizon’s network and partner relationships.”

With network gateways planned in 12 European countries (and USA gateways in 45 metro areas), the VoIP Gateway Service is being marketed as offering “global capabilities to wholesale customers, providing them a competitive advantage regardless of their level of core expertise.”

In other words, whether customers are network-based or network-independent VoIP service providers, they can use both their own capital investments in VoIP-enabled network equipment and Verizon Business’ network to sell voice and other IP-based products.

The service is based on Session Initiation Protocol, generally considered the superior standard in the industry.

Henrik Liungman, marketing director, Verizon Business IPS says the launch of the global VoIP gateway service is an effort to strengthen their play within the wholesale market.    

Verizon Business is also announcing the launch of Hosted IP Centrex in Europe, which they consider “a key component of the new Verizon VoIP portfolio” recently unveiled.

Verizon Hosted IP Centrex is being marketed as a product allowing enterprises to tap into enhanced voice and data applications, described by company officials as “an IP telephony product that offers enterprises a robust, flexibly scalable voice service, including features such as remote working, click-to-dial, auto attendant and Web-based receptionist services.”

Delivered in a consolidated package hosted and managed by Verizon Business, it does eliminate the requirement for businesses to invest in, and cope with, the hardware and software maintenance of PBX or IPBX equipment by taking the call control and end-user applications into the provider network.

The Hosted IP Centrex product is aimed at businesses “opening up new locations or looking for alternatives to IP PBX products,” said Roberta Mackintosh, director of international products for Verizon Business.

It’s true, as she says, that a lot of expanding businesses struggle with the decision to invest in new voice communications infrastructure for their new sites and growing user populations, mainly because they don’t want to end up with a sizeable investment in an IPBX and then conclude soon after installation it has already reached its limits.

For such a customer Verizon Hosted IP Centrex is being pushed as a product where the investment requirements are minimal, and the amount of users that can be connected can be expanded flexibly on any given moment without additional investments.

And thirdly, Verizon Business has announced the launch of Verizon IP Trunking, designed for organizations that have already deployed an IP PBX VoIP product.

The product connects to the Verizon VoIP network and offers a package of services, so customers don’t need to purchase and manage multiple facilities.

IP Trunking connects an IP PBX platform to the enterprise data network and to the public voice network using a single IP connection. It’s delivered from the same VoIP architecture as Verizon IP Integrated Access and Verizon Hosted IP Centrex.

Verizon IP Trunking is currently available for customer trials in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the US, and Verizon officials say it will be further expanded in the second half of 2006 to Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

It will initially be available with Cisco Call Manager 4.1.3, to be followed by additional platforms including Call Manager Express and Avaya Communication Manager 3 in the third quarter of 2006.

D2 Technologies has announced that its vPort VoIP software has been implemented on the ARM926e RISC processor embedded within the Texas Instruments OMAP 1710 and OMAP 850 SoC (system on a chip).

This allows fully-featured VoIP applications to be offered with or without the need for DSP hardware, resulting in a flexible virtual DSP design that can address a wide variety of applications.

D2’s integrated software product, called vPort, includes audio drivers, voice processing functions (like compression, echo cancellation, Caller ID, DTMF, packet loss concealment), RTP packetization, Jitter Buffer, SIP signaling and application layer.

For dual mode wireless applications on the OMAP850, where the DSP is committed to other baseband signal processing functions, vPORT can execute entirely on the ARM CPU. In other applications where the ARM processor is needed for high level functions, the voice signal processing subsystem of vPORT can be executed on the attached DSP on the OMAP1710.

Introduced three years ago, D2’s vPort software is deployed in residential end-point products, and is designed for CPE end-point products such as wired/wireless Voice-enabled Terminal Adapters, routers and gateways, as well VoIP phones and handsets.

D2 President, David Wong said the ARM processors make “efficient use of silicon and memory,” which allows semiconductor companies to make “economical semiconductor devices with the low power consumption required of wireless or portable devices.”

This, coupled with efficient signal processing instructions useful for voice algorithms, Wong contends, make the ARM “an ideal platform for running D2’s VoIP software.”

Microsoft has announced that Elisa Corp., Finland’s leading telecom company (but you knew that), has chosen the Microsoft Customer Care Framework 2005 communications platform to improve its contact center.

Elisa, if I may presume a first-name basis, says the new product will “improve the usability and support of customer processes, make customer service more efficient, and facilitate integration with existing business applications.”

Microsoft Customer Care Framework is designed to guide customer inquiries from multiple channels such as Elisa’s web portal, e-mail and phone, and is flexible in allowing Elisa to adapt easily to different customer relationship management (CRM) products. It offers self-service products and automated support.

The new platform will be used by over 2,500 customer service representatives in both Elisa’s own contact centers and those of its enterprise customers.

“Our previous contact centre product did not offer us a suitably effective way to integrate systems, and our aim was to make agents work more efficiently,” said Sanna Korppoo, business manager at Elisa.

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