I recently had the opportunity to ask Ilan Weizman of Surf Communications Solutions about the evolution of the IP communications space and the direction his company is taking.
Surf develops a suite of hardware and software products that drives a wide variety of applications for high-capacity distribution of voice and video. These applications are predominantly developed by media gateway, media server and IMS equipment manufacturers in the telecommunications infrastructure field.
RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives.
IW: The newest initiative at Surf relates to our interactive live TV service for mobile devices. We believe this service has the potential to become the first multimedia killer application, opening the door for a multitude of others. The successful deployment of this service is dependent on overcoming technological and commercial challenges, which at the moment are preventing this service from taking off. Our goal is to provide the requisite infrastructure hardware platforms and multimedia processing tools to enable our customers to develop related applications and make this type of service a reality.
RT: How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?
IW: No change — IP communications has always been our business. As a matter of fact, we consider ourselves convergence experts!
RT: What is the biggest request coming from your customer base?
IW: Our customers are voicing requests for Video over IP (VoIP) for all kinds of terminals.
RT: How are you answering their demands?
IW: For quite some time now Surf has believed that the future of telecom applications lies in video. As a result, we are ready with video support, including 3G-324M, IP Video, Video Conferencing, and Video for CTI applications. These capabilities have already been successfully implemented in many customer applications (see our Web site for a list of press releases detailing such customer success stories). We are happy to share this video expertise to help our customers build outstanding, feature-rich video applications.
RT: What do you think the future of the market is?
IW: We believe that it will continue to grow, as per the IMS architecture.
RT: How does the growth rate in the U.S. compare to the rest of the world?
IW: The U.S. appears to be growing at a more conservative rate than the rest of the world. However, this seems to be changing now that Cingular has started to push consumer-based demands for mobile content. Once the service providers start providing the infrastructure the opportunities will skyrocket.
RT: What do you think of Google and Apple entering the telecom market?
IW: These moves simply bear witness to the importance of convergence and the wide-reaching penetration of mobile content as a driver.
RT: How about Microsoft?
IW: Are they really a serious player? We noticed their “VoIP for enterprise” ad on your Web site, so I guess they are making an effort.
RT: How will wireless technologies change our market?
IW: Fixed Mobile Convergence is already here.
RT: What sorts of things will we be hearing about during your presentation at ITEXPO?
IW: The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a next generation networking architecture for telecom operators, which includes (among other components) a media gateway, a media resource function processor (MRFP), and a session border controller (SBC). Now, instead of using three different boxes to fulfill each of these requirements, developers can use building blocks and components to handle all three functions, enabling TEMs (Telecom Equipment Manufacturers) to build a single box to fulfill all of these IMS functions. The goal here is to lower the total cost of ownership and increase operators’ and service providers’ revenue by providing more services and functions that they in turn can offer their customers. The session will focus on development strategies to optimize IMS components and address integration opportunities with emerging platforms.
RT: Why is your presentation a “Can’t Miss?”
IW: Voice traffic over IP is now considered a commodity, so operator revenues are naturally dropping. Our presentation will demonstrate how telecom operators and service providers can actually increase their revenues by utilizing the precepts of the IMS architecture, and employing a “mix-and-match” best-of-breeds approach to develop exciting new services for customers.
RT: What do you want the industry to know about your company?
IW: Surf, a market-proven company since 1996, is positioned as an expert in mobile video transcoding technologies. Surf’s customers can significantly reduce time-to-market while supporting market demands for true convergence of all media types: audio/voice, video, and data (fax/modem), over all networks: IP, mobile, wireline, and wireless. Our unique architecture, wherein all media types are processed simultaneously on a single DSP and wherein up to eight DSPs can be mixed and matched on a single resource board, has been pre-integrated with leading hardware manufacturers to provide customers with an excellent way to create and deploy feature-rich telecom applications for increased ARPU.