Firs push to talk over cellular "enabler"

The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) announces the availability of the OMA Push To Talk Over Cellular 1.0 Candidate Enabler (OMA PoC 1.0) that provides the mobile industry with increased opportunity to deliver new services across multiple carriers, geographic locations and devices around the globe.

OMA PoC 1.0, developed collaboratively by members of OMA, is a two-way form of communication that allows mobile phone users to engage in immediate communication with one or more users, similar to a "walkie-talkie" application. OMA PoC 1.0 supports:

    -- One-to-One PoC Session: the basic capability to set up a voice communication between two users
    -- One-to-Many PoC Session: enables the user to set up a voice communication with a multiple number of other PoC subscribers in an ad- hoc or pre-defined group manner
    -- Instant Personal Alert: enables the calling user to inform a party of his or her wish to communicate and to request the invited user to "call-back"
    -- Group Advertisement: the capability to inform other users about an existing PoC Group

OMA PoC 1.0 incorporates key features of other OMA Enablers, including OMA XML Document Management Enabler and OMA Presence Enabler. These Enablers contribute group list management and integration of users' presence &
availability information to OMA PoC 1.0.


"Finalizing the OMA Push to Talk Over Cellular specification is a major milestone for the mobile industry. Many operators already offer PoC services to their consumer and business customers, and vendors build their products accordingly. However, what the industry awaited is a common, agreed, open standard for facilitating interoperability between equipment and services," said Jari Alvinen, Chairman of the Board, Open Mobile Alliance.

OMA recently held the first Interoperability TestFest for OMA PoC 1.0, where six servers and eight clients deploying the OMA PoC 1.0 Enabler were tested. OMA Interoperability TestFests are an important step in the OMA Release Program where basic inter-working of services between several
suppliers can be tested in a production environment.

To support the release of OMA PoC 1.0, OMA is holding an industry event where executives from Cingular Wireless, Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens, Sonim and Vodafone will join each other in a panel discussion on the importance of PoC standardization and their commitment to the newly available specification.

Iain Gillott, founder of iGillottResearch and an acknowledged wireless and mobile industry authority, will moderate the panel. The PoC event is being held on Monday June 13, 2005 in San Diego, California.


"With OMA's release, Push To Talk Over Cellular now has the first open standard for building interoperable services and applications," said Iain Gillott, president of iGillottResearch. "A wider range of adoption across service providers will foster new premium services falling under the PoC umbrella. Ultimately, it brings more features for consumers, business users and new revenue streams for the wireless and mobile industry."

Existing client come back for more

Motorola today announced an $80 million one-year frame agreement with Mobile TeleSystems, the largest mobile operator in Russia. Under the agreement, Motorola will supply GSM/GPRS infrastructure that will enable MTS to increase its coverage area and the capacity of its network across the Moscow region, Central Russia and the Urals. Approximately $20m of this revenue has already been recognized so far this year and the one-year agreement has a projected value of $80m.

The GSM/GPRS infrastructure, which includes Motorola's Horizon II 900/1800 MHz base stations, will simplify the future development of the MTS network as the company looks to incorporate 2.5G GPRS.  This contract follows a long history between MTS and Motorola which includes the delivery and installation of the Motorola SoftSwitch for GSM in September 2004.

Yuri Gromakov, Vice President & CTO of Mobile TeleSystems said, "With this regional expansion, we are working to continually provide innovative services and improved user experience to more customers.  We have a long history with Motorola and the expertise and quality that Motorola brings to our business makes the company one of the best infrastructure suppliers to help us achieve
this goal."
    
Margaret Rice-Jones, corporate vice president and region management, Motorola Networks EMEA comments, "This is the largest contract we have signed with MTS during our 11 year relationship and extends the areas in which we work together yet further with expansion into the Urals region.  We look forward to supporting MTS' subscribers as the operator experiences continued growth throughout Russia."

The name's Cornell, Keith Cornell

Empower Interactive today announces the appointment of Keith Cornell as its new Chief Executive Office.  Keith will lead Empower Interactive as it expands its geographic reach in growing Asian, European and Americas markets and continues to provide next generation, carrier-grade messaging capabilities to leading mobile operators, such as FT/Orange group, WIND, Telkomsel, and Smart. 

Keith Cornell is a global wireless industry veteran who brings over twenty-three years’ experience in strategy, business development and operations to Empower Interactive.  He was formerly on the management board of O2 with responsibility for operations in Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, and The Netherlands.  He has served in senior management roles at FirstMark Communications, Vodafone, Airtouch International and Marakon Associates. 

“We are at an inflection point in the adoption of mobile messaging services worldwide, which I believe creates tremendous opportunities for Empower Interactive," said Cornell.  "I am delighted to join Empower Interactive and look forward to leading the company through its next phase of commercial growth and further development of its rich messaging platform."

For the past two and a half years Keith has also served as an Independent Director in a number of telecoms and technology companies.  These include positions as Chairman and Co-CEO, Oplayo (Finland), Non-Executive Chairman, End2End Mobile (Denmark), and Non-Executive Chairman, Digital Rum (UK).

Keith Cornell received a BS in Engineering and Economics from Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California and an MS in Industrial Administration (MBA) from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and 2 daughters outside London. 

External Links

Empower Interactive

(That's Ireland, by the way)

mBlox, the mobile messaging transmission and billing specialist, today announced the next step in its international expansion plans with the launch of cross-carrier Premium SMS services in Ireland.

mBlox is the only major messaging service provider in Ireland, and around the world, to focus exclusively on the commercial and technical complexities of A2P messaging. The result of this focus is that mBlox has developed the most trusted and resilient messaging network for SMS delivery and billing.  Irish mobile content providers, application service providers and enterprises will now be able to access mBlox's Mobile Transaction Platform for reliable local and international Premium SMS services, as well as mBlox's suite of global, carrier-grade, SMS delivery services. 

In addition, mBlox's existing global customers can extend their relationship with mBlox to cover one of the most sophisticated mobile markets in Europe. According to the Commission for Communication Regulation (Ireland):

       Ireland has the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) in Europe
- EUR47 per month vs. EUR31 European Average
- 76% of all mobile phone users are pre-paid

       Ireland is a nation of "texters"
- An average of 89 SMS are sent per user per month
- 65% of all mobile owners send and receive SMS
- 95% of 15-24 year olds send 5 SMS per day
- 25-34 years olds send, on average, 3 SMS per day
      
       The Irish mobile market is still growing!
- Number of SMS sent increased by 22% in 2004
- Mobile phone penetration increased by 6% to 94%

"It was a very logical step for mBlox to extend its Premium SMS service in Ireland in order to round out our strong presence across Europe and the United States," said Brandon Trollip, mBlox Product Marketing Manager for Ireland and UK. "A number of our clients, especially those based in the UK, were interested in expanding their own businesses to Ireland. With the mBlox Ireland PSMS service we will provide both our customers, and the operators, with significant new revenue potential."

Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman of mBlox, said: "Ireland was an important market for mBlox to service, both for in terms of the development of the local market and the extra value it brings to our existing clients. mBlox's Ireland PSMS service is just the latest demonstration of our commitment to serve the needs of the international market for mobile content and services."

External Links

mBlox

Too complicated and too much

Three quarters of UK financial management professionals believe that mobile operators offer unnecessarily complicated pricing structures that lead to the over-charging of customers, according to new research conducted on behalf of Orange through the Confirm-IT research system.

Compounding a level of mistrust, 81 per cent also pointed out mobile operators now charge for associated services, such as answerphone and replacement handsets, that used to be free.

“Mobile operators have been too busy navel gazing and not thinking enough about how we can make things better for our customers,” says Alastair MacLeod, vice president, Orange Business Solutions. “The findings confirm our own thoughts; that businesses just want a straight-forward, crystal clear package of prices and services. We aim to make it as easy as possible for businesses to find the best deal if they choose not to commit considerable resources to the task.”

Eighty five per cent of financial management professionals argue that complex tariffs and pricing make it impossible to determine the true value of offerings from operators.

“We’re rewriting the mobile rulebook on the back of the research,” says MacLeod. “Instead of a myriad of packages and offers, we’ve created a single package that is applicable to all businesses and open to existing as well as new customers. What’s more, it includes all the services that businesses want the most.”

According to the research, the top three services most demanded by financial management professionals are free mobile phone calls between colleagues, free voicemails and effective tariff reviews.

Launching today, Business Plus is a package that reflects these demands and offers businesses of all sizes a broad range of benefits including:

No per minute charges between colleagues
Free answerphone service
Free 24-hour replacement of lost or stolen phones
Proactive mid-contract tariff review
Loyalty discounts for longer contracts
Dedicated business customer services with no automated services


Appropriate call bundles are chosen by the customer, with the proactive mid-contract tariff review ensuring that they are on the most appropriate package as their businesses grow and change. Further clarity is offered by an online instant tariff checker that allows customers to see how much Orange saves them compared to other UK mobile operators.

External Links

Business Plus Info

Teleca has announced the creation of a Competence Center for Software Services for Windows Mobile-based Products. The company will offer development and support services to device makers for the design and deployment of mobile devices based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Software.

In order to support the development of these new devices, Microsoft is collaborating with Teleca, a world leading mobile systems integrator with more than 3,000 employees globally, to create a Teleca Competence Center to offer Software Services for Windows Mobile-based Products.

“Teleca, as a leader in bringing mobile devices to market, is a natural fit. Their track record and global reach make them a perfect choice for this new way of supporting our licence holders,” said Tom Adams, general manager, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. “Windows Mobile device makers will now have a source for complete end-to-end system integration and software services for Windows Mobile-based devices.”

Teleca will provide device makers who licence Microsoft software and its ecosystem partners with integration services, including software development and integration, board design architecture, hardware design, firmware and drivers, telephony, radio frequency, systems integration, regulatory certification and network integration. Through Teleca’s Competence Center, new or updated functionality required by device makers or service operators can be created by Teleca and delivered through Microsoft in an interim or major release, and supported by Microsoft going forward.

“We are delighted to have been offered this opportunity and intend to offer a growing number of high quality services to Microsoft’s customers and partners world wide,” said Tony Woolf, general manager of Teleca’s Competence Center for Software Services for Windows Mobile-based Products .

Teleca’s engineering team has in-depth experience with the 2002-2005 releases of Windows Mobile software. Additionally, the company has been involved in well over 100 service agreements for a wide range of commercial mobile devices deployed to the consumer market around the world.

Bluetooth and WLAN plus your mobile

Nokia today introduced its Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution that connects a company's mobile devices to its enterprise applications and IT services. The solution complements cellular access by utilizing WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) and Bluetooth to enable complete and very cost efficient mobile device control and transaction automation to the enterprises.

The Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution makes corporations truly mobile with reasonable costs and payback period, while taking care of the security and management issues. The solution enables enterprises to recognize, authenticate and authorize employee's mobile devices when they arrive in the solution coverage area. The secure and automated mobile services assigned to the employee are then delivered to the mobile device.
 
"Enterprises are mobilizing their applications to increase their productivity. We have developed a local connectivity solution that strengthens the mobilization of the existing services and supports the development of new ones," said Jouni Malinen, Venture Manager, Nokia Ventures Organization. "With the Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution, access to critical enterprise applications can be managed in a highly cost efficient way, yet offering premium usability."
 
Mobile devices are becoming a part of the enterprise's information technology infrastructure. The Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution enables mobile device management in a fast, secure and seamless way for services such as making device backups, installation and update of applications, and help desk functions. Personal information management, messaging, browsing, and content distribution are additional mobile services, which can also be delivered using Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution.
 
The integrator Application Programming Interface (API) offers mobilization of enterprise specific services with context awareness, where the services can be made dependent on the user or device location, status and time. The integration to the enterprise control systems for solution management, user authentication and authorization is deployed with using standard interfaces. 
 
The Nokia Local Business Connectivity Solution consists of client software for the Nokia Series 60 and Series 80 smartphones, small multiradio Nokia Service Point for mobile device connectivity, providing Bluetooth coverage and interfacing to enterprise existing WLAN infrastructure, and Nokia Service Manager for user rights, device, and application management.

MobileAware is founding sponsor of new W3C Mobile Web Initiative

MobileAware, a leading provider of mobile business solutions, has continued its leadership role in setting standards and providing strategic direction for the mobile Web by becoming a founding sponsor of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s new Mobile Web Initiative (MWI).

The initiative, which was launched today in Japan, aims to make Web access from a mobile device as simple and convenient as access from a personal computer. MWI brings together leading technology companies including software vendors, content providers, handset manufacturers, browser vendors and mobile phone operators, to develop industry best practices and guidelines for refining the mobile Web experience. MobileAware's Chief Innovations Architect and principal W3C participant, Dr Rotan Hanrahan, has joined the MWI Steering Committee to lead the Initiative's work in recommending standards for Device Descriptions.
 
Despite the proliferation of Web-enabled mobile phones, exploring the Web from wireless devices has yet to fulfil its promise due to obstacles in interoperability and usability. Web sites are often not accessible or not as easy to browse on a mobile phone as on a desktop; content providers are sometimes unable to build Web sites that are optimised for all types and configurations of mobile devices.

Through industry collaboration and consensus, MWI will address the challenges of interoperability and usability by developing a set of industry best practices and support infrastructures for mobile developers, as well as promoting validation and conformance testing services for accessing the Web from mobile devices. These activities will complement current W3C efforts related to device independence, multi-modal Web access and content types for multimedia messaging, and will result in recommending new industry standards that support the expanding Web.
 
MobileAware has long been a member of the W3C and is currently an active member of the W3C Advisory Committee as well as a lead participant in the recently re-chartered Device Independent Working Group (DIWG). In October 2004, MobileAware hosted Ireland's first-ever W3C meeting, the International W3C Workshop on Metadata for Content Adaptation, and has contributed to, co-authored and edited several W3C documents.
 
"Making mobility simple is intrinsic to everything we do at MobileAware, so becoming a founding member of the Mobile Web Initiative is a natural progression to our W3C activities," commented Brian Kinane, Executive Vice President at MobileAware. "Proliferation of the mobile Web has so far failed to meet market expectations and can only be salvaged by fostering collaborative thinking and consensus among the world's leading mobile service organisations. We look forward to leading the strategic direction of the mobile Web."
 

RealNetworks, the global leader in downloadable PC-based casual games, today announced it has acquired Helsinki-based Mr.Goodliving Ltd, an innovative developer and publisher of high-quality mobile games throughout Europe.  The acquisition establishes Real in the mobile games market, provides new market opportunities for its existing library of game titles, and will expand the reach of Mr.Goodliving's titles into the US and Asia.

"Four years ago, we entered the casual games market with RealArcade.  In that time, we have established a strong leadership position on the PC," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, Inc.  "Mr.Goodliving has a proven record of developing and delivering innovative mobile games content throughout Europe, where mass market adoption of advanced mobile services is firmly established.  By joining forces with Mr.Goodliving, we are now expanding our casual games business onto mobile handsets worldwide."

"Joining with Real enables our team to continue creating more of the top selling mobile games and provide those games to a wider global audience through Real's mobile distribution network." said Juha Ruskola, CEO of Mr. Goodliving.  "We are very pleased to apply our creativity and technology skills to help Real become a leader in this rapidly expanding and ever changing mobile games industry."

Based in Helsinki, Finland and founded in 1999, Mr.Goodliving has created exceptional, high-quality casual mobile games available throughout Europe.  The company's library of popular games includes the Playman Sports series and the European-distribution rights for the mobile edition of Trivial Pursuit.  Mr.Goodliving's games are available today through more than 100 distributors and carriers including, Vodafone Global Content Services, MMO2 Group, Telefonica, H3G, T-Mobile International, and Orange Group. 

In addition to its games, Mr.Goodliving has developed EMERGE, a proprietary development platform which enables rapid and scalable publishing of games to more than 200 handsets in 20 languages.  By combining the mobile games titles of Mr.Goodliving with Real's existing library of casual games, and using the innovative EMERGE deployment technology, Real can now provide robust and flexible mobile game solutions for wireless carriers looking to differentiate in today's hyper-competitive marketplace.   

Real's games business, through RealArcade and GameHouse Studios, is one of its fastest growing segments.  For the first quarter of 2005, Real's PC-based casual games business generated more than $12 million in revenue representing an 80% increase over the first quarter of 2004. Real currently has relationships with more than 70 wireless operators around the globe, and intends to build upon those relationships for mobile games distribution.   

NTL Broadcast, in partnership with O2, has today revealed the first batch of channels to be part of its line-up for the forthcoming Oxford mobile TV trial, including Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery Channel, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel.  The six-month trial - which marks a UK first - begins performance testing in July prior to roll out to 350 O2 customers early in September 2005.

BSkyB, Chart Show TV, Discovery Networks Europe, Shorts International and Turner Broadcasting will be among the organisations providing 16 television channels to be received by O2 customers in the Oxford area using the new Nokia 7710 handset.  Designed to test and showcase the televisual capabilities of the next generation of mobile phones, the trial will look at how people choose to catch up on their favourite TV shows, watch the latest music videos and keep up to date with the news and sport when on the move.

The six-month trial will use the DVB-H broadcast transmission standard, specially designed for handheld reception.  With its low battery power consumption and robust reception, DVB-H allows an efficient ‘one-to-many’ method of delivering TV content in a way that complements the one-to-one video streaming which is already possible via GPRS and 3G networks.  To enable a commercial service to be launched in the UK, Ofcom will need to license spectrum, and the results of the trial are seen as valuable in proving ongoing consumer interest.

Terry Howard, head of media business development at NTL Broadcast, said: “We have had overwhelming interest in involvement from across the broadcast and media sector and we’re delighted to be able to welcome on board the first batch of major broadcasters.  We know from our own research that well over half of UK mobile users are very interested in watching their favourite TV programmes on their mobiles, which is why we are aiming to put together such a compelling channel line-up.  This trial will give a useful insight into how the new technology performs, and we intend to use that information to inform the broadcasters, mobile operators and Ofcom about the consumer appeal of the service.  We look forward to welcoming other channel providers and terrestrial broadcasters on board for the trial.”

Dave Williams, O2’s Chief Technology Officer, added: “We see this trial as a key way to understand how to provide mobile users with a useful and entertaining service whilst out and about.  It will give us invaluable insight into how to structure the service offering for consumers, and, because of this, popular and well-known content is crucial to the trial’s success.  We believe that mobile broadcast TV has the potential to sit alongside our existing customer services based on GPRS (2.5G) and 3G mobile data networks. Mobile broadcast TV aims to be a cost effective method for transmitting high quality content from one source to multiple customers whereas 3G is ideal for providing bespoke content to users.”

“We are delighted to be involved in this UK mobile TV trial,” said Mark Selby, VP Sales Music & Rich Media business programmes, Multimedia, Nokia. “Nokia research in this area reveals the strong consumer interest in mobile TV services and, with successful trials conducted elsewhere in the world, we expect mobile TV to be a hugely popular application, driving the mobile entertainment market.”

NTL Broadcast is currently building a new broadcast network of eight DVB-H transmitters, using existing structures, to cover 120 square km centred on Oxford that will enable the participants to receive digital television on the move.  O2 will soon begin the process of recruiting triallists from the specified catchment area within the Oxford ring road: triallists will be between 18 and 45 years of age, and spend the majority of their day (i.e. live, work or study) in Oxford.  Initially, handsets will be provided to all 350 triallists by Nokia - the new 7710 which, for the purposes of the trial, will come with a special DVB-H receiver.

The Cloud wins contract that could transform customers’ travelling experience

Train operators, First Great Western and First Great Western Link, have signed a contract with The Cloud to bring wireless Internet access to every one of its 85 stations. The scheme will benefit customers who make more than 60m journeys per year with the two operators.

First Great Western has been quick to respond to growing customer demand for WiFi, which allows customers to access the Internet in waiting areas and on platforms without having to plug in to a phone point.  The availability of WiFi stands to significantly improve the travelling experience of customers allowing them to connect to the internet at high-speed to send and receive emails, surf the internet and download music and videos.

“WiFi is a service that customers have come to expect at travel hubs,” said George Polk, CEO, The Cloud. “This agreement will allow people to use dead time to get their work done efficiently, so they can really make the best use of their free time. Now, when you wait for your train in the morning, you can be writing your emails. You can download the latest ones before you get on the train, read and reply as you travel, and then send them off as soon as you arrive at your destination. Soon you will be able to do this on the train, but its still early days and the speed and service experience still need to be improved. Real, high quality service from the stations is an important first step.”

The Cloud recently announced its involvement in a rail consortium led by technology specialist QinetiQ to provide WiFi on trains. In time, the combination of being able to access the Internet in the station and on the train will make train travel still enjoyable and productive. The Cloud already has significant experience of deploying into rail stations, having installed WiFi connectivity across Sweden in partnership with the national rail operator.

“In addition to providing public wireless Internet access, The Cloud is committed to helping organisations leverage their infrastructure investments to streamline internal processes,” continued George Polk, CEO, The Cloud. “We are seeing an increasing number of facilities managers asking us to help them drive further value for their sites through applications as diverse as Chip and PIN, wireless security cameras and other private location based applications.”

Alison Forster, the Managing Director of First Great Western and First Great Western Link, said: “Our customer service initiatives such as completely no-smoking trains, mobile phone-free quiet carriages and on-train DVD rental have led the industry. This initiative will be of huge benefit to both business and leisure customers who need or want to access the web while using our stations.”

The deployments will go live at the first ten stations this summer; Reading, Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Exeter St Davids, Bristol Parkway, Plymouth, Newbury and Slough.

Alison continued: “We want to ensure our customers can use their traveling time as productively as possible … this comprehensive station WiFi coverage is one element of that. In addition, we recently unveiled refurbished High Speed Train interiors including WiFi and will be using these as a basis for new look carriages should First win the Great Western franchise next year.”

One million subscribers added in less than six months

Research In Motion (RIM) has today announced that more than three million subscribers are now using the BlackBerry wireless platform, with one million subscribers added in less than six months. 

This milestone demonstrates the rapidly growing popularity of BlackBerry and follows another six months of intense activity with RIM and its partners, including various new product introductions and many initiatives with new and existing carriers, licensees, ISV's and other partners around the world.  With more than three million active BlackBerry subscribers worldwide, BlackBerry continues to lead the industry. 

"It's an exciting time as BlackBerry continues to enjoy enormous success and rapid growth around the world," said Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO, Research In Motion. "With over 50,000 retail points of presence, accelerated geographic expansion and the anticipated addition of 100 new carriers in 2005, we are scaling our operations for the five million and 10 million subscriber milestones."

BlackBerry subscribers reached the one million mark in February 2004 and doubled in less than ten months, reaching two million subscribers in November 2004.  The surge to three million subscribers demonstrates the continuing momentum and expanding market opportunity for RIM and its partners.

Leading bill management solution specialist, Ryder Systems, has unveiled its new brand identity to confirm the company as a leader in all aspects of the bill management process.

Historically, the company has been seen as a provider of best in breed bill management solutions. As Ryder has evolved, so have its offerings, which have significantly grown to include a full range of end-to-end bill management tools from document design to bill archiving in addition to analysis.

Andy Wilson, Sales and Marketing Director, Ryder Systems commented: "The brand re-launch coincides with the release of further enhancements to our solutions, reinforcing Ryder Systems position as a leader within the bill management arena."

Ryder's existing product range will be re-branded to reflect the company's new identity. eBillPlus from Ryder Systems, formally known as Atlas, enables Telcos to manage all elements of the bill management process from data acquisition and conversion to delivery in a variety of formats.

eBillPlus allows the Telco to offer it's full range of customers from the consumer through to its largest corporate the tools to derive more value from their bills.

Also by incorporating personalised marketing messages into the bill, the Telco has a unique marketing channel by which to communicate with its customers.

Says service can be deployed faster and at less cost

Azure Solutions, the revenue-assurance company, today announced the launch of the Azure RA Bureau.  It will be the first fully integrated revenue assurance platform and will incorporate the company’s existing fraud, interconnect and enterprise data integrity offerings as a web-based, managed service. The new service is quick to deploy, reduces the need for capital expenditures and IT resources, and further automates the monitoring, tracking and revenue collection of existing and next-generation telecommunications services.

“Our vision of revenue assurance extends beyond traditional point solutions to include each and every network element where revenue leakage may occur,” said John Cronin, president and CEO of Azure. “By folding our interconnect
and Certo data integrity capabilities into our existing fraud bureau delivery model, our customers will have access to the most comprehensive, secure level of revenue-assurance capabilities needed to meet their specific needs.”

With multiple telecommunications customers, including BT, using its on-demand fraud bureau, Azure has extensive experience in developing web-based revenue-assurance solutions. The integration of these additional capabilities, along with the recent launch of its first IP-based offering, allows Azure to deliver the industry’s most complete, secure and flexible revenue-assurance suite of products.

At the heart of Azure’s revenue-assurance product strategy is its ability to provision and manage multiple revenue assurance programs via a single web-based management application. Its acquisition of the Certo data integrity engine from Connexn late last year, gives Azure’s customers unprecedented visibility into network operations via a series of dynamic performance dashboards. The components of the Azure RA Bureau can be
utilised separately or together as a unified solution.  They include:

·    Azure’s Fraud Bureau – provides high quality, effective counter fraud monitoring together with the operational expertise required to maximise operator revenues and profits. The Fraud Bureau receives data from operators ’ network(s) and service(s), and then processes the information for analysis
either by Azure or the customer.  Data feeds are taken from an operator’s network and processed through a  fraud-monitoring engine where expert rules and intelligent techniques are applied. Rule sets deployed within the
fraud-monitoring engine are tailored to individual operator's needs and complimented by the application of intelligent tools to profile accounts and prioritise alarms. Powerful off-line analytical reporting and expert support compliment the Azure Fraud Bureau.

·    Azure’s Interconnect Bureau – allows operators to quickly and accurately settle charges with interconnecting partners without the need to implement and operate an expensive interconnect billing system in-house. Azure
connects to the customer’s mediation system and collects interconnect call detail records (CDRs). These CDRs are then transferred to the Azure Interconnect Bureau. The CDRs then pass through a detailed validation and verification process that ensures there is no data loss or duplication, and highlights potential problems that might have occurred within the customer’s network. The Azure Interconnect Bureau processes each CDR to ascertain which operators and service providers have been involved in the transaction. It then goes on to rate the CDRs according to the commercial agreements that
are in place with the customer’s interconnecting partners.

·    Integrity Management Bureau – based on the Certo platform, this bureau represents the future of enterprise-wide revenue assurance. It offers carriers the ability to deploy, manage and grow multiple revenue-assurance programs based on a common, easy-to-use software architecture. The Integrity Management Bureau provides the performance, flexibility and breadth of functionality needed to restore data integrity and certainty to any operator – wireline, wireless, data and cable. It uses advanced process automation to provide end-to-end visibility and control of the entire
revenue lifecycle – faster, more cost-effectively and with greater accuracy and fewer resources than any other solution on the market. Because the Integrity Management Bureau is integrated with Azure’s other hosted service offerings, it can interface with these modules and present results through a
single monitoring and control mechanism.

External Links

Azure Solutions