Stories by Sandra Rossi

NZX-listed People Telecom acquires ValueNet business

Dual NZX- and ASX-listed People Telecom has acquired the assets and customers of hosted IP provider ValueNet.
The acquisition is part of a growing trend by Australian firms to use a converged and fully hosted solution for their voice, internet data and inter-site VPN requirements.
People Telecom acquired the ValueNet assets from Lemarne Corporation and the acquisition was completed last week. Terms were not disclosed.
People Telecom CEO John Stanton says the ValueNet solution will allow the telco to offer customers a business grade alternative to traditional voice and data networks or IP PABX systems.
ValueNet is currently in use in more than 40 enterprises across Australia providing a range of services from voicemail, virtual receptionist, advanced conferencing, in-built security, firewall protection and disaster recovery.
"Customers can avoid the costs of owning their own PABX, and enjoy guaranteed quality of service (QoS) on their communications network, while also making significant savings on their overall communications costs," Stanton says.
The ValueNet system operates on the Genband M6 platform and uses a Cisco-based core network, with redundant Points of Presence (PoPs) in Sydney and Melbourne.
Stanton says key members of the ValueNet technical and commercial team had joined People Telecom as part of the transaction.
He says the telco will maintain existing ValueNet distributors and partners while looking to further strengthen the distribution channel.
"The ValueNet solution has proven itself able to generate and maintain high customer satisfaction and low customer churn and is projected to also increase overall gross margins in People Telecom's business," Stanton says.
"Along with the existing fully-hosted solution, plans are also well advanced for additional services that the Genband platform can support.
"These include trunking solutions to provide a competitive alternative to the existing 'direct-connect' offerings in the Australian market, as well as virtual key-systems and IP-based 4-32 line solutions for small businesses."
Stanton says the acquired offering complements recent upgrades to its core network, including the inclusion of Redback Networks' Ethernet-based aggregation equipment in People Telecom PoPs and the upgrade of associated IBM server software.
As well as being a telco provider, People Telecom, through its peoplenet 4 web-based customer portal, offers online billing and service management solutions.
Hosted security offerings, such as the firewall protection service provided by ValueNet, is growing rapidly in Australia with Frost and Sullivan predicting the market will top A$843.1 million (NZ$1.05 billion) by 2012.
This is supported by IDC which forecasts hosted services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.3% between 2006 and 2011.

Video Ezy to roll out IPTV platform

Video Ezy will roll out an IPTV platform and set top box middleware to enable the delivery of an electronic video rental service to more than 1,000 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
The stores in its chains serve more than eight million customers.
The main components of the electronic rental service includes an in-store kiosk with movie library, branded USB or iPod-type storage system and an in-home Java set top box.
Customers simply plug the USB or iPod into the kiosk to select movies to rent for later playback on the Java set top box.
Digisoft has been selected to provide the IPTV platform and set top box software which removes dependency on traditional middleware, creating lower cost of ownership and faster returns for providers.
Video Ezy managing director Paul Uniacke says the primary objective has always been to give customers a service that is dynamic and innovative.
He says the electronic video rental service provides a new compelling and dynamic content delivery platform.
"The set top box solution from Digisoft provides our customers with a range of feature rich applications combined with support for the latest high definition technology TV viewing; it also gives us the flexibility to adopt new advanced online delivery models in the future," Uniacke says.
Digisoft.tv chairman, Tom Higgins, says the rental service is a great example of the flexibility of Digisoft's middleware to enable new delivery channels and derive new revenue opportunities.
He says the system is a highly scalable and supports large numbers of clients across mixed high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) devices over fixed or wireless networks.
"Also supported is the latest encryption and watermarking technologies," Higgins says.
Video Ezy now has over 500 stores in Australia, 161 in New Zealand, 130 in Thailand, 143 in Indonesia, 29 in Singapore, 12 in Malaysia and three in Fiji. It boasts A$400 million (NZ$471 million) in revenue annually.
In October 2007, Video Ezy entered into an agreement to acquire the master franchise rights for the Blockbuster home entertainment stores in Australia, which added a further 360 stores to the portfolio. The group now has close to 900 stores in Australia.
Founded in 2000, DigiSoft.tv is a global provider of carrier class solutions to IPTV operators.

Australia hat-tips NZ on mandatory breach reporting

Australian Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis is seeking feedback from the businesses community in response to the release of a draft Voluntary Information Security Breach Notification Guide last week.
The draft Guide, at www.privacy.gov.au, draws upon voluntary guidelines developed by the Privacy Commissioners of New Zealand and Canada.
Currently there are no specific requirements under the Australian Privacy Act for organisations to notify individuals of an information security breach.
However, a proposal to make notification of information security breaches mandatory is being considered by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) as part of a national privacy review.
"The development of a voluntary guide offers a timely opportunity for stakeholders to comment on this important issue and we look forward to hearing their views," Curtis says.
In February, after the release of a voluntary data breach disclosure guidelines, New Zealand Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said that some people thought because she was promoting voluntary guidelines she did not support a change in the law to require notification of breaches.

SAP formally appoints CEO for ANZ

Former chief financial officer for TMP Worldwide in Asia-Pacific Tim Ebbeck has formally been appointed CEO for SAP Australia and New Zealand. Ebbeck has been acting in the role since January 2008.

BI remains a CIO priority: Gartner survey

For the third year in a row, business intelligence (BI) applications have been ranked the top technology priority in the 2008 Gartner Executive Programmes survey of 1,500 CIOs.

Hosted security market picking up pace in ANZ

A new report by analyst firm Frost and Sullivan claims the Australian market for managed security services will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.6% between 2006 and 2012 reaching A$843.1 million (NZ$967 million).
It estimates the market for hosted email filtering in Australia will grow at a CAGR of 38.1% between 2006 and 2011 and identifies MessageLabs as the market leader. The report said MessageLabs had 63% of the Australian market for hosted email filtering services.
The market drivers for this service range from access to specialist skills to lower costs and ease of management.

Verizon builds mesh network for Asia Pacific

Verizon Business has deployed a technologically advanced network configuration on the trans-Pacific portion of its global network to provide more diverse routes to benefit large-business and government customers.

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