Digicomm is a Comms finalist !

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Digicomm has been short listed as a finalist at this year’s Comms Business Awards.  Independently judged, The Comms Business Awards are designed to genuinely recognise excellence in the Channel. Acknowledging the successes of the reseller community, the vendors, distributors and service providers as well as those successful individuals who truly set the standard, these Awards are the industry’s most sought after accolade. 

The judging took place behind closed doors in London and all of the winners will be announced at the Channel’s most glittering night of the year on the 21st June at The Lancaster Hotel London. 

 

 

New website for Digicomm BCS

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
Oscar Wilde

This is an apt quote to describe Mark’s vision for the web site. Not only will it look spectacular but the functionality will allow accounts to be viewed on line and have a massive amount of resource to support existing clients and support purchasing decisions.

The site will be live in the first week of May, Watch this space.

New Team at Digicomm

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Bill Taylor Senior Sales Executive

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Rebecca Beardsworth Senior Account Manager

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Mark Lomas Northern Sales Manager

Digicomm BCS is delighted to bring on board some very talented people to help build and develop the business. With over 40 years of experience between them Digicomm is in very safe hands. Mark Lomas is heading up the entire sales team, Rebecca is looking after existing clients and Bill is our call recording specialist. They can be contacted at mlomas@digicommbcs.co.uk rbeardsworth@digicommbcs.co.uk btaylor@digicommbcs.co.uk

Customer Experience and this year’s award for most over-used quote

Was there a press release or presentation at this year’s Mobile World Congress that didn’t mention customer experience at some point if only in passing? Of course the problem with customer experience – or CX seeing as we all love an acronym in this business – is that it can mean everything or nothing at all. Even slapping management on the end to give you Customer Experience Management (CEM) leaves you with a pretty slippery term.

In many cases CX or CEM were just being used as buzzwords, in the same spirit that “sustainability” or “convergence” was liberally quoted at previous MWCs.

However, beneath the fog of marketing-speak the landscape is beginning to shift. For one thing, all the major equipment vendors had brought something new to Barcelona or else were highlighting fresh trends and developments in the CX or CEM space. SQM also figured heavily in presentations. As one slightly off-message operator customer mentioned in front of his vendor of choice: “Last year not many vendors were talking about customer experience, but this year they are all talking about CEM”.

All the major vendors are looking to simplify customer interactions by ‘dashboarding’ or creating a single console to bring together a variety information sources. Analysing the network infrastructure itself is key but other sources of information include data usage intelligence, information on device capabilities, OSS/BSS intelligence, and CRM.

Alcatel-Lucent was highlighting its new CX portfolio, which like many other vendors this year it announced a couple of weeks before MWC. I’m assuming all the mid-Feb launches are because vendors are trying to beat the PR blizzard of Barcelona week rather than because they’d forgotten MWC was being held later this year. Taking the Motive software business it acquired in 2008 as its starting point for customer experience management, ALU is building more around it, including analytics, optimization and consulting services.

NSN – which has more to win or lose given that it’s staked a large chunk of its reorganization around CEM – was showing off the CEM on Demand offering it also announced a few weeks ago. The way different stakeholders can access the same data in different formats using this product is fascinating.

Also what is interesting with this CEM product as well as others is how vendors are seeking to map KPIs and KQIs on to customer experience, not just from a broad brush perspective but down the level of individual customers and services.

Indonesian operator Telkomsel was liberally mentioned by NSN not just as a CEM on Demand portal customer but as an IP transformation and consulting reference. There’s no space here to discuss individual deals but it strikes me that there is no lack of breadth and ambition in several of the operator-vendor relationships highlighted in Barcelona this year.

Ericsson meanwhile was showcasing services and products that allow operators to monitor and assure service quality and the end-user experience, including the first demo of its Managed End-User Services Assurance (MESA) offering. Optimization products of one type or another were also high on the list.

No Ericsson presentation is complete these days without President and CEO Hans Vestberg citing his favourite mantra that Ericsson aspires to be number one in the OSS/BSS space. Integration of Telcordia assets following its acquisition is apparently on track, with Ericsson pushing ahead with hardware and software decoupling, creation of a modular architecture and making products ready for deployment in the Cloud. A decision about the real-time charging roadmap also looms in 2Q12 given that the company has overlapping Ericsson and Telcordia products.

The major network equipment vendors not surprisingly stress the end-to-end nature of what they can deliver and that only a “handful” of companies can offer something that is truly modular. However, the number of software and support system vendors active in the CEM space suggests that they believe otherwise and are equally keen to move up the software stack and make good use of any real-time monitoring, notification and policy functionalities they may have developed.
Knowledge may be power but it’s what you do with it that is key, and many of the vendors I spoke to emphasised the importance of being able to deliver actionable insights rather than just intelligence. This is where the major equipment vendors also stress their services and consulting capabilities.

My colleague Peter Dykes’ write-up includes more detail on OSS/BSS announcements in Barcelona, but worth mentioning are a ‘Customer Engagement’ repositioning by Comptel following its acquisition of data analysis specialist Xtract last month and the release of a Customer Experience Analytics (CEA) product. Unfortunately I don’t have space here to mention more support systems vendors or for that matter big IT players such as IBM which are moving into this space with strong analytics offerings.

But certainly with such a profusion of different approaches the battle to define and own the customer experience has commenced.

Software & services no longer second fiddle
It’s extraordinary how much attention telecoms software and support systems attracted at this year’s MWC when you consider how much of a sideline it was only a few years ago.

Ericsson’s head of consulting and systems integration services claimed that almost every question he’d had to field during Barcelona week was linked in some way to both software and services. A senior Alcatel-Lucent speaker said something similar, pointing out that customer conversations were currently focused around both software and services, and the vendor is having to invest heavily in its software and services portfolio in order to stay relevant to customers.

Applications are now starting to be built in the network with IT helping to blur the dividing lines between applications and the network. The convergence of network, IT and apps platforms is also going to drive organizational and structural changes, with a greater role likely to be played by dynamic service or experience packages which expose operator platforms. The network becomes a platform, with everything offered as a service. Infrastructure as a business may be being squeezed but infrastructure as a service is set to offer plenty of new opportunities.

Furthermore, vendors are saying that whereas previously interest in customer experience has tended to occur at department level, they are now increasingly seeing coordination and interest at a corporate-wide level. CX/CEM is also expected to increasingly create service and consulting opportunities. Ericsson, for example, says it is currently actively recruiting in the consulting and SI space with a view to building up capabilities in this area.

Quotable quotes
A startling number of chief execs kept rolling out the same two quotes this year; William Gibson’s “The Future’s already here, it’s just very unevenly distributed” and Peter Drucker’s (or Alan Kay’s) “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. I think the latter just about came ahead in the popularity stakes.

How reassuring it would be if we really could predict the future from all those cramped caffeine-fuelled meeting rooms in Barcelona.

It may be less pithy but sadly the following quote from Nassim Taleb is probably closer to the mark: “To predict the spread of a technology implies predicting a large element of fads and social contagion which lie outside the objective utility of the technology itself. How many wonderfully useful ideas have ended up in the cemetery, such as the Segway”. Now that’s a Barcelona-appropriate quote if I ever saw one!

4G and the race to provide superfast broadband

According to UK regulator Ofcom, we have become a ‘smartphone nation’, ultra-connected night and day via the magic of mobile technology. But the evidence suggests that the UK is falling behind the rest of the world in providing the kind of networks needed to support the explosion in mobile device usage and data consumption.

In October 2011, Ofcom announced that it has been forced to delay the UK’s 4G spectrum auction by six months, saying that a further round of consultation is required after receiving ‘substantial and strongly argued responses’ during the first round. As has been widely reported, the auction for spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands was initially delayed due in part to the change in government and the lack of agreement between mobile operators and Ofcom

Additional alterations to the original schedule have seen the timetable slip from the first quarter of 2012 to the second and, in light of Ofcom’s announcement, the auction will not take place until the fourth quarter. Ofcom claims that the deployment and launch of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the UK need not be delayed, as spectrum would not be released until 2013 anyway. However, as reported in the media, operators say that with an auction not taking place until the end of 2012, it is unlikely that LTE services will be launched in the UK much before 2014.

This poses something of a challenge for the industry as many observers, including Virgin’s CEO, believe that traffic levels will double; due to the rapid evolution of the smartphone and M2M markets and the resultant increase in demand for data-heavy applications and content. Cost conscious consumers are taking particular care when choosing mobile services; resulting in slower than expected adoption of newer, faster products. But as the smartphone market continues to make data-heavy consumption a de facto part of mobile contracts, this trend will only rise. And it’s not just Virgin that predicts such exponential growth. Luminaries such as ’father of the internet’ Vint Cerf predict exponential and continued growth of the internet and web services; all of which must be facilitated by already overstretched networks.

All this in the midst of a growing row over existing network speeds; the industry is now clamouring to find a meaningful solution to the issues of universal broadband provision and speed, and all eyes are turning to 4G / LTE to provide the answer.

The importance of ‘Superfast Broadband’

You can usually tell how significant a technology is likely to be by noting BT’s reaction. In October of this year, BT set out its superfast broadband intentions stating that its Everything Everywhere initiative (launched jointly with Orange and T-Mobile) would mean 4G trials would provide a viable broadband alternative for those in rural areas. 4G has now, undeniably, become a lynchpin in BT’s rural broadband strategy but delays to spectrum auction won’t see a launch any time soon.

4G not only helps support today’s technologies, internet, email, phone and video traffic but also allows higher quality consumption; something that consumers are demanding more and more of. As VoIP moves to deliver ISDN-grade calls, video conferencing moves into HD technology, emails support large photos and other big attachments and the internet is used for the download of large files and software, the networks are groaning under the strain. 4G alleviates this strain by allowing the provision of high-speed services, delivered over a wider spectrum.

At the time of writing, 3G coverage stands at approximately 75 per cent of the country but, as revealed recently by the BBC, coverage remains patchy in some areas and is by no means guaranteed.

The BBC study showed that, overall, people are getting 3G approximately three quarters of the time, but coverage is nothing like as good as the operators would have you believe. Most city-dwellers will have great coverage but there will be certain places, even near city centres, where some if not all the networks are just not providing a decent connection. The overall conclusion is rural areas, whilst struggling to obtain fixed-line broadband, are also suffering as a result of patchy 3G coverage.

The Business Case for 4G

According to a recently published report  on mobile data consumption by Allot Communications, UK data consumption increased by 77 per cent in the first half of 2011, with video streaming increasing by 93 per cent overall. This increase makes mobile video streaming the biggest culprit in terms of data consumption, with a 39 per cent share. The report shows the majority of all video streaming comes courtesy of YouTube, with the video giant accounting for 52 per cent of that total. Not only does YouTube account over half of all video streaming, it’s responsible for 22 per cent of all mobile bandwidth usage, making it by far the most popular mobile destination. What this report shows is that mobile consumption is far exceeding expectations and there’s an enormous revenue opportunity here for networks, service and content providers alike.

4G is much more than high access speeds — it is a new network paradigm. Unsurprisingly, 3G operators are learning that future average revenue per user (ARPU) does not come from traditional services like voice services but data services such as mobile, video, music, games, Internet access, navigation and messaging (SMS and MMS) are the path to greater profits. The trend is unmistakable and leads to more services that exploit infrastructure offered by future advances in technology.

Faster is Better – Be Prepared

Broadband provision over FTTC or FTTH is suffering as a result of a number of factors: cost of tunnelling into hard-to-reach areas; perceived lack of funding; and low uptake in some rural areas. Network initiatives, such as the connection of 50,000 new build properties to Fluidata’s broadband network, which give inexpensive access to rural areas via existing networks, are providing the solution in some areas but, where a need is identified where networks can’t reach, alternative solutions are critical.

Satellite can plug some of the gaps and the Government’s rural funding pledge will connect more areas but, the reality is, mobile networks are amongst the more far-reaching and, therefore, offer the promise of ubiquitous coverage in even the most remote areas.

The reported delay to the spectrum auction and rollout of 4G networks in Britain is costing businesses an estimated £732m a year and so finding a solution is imperative.

When 4G becomes a reality in Europe, this should open the door for the industry to create a new breed of products and services but one final consideration should be its ability to deal with perennial problems of service contention. Will 4G deliver the same varying mobile broadband speeds depending on the time of day? Currently download speeds can vary by as much as 25 per cent at peak periods and in high density urban areas and with limited backhaul capability resulting in slower data delivery. It could be that the power that 4G possesses may remain locked if technology can’t deliver.

Future of the interface

The Second World War saw the first use of transmission of speech by radio, when Motorola developed a battery-powered, backpack-mounted, two-way radio, called the ‘Handie-Talkie’ for the US military in the 1940s. It was credited as being the world’s first mobile phone. It wasn’t until 1979, however, that mobile handsets became commercially available to consumers, when Japanese mobile operator NTT created the world’s first automated cellular network covering the population of Tokyo.

Mobile phones have come a long way since then. We’ve seen manufacturers add colour screens, cameras, personalised ringtones, Bluetooth and SMS technology. Today’s smartphones have internet connectivity, touchscreens, app stores and developer ecosystems, but what can we expect to see in the next stage of evolution in the mobile phone industry?

Perhaps the most crucial aspect in the advancement of mobile handsets is the growing dependency of consumers on these devices as a multipurpose communications tool. People are using phones not only to communicate by voice, but also by SMS, email and social networks. In many developed markets, smartphones are a lynchpin of the consumer lifestyle, whether it’s to keep users informed of global news, updates from social networks, entertainment through games, music and video, or by providing an endless array of apps, from those that are useful to our everyday lives, to those suited purely to idle procrastination. Mobile handsets are arguably the most important object in people’s lives, and the chances are they will become even more important in the future.

Gus Desbarats has won an array of creative design awards for his work in developing new handset concepts. He is also a futurologist and chairman of industrial design agency TheAlloy. Speaking to telecoms.com he says that one of the most important aspects of the next wave of handsets to enter the market will be how they integrate users’ “important but simple information”.

“Mobile wallets will take off to facilitate in-store and online payments, we’ll see handsets being used for identification purposes, and even for access keys – such as house keys. And they’ll also be important for ticketing, such as being used as rail or bus tickets,” he says.

This evolution marks the changing nature of the mobile phone. No longer is the design of the hardware the most influential or crucial factor in consumers’ minds when they buy a new handset, as, beyond the inclusion of a touchscreen, the user experience is almost exclusively defined by what is offered on the software side. The difference between smartphones and feature phones is more than just the form factor, but the access to sophisticated operating systems and their ecosystems, with app stores, internet browsers, and content and contact synching.

And with the rise of cloud services, handset design could begin to take even more of a back seat, as devices begin to serve merely as an access portal to the cloud. As this evolution takes place, one argument is that, rather than have one smartphone that encompasses all of the functionalities that a user needs, consumers will be more interested in possessing a variety of devices with different screen sizes.

“What will become important is screen size, and that will depend on what information you’re accessing,” Desbarats says. “Yes, there will be more people watching TV on small form factors, but I think you’re going to see just a greater diversity of form factors. We’re seeing that already with the iPhone and iPad. People are simply consuming content on form factor that makes sense.”

However, handset manufacturers are not about to sit back and let software providers define the mobile phones of the new era. Device manufacturers have also invested heavily in research and development to ensure that consumers opt for their particular brand.

Manufacturers are fast approaching the time when they will have to entice users with new designs, and they may need to move away from the now common 3.5-4in, touchscreen device, popularised by the first iPhone. In the short-term, what this means is that manufacturers will be focused on creating devices that “are more user-friendly,” says Desbarats, as today’s smartphones aren’t as user-friendly as some might think.

“Smartphones have been hijacked by the iPhone movement,” he says. “They’ve created this nice, beautiful device. But at the end of the day, if you really think about it, they’re not actually very easy devices to use on the go,” he says.

When, for example, a user wants to browse through their list of contacts, there are arguably more user-friendly methods than scrolling through an alphabetical list using your finger. TheAlloy works with a host of handset manufacturers and creates concept phones for them, ideas from which will be used in handsets that will commercially available later down the line. While the agency cannot divulge details of the ideas it works on with manufacturers, it also creates its own concept phones to demonstrate fresh and innovative design ideas. One of the concept phones that it has created has an interface that allows users to simply squeeze and tilt the handset in order to scroll through content, which the company claims is easier than using touchscreens while on the go.

“All of these kinds of things just mean that you can navigate in a shorter time and with less dexterity focused on the screen,” he says. “You need to be able to do stuff while you’re moving—that’s what’s missing in mobile phone interfaces generally. Everyone’s going app crazy but there’s a lot of stuff that can just be done on the go, such as setting access permissions. These things can be done much more naturally while you’re doing other things and we’ll see more of that.”

But in order to incorporate this “squeeze and tilt” functionality into phones, Desbarats says that manufacturers must move away from the rigid, solid structure of today’s devices. Indeed, flexible handsets enabled by nanotechnology are now being touted as the future of the mobile device by some vendors.
It may sound implausible, but Samsung has confirmed that it will be launching a smartphone with a flexible screen in 2012. The firm has been showcasing its flexible Super-AMOLED displays since 2010 and company spokesman Robert Yi confirmed in an earnings call in October that products featuring the technology will be on sale early next year.

Market leader Nokia is also working on flexible handsets and Tapani Jokinen, head of design technology insights at the Finnish vendor, says it will be introducing similar twist and squeeze functionalities in its future phones.

“The new properties that nanotechnology bring to us are really beginning to impact our designs, so we are trying to figure out how we could use this to bring meaningful experiences that really matter to users,” he explains.

Taking the concept a stage further, Nokia hopes to challenge the traditional design of the mobile phone, with a project called Iho. Iho is the Finnish word for ‘skin’ and the project aims to create a skin-like wearable phone. “This is an electronic skin that we could use to create a flexible, transformable phone that you can attach to your skin and it will always be there with you 24×7,” Jokinen explains.

The phone would be wrapped around the user’s arm. Nokia’s experimentation has found that, using nanotechnology, the components in a phone do not have to be in specified places and can instead be moved around. The technology can also be used to create materials that are not just flexible, but also stretchable.
“The material allows you to stretch the whole device and make it bigger, and it will record all of the events that the user experiences during the day. It will enable us to create totally new types of devices that have never been seen in the market before,” he says.

But it’s not just the introduction of more flexible handsets that will challenge what has now become the “traditional” design of the smartphone. For example Korean firm Pantech has said that it will introduce a portfolio of Android handsets equipped with ‘touchless’ hand gesture recognition technology.

The first device to feature the innovation, the Vega, was launched in South Korea in November 2011. According to Pantech it enables users to answer incoming calls, activate the MP3 player, play games, and perform other tasks using simple hand gestures, recognised by the phone without the user having to touch the screen.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is looking to extend the capabilities of touchscreen technology, with the OmniTouch project one of its most notable programmes. OmniTouch is the name being given to a technology that turns any surface in the user’s environment into a touch interface. It is a wearable system that enables graphical, interactive, multitouch input onto a range of everyday surfaces.

“We wanted to capitalise on the tremendous surface area the real world provides,” explains Hrvoje Benko, of Microsoft’s natural interaction research group. “The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer. If we could appropriate these ad hoc surfaces in an on-demand way, we could deliver all of the benefits of mobility while expanding the user’s interactive capability.”

The prototype OmniTouch device is built to be wearable, and combines a laser-based pico-projector with a depth-sensing camera. “This custom camera works on a similar principle to Kinect [the Microsoft xBox motion-based gaming interface], but it is modified to work at short range,” explains Benko.

One technology that could revolutionise services brought to mobiles, but is today just in its infancy, is augmented reality. AR is set to become much more pervasive as researchers are experimenting with new use cases for the technology. But Gus Desbarats suggests that there might be a barrier to uptake in the form of user inertia. Consumers might simply find the idea of a virtual overlay on the real world too “weird”.

Because of that, he says, AR is: “more likely to be used for professional services applications, in the short term; for emergency services for example. It could allow you to be able to look a building and see who’s there, or look at a person and detect their body temperature,” he says. “So many devices and monitors are going to be connected, we’re just going to be swamped with information.”

Digital Money?

In an attempt to do away with physical cash, The Royal Canadian Mint has invited software developers across North America to test and challenge a digital currency technology and determine its applicability to the current marketplace.

The Mint, which recently said it will phase the Canadian penny out of circulation,  has developed prototypes and has five patents pending for the digital currency, called MintChip. The currency uses a secure chip to hold electronic value and a secure protocol to transfer electronic value from one chip to another and this value can be moved over email, software applications, or by physically tapping devices together, making it ideal for mobile payments.

Supported platforms are Android, BlackBerry, Windows and iOS.

“As part of its research and development efforts, the Mint has developed MintChip, which could be characterised as an evolution of physical money, with the added benefits of being electronic,” said Ian E. Bennett, president and CEO of the Mint.

The developer challenge will be conducted by ChallengePost and is open to software developers in North America to create innovative mobile payment applications using the technology.

According to the Mint, the initiative will test the robustness and applicability of the technology with industry experts and help to guide its further development.

Mobile operators in Europe are being ‘regulated to death’ !

Mobile operators are being “regulated to death”, according to Google chairman Eric Schmidt, endangering their ability to invest in better networks.

“It is very difficult to be a telecom operator right now,” Schmidt told the Mobile World Congress during a keynote speech on Tuesday. “You’ve got the reality that you have to upgrade your equipment to 4G and you have customers who are busy using enormous amounts of the bandwidth that is so scarce for you, and governments, in addition to regulating you to death, are charging huge fees for new bandwidth.”

In order to deliver 4G super-fast mobile internet, mobile operators must buy more spectrum. The UK auction is due to conclude early next year and analysts estimate it could raise up to £4bn for the British government.

Schmidt called for a lighter-touch approach to the industry. “The operators and regulators have got to sit down and come to some kind of rational collaboration. We at Google are critically dependent on this infrastructure building out.”

Schmidt surprised many by siding with the mobile phone giants in the debate about telecoms regulation which was kicked off on Monday by Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao.

Colao called for a “moratorium” on regulation, saying rounds of price cuts imposed by European governments were endangering mobile operators’ ability to invest in upgrading their networks for 4G mobile internet.

Vodafone and the other major European operators met Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European commission responsible for the digital agenda, on Monday morning to argue regulators should pare back their role in controlling mobile call prices.

Kroes has been responsible for pushing through successive rounds of cuts, the latest of which was voted on by MEPs on Tuesday.

They agreed to bring down the cost of using a phone while travelling in the EU. So-called roaming rates will be capped at a wholesale price of £170, subject to a vote by the European parliament this year. This is significantly lower than the £400 originally proposed by the commission.

Kroes appeared to be in no mood to step back. She used Twitter on Tuesday morning to hit back at Colao, writing: “Message to Vittorio + Vodafone: I call your bluff. I take the side of the Vodafone customer.”

Digicomm is THE ‘Most Loved’ Telecoms company in the UK

Video of Mark Pollitt receiving the award

When we were approached to take part in a marketing campaign by the Best of Bolton  to find the ‘most loved’ businesses in the UK, the team set about speaking to our customer base to bring together testimonials.

Mark Pollitt, Managing said, “Initially we approached the marketing campaign with a little scepticism but found that it was a fantastic opportunity to speak to our client base; our clients were more than happy to offer testimonials. The feedback was so positive not only about the services and products we offer but about team members themselves. The majority of testimonials given said they would never leave Digicomm because of the relationship they have with us. It was such a boost for morale and was a chance to rediscover that Digicomm’s USP is its approach, which is to be there for the client in the long term and do what is best for them”.

It was an even greater boost when the company heard they had been voted the ‘most loved’ telecoms company in the UK.

Mark said “we are absolutely delighted that our clients took the time to write testimonials and vote on line, this really means a lot to both me and the team.”

An awards ceremony will take place on the 8th March which Digicomm will attend with the other national winners.

FSA Regulations

The FSA requires call recording of mobiles,

Digicomm is working with Oak Telecom to provide a

solution that works!

Phil Reynolds, Joint CEO at Oak Telecom, believes many of the organisations affected by the new FSA regulations on the recording of mobile phone calls have still done nothing about making sure they meet the compliance date of November 14 this year.

“No-one is rushing out to buy mobile phone call recording applications right now and it’s highly likely many companies affected the new rules will only realise a week or two before they come in to effect that they are not compliant.

For the channel this represents more than one sales opportunity however; not only to sell compliant solutions to the financial services sector that falls directly under the new FSA rules but also, to what we at Oak Telecom see as the ‘ripple effect’, potential users of integrated fixed and mobile call recording solutions that will emerge as a result of all the marketing surrounding these new rules. Organisations with sales and service people on the road for example will want to know how they are interacting with customers when they are out of the office.

Oak Telecom has been working with Voxsmart, a technology company, for some time on applications and now, together, using their call capture technology and our storage and retrieval technology, we have an FSA compliant solution with our recordX and a channel offering that will open up many opportunities for partners.

Working with BlackBerry devices – the most prevalent mobile phone in the City and the only device that can be both ‘locked down’ and centrally managed via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, we have a secure, tamper proof solution, that cannot be turned off, for all an organisation’s devices. The solution provides for an audit trail and even notifies the organisation if a user tries to change the SIM. This now means that recordX provides a complete, fixed line and mobile FSA compliant solution.”

Paul Manyweathers, Business Development Manager at Voxsmart, says that his company has been developing applications for Blackberry devices for six years so when it came to producing an FSA compliant mobile call recording solution they were well placed.

“There is a great deal of synergy between our product and that of Oak Telecom and the level of integration we have achieved between the two is fantastic. This means that utter confidence can be placed by the user in our ability to capture the call in the first instance and the same confidence placed in recordX’s ability to record, store, search for and playback that call at any time. The level of integration also means that all the reports and alarms that Oak’s recordX provides for fixed line call recording are also now available for BlackBerry mobile devices.

Of course if an employee uses their own device instead of the company device then they circumvent the rules – but, and it’s a big but, if they do that then there is no audit trail for any ensuing trade that resulted.

As far as I can see this solution is unique to the market place in that it provides seamless end to end security to meet FSA compliance and organisations deploying the solution can, when being audited, show a complete ring fenced operation.

Most people understand that the smart money in call recording is more likely to be spent on the fast and simple ability to search for and locate the call recording you want and with Oak’s recordX we have achieved that goal. Users can search for recordings using a number of criteria including time of day, phone numbers, user names and whether the call was in or outbound.

Another key factor for the applications is scalability – we can supply solutions from one user upwards.

Why the Blackberry device? It’s because we can lock down the device to make it tamper proof and due to our application being loaded on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server we don’t need to have all the devices in for modification – we can do it centrally. So, roll on 14 November – we’re ready with a channel solution to meet the FSA compliance requirements!”

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