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The BellHaves Implementation of a Voice-over-IP Centrex Service Offering

The BellHaves Implementation of a Voice-over-IP Centrex Service Offering

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Published by Mike Haverhals
A Business Case Analysis
A Business Case Analysis

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Published by: Mike Haverhals on Oct 21, 2008
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The BellHaves Implementation of a Voice-over-IP Centrex Service Offering.

A Business Case Analysis

Submitted By: Mike Haverhals, Principal Haves Engineering Consulting and Design 101 E San Fernando St., Suite 408 San Jose, CA 95112 haves@pacbell.net Submitted To: David Fraley Gartner Dataquest 251 River Oaks Pkwy. San Jose, CA 95134 Submittal Date: November 1, 2002

Index
S.0
S.1 S.2 S.3 S.4 S.5

Index Executive Summary
Project Scope LongBoard Course of Action Sylantro Course of Action VocalData Course of Action Reccomendation

2 4
4 5 5 5 5

M.0 1.0 2.0 3.0
3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6

Mission Statement Introduction Summary Findings Project Specifications
Project Goals Technical Specifications Financial Specifications Chronological Specification Subscriber Specifications Pricing Specifications

6 7 7 8
8 8 9 9 10 10

4.0
4.1

Courses of Action
LongBoard

10
10
10 11 13

4.1.1 Hardware Information 4.1.2 Software Information 4.1.3 Financial Information

4.2

Sylantro

13
13 14 15

4.2.1 Hardware Information 4.2.2 Software Information 4.2.3 Financial Information

4.3

VocalData

16
16 17 18

4.3.1 Hardware Information 4.3.2 Software Information 4.3.3 Financial Information

5.0
5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Evaluation Criteria
Net Present Value Installation and Supportability Features and Functionality Customer Satisfaction

18
18 19 19 19

6.0
6.1

Analysis
LongBoard

20
20
20 20 20 20

6.1.1 Net Present Value 6.1.2 Installation and Supportability 6.1.3 Features and Functionality 6.1.4 Customer Satisfaction

6.2
6.2.1

Sylantro
Net Present Value

21
21

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6.2.2 Installation and Supportability 6.2.3 Features and Functionality 6.2.4 Customer Satisfaction

21 21 21

6.3

VocalData

22
22 22 22 22

6.3.1 Net Present Value 6.3.2 Installation and Supportability 6.3.3 Features and Functionality 6.3.4 Customer Satisfaction

7.0

Recommendation

23

Appendices
A1.0 Decision Matrix A2.0 Capital Request Calculations
A2.1 A2.2 A2.3 A3.1 A3.2 A3.3 A3.4 A3.5 A4.1 A4.2 A4.3 A4.4 A4.5 A4.6 A4.7 A4.8 A4.9 A5.1 A5.2 A5.3 A5.4 A5.5 A5.6 A5.7 A5.8 A5.9 LongBoard Sylantro VocalData Realtime White Paper Realtime Partner Solution Realtime Applications Server LongBoard Presentation LongBoard Pricing c-Business ComOffice ComRIO ComTraveler ComCierge ComMerchant ComPortal Sylantro Presentation Sylantro Pricing VOISS Overview VOISS Desktop Portal VOISS Mobility VOISS Administrator VOISS VPN VOISS Proxy Firewall VF-1 Security Presentation VocalData Presentation VocalData Presentation

A3.0 LongBoard Data

A4.0 Sylantro Data

A5.0 VocalData Data

A6.0 Glossary of Acronyms A7.0 References

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S.0 Executive Summary
With the introduction of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) Centrex services, BellHaves is positioned to offer their customers an efficient approach to voice-grade service coupled with the innovation of mobile and computer based value added features. This avenue of service will serve to retain the existing PBX Centrex customer base as well as enable the opportunity to realize additional service annuity from both existing and new customers that the VoIP Centrex solution will attract.

S.1

Project Scope

In order to best serve BellHaves and their customers, a careful investigation of various solutions from industry-leading external vendors must be undertaken. This analysis involves the careful research of 4 primary factors affecting the feasibility of the courses of action presented by LongBoard, Sylantro, and VocalData. The first factor that must be addressed is the ease of installation and overall supportability of the solution. After exploring the physical implementation of the VoIP Centrex system, the features and functionality of the system must be examined. In order to select a financially responsible approach, the solution must deliver a sufficient Net Present Value (NPV). And, in keeping with the mission of BellHaves to deliver the best possible service to their constituents, the VoIP Centrex solution must provide an excellent level of customer satisfaction.

S.2

LongBoard Course of Action

The LongBoard approach to a VoIP Centrex solution requires a moderate degree of support due to the inclusion of multiple third-party vendors. However, these vendors do provide for a set of features that has been carefully selected from across the industry. The NPV of $54.8 million delivered by the LongBoard solution is adequate, with customer pricing relatively average for the VoIP Centrex market. And, the ability to customize applications on an enterprise-by-enterprise basis will result in an above average level of customer satisfaction.

S.3

Sylantro Course of Action

Sylantro’s VoIP Centrex system is based on their own application enabled softswitch, which allows for simple installation and knowledgeable support. The features provided by the system are average for the VoIP Centrex industry as they are straightforward with a high degree of usability. The NPV of $53.7 million delivered by the Sylantro solution is satisfactory, with a slightly below average cost of implementation. However, due to their competitively priced applications, they will be able to achieve a higher than average rate of market presence. By delivering a cost-effective course of action with value added applications, the Sylantro offering will achieve an excellent level of customer satisfaction.

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S.4

VocalData Course of Action

The course of action presented by VocalData is a highly flexible and highly customizable VoIP Centrex system. This involvement of numerous equipment vendors allows for many options at the cost of a higher level of support necessary for installation. However, once the solution has been physically implemented the additional options and features provided are well ahead of the standard offerings present in the industry today. These powerful additions to VocalData’a solution deliver an NPV of $67.1 million, which is greater than the industry average. Unfortunately, this is due to the higher pricing of value added options that will cause to limit the interest of prospective customers. VocalData’s VoIP Centrex solution will ultimately deliver a higher than average level of customer satisfaction to those customers wiling to pay for above average services.

S.5

Recommendation

Through careful analysis and exploration, it is determined that the Sylantro solution for delivering VoIP Centrex is the best choice of the 3 courses of action presented. Through Sylantro’s implementation and support of a VoIP Centrex system, end users will be able to realize the financial benefits of this cost effective technology. End users will also gain a high level of customer satisfaction from the usability and options that the value added features contribute to this enriched VoIP Centrex experience. And, through the competitively priced packaging of service applications, an increase in total revenue will be achieved through the acquisition of a larger share of the VoIP Centrex market. By selecting Sylantro’s VoIP Centrex solution, the best possible result will be achieved by both BellHaves and their clientele.

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M.0 Mission Statement
With the advent of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) based Centrex service as a cost effective and feature rich alternative to voice-grade services offered by traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Centrex systems, BellHaves is faced with responding effectively and efficiently to this paradigm shift in the communication industry. A VoIP Centrex solution must be selected by BellHaves that will allow them to establish a VoIP Centrex market presence by first retaining their existing customer base; and by second enabling the opportunity for growth into this new generation of telecommunications. The solution will be selected from one of three leading VoIP Centrex providers - LongBoard, Sylantro, and VocalData. Through careful analysis of these 3 vendor’s offerings and selection of the best solution to fit the needs of the business, BellHaves will not only be able to retain our market share of Centrex applications but also be positioned to acquire a larger segment of the commercial market through the offering of value added features enabled by a VoIP Centrex solution. The implementation of this solution will allow for the best possible outcome for both BellHaves and their valued customers.

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1.0 Introduction
As the communications industry continues to innovate and develop new technologies, the evolution of the Local Area Network (LAN) structure has lead to the inevitable adoption of a converged network that delivers both data and real time communications through a single medium. The driving force behind this fusion of the computer and the telephone is the VoIP approach to delivering voice-grade services over the packet-switched network. With this comes the difficulty of providing real time services without suffering the illeffects of common data transmission problems such as packet loss and delay. Therefore, it is crucial that any system used to provide VoIP services is able to run reliably and deliver a high Quality of Service (QoS). However, once these technical issues are addressed, the opportunity to utilize the efficiency of an entirely IP-based network will deliver a significant reduction in the cost of providing voice-grade services. Once the implemented VoIP system has proven that it can adequately support the transmission of real time services, it must also be able to deliver an enriched array of features. By offering not only basic Centrex services but also by utilizing the combined resources of the converged data network, a VoIP Centrex system may be deployed that offers numerous value added options via a personal computer. At this stage of the VoIP offering, the system begins its transformation from an expense-saving solution to a revenue-generating solution. The combination of reliable, cost-efficient service and a diverse feature set will provide the end user with a high level of customer satisfaction in terms of both usability and financial allocation. This, in turn, allows the service provider to retain their existing customer base and also forge ahead in obtaining a larger market share with which to generate revenue.

2.0 Summary Findings
While the implementation of a VoIP Centrex solution is a given, the course of action to achieve this requires a considerable amount of analysis. The solution must deliver a technically sound approach that delivers a high quality of service without being too complex to adequately support. The appropriate course of action must also deliver additional features that are powerful yet easily understood in order to enrich the users overall experience without introducing frustrations due to difficulties with usability. And, the solution must be able to accomplish these tasks without losing its appeal to the targeted market segment due to any excessive costs associated with the implementation of a VoIP Centrex system. After careful investigation and analysis of the 3 alternatives presented, it is determined that the Sylantro course of action for the implementation of a VoIP Centrex system is the best choice for BellHaves and its customers.

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3.0 Project Specifications
3.1 Project Goals

As the Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC), BellHaves has a significant opportunity to benefit from the development, trial, and introduction into the marketplace of a standalone VoIP Centrex solution. The implementation of a VoIP Centrex solution will allow for the BellHaves to convert PBX sales into service annuity. The initial offering to replace the PBX will be a carrier-hosted system that includes basics such as voicemail and IP phones. Entrance into the marketplace will be focused on small to medium enterprises and will allow for expansion into larger enterprises as the market matures.

3.2

Technical Specifications

Each VoIP Centrex solution will be standalone and will not involve any long haul VoIP. Thus, all traffic will be turned over to a Class-5 switch for transport across the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Basic PBX Centrex services to be provided by the VoIP Centrex solution before value added services are implemented are given in Figure 3-1.
Call Forwarding Call Return Call Transfer Call Screening Call Waiting Call Holding Caller ID Speed Dialing Repeat Dialing Redial Direct Inward Calling Direct Outward Dialing 4-Digit Calling 3-Way Calling Priority Ringing

Figure 3-1: Common Centrex Services

A signaling gateway and Signaling System #7 (SS7) network interface will be provided based upon vendor requirements. A media gateway will be required to implement the VoIP Centrex solution and must be able to support increases in user traffic based upon the growth of the subscriber base. And, all existing premise routers will be able to be integrated into the VoIP solution. A layout of the VoIP Centrex solution is given in Figure 3-2. Only IP phones will be used in the implementation of the VoIP Centrex solution. And, all of these phones will be rented and not sold. The percentage of executive and standard IP phone sets installed per solution is 15% and 85% respectively. While the initial Operational Support System (OSS) will be the vendor’s proprietary solution, the vendor must be able to support the integration of the VoIP Centrex solution into existing Business Support Systems (BSS) and OSS systems.

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Figure 3-2: Hardware Layout of VoIP Solution

3.3

Financial Specifications

BellHaves will generate revenue in two forms. The first form of revenue will be through charges associated with the installation of the VoIP Centrex system. Continuing revenue will then be collected in the form of ongoing monthly service charges. All trunking charges will be calculated on a per-user basis. And, no incremental investments will be needed to upgrade the existing Central Office (CO) infrastructure. Value added features for the VoIP Centrex solution will be determined by both vendor recommendations and the estimated adoption rate of features by end-users. All valueadded features (with the exception of basic PBX functionality and voicemail) will carry incremental charges.

3.4

Chronological Specifications

A total of 10 solutions will be purchased and installed over an 8-year timeframe. The rollout of these solutions is given in Figure 3-3.
Year 1 Solutions 1 Year 2 2 Year 3 1 Year 4 1 Year 5 1 Year 6 1 Year 7 1 Year 8 2

Figure 3-3: Annual Number of Solutions Implemented per Year

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3.5

Subscriber Specifications

The initial subscriber base per solution is estimated at 5000 users. The number of users for all solutions will continue to grow over the 8-year period, resulting in an estimated total of 219,850 subscribers by the end of the 8-year period. The yearly estimated new subscriber base per solution is given in Figure 3-4, and the total yearly subscriber base for all 10 solutions implemented for each course of action over the 8-year period is given in Appendix A2.0.
Year 1 Subscribers: 5,000 Year 2 10,500 Year 3 14,700 Year 4 19,110 Year 5 23,888 Year 6 29,859 Year 7 35,831 Year 8 40,131

Figure 3-4: Annual Number of Subscribers per Solution

3.6

Pricing Specifications

All pricing for vendor-specific services are provided by the individual vendors and assumed to be legitimate. In order to connect to the external network (the PSTN), the access charge per user for a T1 channel is estimated at $8. And, service pricing over the 8-year period is adjusted for an inflation rate of 3.5%. IP phones are initially priced at $450 per executive set and $175 per standard set; with per set rental values of $26.25 and $10.21, respectively. All IP phone prices are depreciated over the 8-year period at a rate of 2 %. Phone pricing for the various courses of action over the 8-year period is given in Appendix A2.0.

4.0 Courses of Action
4.1 LongBoard

The LongBoard solution for a VoIP Centrex system is the LongBoard Realtime Communications Platform (LRCP) and is comprised of a multivendor network that supplies carrier-grade voice services. VoIP Centrex is delivered through the assimilation of prespecified hardware from multiple vendors with its own proprietary feature server in order to provide services and applications that have been tested at 99.997% reliability in real-world testing. A layout of LongBoard’s multivendor system is given in Figure 4-1. 4.1.1 Hardware Information While the hardware associated with LongBoard’s VoIP solution has been selected from a number of vendors, the feature server itself is provided by LongBoard. The feature server provides a Sun Microsystems Solaris platform for SIP call control, SIP-based applications and OSS/BSS interfacing. QoS for LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex system is ensured through the support of RSVP and MPLS protocols; and all server subsystems are completely redundant ensuring no single point of failure. System management may also be performed through the server’s support of SNMP and CORBA.

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Figure 4-1: The LCRP System Diagram

The remaining hardware that comprises LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex solution is provided by outside vendors. SS7 interfacing and connection to the PSTN are provided by a Nuera SSC media gateway (with SIP and MGCP support) and a Nueura ORCA GX softswitch. Conference services are enabled through the use of a Voyant conference server. An Iperia UC server is employed for voicemail services. And, SAIC is responsible for systems integration and service. Finally, a various assortment of IP phones can be supported; however the LongBoard course of action utilizes the installment of PingTel IP phone sets. 4.1.2 Software Information The LongBoard VoIP Centrex solution employs both its own software modules as well as applications from third-party vendors (Iperia and Voyant) to support voicemail and conferencing. The LongBoard solution also enables both provider and subscriber access and management of their accounts via a web portal. And, the ability to design customized applications in order to create a flexible course of action that can adequately adapt to fit customer needs is also included. Basic services associated with VoIP Centrex service are delivered via LongBoard’s Personal Service Management (PSM) module. This application allows for basic features such as call forwarding, caller ID and call logging. The ability for end users to customize their own services is enabled through the use of the Subscriber Self-Provisioning (SSP) Module. This application allows for web-based provisioning of basic features and the download of advanced services. The Outlook Support application enables LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex solution to provide full integration with Microsoft Outlook. This module enables the use of Outlook directories in conjunction with call actions and inbound call notifications in the form of pop up windows.
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The CPL Editor provides a rules-based call manager for incoming calls. This application may be used to establish rule-based call handling dependent on a wide range of factors from caller identification to the time and date of the incoming call. The iPulse PC Client provides the end user with access to a virtual community network through the use of an instant messaging module. The application allows for the creation of buddy-lists and displays the reach-ability status of other network users creating an avenue for real time presence management. iPulse also provides the option of call origination, call status, and incoming call notification. This fully brandable application also enables the display of banners and the adoption of customized skins. The LRCP Monitor Control (LMC) provides remote monitoring of the entire LCRP through both command line and web-based interfaces. This application allows for the tracking of network resources such as processing, memory, disk, and overall network usage. It also includes the capability of generating 5 varying degrees of alarms and enables the remote start and stop of applications and related processes. LongBoard also provides an array of Software Development Kits (SDKs) with their Realtime Developer module that allows users to design and implement their own applications on the LongBoard Realtime Application Server. The suite is comprised of five SDKs that allow for the efficient development of web applications, SIP servlets and user agents, and integrated management systems. These SDKs utilize industry standard programming languages such as XML and JAVA in order to allow for rapid deployment of new applications without excessive learning time involved with the development process. The voicemail related options in LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex solution are provided by Iperia. Along with the basic voicemail capability, Iperia provides additional PC based features. Iperia’s Visual Voicemail service creates a detailed log of all voicemail received and allows for the non-sequential playback of messages and simple message forwarding and filing via the GUI. The Voice Email service allows for the access and creation of e-mail from any telephone and the audio transmission of an e-mail through the use of text-to-speech encoding/decoding. Iperia offers unified communications not only in the integration of voicemail and e-mail, but also through the ability to send and receive faxes. Finally, the Auto-Attendant function ensures that all incoming calls are answered and correctly transferred to specific users or voice mailboxes 24 hours a day. Conferencing services for LongBoard’s solution are provided by another third-party vendor, Voyant, through their ReadiVoice system. ReadiVoice provides a reservationless, on-demand conferencing system that can be initiated and managed via either IP phone or web-based portal. The system also includes web-based self-provisioning and allows for access through dial-in, dial-out, and blast-dial calling.

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4.1.3 Financial Information The LongBoard course of action for a VoIP Centrex system delivers an NPV over the 8year implementation period of approximately $54.8 million. The estimated revenue generated over the 8-year period is $712.7 million and the overall capital costs of the project over the 8-year period are estimated at $108.7 million. The capital cost of the initial solution is estimated at $1.8 million, and the initial cost-per-user is estimated at $113. And, the course of action is expected to achieve payback in the second full year of service. (See Appendix A2.1 for all financial calculations.) The company is privately funded by venture capital firms such as Berkeley International and Interwest Partners. They have offices both domestically in California, Texas, and North Carolina as well as international offices in the United Kingdom. And, LongBoard has established partnerships with Domestic RBOCs, long distance carriers, and international PTTs.

4.2

Sylantro

The Sylantro solution for a VoIP Centrex system consists of a ready-to-deploy course of action that includes both its own prespecified hardware (including its own applicationenabled sowftswitch) and bundled software applications that have been developed inhouse. 4.2.1 Hardware Information The Sylantro VoIP Centrex system is comprised of its own application-enabled softswitch that provides an extensible platform for VoIP Centrex features. This softswitch utilizes application servers running on the Sun Microsystems Solaris platform and supports such widely used protocols as SIP, MGCP, CAS, and VXML for VoIP communications. The softswitch also allows for service and platform management for both subscriber and provider via HTML, Java, and SNMP standards; and allows for multiple OSS integration and support through a CORBA interface. The Sylantro softswitch also provides the ability to create services through the use of HTTP. Finally, Sylantro’s application softswitch ultimately allows for the complete replacement of the Class-5 switch in order to progress from the hybrid of packet-switched & circuit-switched networks once the public packet-switched network is able to achieve a high QoS. A diagram of Sylantro’s capabilities is given in Figure 4-2. Connectivity to the PSTN for the Sylantro’s hybrid solution is provided in the form of a Sonus Networks media signaling gateway (although the solution is interoperable with all major media gateways if others are necessary). The actual phone sets can be determined based upon the specific needs of the customer since Sylantro’s VoIP Centrex solution is fully compatible with a vast majority of analog, digital, and IP phones.

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Figure 4-2: Sylantro’s Application-Enabled Softswitch Structure

4.2.2 Software Information The software services that Sylantro offers are in the form of prepackaged bundles that include everything form basic PBX Centrex functions to mobility options to enriched call-center and enterprise services. All features are accessible through web-based portals allowing for 24/7 remote accessibility. And, all user interfaces are fully brandable allowing for customized portals. Sylantro’s c-business suite comprises the basic feature-set for VoIP Centrex services. It includes all of the customary features associated with current Centrex offerings such as call waiting, call transfers, call forwarding, conferencing, voicemail, and DID. The cBusiness suite also includes an end user portal with secure login that allows for both selfprovisioning and company-wide configuration. And, an online user help guide is also included to assist new users in their adoption of the c-Business suite. The ComOffice module allows for seamless integration of service into the Microsoft Windows platform and specifically the Microsoft Outlook application. It allows for full synchronization, click-to-call directory access, and integration into the Outlook toolbar. ComOffice also generates multiple call logs and allows for phone assistance through the use of user definable “reach me settings.” The ComRIO module provides a single number contact for telecommuters and remote employees. Through a self-provisioning interface, end-users are able to route incoming calls to remote locations as needed. And, by routing outgoing calls through the office, there is no disclosure of personal phone numbers.

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The ComTraveler module takes mobility one step further by enabling mobile “reach me” services. Through the use of a wireless handset, the end user is able to access mobile directories & call logs from any location. And, with the integration of voicemail, the end user is able to realize what can essentially be defined as a mobile office phone. The ComCierge module is Sylantro’s offering for personalized call services. By establishing a single mailbox and single number services, users are able to route calls through a single interface. This, in turn, allows for the introduction of personalized call treatments that can be applied to all calls. This option allows for the establishment of personal contact lists, VIP categories, and a rules-based routing of incoming calls. The ComMerchant module establishes an informal call center for small (to medium) sized offices. This service provides queuing and balanced call distribution, music on hold, and the ability to convey simple announcements. Through the use of a selfprovisioning interface, users are also able to check-in and checkout accordingly in order to maximize the efficiency of call distribution. The ComConsole module introduces a soft receptionist console for full PBX replacement. This option adds flexibility to incoming call routing since it can be used remotely. And, it allows for the integration of instant messaging (IM) services. The Element Management System (EMS) module is Sylantro’s approach to a carrierbased management of the VoIP Centrex system. It provides a remotely accessible graphical user interface (GUI) that enables the management of multiple servers from any location. It is also based on job classifications, which allows for the breakdown of functions and seamless integration into organizations with a union presence. 4.2.3 Financial Information Sylantro’s solution for a VoIP Centrex system delivers an NPV over the 8-year implementation period of approximately $53.7 million. The estimated revenue generated over the 8-year period is $622.1 million and the overall capital costs of the project over the 8-year period are estimated at $60.5 million. The capital cost of the initial solution is estimated at $718,000, and the initial cost-per-user is estimated at $126. And, the project is expected to achieve payback in the first full year of service (See Appendix A2.2 for all financial calculations.) The company itself is fully funded with around $77 million in backing from investors such as Mayfield, Vanguard, and Bank of America. Sylantro has also established a service provider customer base that includes alliances with Verizon and GoBeam.

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4.3

VocalData

Through the incorporation of numerous multivendor hardware options, VocalData provides the ability to deploy VoIP Centrex systems that can be completely tailored to fit the customer. These customizations can also be made to the service applications in order to provide a full-featured solution. 4.3.1 Hardware Information The VocalData solution employs their Voice Over IP SoftSwitch (VOISS), which incorporates both its own call agent and feature servers. The emphasis of the VocalData VoIP Centrex system is the UNIX-based feature server that allows for redundant operation of VOISS application and database software. The Sun Microsystems server also supports SIP, MGCP, and SCCP protocols. Along with the features server is the ability to incorporate an additional VOISS SS-1 Streaming Server that frees the system resources of other VOISS servers in order provide dedicated call processing. The VocalData system also includes conferencing and security options. Through the implementation of the VOISS NB-60 Conference Bridge, the system is able to support on-demand and meet-me conferencing services. And, through the installation of the VOISS VF-1 Proxy Firewall, VocalData’s VoIP Centrex solution enables IP calls across both private and public firewalls without sacrificing network security. The VOISS VF-1 is able to transmit these IP calls by supporting the same standard protocols as the VOISS feature server (SIP, MGCP, and SCCP). And, this added security allows for the easy implementation of VOISS Virtual Private Network (VPN) services for remote locations. This security enhanced network layout is shown in Figure 4-3.

Figure 4-3: VocalData’s VOISS Network Layout

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The VocalData system is compatible with a wide variety of both access/media gateways and third-party softswitches from vendors such as Cisco Systems, Sonus Networks, and Telcordia Technologies. This allows for end users to further customize their network configurations to incorporate as many different vendor offerings as is beneficial to their business. This multi-vendor support also includes the compatibility of numerous IP phone sets from vendors such as Cisco, Polycom, and Iwatsu. And, the system supports SNMP in order to maintain the “five-nines” (99.999%) reliability VocalData strives to ensure. 4.3.2 Software Information VocalData’s VoIP Centrex features are delivered via the VOISS Desktop Portal application. These functions include call screening, call logs, and also TAPI-based calling that provides full Microsoft integration through the use of their Telephony Application Program Interface. The VOISS Mobility Solutions suite includes the access of all features from any remote location via the VOISS Web Portal. These features include one-click integrated presence that links telephony status to instant messaging status in the event that the end user needs to leave the work site. Incoming calls can be set to ring at both office and remote locations through the use of the Remote VOISS module. If the end user desires a discrete notification of incoming calls, the VOISS Assistant module can be used to direct calls to PDAs, PCs, or Mobile phones for real time routing decisions on a call-by-call basis. Finally, the VOISS system also supports the 802.11 wireless LAN protocol in order to enable interoffice mobility. The integration of voicemail and e-mail is provided through the VOISS Voice & Unified Messaging module. This option allows for access to traditional voicemail from PC portals; and also enables full integration with e-mail applications such as Microsoft Outlook. Through the utilization of VOISS Conferencing, subscribers are able to access ondemand and meet-me conferencing services to any internal or external user through either a PC portals or standard IP phones. VocalData’s VOISS Front Desk module delivers a GUI that empowers receptionists and operators to efficiently route calls throughout the organization from their PC. It also allows for access to corporate directories and presence management through the utilization of call status indicators. The VOISS Informal Call Center establishes a centralized environment for call queuing and distribution. This module also provides music on hold and the ability to convey prerecorded messages.

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VocalData enables the customization of their services with the VOISS Application Programming Interface (API) application. Additional functionality can be provided through the development of applications that utilize the real time capture of system information via TCP/IP. The VOISS Administrator allows for the setup, modification, and maintenance of VocalData’s VoIP Centrex system. Through the use of setup wizards, the administrator can quickly setup the VOISS system. After the initial setup, all information and system components can be maintained on a partition-by-partition basis. If there are any questions, online help and comprehensive function descriptions are easily accessible. And, the VOISS Administrator module also provides real time monitoring of overall system performance. 4.3.3 Financial Information The VocalData solution for a VoIP Centrex system delivers an NPV over the 8-year implementation period of approximately $67.1 million. The estimated revenue generated over the 8-year period is $844.9 million and the overall capital costs of the project over the 8-year period are estimated at $73.1 million (not including the cost of additional hardware). The cost of the initial solution is estimated at $7.1 million, and the initial cost-per-user is estimated at $132. And, the project is expected to achieve payback in the second full year of service. (See Appendix A2.3 for all financial calculations.) VocalData receives its financial backing from firms such as JP Morgan Partners, SAIC, and the Silicon Valley Bank. They have also established domestic and international contracts with service providers such as NTT Comware, Intermedia Communications and Kancharla.

5.0 Evaluation Criteria
The evaluation criteria for the potential VoIP solutions is divided into 4 descriptive categories, each of which is given an associated weight in order to determine the best overall solution. The first criterion is the solution’s net present value. The second criteria is concerned with the installation and supportability of the solution. The third criterion addresses the features and functionality of the solution. And, the final criterion involves the overall customer satisfaction with the solution. The final weighted scores for each vendor are given in Appendix A1.0.

5.1

Net Present Value – 30%

The NPV of the VoIP solution addresses the financial aspects of determining the best solution for the business. In order to evaluate the cash flow necessary to implement the solution over the 8-year period, the NPV method takes into account the time-value of money. Through the use of a discount rate, the NPV calculation is able to determine today’s value of the entire project through its completion in 8 years. The formula for NPV calculations is given in Figure 5-1.

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Figure 5-1: Net Present Value Formula

5.2

Installation and Supportability – 30%

The installation and supportability criteria is primarily concerned with how seamlessly the VoIP Centrex solution can be integrated into the existing infrastructure, and the amount of ease in which it can be maintained once in place. The solution must be compatible with the existing on-site LAN, and must be able to connect flawlessly to the PSTN. The solution must also be reliable within regards to these networks in order not to cause for any difficulties over time with regards to hardware or software. Basic maintenance and upgrades are legitimate, but downtime and other persistent problems are not acceptable.

5.3

Features and Functionality – 20%

The features and functionality portion of the selection criteria investigates both the simple usability and the value-added options that can be used with the VoIP Centrex solution. The solution must be easy to use with a reasonable learning curve and provide all the basic features associated with PBX Centrex. Along with these basic features, the nature of an IP-based, voice-grade system allows for numerous value-added options that can also be utilized. Therefore, this criterion also takes into account the various additional features that the VoIP Centrex solution offers.

5.4

Customer Satisfaction – 20%

Ultimately, the VoIP Centrex solution must provide the customer with a service that they are pleased with. This criterion takes into account what the target market desires from a VoIP Centrex solution. In order for the solution to be effective within the marketplace it must fill the needs of the customer base. This includes resisting the temptation of offering extraneous services that are an unnecessary distraction from the genuine needs of the customer. By adequately identifying the needs of the small to medium RBOC customer, the best solution can be implemented to ensure a strong, continuing relationship with the customer.

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6.0 Analysis
6.1 LongBoard

6.1.1 Net Present Value With the addition of third-party services to their own VoIP Centrex applications, the LongBoard solution delivers an average NPV. The use of third-party hardware does increase the initial customer investment in order to implement the system. Still, for the services that are provided, subscriber costs are within reason. 6.1.2 Installation and Supportability The LongBoard solution for the implementation of a VoIP Centrex system includes what they have determined as the best offerings from across the industry and combines them together with their own applications server in order to create a hybrid system in order to deliver services. While this does offer what LongBoard deems as the best hardware (and software) in the industry, it causes their system to rely heavily on third-party support. In turn, this opens to possibility an increased difficulty in support due to a dependence on the coordination of external vendors. Fortunately, the hardware supplied by the thirdparty vendors is all prespecified, which should prove to ease some amount of this burden. 6.1.3 Features and Functionality LongBoard’s narrow focus on their applications does allow them to offer an extensive array of moderate to high-powered features that include their own application interfaces and presence management. And, an impressive aspect to their offering is their SDK suite for the simplified development of customized applications. This approach is catered to a slightly more sophisticated customer that is able to utilize in-house programming in order to fully maximize the potential of LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex solution. 6.1.4 Customer Satisfaction LongBoard’s VoIP Centrex solution provides all of the basic PBX Centrex functionality with the addition of a broad range of value added services. While the maintenance of a system comprised of numerous third-party vendors could prove slightly labor intensive, the overall service provided should be more than adequate for the average small to medium sized business. And, while the LongBoard coarse of action cost slightly more than other alternatives, the benefits realized by organizations that can fully utilize the SDKs will find these customizable options well worth the expense.

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6.2

Sylantro

6.2.1 Net Present Value The streamlined approach that Sylantro has taken to a VoIP solution has unfortunately resulted in a lower NPV. However, this is influenced partly by the lower cost of implementation. This scaled back financial approach should serve to promote greater market penetration since the average business customer is hesitant to commit large amounts of capital to newer technologies. 6.2.2 Installation and Supportability Sylantro’s approach to a VoIP Centrex solution is slightly more conservative in that it does not offer a wide array of third-party vendors, but rather keeps its focus on creating (internally) a simple yet robust alternative to PBX Centrex that fills the customers needs. While their business model does not neglect the importance of offering a complete solution by including all of the necessary hardware to serve as a complete Class-5 replacement, they have placed importance on the services that can be offered through a VoIP Centrex solution. By designing their own softswitch to support a wide array of applications, Sylantro has laid the groundwork for an extensive amount of value added services to be provided to the customer. And, by keeping with in-house development of their VoIP Centrex platform, Sylantro is well positioned to provide reliable service and expert support. 6.2.3 Features and Functionality The features offered by Sylantro, while definitely adequate, do not go above and beyond the basic limits of what can be offered through the implementation of a VoIP Centrex system. While there is room for the addition of higher powered and more complex value added services, Sylantro’s solution has found a balance between what is a reasonable addition to basic Centrex service without becoming overkill. Along with the array of services that Sylantro’s VoIP Centrex solution provides, they have also placed a large amount of focus on the usability of their product. Through limiting the deployment of over-engineered application interfaces and instead utilizing web-based applications, a significant reduction in learning time should be realized by end users. 6.2.4 Customer Satisfaction The average small to medium sized RBOC customer should find Sylantro’s offering to their liking in that it provides the reliable and easily maintained service that they have grown accustomed to with PBX Centrex systems. Furthermore, the enriched features made possible through Sylantro’s applications packages add a healthy supply of ready-touse services. By combining these factors with a competitive pricing scheme, customers will undoubtedly benefit from the Sylantro course of action.

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6.3

VocalData

6.3.1 Net Present Value With the addition of multiple premium features, VocalData’s VOISS system delivers a sizeable NPV. Unfortunately, along with these premium features comes a sizeable cost associated with purchasing value added hardware and software. And, with a sizeable increase in cost from current PBX Centrex services in order to fully utilize VocalData’s offerring, the additional revenue is negated by a decreased take-rate. Still, while both the implementation costs and user costs are above average, there still does remain the potential for significant gain from high-end customers and enterprises that are willing to pay for the increased business potential that VocalData’s VoIP Centrex solution offers. 6.3.2 Installation and Supportability The VocalData coarse of action for the implementation of a VoIP Centrex system provides a more complex system of customizable multivendor hardware. While this does allow for a highly customizable combination of networking hardware, it also increases the level of necessary support. Fortunately, the feature server and a number of other additional hardware options such as the firewall and conference server are developed in house allowing for an increase in reliability. And, through the use of applications developed entirely by VocalData, the installation of software driven features should be relatively simple. 6.3.3 Features and Functionality The features provided by VocalData are both broad and powerful. The value added services that are provided by the VOISS system encompass close to everything that VoIP Centrex can offer. Every detail from mobility options via wireless LAN to customizable applications driven by realtime information, VocalData’s approach delivers nothing short of a full-feature VoIP Centrex solution. Add to this the optional streaming servers and firewall that allows for VPN support and VocalData almost appears to be ahead of its time. 6.3.4 Customer Satisfaction High-end clients will undoubtedly be pleased with everything VocalData’s VOISS system offers. From the added security to the customizable applications, there is not much this approach leaves out with regard to options. However, based on the market segment of existing PBX Centrex subscribers that RBOCs are catering to, the additional features of the VocalData course of action may prove to be more than is needed and not outweigh the overall costs associated with it implementation.

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7.0 Recommendation
While all three of the presented VoIP Centrex platforms provide an implementable solution that would be able to fill the needs of both BellHaves and their constituents, the recommended course of action is the Sylantro approach. Taking into consideration the customer base of the RBOC, the Sylantro VoIP Centrex solution provides the best fit for what our customers are both accustomed to now and will have a growing need for in the future. Through the implementation of Sylantro’s fully supportable VoIP Centrex platform, the seamless installation of basic Centrex functionality will be delivered. And, through easily understood and competitively priced value added features, the customer will achieve a high level of satisfaction and BellHaves as the provider will recognize an increase in revenue. Through the implementation of the Sylantro VoIP Centrex solution, the best possible outcome will be realized for both BellHaves and their valued customers.

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