New age solutions

New age solutions – transmission of multimedia services over telephone networks

Denise Pappalardo

Newbridge affiliate packages multimedia applications

Instead of trying to sell technologies, a Newbridge Networks affiliate is packaging services and applications. Vancouver, British Columbia-based Starvision Multimedia Corp. is rolling out distance learning and telemedicine packages that will offer carriers support from their customers’ desktops to the core of their networks.

The StarCore service platforms let carriers offer high-speed, real-time multimedia services over their asynchronous transfer mode networks.

“We are trying to go beyond the technology and look at the marketplace,” said John Shaw, vice president of product marketing at Newbridge. “Service providers are starting to make investments in services. We want to bring total application solutions to the carrier.”

Starvision, created about a year ago, is one-third owned by Newbridge but remains independent and maintains its own sales and marketing support.

“Our focus is on providing complete solutions for end users that leverage the high bandwidth of ATM,” said Peter Briscoe, Starvision’s executive vice president and co-founder.

StarEd and StarMed are the first application sets under the StarCore umbrella. StarMed offers telemedicine, while StarEd provides distance learning for schools and corporate training for companies to more cost effectively use resources.

The StarEd package includes full-motion video, high-quality sound and fully bridged audio support.

“When we talk to a carrier, there are several areas we discuss, some which are not technically related,” Briscoe said. “Something we tend to forget is that before you can get high technology into an organization, you have to figure out what the impact will be on the people who have to use it. Teachers are not necessarily comfortable with new technology.”

Starvision supports teacher training as well as support for other professionals. The teacher training covers seemingly mundane but vital details such as properly setting up a room, positioning a monitor and addressing the students in both the physical classroom and the virtual classroom on the monitor.

Equal access is also an issue for distance learning, Briscoe said. Distance learning gives children in rural areas the same educational opportunities as those in booming urban and suburban areas.

That shift comes at an opportune time because the telecom industry is redefining universal service and politicians are touting equal education for children across the country. From elementary schools and universities to private corporations supporting training programs, distance learning is growing more popular, most industry watchers agree.

StarMed enables health care professionals – especially specialists – to reach patients they may not have been able to reach before. Like StarEd, StarMed offers video and audio over ATM.

High-quality video isn’t enough for telemedicine applications, however, said Grant Henderson, product manager for telemedicine at Starvision. “Sharing medical information, taking large images and bringing them across the network takes more,” he said. To set up the collaborative multimedia environment required, Starvision is using the benefits of ATM’s high bandwidth and low delay, Briscoe said.

Starvision and Canadian telco Telus Advanced Communications recently worked together on a StarCore demonstration at the TeleCon trade show in Anaheim, Calif. The two also have an on-going relationship based on telemedicine and distance learning.

StarCore is based on hardware from Newbridge and Starvision. Newbridge’s 36150 MainStreet ATMnet switch is used as a video multiplexer to support MPEG video applications and also supports JPEG video traffic. The Newbridge 36170 MainStreet ATMnet switch is used in a carrier’s network core.

Newbridge’s line of ATM products also offers Ethernet, token ring, fiber distributed data interface and T-1 circuit emulation to support local area network end users. The products, all managed under the same system, offer carriers ubiquitous management support.

“Our primary market is service providers, but now with the Telecommunications [Reform] Act, we are also working with [competitive access providers] and cable companies,” said Ken Hand, director of video marketing at Newbridge.

DISTANCE LEARNING MARKET GLOWS HOT WITH OPPORTUNITY

K-12 education:

* About 80,000 schools

* $375 billion market

Higher education:

* About 2800 colleges and universities

* $150 billion market

Corporate training:

* About 600,000 corporate offices

* $100 billion market

Source: Minoli

COPYRIGHT 1996 PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group