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A one-derful solution

Internet signaling and services provider SS8 Networks released its OneNumber service last week, an IP-based solution designed to let carriers provide customers with one-number access to personal communications devices.

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OneNumber subscribers can control how calls are routed to devices such as office, home and cell phones; pagers; and voice mail via a Web interface or Wireless Application Protocol handset (see figure). Call handling can be based on the person calling, time of day or day of the week, and the service can separate personal and business calls. A separate administration portal helps manage subscriber and service data and provision service logic.

SS8 Networks is forging ahead with plans to combine the power of IP technology with the public network. The OneNumber service “illustrates the advantage of merging Web-based technologies with [public network] technologies, particularly from the point of view of customer or subscriber control,” said Michael Gaines, marketing director for SS8 Networks. “The carrier doesn't have to have as much investment in customer care facilities and customer support professionals because the subscribers can help themselves.”

One-number access is desirable for a number of reasons, said Christin Flynn, program manager for The Yankee Group. One is the limited amount of phone numbers available. “In many different situations new areas codes have been added, and there [still] aren't an unlimited number of phone numbers out there,” she said. Plus, one-number solutions are effective when trying to reach a person who can be contacted in several ways, she added.

The new service also can generate revenue through monthly fees and by increasing call completion rates by providing a range of possible destinations, Gaines said. It currently is in a pre-release testing phase. General availability of the service is scheduled for September.

The SS8 OneNumber service is the second application released by the company based on the ServiceController platform, an IP service control point for developing and implementing voice, data and video services via Session Initiation Protocol and H.323 networks.

During Supercomm 2001, SS8 Networks released the first component of the ServiceController platform, an IP-based local number portability (LNP) product called SS8 LNP, which affects how calls are routed through the network.

Moving from a legacy network to an IP network is made easier via applications such as OneNumber and SS8 LNP, though some analysts believe that unified communications will be why people move to an IP network.

“Unified communications will be the killer app of the next generation network,” said David Fraley, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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