ITXC, Lucent and VocalTec Publish iNOW! Internet Telephony Interoperability Profile
iNOW! gains support in ITU and from new supporters including Alcatel, Analogic, AudioCodes, Ericsson, Linkon, NetSpeak, and OzEmail Interline
IMTC also adds support to iNOW! initiative
For immediate release: February 24, 1999 - PRINCETON AND MURRAY HILL NEW JERSEY AND HERZLIYA, ISRAEL – ITXC Corp, Lucent Technologies and VocalTec Communications (Nasdaq: VOCLF) today announced that the iNOW!TM ("interoperability NOW!") Profile is available on the Lucent, VocalTec and ITXC websites as well as the iNOW! website (http://www.inowprofile.com).
Ascend, ITXC, Lucent, OzEmail, Siemens, and VocalTec submitted a contribution with elements of the iNOW! Profile for discussion at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)/SG16 Rapporteur's meeting in Monterey, California in February 1999. The iNOW! Profile, based on H.225.0 Annex G, H.323 inter-domain and inter-gatekeeper communications, is designed to quickly enable IP telephony vendors to create the interoperable platforms that customers are demanding. "The iNOW! position was greeted favorably by the delegates," said Dale L. Skran of Ascend Communications Inc. and Rapporteur for Question 13 (Multi-media over Packet Networks). "I anticipate the final approval of Annex G in May 1999 at the SG16 meeting in Santiago, Chile. Annex G inter-domain communications is the final step required to allow large-scale VoIP networks to provide high quality service."
iNOW! originally arose from a breakthrough project in which Lucent and VocalTec worked with ITXC to develop interoperability on the ITXC network. The three companies demonstrated this interoperability (which is commercially available today) over the ITXC network at the Voice On the Net Conference in Washington, DC in the fall of 1998. At that show, the companies were inundated by questions from other vendors asking how they too could become interoperable. In an attempt to promote the growth of the industry, ITXC, Lucent and VocalTec agreed to publish the findings of their H.323 based interoperability. Since that time most of the major gateway and gatekeeper manufacturers have joined in the effort and agreed to become interoperable.
New Supporters Join iNOW!
Alcatel, Analogic, AudioCodes, Ericsson, Linkon, NetSpeak, and OzEmail Interline have committed to implementing the iNOW! Profile in their products. These companies (see Addendum for quotes) join Ascend, Cisco, Clarent, Dialogic, Natural MicroSystems and Siemens who announced iNOW! support last month. OzEmail Interline has additionally become a contributor to the Profile and has become the second service provider to endorse it. All companies that have committed to iNOW! interoperability are listed on the iNOW! website and additional companies planning support will be listed there in the near future.
Additionally, the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) has accepted the iNOW! initiative's request to review the iNOW! Profile for inclusion in IMTC-conducted interoperability testing events held throughout the world. "We applaud the iNOW! initiative," said Matt Collier, president of the organization. "By reviewing the iNOW! Profile for inclusion in future IMTC testing events, we are helping drive standards based interoperability, a principle to which the IMTC has long been committed."
iNOW! supporters are active participants in standards bodies and activities such as the ITU, ETSI Project TIPHON, IETF and IMTC interoperability events. The iNOW! Profile, written by VocalTec, Lucent, OzEmail Interline and ITXC, is based on the ITU's H.323 standard as well as existing and proposed elements of H.225.0 Annex G. The Profile is being published to encourage all Internet (IP) telephony equipment vendors to develop interoperable products and to support existing standards activity.
Today most vendors advertise that their products are H.323 compliant, yet this is not enough to achieve interoperability. Since each vendor selects different options within the evolving standard, their products cannot exchange calls. Carriers like Bell Atlantic and ITXC Corp are demanding that manufacturers quickly become interoperable to allow IP telephony calls to be exchanged worldwide. This real and immediate business need is the key driver of the iNOW! initiative.
Tom Evslin, CEO and President of ITXC Corp, said that "Support for iNOW! means that interoperability under the ITU's H.323 standard is being achieved. This strengthens both the standard and the Internet telephony industry."
"The iNOW! Profile provides a strong solution for standards based inter-domain gatekeeper to gatekeeper interoperability," said Dr. Elon Ganor, chairman of VocalTec Communications. "iNOW! enables a carrier to expand its footprint by sending traffic over another carrier's network without revealing confidential customer and network information. This initiative is part of VocalTec's commitment to the development of broad standards that will support future services."
''Our customers are demanding multivendor interoperable Voice over IP solutions,'' said Chris Schoettle, vice president of IP Communications, Lucent Technologies. ''The iNOW! Profile enables vendors to deliver 'ready-to-go' interoperable IP telephony products within the framework of the ITU H.323 standard".
Companies can certify their gateways and gatekeepers or obtain independent certification from a third party testing facility. The first test lab to offer their service is Mier Communications Inc. The Princeton Junction, N.J.-based company, which has pioneered Voice over IP testing, is preparing a test environment that will certify that iNOW!-compliant products do in fact interoperate. VocalTec and Lucent will be the first two vendors to become iNOW! certified by Mier Communications this fall.
For more information on iNOW! certification, and how to become a supporter, please visit the iNOW! website at http://www.inowprofile.com.
About Lucent Technologies:
Lucent Technologies designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, data networking systems, business telephone systems and microelectronics components. Bell Labs is the research and development arm for the company. More information about Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, NJ, is available on its Web site at http://www.lucent.com. Additional information about Lucent's PacketStar ITS is available at http://www.lucent.com.
About VocalTec Communications:
VocalTec Communications' software enables audio, video, data, text and collaborative communications between personal computers and other devices over IP networks. VocalTec is a leader in developing innovative, open standards products that bridge IP networks and the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) and drive the convergence of computing and telephone technologies. VocalTec owns a minority equity interest in ITXC. More information about VocalTec Communications, headquartered in Herzliya, Israel, is available on its Web site at http://www.vocaltec.com. For more information on the VocalTec Ensemble Architecture‰, please visit http://www.vocaltec.com.
About ITXC Corp:
ITXC CorpTM is the Tier 1 provider of Internet telephony. Its WWeXchangeTM Service provides wholesale call completion to any phone in the world using a combination of Internet telephony and traditional PSTN. Its customers are prepaid calling card companies, call back companies, traditional telephone companies, ISPs and newly formed Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) – all of whom use Internet telephony to reduce the cost of international calling. The company, which began revenue operation in April of 1998, now operates the most extensive global wholesale Internet telephony network with 127 POPs worldwide.
ITXC was founded by Tom Evslin in 1997 with initial seed funding from AT&T and VocalTec. ITXC closed a $10 million dollar round of venture and $5 million in debt equity funding in 1998. Investors include Intel, Chase Capital Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors, VocalTec Communications, Flatiron Partners, and Polaris Ltd. The company's banking partner is PNC Venture Bank. For more information, please refer to the company Web site at www.itxc.com.
iNOW! ™, ITXC™ and WWeXchangeSM are trademarks and service marks of ITXC Corp. PacketStar™ is a trademark of Lucent Technologies. VocalTec® and VocalTec Ensemble Architecture™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of VocalTec Communications Ltd. Other trademarks mentioned belong to their respective companies.
Certain statements contained in this release may contain forward-looking information with respect to plans, projections or future performance of VocalTec Communications, the occurrence of which involves certain risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, product and market acceptance risks, the impact of competitive pricing, competitive products, product development, commercialization and technological difficulties and other risks detailed in the Company's reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Comments from iNOW! Supporters
Says Martine Lapierre, Vice-President Products and Marketing with Alcatel Switching Systems Division: "We are a solution provider for Internet and Internet telephony services. Alcatel is the world leader for fast Internet access solutions based on ADSL and ISDN as well as for Intelligent Services to the IP Network Access Servers and IP telephony networks. Alcatel provides complete solutions for VoIP Gateways, Gatekeepers, LAN based PABX and Core routers serving the enterprise market and the public network markets.
We support interoperability efforts like the iNOW! initiative, as open standards and interoperations are critical to the success of public IP telephony networking. We believe in solutions that bring the minimum discontinuity to the present operations and information systems".
Alcatel USA is headquartered in Plano (TX), and ALCATEL worldwide headquarters are located in Paris (France). For more information, please surf to www .alcatel.com, or contact .
"iNOW! gateway interoperability will help accelerate the growth of the Voice over IP market, and iNOW! enabling our developer's kits will help to increase the number of interoperable gateways" - David Fridley, Product Marketing Manager, Analogic Corporation.
"AudioCodes is pleased to support the iNOW! initiative to establish interoperability in the IP telephony industry," said AudioCodes director of marketing, Oded Morag. "We are committed to providing our customers the interoperability that will be an essential part of the expansion of the industry into the next century."
"Ericsson believes standards are essential to the widespread deployment of data services in wireless and wireline networks. We are committed to iNOW! efforts in addition to our contributions to ITU and other standards bodies," said Staffan Lindholm, general manager of IP Services at Ericsson Data Networks.
Ericsson is the leading provider in the new telecoms world, with communications solutions that combine telecom and datacom technologies with freedom of mobility for the user. With more than 100,000 employees in 140 countries, Ericsson simplifies communications for its customers – network operators, service providers, enterprises and consumers - the world over.
About the IMTC:
The IMTC continues to contribute valuable recommendations, input and information on the development of standards for Internet-based multimedia communications, and for conferencing over IP applications in particular. Development of H.323 interoperability testing scenarios and profiles is conducted in the open forum provided by the IMTC.
The IMTC is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, and facilitating the development and implementation of interoperable multimedia teleconferencing solutions based on open, international standards. The San Ramon, California-based consortium includes more than 150 member organizations from around the globe. Membership is open to any interested party, including vendors of audio, document, and video teleconferencing hardware and software, communications companies, teleconferencing service providers, end users, academic institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Since 1996, the IMTC has hosted more than 40 interoperability events around the globe to test T.120, H.320, H.323 and H.324 products and services for compatibility with each other. The consortium's web site is http://www.imtc.org.
According to Eric Hernaez, VP - Business Development "Linkon's customers have consistently expressed the need for interoperability between platforms. Until now, however, the Company has refrained from interoperability efforts because of the lack of consensus within the industry. Based on the growing momentum behind iNOW!, as evidenced by the numerous industry participants, it appears as though a successful standard has finally emerged."
About Linkon Corporation
Linkon develops and markets Internet Protocol telephony enhanced services equipment and services for the telecom, data, cable, utility and Internet industries. Its products are sold to end-users and through system integrators, application developers, value added resellers and original equipment manufacturers.
"This coalition represents a key first step in delivering interoperability to the just-emerging world of Voice-Over IP. This is an important development, and we whole-heartedly support it by becoming the pioneer test lab for vendors seeking iNow certification." - Edwin E. Mier-President of Mier Communications. For more information about iNOW! certification please contact Rob Smithers, Vice President of Technology 1.609.275.7311.
About MIER Communications Inc.
With hundreds of its product-comparison analyses published over the years in such leading network trade periodicals as Network World and Communications Week, Mier Communications' reputation as a leading, independent product test center is unquestioned. Founded in 1988 by Edwin E. Mier, formerly managing editor of Data Communications magazine and a practicing network consultant for 20 years, the company has pioneered the comparative assessment of networking hardware and software, having developed methodologies for testing products from ATM switches to network operating systems. In 1995 the company launches its open "NetWORKS As Advertised" program, in which any vendor can submit its networking-related products for a comprehensive, independent assessment of the product's usability and performance. Products which meet the established criteria and performance levels receive the "NetWORKS As Advertised" award and MierComm's Lab' testimonial endorsement. For additional information please see - www.mier.com.
"Interoperability is essential for the IP telephony market to continue its rapid growth rate," said Jim Kwock, NetSpeak Vice President of Marketing. "With the iNOW! profile, NetSpeak is working with other top IP vendors to provide telephony solutions which are fully interoperable with other providers, enabling customers to maximize their investments. Through partnerships like iNOW!, NetSpeak continues to be a pioneer in providing state-of-the-art, interoperable, value-added IP telephony solutions."
About NetSpeak Corporation
NetSpeak Corporation (NASDAQ: NSPK), based in Boca Raton, Florida, develops, markets, licenses and supports a suite of intelligent software modules which provide business solutions for concurrent, real-time interactive voice, video and data communications over packetized data networks such as the Internet, Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). NetSpeak's products allow organizations to build new voice and video-enabled communications networks, or to add these communications capabilities to their existing enterprise. For additional information visit NetSpeak's World Wide Web site at http://www.netspeak.com.
"The fact that OzEmail Interline is contributing to the drafting of iNOW! is another step towards interoperability. Not only are equipment vendors committed to interoperability, but now Internet telephony back-end service providers are also working together to ultimately provide to end users the global coverage, user-friendliness and seamless service that they are used to with standard telephony. The work done by the founders of iNOW! (ITXC, VocalTec and Lucent) in the initial preparation of the document was very much in line with our contribution to H.323 standards. Joining their efforts was therefore a natural evolution and continued our long standing commitment to interoperability". J-B Rousselot- CEO OzEmail Interline.
About OzEmail Interline
OzEmail Interline is a provider of complete Internet telephony solutions and has been commercially providing authentication, routing, rating and settlement services to ITSPs for over two years. Interline's international network of affiliates covers all major geographic regions (Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe) and provides Phone-to-phone services globally. Interline's solutions enable ISPs, pre-paid card operators, mobile phone operators, traditional carriers and NextGen Telco's to offer IP telephony services to their customers around the world. Interline is an 88% subsidiary of OzEmail (Nasdaq: OZEMY) Australia's leading ISP. More information about OzEmail Interline is available on its Web site: http://www.interline.aust.com.