NexTone Looking Ahead for IP

I was invited to speak at NexTone's User Forum, which just kicked off today in not-so-sunny Orlando. With 300+ customers, NexTone has reached critical mass that few nextgen vendors have reached. NexTone has steadily evolved as an end-to-end solution provider, and have never fit the mold of a standalone session border controller vendor. Their vision is much broader, and it must be working to have this many customers.

The key message for me so far has been their industry-level intiatives, which are slated to come in early 2006. One is the NexTone Solutions Certification Lab, which will test connectivity between network components, as well as the overall ability of a solution to be deployed within an existing environment. The timeline to commission this lab is Q1 2006.

Another one that resonated for me is the "Session Management Forum". Their new CEO, Malik Khan, has recently been advocating this idea publicly. The User Forum I'm attending is a logical place to get the word out, and Malik did that this morning, as did Dan Dearing, their VP of Marketing.

The basic idea is to create an independent forum for vendors and carriers to develop common ground around issues such as standards. The spirit of this is to bring companies together who want to see faster adoption of IP and real time nextgen services.

Am not sure how other vendors will find their way into this, but Malik is committed to get this off the ground. He doesn't see other industry bodies such as IETF or ITU working along these lines, so if he can't find a partner to do this with, they'll do it themselves. This could be a good investment for NexTone, as initial interest from their customers has been strong. The target launch date for this forum is March 2006.