Motorola announces global telecom strategy

The Motorola Computer Group (MCG) last month announced its telecommunications strategy for 2001, which included two new product initiatives.

MCG announced that it will be expanding its Advanced High Availability (HA) Software offerings for its telecommunications customers, providing them with “out-of-the-box solutions” to support the company’s Intel and PowerPC processor-based platforms.

“We’ve put forth a set of strategic initiatives for our HA software,” said Noel Lesniak, MCG’s telecom business manager, during a teleconference. “The first is a set of configuration and event management software capabilities across our strategic host operating system. The software is object oriented, and based on rules and behaviours that are field-proven, at hundreds of central offices around the world.”

MCG said the set of offerings will include everything architectures need to enable telecommunication solutions, including platforms, operating system, voice and data transport, packaging and third-party I/O, communication and multimedia products.

MCG also announced its new switched IP-based architecture as part of its 2001 strategy, which it said will give telecommunication original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) application-ready systems. This will enable better time to market for OEMs, as they can build their telecom applications on top of MCG’s existing platform, according to the company.

Lesniak also said the company is announcing an “HA Aware” certification program and documentation training and support services from the company. “What we’re going do is start to teach our customers how to build an HA application,” he said.

He added that partners are working with MCG for the certification program. “The HA Aware certification program is really pivotal and very, very important to this overall program,” he said. “It’s focus is on our I/O slot card partners who provide hardware and drivers with the objective of their products working on our systems and with our software at the beginning of our customers’ projects.”

As another part of its strategy, MCG said it will be offering its HA hardware and software platform based on Windows 2000. The company said the platform will provide network management, including remote monitoring; host CPU multi-stage switch-over, making 5NINES, or 99.999 per cent, availability possible; hot swap of processors and other components; and the management of telecom alarms.

The HA Aware certification and documentation programs will also be available for Windows 2000.

MCG’s focus on telecommunications in Canada is very important, according to the company, given the rapid growth in the market.

“Canadian companies are really leading the world in providing…infrastructure for expanding the Internet,” said Paul Holt, MCG’s vice-president and regional director of Canada and Central USA. “If you look at Canada, in particular Ottawa, they have all these global telecom leaders…we’ve just seen a tremendous leadership out of the Canadian companies. It really is a marketplace where Canada is a global leader.”

MCG Canada has recently quadrupled the amount of sales and engineering staff in the Ottawa region, and plans to open new offices shortly for its growing numbers. According to the company, the telecom industry represents over 70 per cent of Canadian revenues for MCG.

Holt said customers are facing a lot of issues, especially time to market. He explained that MCG collaborates and works with OEMs to put together solutions that will allow them to get to market quicker.

“They don’t want to spend the time making their own hardware anymore,” he said. “They really want us to take as much of that as we can and provide a standard offering so they can spend their time on what is really unique to the telecommunications marketplace.”

Paul Zorfass, a senior analyst with Framingham, Mass.-based IDC/First Technology Inc., agreed that these announcements will enable MCG customers to get to the market quicker, because the company has been acting as an integrator for base platforms.

“Their customers can overlay that base platform with the specific application requirements that they’ve got,” Zorfass explained. “I think it will be attractive to their customers and will allow their customers to migrate more quickly from older network solutions to more packet-based solutions.”

Zorfass pointed out that the company’s strategy announcements were very clearly targeted at and focused on the telecommunications area, but he indicated that there could be other uses for its offerings.

“There’s some ability for that type of strategy in terms of the High Availability systems and platforms to also be attractive in non-communication areas,” he said. “I’m wondering what the carry-over will be.”

Given that the company has the technology, he said he is curious to see if it will be able to “roll that technology in a comfortable way to other product areas.”

The Motorola Computer Group, headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and in Canada in Mississauga, Ont., is on the Web at