Get a hold of the phone
Financial firms might garner a stronger grasp of telecom best practices after reading BITS’ Guide to Business-Critical Telecommunications Services. BITS, a U.S. financial industry consortium, published the document late last year. It aims to teach business managers how to assess risk, conduct due diligence and learn how regulatory issues affect telecom services, such that financial institutions have in their arsenal a list of questions for service providers — questions designed to ensure carriers offer the best in business continuity to their financial-sector clients. The guide touches on telecom recovery tools, contracts, monitoring and testing procedures, and provides a list of best practices that companies might put into action for improved communication resilience. In a statement BITS says, “Events like 9/11 and the 2003 Northeast blackout illustrated the financial industry’s dependence on the telecommunications sector,” and the guide “examines…critical interdependencies between the two sectors.” It’s available online at www.bitsinfo.org/bitstelecomguide.pdf.
Data wants to be free
Moncton-based Whitehill Technologies Inc. says its new Whitehill Transform Suite should make it easy for financial firms to extract data locked in legacy output formats, and transform the information into a more flexible business tool. Whitehill, which creates software for the insurance, financial and legal sectors, says in a statement that the Transform Suite helps enterprises free information trapped in invoices, statements and reports such that customers can more easily distribute the data to employees who might find it useful. The Suite is meant to let enterprises leverage hidden data for improved business intelligence. It includes print-file splitting so large documents can be divided into bite-sized sections, multiple-destination streaming so information goes everywhere it’s needed in one pass, and a document indexing feature that tracks senders, receivers and other metadata for process management. For more information on the suite visit www.whitehilltech.com.
Bank hangs up on old handsets
Bank of America Corp. (BoA) is planning a corporate-wide IP telephony rollout that will eventually put an IP phone on every BoA employee’s desktop — about 180,000 phones in total. The ambitious VoIP plan will involve replacing BoA’s entire telecom infrastructure with Cisco Systems Inc. IP PBXs, voice mail servers and telephones. Electronic Data Systems Corp. will assist BoA in deploying the new phone network, which is expected to take three years to complete. The IP telephony network will be Cisco’s largest customer win to date. The BoA network now consists of 362 PBXs based on TDM technology, which support 5,800 locations throughout the U.S. These PBXs, from various vendors, will be replaced with server-based Cisco CallManager IP PBXs. The call managers will be deployed in clusters in various BoA regional data centres to support all major offices, branches and other facilities over the bank’s nationwide WAN and regional metropolitan-area networks.
Bridging the messaging gap
VoiceGlo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. says it’s bridging the gap between disparate instant messaging systems and enhancing the erstwhile text-centric IM industry with its new application, GloConnect. The product, announced late last year, lets users inter-message each other across AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and ICQ’s networks, and lets users voice- and text-chat across the service provider networks as well. GloConnect includes phone connectivity so users can make and receive computer-based calls anywhere in the world, and it provides computer-phone integration so voice messages come right to the user’s on-screen messaging window. GloConnect also comes with peer-to-peer calling capabilities so users can make free phone calls to other VoiceGlo customers. “We are…reinventing the entire instant messaging industry and creating a new networking phenomenon with a simple yet powerful solution,” said Edward Cespedes, VoiceGlo’s president, in a statement. In a separate release the company said it’s added 14 Canadian area codes to its voice over IP (VoIP) service offerings.