The first of a series of technological benefits from Lucent Corp's January acquisition of billings software developer Kenan Systems Corp has come to fruition with the integration of its parent's Billdats mediation software into Kenan's Arbor/BP package. This is the first concrete result of the acquisition, with others to follow in the coming months, according to Kenan's sales and marketing director for the EMEA region, Jan Wiejak. Still to come on the roadmap is a fraud detection capability based on statistical analysis techniques, for launch in the third quarter.
In the last three months of the year will come a mediation product for the more complex world of IP networks. Billdats is for switched telephony environments and is available for wireline and mobile services. Also planned is an integration of Kenan's billing package and Lucent's intelligent networking software for the mobile market.
Part of the logic behind Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Lucent buying Kenan, besides being able to offer billing along with its switches, was "to take software they've developed, productize it and sell it," explained Kenan product consultant Stephen Krajewski. The Billdats integration into Arbor/BP is the first example of this process.
Until now Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Kenan did not have its own mediation product, partnering with a variety of suppliers to this end. In future it will be able to offer integrated Arbor-with-Billdats packages, though customers will still be at liberty to specify other mediation modules, Wiejak added. Billdats will also continue to marketed as a standalone module for other billing systems.
In parallel with the productization of Lucent software, Kenan has also upgraded the core Arbor/BP package, introducing version 9.0 at the end of June. This edition has a number of features specifically for the international market, including support for the common European currency, the euro, and for multi-byte characters.
The latter made it possible to translate the package into Unicode, the basis from which various Asian-language versions can be developed. As a result, on July 6 the company announced that Korea's second-largest telco, Dacom Corp, had selected Arbor/BP for its wireline, broadband and internet services.
Arbor/BP 9.0 also includes specific features for the Latin American markets, where customers Telefonica del Peru, Telefonica Argentina and Brazilian long-distance provider Embratel required billing that caters for inflation, more unstable interest rates and payment for customer equipment in instalments, said Wiejak.
Another new feature in the latest version of the billing package is a wholesale billing facility. This is required where operators sell minutes on their network to major retailers, which then sell them to end customers. This feature is being used by French new carrier Cegetel, which uses it to bill wholesale customers such as the country's leading supermarket chains.