ASSIA Bigs Up Its Mobile App
The company has developed a smartphone application that can be used by DSL field technicians who are either activating a DSL line or investigating a fault report. As you'd expect, the app -- currently in trials and available for Apple devices with iOS 4 only – provides an array of menu-based data points that enable the technician to determine the quality of a particular line and also, using a location-based widget, determine if the fault is isolated to one line or if there is a broader problem with multiple lines within a specific area. (See ASSIA Builds Smartphone App.)
The app, called Expresse Pro, connects back to servers in the access network using any IP connection (GPRS, 3G, Wi-fi). Those servers, which house ASSIA's DSL Expresse software, are connected to the operator customer's DSLAMs, which means the field technician can get up-to-date data on the condition of the DSL line as it is activated/fixed.
No doubt this sounds like an interesting move and one that would have DSL service providers considering their maintenance strategies.
What's quite astonishing, though, is the estimated savings ASSIA attributes to the use of the app, which is still being put through its paces by unnamed operators and is due for commercial release on multiple smartphone OS and device hardware platforms in April 2012.
According to ASSIA Senior Director of Product Marketing Jerome Joanny, using the app can increase field technician efficiency by up to 50 percent, which means a job that would normally take, say, two hours, could be done up to 1 hour quicker.
Here's the eyebrow-raiser: Joanny says that, based on current trial experiences, a DSL service provider with 1 million lines to manage could save up to $45 million a year by using the smartphone app compared with a standard field DSL test and measurement tool.
That's a lot of opex savings and a figure that will no doubt attract a good deal of attention from carrier CFOs and operations managers (and it's a projection that doesn't presume that operators will be throwing away all the JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) and Fluke Networks field test boxes in which operators have already invested, notes Joanny).
Now, of course, the pressure is on ASSIA to show that's possible in the real world. If it is, then that's a very healthy proposition.
ASSIA's also hanging out in Paris with its longtime chip partner, Ikanos Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: IKAN). Together the two companies are cooking up an ecosystem that, as much as possible, simplifies the deployment of G.vector (dynamic spectrum management) capabilities that, when the wind is blowing in the right direction, can help boost DSL connection speeds up to 100 Mbit/s. (See Ikanos, ASSIA Get Tighter on Vectoring.)
Ikanos was shouting about G.vector at last year's event, too, so it'll be interesting to find out in Paris what has changed in the past year. (See BBWF 2010: Ikanos Boasts 100Mbit/s DSL.)
These are just the sort of developments that Light Reading and, we believe, service providers want to hear about at a show such as BBWF, especially as FTTH isn't as popular amongst operators as it might be, so ASSIA and Ikanos deserve a big thumbs-up! (See BBWF 2011: Who Needs FTTH? .)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading