David vs. Telephony Boards' Goliaths

Today, mighty combination of VOIP and Moore's law enabled Uniqall, four-person telecom software startup to release Gridborg 1.0

September 30, 2004

4 Min Read

ZAGREB, Croatia -- In 1999, Intel paid $780M for Dialogic, then leading vendor of telephony boards. Today, mighty combination of VoIP and Moore's law enabled Uniqall, four-person telecom software startup to release Gridborg 1.0, software only product whose existence threatens to shake up the entire industry.

In April 2002, the idea was the only thing that folks at Uniqall had. It took 30 months and less than $200k in funding, to become the world's first vendor with HMP (Host Media Processing) solution that has no hardware based revenues to protect. That puts Uniqall in unique market position where it is the only player that can freely price its product in accordance with software development economics only. "Traditionally, telephony boards were priced in accordance with the number of concurrent calls that they are able to handle (ports) and the number of concurrent voice or conferencing resources (resources) that they can provide to those calls." said Boris Pavacic, CTO of Uniqall, Inc. "While perfectly logical in telephony boards business, ports & resources pricing for software only solutions has no sense, other than protecting existing hardware based revenues. Per processor, all you can eat pricing, is just much more appropriate." Even if in this moment Gridborg when compared with hardware based solutions may lack few features here and there, its mere existence may soon cause tectonic shift in the way telephony boards and HMP products are priced.

For the last two decades telephony boards were handling connection to telephone network and media processing tasks. However, with VoIP growing at present rates computer telephony applications do not need to be attached directly to circuit switched networks. Actually, if the application needs to be future proof, IP network is the right place to be. On the other hand, Moore's law made x86 processors powerful more than enough for the purpose of handling media processing tasks that were previously handled by dedicated digital signal processors embedded within telephony boards. Intel, Aculab, Brooktrout and NMS Communications more or less acknowledged that the future is in software only solutions by announcing its own HMP building blocks. However, positioning & pricing of their HMP products are such to avoid jeopardizing existing hardware based revenues. In turn, it leaves to Uniqall a lot of room to build market share at their expense.

From developers' standpoint switching underlying telephony boards with HMP based solution is not without costs attached to it. On the other hand, the carrot is huge. Long-term savings associated with switching to VoIP & HMP solutions like Gridborg are tremendous. Costs of development, deployment and maintenance as well as those of inventory, sparing, and startup go through the floor once when specialized hardware is finally taken out of the equation. The lowest switching costs are for developers using rapid application development software such as Envox platform that supports both emerging technologies and legacy systems. By supporting the latest version of industry leading toolkit Uniqall made significant move toward those developers who are best positioned to make quick, painless transition. Besides telecom and enterprise end users, clear winners in this technology shift are going to be VoIP media gateway vendors whose products are going to replace specialized telephony boards. This includes vendors of VoIP enabled routers and switches, as Cisco and others are, as well as vendors of generic 'of the shelf' gateways.

Gridborg 1.0 is free for development purposes as well as for educational and other non-commercial use within educational institutions. For other commercial and non-commercial purposes Gridborg 1.0 is priced $500 per processor or $50 per concurrent port, whichever is lower. OEM prices vary from $10-200 per processor, or $1-20 per concurrent port. In all cases resources are unlimited.

So far, Gridborg 1.0 works with last two major versions of industry leading Envox Communication Development Platform. Gridborg Server is available for Windows and several Linux distributions, while Gridborg Envox driver like Envox works on Windows. Support for other application interfaces as well as for additional operating systems and processor architectures will follow in subsequent minor releases. About Uniqall, Inc.

Incorporated in US with headquarter and development in Zagreb, Croatia, Uniqall is world's first Host Media Processing vendor that has no telephony boards hardware business as well. With its low cost structure, Uniqall is dedicated to providing the best HMP products at extremely attractive pricing points.

Uniqall Inc.

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