Optical/IP Networks

Appian Peps Up Provisioning

Simplicity. That is what Appian Communications says it will deliver with its AppianVista service management software for devices sitting in the optical service edge.

On Monday the company will officially announce the product, which works in conjunction with its Optical Services Activation Platform (OSAP), a multiservice provisioning platform.

“The challenge is to make provisioning simple,” says Chris Nicoll, vice president with Current Analysis, a market research firm. “Providers don’t want to have to send a dedicated engineer to set up service. They want customers to do it themselves. I think Appian has achieved this with their new platform.”

The software is designed to give service providers more control over the boxes -- allowing them to dynamically provision bandwidth and services. It also monitors and collects information that can be applied to billing solutions.

Such software is becoming a crucial differentiator in the metro-access networking space, which has dozens of contenders vying for customers. As carriers become increasingly squeezed for cash (see ICG's Sinking Ship), they're looking for products that enable them to save money and create new revenue on data services through dynamic provisioning and billing.

“The thing that interested us the most was the service activation piece,” says Joseph Varello, VP of business development for Everest Broadband Networks, a building local exchange carrier (BLEC), which is currently beta testing AppianVista. “We’re also creating a front-end to allow customers to manage the bandwidth themselves. That way they can create their own VPNs [virtual private networks] and manage quality of service themselves.”

Of course, Appian isn’t the only vendor headed in this direction. Other multiservice provisioning platforms like those from Mayan Networks Inc., Geyser Networks Inc., and Quantum Bridge Communications Inc., just to name a few, are also working on management software to accompany their products.

But AppianVista appears to be one of the first metro access players to take a stab at sophisticated management, according to Scott Clavenna, president of PointEast Research and director of research at Light Reading. “Early on they adopted the position that they needed to do granular control of the box,” he says.

The product is expected to ship in early 2001.

-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading, http://www.lightreading.com

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