Empirix Snaps Up CT Labs

Test vendor Empirix Inc. has bought CT Labs, an independent facility that specializes in VOIP systems and services, for an undisclosed amount (see Empirix Buys Test Lab).

Empirix, which grew significantly in 2004 as service providers went wild over VOIP, believes the input from CT Labs' specialists will give it an edge in a market that is just starting to take off (see Empirix Has Growth Spurt and Empirix Hammers on Carriers' Doors).

"VOIP is an incredibly complex area, and there's still a hell of a lot to learn in terms of security, performance, interoperability, conformance -- just everything," says Empirix marketing VP Duane Sword. "This is a technology at the very early stages of its maturity." (See Acme Packet Unveils Test Results.)

Sword adds that Empirix will fund CT Labs' expansion, and that in addition to the technical and support benefits, Empirix expects the test facility to add to the firm's bottom line as the demand for VOIP test services and products grows (see Report Touts VOIP Test Market ).

But won't the acquisition strip Rocklin, Calif.-based CT Labs of its independent status? After all, the facility counts some of Empirix's key rivals, including Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and Spirent Communications, among its partners and customers.

Sword cuts down such suggestions (geddit?). He says CT Labs, which employs a "small, focused team," will be an independent operating unit of Empirix and will maintain its adherence to non-disclosure agreements and customer confidentiality, with founder Chris Bajorek as the facility's "gatekeeper."

"I can understand why people might be concerned about this issue, but the entire business model is built on integrity, and any breach of trust would compromise the value of the facility," states Sword.

Bajorek echoes that message, adding that the acquisition gives CT Labs an opportunity for expansion. "This will expand our opportunities through Empirix's sales and marketing teams, and gives us the backing for growth -- there will be an international flavor in the near future. We have a model that can be exported wherever there's demand."

Among the goals cited by Bajorek are a broader range of services. For example, he said that CT Labs is working on a high-density VOIP center for testing high-end, carrier-grade products, including softswitches and session border controllers.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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