And it's no surprise, really. These are the companies that have built products capable of showing immediate traction with big-name carriers, indicating that the technology's promised returns aren't far away.
The award will go to the company that has developed a market-leading product that, through engineering and technical excellence, best enables the deployment of profitable next-generation telecommunications services.
The winner in this and all other Leading Lights Award categories will be announced at our Awards Dinner after The Light Reading Telecom Investment Conference in New York City on December 14.
Here are the selections for Best New Product, Public Company, listed in alphabetical order:
The company's recently launched "universal switch" is an important product from the standpoint of encouraging carriers to switch to Ethernet transport. In a sense, it's the combination of a multiservice provisioning platform (MSPP) and an Ethernet switch, using one switch fabric to handle any combination of TDM and packet-based traffic. That lets carriers migrate from TDM to packet networking at their own pace. (See Alcatel Unveils 'Universal' Metro Switch.)
One catch is that the 1850 is available in Europe only; a North American version is due next year. Launched for trials in October, the 1850 is in the hands of (NYSE: TI), which plans to use it in delivering IPTV to an unspecified major city.
The first instantiation of Ciena's FlexSelect architecture, the 4200 could be a milestone in adding flexibility to optical networks. The box offers the "any service, any port" mantra, but adds to it by allowing different services to share a wavelength. The capper is that multiple protocols are served by one generic linecard, courtesy of a programmable framer developed by Ciena acquiree, Internet Photonics. (See Ciena Claims DWDM Coup and Ciena Buys More Than Catena .)
Ciena picked up revenues from the CN 4200 almost immediately, with (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and (Nasdaq: SURW) named as early customers. Ciena says other CN 4200 customers include a "top five" U.S. cable provider, a large U.S. retailer, one competitive telco each in the U.S. and U.K., and two of the five branches of the U.S. armed forces. (See Ciena Posts Q3 Loss.)
A cornerstone for fixed/mobile convergence, IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) has also become the rallying cry for the new Lucent, putting the company on the front lines of an important next-generation battle. But what puts Lucent into finalist territory is its win record with IMS.
Lucent's 14 IMS customers and 50 trials include a sweep of the big North American deals: (NYSE: BLS), Cingular Wireless LLC, (NYSE: SBC), and possibly (NYSE: VZ) . Now Lucent has its eye on China as well. (See Lucent Lands BellSouth IMS Deal, Cingular Picks Lucent for IMS, SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon, Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS?, Lucent Wins New Contracts, and Lucent Takes IMS to China.)
Launched in April, Motorola's OLT -- the box that sits on the carrier's side of a fiber connection, as opposed to the customer premises -- is proving to be a big deal in U.S. fiber-broadband build-outs. It's been widely deployed by Verizon as part of the FiOS fiber-to-the-home rollout, where Motorola was named a second supplier alongside Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA). (See Moto Gets a Piece of Verizon FTTP.)
Moreover, it's one of the first OLTs to offer BPON and GPON support from one chassis -- which could be a key selling point, considering the U.S. RBOCs have issued a request for proposals (RFP) reportedly asking for GPON equipment that's shippable in the first quarter of 2006. (See GPON RFP Weighs In and GPON Vendors Line Up.)
This sort of stretches the definition of "product," but the idea of triple-play testing is one that's too important to ignore. So, in June, when Spirent claimed it could test up to 20 IPTV and video scenarios encountered on telecom video platforms, our interest was piqued. (See Spirent Latest to Tackle Video Test.)
By testing triple-play services using its Avalanche and Abacus 5000 lab testers and service assurance software products, combined with professional services, the company has won "12 major service provider customers" and is engaged in several more trials worldwide. Spirent's real value, so far as we can see, is that it can test each network element's quality of service, it can test for end-to-end network QOS, and it can keep monitoring QOS after deployment.
If IPTV is the service that will make or break some carriers, then solutions like Spirent's are the tools that will make or break these next-generation services.
— The Staff, Light Reading