OSS player Smallworld has been hiding away in the bowels of parent company GE for a few years, but came out of hiding at Globalcomm

June 15, 2006

4 Min Read
It's a Smallworld After All

One of the OSS sector's forgotten companies has emerged, fit and well, after several years hidden in the bowels of parent company General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE). [Ed. note: kinda like E. coli?]

GE Energy (Smallworld) , known simply as Smallworld in telecom circles, was one of the early movers in the network inventory management space, but dropped out of sight following its acquisition by GE in 2000 for the handsome sum of $210 million.

"We were sucked into a PR void after the acquisition in 2000," says Smallworld marketing executive Scott Casey. "But we're out of that now and had a very successful 2005 and are investing again on marketing, conferences, and exhibitions."

That included exhibiting at the recent Globalcomm event in Chicago.

The company has about 80 staff working in the communications network sector, and about 150 carrier customers, including Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), Teléfonos de México (Telmex) , Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), and some "major U.S. cable operators," says Casey. (See Swisscom Uses GE OSS.)

GE Energy doesn't break down its financials to provide details on individual lines of business, but Smallworld's annual revenues are believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars, a significant income for an OSS player.

And now the company is working closely with other inventory OSS vendors to develop new capabilities and business opportunities. That's because the Smallworld system is slightly different from, and yet complementary with, the OSS software from the likes of Cramer Systems Ltd. , MetaSolv Software Inc. (Nasdaq: MSLV), and Telcordia Technologies Inc.

Casey says his firm's software is more of a network planning and design tool that operators can use to plan and build out their infrastructure and then manage the lifecycle of the physical assets. It then works alongside, and feeds information into, inventory products from the likes of Cramer, which are documentation tools that hold information about which physical assets are in the network and their current status.

Just a few weeks before Globalcomm, Smallworld launched what it calls Bearer Management, a standards-based interface product it developed with Cramer that links physical network (infrastructure) and logical (services) inventory databases.

The product is based on the MTOSI (Multi-Technology Operations Systems Interface) standard, and Casey says the partners are working towards meeting the requirements of the new OSS industry standard, Prosspero. (See Vendors Create New OSS Standard and TMF Tackles Software Procurement .)

As a result of that development, Casey says his company is already working on three prospects with Cramer and two with MetaSolv.

Smallworld was just one of a number of OSS firms strutting their stuff in Chicago.

  • Syndesis Ltd. has extended its OSS capabilities into order management by building a new module, called Controller, which is based on technology from partner ConceptWave Software Inc. Syndesis also announced a new customer in the form of NuVox Communications and was touting its recently announced partnership with Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA). (See Syndesis Enhances OSS, NuVox Selects Syndesis OSS, and Alcatel, Syndesis Partner.)

  • Nakina Systems Inc. has been picking up significant market traction with its multi-vendor element management system, leading to a 400 percent year-on-year growth in revenues in 2005, says marketing director Costa Constantakis. The company also recently announced the appointment of former Nortel Networks Ltd. optical president Marco Pagani as its chairman. (See Nakina Adds to Board and Nakina Grows 400 Percent.)

  • S2Net , formerly Open Telecommunications OSS, has teamed up with North American integrator BusinessEdge Solutions Inc. to deploy mediation software that connects inventory management and other OSS systems. S2Net CEO Rene Frei says the two firms are already working together to integrate Telcordia's Granite OSS software for a North American carrier.

  • Atreus Systems Inc. spokesman Tony Busa says the VOIP provisioning system specialist is engaging in "a lot of Tier 1 action" through direct sales and via its partnerships with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and softswitch vendor Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS). Certainly Atreus has been busy lately making new friends and wining deals. (See Atreus Boasts Global Growth, Level 3 Selects Atreus for VOIP, BroadSoft, Atreus Team Up, Sonus Strikes Partnerships, Atreus Enhances VOIP, and Voila Launches Business VOIP.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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