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.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading