Partner Channel – News Briefs

Posted: 12/2001


Telegea Upgrade Lets Carriers

Extend eChannel to Partners
By Khali Henderson

e Business solutions company TeleGea Inc. has enhanced its self-service provisioning platform, making it possible for communications service providers to extend its capabilities to their channel partners.

Called Emporium Enterprise, the XML-based software platform’s patent-pending technology uses service provider’s existing back-office systems to create web-based, self-service environments for their subscribers and their resellers and agents. The version is a major upgrade from Emporium, now called e-connect, which was introduced in June 2000 and is used by such carriers as Cable & Wireless plc.

“We basically have provided a platform that provides a deep integration into the telecom provider’s back office and in the meantime be able to extend this functionality very deep into the channel on the front end,” says Telegea CEO Steven Domenikos.

Emporium Enterprise features an adapter framework that integrates with existing back-office systems, such as OSS and billing systems, through prebuilt point-to-point connectors to popular solutions and through previously available adapters to middleware from TIBCO Software Inc., Vitria Technology Inc. and webMethods Inc.

“If they do not have any of those, we have tools to let them create point-to-point connectors to their systems, which may be proprietary in some cases,” Domenikos adds.

While the framework interfaces with a carrier’s back-office, a functional layer handles order processing, account management and product catalog. Another layer extends the functionality into the channel.

To do this, resellers and agents must deploy InStore, a Java-based remote access client software package, on their own website. For partners that don’t already have a web presence, a version of the software called StoreFront enables them to open a website and hang it off of the service provider’s site (see diagram). These packages can be deployed in layers, giving web-based self-service capability to resellers, master agents and to subagents.

Image: teleGea

Smaller agents who don’t want to open a website for their customers can use the service as an order-entry terminal or call into the platform using the telephone and place orders or manage accounts using IVR-like prompts, Domenikos says.

Emporium Enterprise supports multiple access media, including HTML, WML, XML and vXML. It also supports a range of communications products and services, such as voice, data, wireless and IP.

“The opportunity is really letting the service providers deliver and provide management for next-generation services be they voice over IP, maybe 3G when it picks up in the U.S.,” says Domenikos, noting that Telegea’s product is designed to support complex offers, such as those configuration requirements and quality of service agreements attached to them.

Emporium Enterprise includes a catalog, which are preconfigured schema of various services that describe in detail the attributes, features and pricing of that service.

“The schema are imported to the database and generate to a great extent the user interface,” said Domenikos. He adds that necessary customization can be made within an hour.

To support these kinds of services, Telegea has built workflow capabilities, enabling carriers to customize the business processes they follow for a particular service.

Two carriers, are trailing Emporium Enterprise — one uses 3G services and another offers broadband services through hundreds of resellers, Domenikos says. He declined to name these customers, but says it was expected that they would be announced in November.

The typical cost of the platform is about $500,000 plus $75,000 for each remote access package. Domenikos says it’s unclear, based on a few trial deployments, whether the carrier would pay for the remote access package or pass the cost on to the partner.

Free upgrades to Emporium Enterprise are available to existing customers as part of their maintenance agreements.

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