One of the primary requests made by airline passengers today is for faster air-to-ground phone and Internet speed using existing technologies, according to Tenzing Communications, a provider of connectivity solutions for air travelers. The Seattle-based company has developed Global Service in which airlines can offer free Internet and mobile service while flying. All that passengers need to connect are a laptop and an onboard handset. "We're trying to provide airlines with seamless connectivity," says Laura Alikpala, director of marketing at Tenzing.
The company stores thousands of Web pages in its onboard cache system for in-flight browsing. Passengers hook their modems to onboard handsets, and Tenzing uses a telephone network to dial up to the onboard server. "We're managing the communications, compressing the information and sending it to the ground," Alikpala says.
Global Service features about 30 Web sites pertaining to travel-related services, restaurants, sporting information, online newspapers and magazines and the most recent feature: virtual classrooms provided by online learning company Knowledge Anywhere. CEO Charlie Gillette says his company offers online business skills training classes for areas such as customer service and sales.
"Knowledge Anywhere is taking the idea of training anytime, anywhere to its limits," Gillette says. "It's the perfect target audience. Most people use laptops to do work when they fly. What a better time to brush up on skills than when flying across the country?"
Tenzing has since tested its offering on Air Canada, Cathay Pacific and Scandinavian Airlines. Air Canada plans to deploy the service throughout many of its aircraft later this year.
Lifting the Cap on Wireless Spectrum
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in late January that it would consider eliminating the spectrum cap for wireless telecommunications companies, many wireless service providers probably cheered.
The FCC adopted the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reexamine the limits of the amount of spectrum, or range of frequencies, allowed for Commercial Mobile Radio Services. Telecommunications companies currently can own 45 megahertz of spectrum in an urban area and 55 megahertz in rural markets. "The goal was to avoid undue concentration in one or two areas," says an FCC spokesperson. Many companies have been pushing for a spectrum lift for the last three years and say this is long overdue.
Travis Larson, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, says the success of telecommunications companies relies on the lift of the cap. He explains that the number of mobile users grow each minute, reaching the limits of each spectrum and lowering the quality of service. In some cases, Larson says, spectrum has limited wireless carriers' ability to provide airtime, as well as limit clear and open signals for customers. Companies also are inhibited to move toward providing data services, he adds.
"If it's lifted, you'll see better service," Larson says. "There are a number of places in the country where caps have limited the ability of companies to offer services to their customers. They're not making an effort to attract new customers--that's bad for competition and bad for innovations." --Mila D'Antonio
Partnerships & Alliances
Little Rock-based Acxiom, a developer of customer data integration and customer recognition infrastructure, has agreed to become a certified implementer of Unica's Affinium software suite. Unica, a Lincoln, Mass.-based provider of analytical CRM and marketing automation solutions, will make use of Acxiom's Abilitec software in combination with its Affinium software suite. Acxiom will train its consultants to implement the Affinium suite, co-market the solution and include it in the Acxiom Center of Excellence to showcase the combined solution. The solution will enable companies to link data from disparate data sources across the entire enterprise to form a complete view of their customers.
People & Promotions
Fremont, Calif.-based WorldChain, a provider of multicompany supply chain network solutions, has appointed David Allen CEO. Allen was recently vice president of Worldwide Operations at Dell Computer and a member of Dell's Executive Committee. Larry Miller, WorldChain's current president and CEO, will assume the position of president and chief operations officer, effective immediately. Prior to Dell, Allen was senior vice president of operations at Frito-Lay North America, where he managed manufacturing, distribution, engineering, procurement and sales route engineering.
Waltham, Mass-based Neteos, a developer of eCRM solutions, has appointed Kevin Carson to the position of executive vice president. Carson, the former president and co-founder of SalesLogix, a division of Interact Commerce, will work with Neteos CEO and President Mike Chuli to drive the company's Web-based eCRM technology into the mid-enterprise market. Prior to joining Neteos, Carson spearheaded the development and execution of the SalesLogix reseller channel program, professional services groups, product development and management efforts and the company's CRM-ASP initiative.
San Mateo, Calif.-based APPower!, a user relationship management provider that creates communication channels inside software applications, has named Shai Adler CEO of APPower! Systems LTD, the Israeli based parent company of APPower!. Before joining APPower!, Adler was CEO and co-founder of Hypernix Technologies, creators of Gooey. Prior to founding Hypernix, Adler was a practicing attorney specializing in securities and corporate law.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Burlington, Mass.-based iBasis, a provider in Internet-based voice communications, has completed its acquisition of PriceInteractive, a speech application service provider. PriceInteractive's hosted solutions enable carriers and enterprises to speech-enable Web sites and deliver speech-enabled business services, such as e-commerce, call centers, employee self-service, product/sales information and customer care, to any phone or wireless device. Connecting these services to the iBasis Network will increase the value of the solutions. The acquisition will enable iBasis to expand its capabilities of its global Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) infrastructure. Employees of PriceInteractive will remain in Reston, Va. Dan Price, co-founder and CEO of PriceInteractive, has become senior vice president and continues to run the Reston operations.
Cambridge, Mass.-based ChannelWave Software, a provider of Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solutions, has acquired ChanneLogic Data, a channel automation and management solutions company based in Walnut Creek, Calif. With the acquisition, ChannelWave accelerates its growth and extends the functionality of its Partner Loyalty System with ChanneLogic's contract management and reporting technology. ChannelWave's Partner Loyalty System is a Web-based PRM solution that allows organizations to maximize partner loyalty and effectiveness by automating and scaling best practices between vendors and partners. ChanneLogic's applications automate and manage the lifecycles of business partnerships, with automatic review, approval and distribution of contracts, marketing and sales programs and product release schedules and tasks. The addition of ChanneLogic's leaders will enhance ChannelWave's Northern California and West Coast operations.