FMC during 2007 has mostly been about the femtocell trials. UMA based consumer offerings did gain a little ground. But no way near what the industry had expected. SIP/VCC based FMC offerings have altogether been a disappointment. It is the latter category of FMC that NewStep enables. New funding for a VCC based vendor is therefore a bit of a surprise for me.
NewStep however sees things differently. According to the vendor, the market is moving in terms of FMC adoption. In particular it sees encouraging signs in Europe. And that is where most the new funding will be spent. Last time NewStep announced finding was in October 2006 when the company closed its Series B round. The $9.5 million Series C round it announced yesterday takes the total funding to $36.5 million. The company is also bringing in the new CEO.
Here are a few data points related to NewStep:
Number of service providers customers: Five. Not all are announced. BT and Embarq have been announced. Out of the remaining three, one is a major consumer focused IMS deployment and the other two are enterprise focussed. Four out of five deployments are based in Europe.
Number of trials: 18 active trials. 60% in Europe, a handful in Asia, remainder in North America.
Type of FMC flavour enabled: All 23 are SIP based VCC programs
Type of service providers NewStep is dealing with: Fixed line operators as well as integrated operators that have both wireless and wireline assets.
So what has NewStep been cooking for us? Broadening support for both consumer and enterprise FMC; integration with products such as Microsoft OCS; compatibility with varied access methods (WiFi/GSM/WiMax/LTE/Femto etc); decoupling handover logic from the type of overlaying applications which effectively means support for multimedia continuity. And it is the latter part that NewStep is going to stay focussed on from product development perspective.