, the leader in distributed and intelligent session management solutions for VoIP and other real-time IP services, launched a new key initiative called NexTone University. The purpose of this educational program, geared towards network engineers and architects, is to create a new generation of session-layer networking experts. Real-time IP session management is critical for carriers and enterprises to interconnect VoIP, wireless, and IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) networks as the demand for new digital media services increases.
NexTone has trained more than 1,200 engineers worldwide in the fundamentals of session management and VoIP. The company is now launching NexTone University to include a broader range of participants and to offer advanced courses, piloted in the United Kingdom, that address the complexities of deploying large-scale VoIP networks and emerging multimedia services.
"IMS will create new networking complexities as best-effort IP networks will be used to carry multiple real-time services. As service providers and enterprises look to roll out large-scale multimedia IP services, they need to consider the underlying session-layer technologies that will power these services and train their staff to identify and eliminate any deployment obstacles," said Lee Story, vice president of operations for NexTone. "Engineers now must be equipped with the education and expertise to connect emerging real-time IP services, such as VoIP and IMS, to those basic telephony services currently used in the market. They must also understand how to support, operate, and expand an all-IP network. Our University program aims to equip these engineers with the technical education necessary to meet these challenges head on."
(For more information about NexTone's new vice president of Operations, Lee Story, see the press release titled "Industry Veteran Lee Story Joins NexTone as VP of Operations" also issued today.)
The aim of NexTone University is to produce certified technologists who are focused on VoIP and other digital media applications, including instant messaging, chat, and video, across the IP network. Participants can earn up to four levels of certification: NexTone Certified Engineer I, NexTone Certified Engineer II, NexTone Certified Architect, and NexTone Certified Trainer. The program targets experienced VoIP engineers who are looking to brush up on their skills; existing legacy engineers who need to make the transition from TDM to VoIP networks; before-market students who are looking to enter the IP communications industry; and data IP engineers who need to understand the intricacies of VoIP. Attendees of NexTone University will also include NexTone customers, partners, and value-added resellers (VARs). NexTone plans to offer coursework via online testing, through independent training houses, and at participating colleges and universities, as well as at carrier hubs and NexTone's corporate headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.
Pilot Program Proves Demand
To test the demand for NexTone University skill sets, the company has been operating a pilot program in the UK over the last six months. The response to date has been encouraging: NexTone will train a total of 100 new engineers in the EMEA region alone in Q4 2005. Registration for NexTone University begins in January 2006 with students drawn from carriers, enterprises, and NexTone channel partners globally. For more details on the program and information on how to sign up, visit the NexTone Web site at www.nextone.com/university
"Gamma leads the market with a VoIP-based interconnect solution for the United Kingdom, helping carriers reach the PSTN without spending on media gateways. Such leadership required that we build the UK's best technical and operational teams for VoIP peering, and NexTone University helped us do so," said Graham Hillman, technical director with Gamma. "In fact, we're proud to claim that Gamma has more NexTone Certified Engineers than anyone in Europe."
"The migration from TDM to VoIP is not an easy one," said Kieran Carey, a recent NexTone Certified Engineer II based in Europe. "As a TDM switch engineer, I had to learn how VoIP worked operationally -- not just in theory. NexTone University helped me quickly make this transition."
NexTone recently announced an additional $37.5 million round in funding, led by One Equity Partners. Portions of that funding are being used to launch new company-wide initiatives, including NexTone University.