BridgePort to ink deal with VeriSign

May 3, 2004

BY MICHAEL KRAUSS

Chicago's BridgePort Networks expects to announce a partnership agreement today with Mountainview, Calif.-based VeriSign Inc.

The agreement significantly extends BridgePort's ability to deliver its software technology which enables cell phone customers seamless access to Internet telephony. The deal should markedly increase BridgePort's value.

"Our partnership with VeriSign presents a unique solution for providing roaming between mobile and IP networks," says Mike Mulica, BridgePort's CEO. "The combined solution enables quick implementation so users can use the same mobile number across both mobile and cable networks."

When cell phone users make calls outside their home network, the connection is frequently run behind the scenes by VeriSign. "VeriSign hosts and operates that network, and has agreements with over 1,000 different service providers," says Sanjay Jhawar, BridgePort's senior vice president for business development and marketing.

By deploying through VeriSign, BridgePort gains immediate access to the cellular and broadband service providers VeriSign connects with. "We've taken the barriers down from deploying lots of infrastructure to signing pieces of paper," Jhawar adds.

Content managers converge

"Companies face over 120 different kinds of regulation," says IBM's Brett MacIntyre, vice president for content management and compliance IT. "The Securities and Exchange Commission says companies have to keep all their e-mails and instant messages," MacIntyre adds. "It's spawned a whole new category of content management."

Whether driven by Sarbanes/ Oxley, HIPPA or SEC compliance, MacIntyre says, companies are retaining enormous quantities of unstructured data, including e-mails, images and multimedia files. "In order to meet all those regulations, companies need to know where the information is," he adds. "The amount of this data is doubling every year."

That creates new problems and opportunities for business executives and technology geeks. Seven hundred leaders in managing digital content will converge on the Chicago Hilton today to plan for the future. The upshot, according to MacIntyre, will be lower cost of operation, easier data access and better customer service, as companies learn to manage this morass of unstructured data.

What Chicago needs

"The Midwest is a case study in organizing," says University of Chicago sociology and strategy professor Ron Burt. "To be efficient, you drive out variation. Colleagues can watch you more closely than a boss can. We need to get more comfortable seeking out people who think differently than we do."

Burt's point is that Chicago's economy grew by building a strong cohesive elite. He suspects that can hold back growth and innovation. "We have pockets of what we're looking for here in Chicago," Burt says. "It simply needs to be more widespread."

Burt believes we need to be more open to skill and style diversity and more accepting of difference and variation. He's not just talking about ethnic diversity, he's talking about diversity of thought and perspective.

"Chicago grew dramatically by extracting value from the things flowing through here," he says. He compares Chicago to a large company like Raytheon, which does the bulk of its business responding to federal government proposal requests.

"Companies like Raytheon are very good at doing what they do well. They have a majority share in the missile market," Burt reports. "Getting them to do something different when conditions change, that's not easy," he adds. Burt thinks local conditions have changed because of globalization.

He's launching the Chicago Project: Capital and Careers in an American Metropolis to explore the social fabric and behavior of Chicago's business community. The results could be instructive.

Bits & Bytes

Kellogg professor Mohan Sawhney shares views on outsourcing's impact on cities Friday with a group of mayors and CEOs at a gathering of CEOs for Cities. The group was founded and is co-chaired by Mayor Daley. Sawhney will discuss ways cities can respond to the outflow of service and knowledge jobs.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.

 

 ©2004 Marion Consulting Partners