New Edge helps customers solve their communications problems through its Retail Broadband Alliance (RBA), a group of nearly 250 companies that offer services that are part of the digital convergence. The RBA provides payments, kiosks, and video surveillance services in verticals including retail, convenience store petroleum, and hospitality.
With digital convergence becoming the buzzword in the communications industry, stand-alone devices are increasingly being linked to form larger networks. However, many of the devices that are still in service were not designed for such connectivity and several communications systems were not designed to support such networks.
"Although there are companies that will offer in-house solutions to cover a broad range of needs, a single vendor can rarely supply the best solution to a wide range of customers with diverse needs," says Frost & Sullivan Strategic Analyst Max Engel. "Despite integration issues, products from multiple vendors offer the greatest degree of flexibility when customizing a deployment to meet a particular customer's needs."
An extensive range of participants enables the RBA to offer various options for most services. Customers will not compulsorily have to use the RBA's official point of service (POS) terminal maker because more than one member makes them. Similarly, ARNie, the related New Edge program that offers direct connections to credit card processors, provides direct broadband connections to seven different payment processors.
"Diversity, not monopoly, is RBA's strength," observes Engel. "Diversity coupled with vetting and on-going relationships within the RBA ensures a higher level of service from its vendors when their efforts are combined."
Deployment of POS systems can involve several vendors, as there can be many aspects and customizations to POS, depending on the business' needs.
In the RBA, some members provide interface devices that will help convert legacy analog POS systems to IP and some others pitch in with the remaining aspects of POS systems and technology. While New Edge provides the connectivity, other RBA members are called upon to plug the hardware and software gaps in the upgrade.
"Since all the companies are RBA members, there is a much lower chance of integration problems between the various segments of the project," notes Engel. "Moreover, as the RBA is an ongoing relationship between different vendors, it is useful to small businesses because the vendors will have to repeatedly deal with each other and thus, will have greater reasons to be attentive to customers."
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About New Edge Networks
New Edge Networks (newedgenetworks.com) builds and manages private IP-based wide area networks that do not use the public Internet. Connecting business sites at virtually any address in the United States, New Edge allows businesses to choose any blend of available access technologies – from DSL and T1 lines to fiberoptic connections – for building private and secure MPLS networks with performance guarantees. A wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK), New Edge is based in Vancouver, Wash.
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