PictureTel forms ASP subsidiary

PictureTel Corp. on Monday announced the formation of 1414c, an application service provider that will focus on supplying IP-based communications to federal agencies and other ASPs.

The solutions developed by 1414c (www.1414c.com) will enable customers to provide Web-based interactive tools such as streaming audio and video, videoconferencing and voice over IP, said Bob Byrnes, chief executive officer of PictureTel's new wholly owned subsidiary.

Byrnes said the company has begun a live conferencing-over-IP pilot at a company and is working with PSINet Inc. and London-based Global VideoCom Group on that project. VideoCom is managing 1414c's conferencing application to provide the service, which is hosted on PSINet's network.

That partnership model is exactly what 1414c hopes to do in the federal market, Reichenbach said.

"We look at MCI [WorldCom] and Sprint with FTS 2001 and think about potentially teaming with them," he said. "Today, they only offer certain parts of what we can do on that contract," which leaves the door open for expansion and the opportunity to offer a more complete set of videoconferencing services over IP networks.

1414c is named after the melting point of silicon and signifies the company's desire to "move beyond the traditional ways of communicating, [by] delivering new experiences in seamless communication and knowledge transfer," Byrnes said.

Craig Reichenbach, vice president of the federal region at PictureTel, said 1414c's ASP model — in which the company owns and operates the application and rents time to customers — should serve the company well in the federal space because agencies are increasingly looking to outsource IT services.

PictureTel already serves many agencies with its streaming, video and voice technology, including the Defense Department, the Navy, the General Services Administration and the Marine Corps, Reichenbach said.

"We're getting feedback from our [government] customers that they don't want the responsibility of having the expertise, [because] they don't have it, and it's too expensive to maintain," Reichenbach said. "That's why the ASP model is a good fit."

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