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A virtual success story

October 27, 2010 | Chris Payatagool

Kanata's IPeak Networks is well-placed in the fast-growing web video sector, writes Kelly Roesler.

Ipeak.jpgBy Kelly Roesler via The Ottawa Citizen

While many Ottawa tech companies struggled during the recent downturn, IPeak Networks is thriving by capitalizing on a hot videoconferencing market.

Kanata-based IPeak, founded in early 2004, is focused on maximizing the performance of Internet-based applications, a technology it calls IPQ, for Internet Performance and Quality.

"Our technology basically adds and performs quality attributes to the open Internet that others enjoy by paying a lot for managed services," said Brett McAteer, vice-president, marketing and channel development for IPeak.

The idea is to provide smooth, productive videoconferencing while reducing network costs.

The major problem involves packet loss, which occurs when packets of data travelling across a network fail to reach their destination. That can result in performance problems with streaming technologies, voice over IP, and videoconferencing, which is IPeak's focus.

"When packet loss hits IP networks, the thing that shows the damage most clearly is video," said McAteer. "It's awful."

Video is where IPeak's solution applies, and is critical to the company's success.

"The future of the Internet is video," said McAteer. "The reason that we have such exciting potential in the very near future is because we bring value to and benefits to users of the No. 1 commodity on the Internet, which is video, and to the transport mechanism, which is the Internet. It's really a very sweet spot."

In September, business became even sweeter as IPeak opened a Singapore office.

McAteer said IPeak was "drawn in" to the Asian market by Cisco, which has a strong focus on "telepresence," described as the experience of being "present" at a second location via video.

"Properly implemented, it's almost like being there," he said. "It's really neat stuff, but it's pretty expensive and it takes a tonnes of high-quality bandwidth." He said many corporations and organizations are becoming interested in reducing their carbon footprints by staying off the plane, staying home and using telepresence for meetings where it's important to see body language and register facial expressions.

"We got a hold of Cisco," he said, "and before we knew it, we were invited to help them in Asia Pacific, where there's a great deal of interest in telepresence and a diminished interest in paying the exorbitantly high costs for managed network services that are paid in southeast Asia."

IPeak's technology uses normal Internet connectivity for telepresence, reducing network operating costs significantly.

"If you can use regular broadband, you can probably pay in the hundreds of dollars a month for a big fat pipe of ... connectivity, as opposed to thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars per month for the same amount of bandwidth on a managed service," he said. "That's the fundamental proposition."

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