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Telecom and TV? Engineers Help the Two Mix

The relationship between telecom companies and Hollywood may have more chemistry to it than it would initially seem.

The technology to send television programming to wireless phones is improving. It will become more widespread as the decade gets older.

Meanwhile, old-fashioned telephone companies are considering business models that look like they belong to cable operators.

Consider the Roseville Telephone Co., a small carrier near Sacramento. Today it operates under the banner SureWest Communications and offers a menu of services that includes television.

Helping SureWest with its initiative is Irdeto Access, a Dutch company that has its North American out with security technology , technology that scrambles and unscrambles television signals.

Bo Ferm, the general manager in Irdeto’s local office, has seen anxiety come over Hollywood executives when talking about new distribution schemes. “The first thing studios ask is, ‘So how do you intend to protect the content?'”

That’s where Irdeto comes in. Its technology provides content owners and telecom companies (both landline or wireless) with a welcome measure of security.

Piracy is not the only concern. Carriers want to limit their premium content to the people who pay for it. Irdeto technology sorts that out, too.

Irdeto’s Poway office has 15 people. One of its most recent projects is a new deal with IPtv Corp. IPtv distributes Thai, Laotian and Cambodian programming to Asian communities in North America, via satellite.

Satellite communications is where Irdeto got its start, during the late 1960s.

Irdeto has 280 employees in all. It is a subsidiary of Naspers Ltd., a South African media company.


Alignent Set To Move:

Alignent Software of Irvine plans to move to Carlsbad in May, bringing 25 people with it. Representatives of the 6-year-old company, which makes software to help large companies develop products, said it will be easier to hire in San Diego. The company plans to double its staff by year-end, beefing up sales, marketing and engineering.

Several key executives already live in San Diego County.

Alignent, which has been running with the help of angel investors, recently received $6 million in Series A financing from Mission Ventures of San Diego and Horizon Ventures of Los Altos.

Chief Executive Dennis Clerke was previously chief executive of locally based Cardiff Software. A Silicon Valley company, Verity Inc., paid $50 million for Cardiff Software in the first quarter of 2004.

Alignent’s clients include Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. government.


LightPointe On The Move:

LightPointe, a telecom gear manufacturer, is moving engineering and manufacturing operations from Germany to its San Diego location. The company plans to complete its move in June and it plans to fill engineering and manufacturing positions here.

The company also announced it recently raised an additional $15 million from its existing investors, including Sevin Rosen Funds and Ampersand Ventures, which both have San Diego offices, and Rho Ventures of New York City.

LightPointe sends information from point to point using eye-safe laser beams. The technology is called “free-space optics.”


Higher Stakes:

Tandberg Data ASA of Oslo, Norway, announced last week that it has taken complete ownership of InoStor Corp. of Poway. InoStor makes computer storage products both tape drives and disk drives , and has 30 employees. No layoffs are planned.

Tandberg owned 55 percent of InoStor and bought out the remaining shareholders.


Contact Brad Graves at his new e-mail address, bradg@sdbj.com, or call him at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3115.

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