Nash-ITE allows you to do more with less: complex interop-test scenarios involving a multitude of technologies from traditional voice to advanced VoIP features on smartphones for a very competitive price. Bernd Stahl talks to Martina Dietschmann who explains the benefits of two new features: AndroidTM Device Control and Intelligent Voice Recognition (IVR).
BS: You have introduced two exiting new features within Nash-ITE. What are they?
MD: Amongst others, the two major features introduced recently are: Control of AndroidTM Devices and Intelligent Voice Recognition (IVR). These two new features are as different as our motivation to set it to our development roadmap.
The introduction of end-user device control for AndroidTM came up during an innovation discussion. The simple idea was: if we want to verify next generation mobile and fixed networks as well as IMS, then our Intelligent Testing Environment (Nash-ITE) shall support fixed and mobile end-user devices. With the prototype show case we got encouraging response from our customers. Finally the device control for AndroidTM became a new feature of Nash-ITE.
Intelligent Voice Recognition, the second new feature, is a direct response to different customer queries. The trend to have an increasing part of voice control in communication networks simply requires from a testing environment to react on voice and not only on protocol messages. That is what we now offer.
BS: What functions of AndroidTM devices can you control? In the press release you mentioned matrix testing: what exactly do you mean be that?
Let me answer the second question in before the first one. When checking the behaviour of a communication network it has to be shown that the connected end-user devices can communicate which each other correctly. The matrix of test cases for such a scenario is determined by the combination of all involved end-user devices. For example, we want to verify the interworking of 2 analogue, 2 IDSN and 2 SIP users. This setup results in a testing matrix with 9 individual test cases, when assuming that the originating and the terminating side are relevant.
With AndroidTM Device Control we can add a further dimension to the test matrix for networks where fixed and mobile services converge. This was our main motivation: to support the voice and SMS feature on an Android devices within the new release of Nash-ITE. It is now possible to set up test cases where Nash-ITE requests from a mobile device the setup of a call to any other device in the test configuration or to release this call accordingly. The correct sending of an SMS is also part of this new feature.
The control of other AndroidTM functions will follow, some prototyping is in preparation.
BS: What can you do with Intelligent Voice Recognition?
This new feature allows you to easily integrate tests requiring IVR: from simple announcements to complex voice guidance. For example, it is possible to design tests which verify the proper functioning of specific announcements in a PSTN or IMS network. In particular, this is applicable for End-to-End tests where Nash ITE is being used as an endpoint emulation of various possible network user endpoints, such as classic analogue, ISDN, SIP or Mobile Phones.
The voice guidance itself is not a new topic in communication networks. Already in the past you got announcements like ‘This number is unknown’ when dialing a wrong number. Today we count hundreds of announcements within a network, simple and old ones as well as complex voice guidance samples.
The test procedure follows always the same patterns. When an announcement occurs during a specific test scenario, the Nash-ITE records the voice sample and sends it together with a reference to the integrated IVR. Depending on the used reference, either an exact or a partial match can be tested. Checking the result of the IVR, the Nash-ITE can then decide if a test has been passed successfully or not. This fits for simple announcement testing. When checking complex scenarios flexible, test cases can be created where it is possible to step into another testing branch depending on the tone or announcement received. The IVR can be nested or repeated with different voice samples during testing.
BS: Why is all this important? Which problems of the customers do you address?
You can find some answers already above. With these new features, Nash-ITE extends its capability to verify services in converging communication networks. It can be used for classical PSTN tests as well as for next generation fixed / mobile or IMS networks. From an operator perspective, the flexibility of Nash-ITE reduces CAPEX & OPEX as a huge range of tests can be handled on a single platform. Additionally, these operators own multi-vendor network equipment. Hence, they need complex interoperability and end-to-end testing. The control of AndroidTM devices in Nash-ITE is another important function to solve this problem.
BS: How do customers respond to these new features? What do they like in particular?
The feedback to the new features is very good. As already explained, the IVR is a direct response to customer queries. The resulting implementation has matched their expectations. For operators, who use Nash-ITE already for a long time, it was very important that their existing and sometimes very complex test configurations could be extended by an IVR. Porting or duplicating these configurations only for IVR testing to other platforms was judged as ineffective and expensive.
With the presentation of the prototype for the end-user device control for AndroidTM we were able to really surprise our customers. The combination of fixed and mobile for the simulation and emulation of endpoints was something they were eagerly looking for.
BS: Thank you very much, Martina, for explaining us the value of these two new Nash-ITE features.