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Going Wireless


VK Singh

India, Australia, South Korea and China put together contributed 75% of the total APAC enterprise telephony market, as per a Frost & Sullivan report. Resilient performance in these countries helped reduce the magnitude of decline across the APAC enterprise telephony market. Higher growth is expected from India and China in the forthcoming quarters.

In India, the PBX market size is around Rs 800 crore. Market in terms of number of lines would be around 3 to 3.5 mn per year. Small and medium sized PBXs form a significant portion due to their sheer numbers.

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The worldwide PBX sales grew by approximately 1% last year. However, in 2008-09 the market grew by almost 7% reportedly.

The economic slowdown has had a negative impact on every sector. In India, the growth in the government sector has gone up, which in turn has compensated for the slowdown in other sectors. Purchase orders have been reduced or stopped or deferred; however, there are signs of recovery. The market will start showing reasonable growth this year onwards.

The Technology

The PBX technology can be divided into three categories-analog, digital, (PCM-TDM) and IP. Analog technology is prevalent in mainly small PBX up to sixteen lines. Digital (PCM-TDM) PBXs with ISDN BRI and PRI interfaces are popular in all configurations up to 500 lines. And the penetration of IP PBX technology is on the rise. There are still some regulatory issues resulting in confusion in the market regarding the usage of IP for voice communication. But once it is resolved, IP is likely to replace PCM-TDM sooner than the industry expects.

IP telephony technology has gained a strong mindset in the mainstream market. Enterprises are deploying hybrid and IP-PBX systems even for PSTN network. In fact, the demand has percolated from large enterprise networks down to SMBs since they too have realized the immense benefits that these systems can offer. Reduction in equipments costs and the lower TCO has made them adopt these systems with greater vigor.

Further, high speed broadband, inexpensive end terminals, and international long distance carrier options will encourage the growth of VoIP in India. Increase in the adoption of unified communication applications, availability of required bandwidth, and increased awareness levels will drive the growth of the Indian VoIP market.

The industry is moving towards unification. Enterprise and carrier networks are overlapping in functionality. The way forward in such a scenario is to offer comprehensive solutions catering to different market segments like SOHO, SME and large enterprises. Extensive customer reach backed by high quality service support will be the differentiating factor. Offering solutions for verticals like hospitality, trading, etc, will generate a new market segment. IP converged network is a basic requirement of an enterprise now. Real-time IP applications on converged networks will revolutionize the enterprise communications market.

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By R Daniel Williams

The Donegal Mutual Insurance Company functions as a mutual fire and casualty insurance entity that concentrates on providing a flexible range of personal, farm and a variety of commercial products. It also underwrites coverage for personal and commercial insurance. The company itself makes use of a network of about 1,200 independent insurance agents as a medium when it offers its wide selection of insurance products to the market. These agents they tap into are usually from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina; and the whole of the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern and Midwestern regions in the country.

Before, the company was officially known as Donegal and Conoy Mutual Fire Insurance Company throughout the industry. Founded way back in 1889, it stationed its headquarters in Marietta, Pennsylvania. It was originally constituted by the farmers throughout the area as their protection from a possible disastrous financial impact of a loss of their personal property through fire. After a while, the name of the company was finally changed to the Donegal Mutual Insurance Company that everybody knows today.

The strong and healthy financial foundation combined with very successful operating principles and strategies earned the ‘A’ rating (meaning excellent) by the A.M. Best Company. Back in 1986, Donegal Mutual masterminded the formation of a downstream holding company that still concerns itself with insurance, the Donegal Group Incorporated. An insurance holding company functions just like that of a normal business corporation that owns insurance companies, but the catch is, it’s not a real insurance company itself. The Donegal Group Incorporated made an initial offering of common stock to the buying public in a plan where the Donegal Mutual retained a majority interest. There are now two separate kinds of common stock of the Donegal Group Incorporated currently trading on NASDAQ symbolized by DGICA and DGICB.

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Another company was incorporated into the fold back in that eventful 1986 called Atlantic States Insurance. It is more of a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Donegal Group Incorporated where it had a pooling agreement with that of Donegal Mutual, that both companies will be assigned a given percentage of the combined underwriting results. Three years later, the Donegal Group Incorporated started expanding its influence and geographical area specifically in the state of Virginia by acquiring the Southern Insurance Company of Virginia.

The 90’s saw huge completed acquisitions of the Delaware-based Delaware Atlantic Insurance Company, the Pioneer Insurance Company based in Ohio, the Southern Heritage Insurance Company based in Georgia and the Pioneer Insurance Company of New York. These far-reaching acquisitions of the Donegal Insurance Group gave it the ability to offer and provide insurance products throughout these regions served by these acquired companies.

The years 2001 and 2002 were exciting years. The corporate structure was streamlined thru the merging of several subsidiaries. A good example was the complete merger between the Delaware Atlantic Insurance Company and the Pioneer Insurance Company of New York into the Atlantic States Insurance company. Other notable acquisitions include Le Mars Insurance Company and the Peninsula Insurance Group in 2004 and the Sheboygan Falls Insurance Company in Wisconsin. And in 2009, Donegal Mutual Insurance Company affiliated with the Southern Mutual Insurance Company based in Georgia.

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