Voice over IP; mobile applications for handheld devices; and complex, n-tiered rich media applications all share one thing: Theyre part of the new frontier of Web 2.0.
Keynote Systems will venture into those uncharted territories to help users map out the performance and quality of new Internet applications.
Keynote Systems on March 8 updated its flagship Application Perspective monitoring service with the ability to monitor and measure responses from each element in a multitiered application. Over the next several weeks, the San Mateo, Calif., company will add a new Keynote Mobile Application Perspective service, which will monitor and measure response times and the quality of mobile content. At the same time, Keynote also will launch its VOIP Perspective service, in conjunction with the VON conference, to monitor the quality of voice calls as they traverse IP data networks and the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).
Lisa Erickson-Harris, research director at Enterprise Management Associates, in Portsmouth, N.H., said new technologies are part of user expectations, as are service quality. "Its about broadband, wireless and voice converging into one arena. Corporate users and consumers expect to get a quality of service across those different technologies at their desktop."
Application Perspective 4.0 enables development of custom test scripts and provides more precise content validation to check that all elements of the n-tiered application respond appropriately.
"Now, if I get a Keynote alert that says the Web page portion failed, I can direct that to my Web team. ... That intelligence is key for us to be able to properly interrogate the issue and resolve it in a much more timely fashion," said Elton Anderson, senior director of system operations at executive search company Korn/Ferry International, in Los Angeles.
The Keynote Mobile Application Perspective service provides interactive testing and validation of mobile content for portals and content developers. It works across hundreds of mobile devices and a variety of profiles to allow enterprises to see how users are experiencing mobile applications.
To perform live testing across carrier wireless networks, Keynote installed measurement devices in 20 locations globally. Initially, it will test over Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile networks.
With a library of more than 800 agents and device profiles to provide testing across a variety of devices, operating systems, screen sizes and processing capabilities, "Keynotes done a reasonably thorough job in addressing the many variables. Without embracing a critical mass of them, you cant say you do a thorough job of measuring and monitoring performance for end users," said Scott Crawford, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, in Boulder, Colo.
"This is needed in the industry. Consumers can look at this data when choosing a broadband service provider, and service providers can look at it month over month to see how our services are improving based on changes we make in our network," said Michelle Swittenberg, executive director of consumer VOIP at Verizon, in Newark, N.J. Verizon was involved in Keynotes original syndicated VOIP benchmark study, which provides a foundation for the new VOIP service.
By wading into VOIP testing, Keynote is filling a gap in carriers and service providers abilities to gauge the quality of the voice calls they are delivering—across both packet networks and the PSTN, according to Jeremy Duke, president of Synergy Research, in Reno, Nev.
"If they deliver a good product now, they have an opportunity to set the standard here," Duke said.
Duke, whose company has also tried VOIP services as a consumer, has found the quality of such services to vary widely. "Call quality is up and down—especially when traveling. If [service providers] are looking to improve the quality of their service, an ongoing service that would measure the quality of the service would be paramount," he said.
Although Keynote officials said that the service can record and measure VOIP calls between endpoints—traversing packet networks and the PSTN—one VOIP systems installer was skeptical. "Even if a particular carrier can see my voice-grade quality is this, what happens when the voice call leaves their network?" asked Gregg Jankowski, IP communications practice manager at Analysts International, in Auburn Hills, Mich.
The VOIP service, which uses a device located at different geographic locations to send out test calls to specific endpoints, measures call quality across boundaries, Keynote officials said.