The Client

Australia's largest telecommunications company, Telstra Corporation, went to tender for the upgrade of its legacy EFT network “Tran$end". Braintree's successful pitch included the design and development of a world-first integrated solution that would allow EFT and other data transactions to be transmitted over an ISDN platform.

Braintree with its existing experience in protocol conversion and in particular financial device protocols saw significant potential and opportunity for Braintree to enter into a niche market with its products, services and expertise in telecommunications.

The Problem

Telstra's original Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) network Tran$end - needed to be upgraded as the legacy network had become outdated and was proving too costly and inefficient to maintain. The Tran$end network had a variety of different terminals which meant that a large number of different data languages (protocols) had to be supported which only added to the difficulties in maintaining this network.

An ISDN network was chosen to create a high-speed efficient network that could be more cost effectively managed. ISDN capabilities also supported a variety of communication methods other than EFT transactions including Internet and telephony.

The plan was to phase out Tran$end by educating the retailing industry to the benefits of ISDN and its future capabilities as a integrated communications network that will save business time, network infrastructure, connection failure and more importantly money.

The Solution

Braintree Communications successfully tendered for the supply of the complex protocol converters thanks to its experience in protocol conversion, handling a variety of financial device protocols, and because it had previously supplied the Tran$end terminal cards to Olivetti's EFTPOS Cash Dispensers.

Braintree's solution also integrated a variety of communication methods that could see ISDN be used not only for EFT transactions but simultaneously for Internet and telephony. Braintree's solution proved to be the integrated communications network device that would simplify and centralise Telstra's network, making the network more manageable and cost effective.

This solution would aid consolidation of future services so as to fully create an integrated communication solution that would revolutionise the retail industries communication networks.

Braintree's resulting product for Telstra's network is an Intelligent ISDN BRI (Basic Rate Interface) Gateway called the Argent Terminal Adaptor. The development time from specification to demonstration was around nine weeks. Since its original application for Telstra, this gateway has facilitated much more than standard EFT transactions, Internet and telephony, including security, gaming and networking applications.

Braintree's Intelligent ISDN Gateway's are customer premises equipment (CPE) that provides an integrated high-speed digital communications interface access with any ISDN.

The ISDN Gateway solution offers a fully integrated communications network for businesses. The Gateway's can combine any asynchronous devices (like PCs), a standard telephone/fax system and POS terminals into a single ISDN.

Braintree supplied 5000 ISDN gateways that have since been distributed throughout the Australian business industry where EFT transactions are administered, in particular the retailing industry. An online fault tracking and support system support the product.

This particular solution has seen Braintree form a significant strategic business alliance with Australia's largest telecommunications company. Braintree's vision for potential and opportunity in this market has grown to include other applications of their technology that are currently being investigated.

The Benefits

The many features and benefits of the ISDN gateway include:

- Supports a large number of interfaces
- Consolidates many functions onto one link for savings in communications costs
- Flexible enough to allow major software modifications and upgrades to units across the entire network, extending the life of the product
- An integrated solution for users communications network;
- High speed digital access to any ISDN service;
- Fast, reliable and secure data transfer; and
- Allowing existing point of sale (POS) terminal hardware, which continue to be used with new network platforms.

The ISDN gateway enables Telstra to remotely manage the entire network from a central location. This enables simple deployment of network upgrades and also provides an extended lifecycle of the device.

This solution highlights Braintree's ability to focus on a customer's needs and develop a flexible, truly innovative solution, bringing together a wide variety of technologies.


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