Belle Systems has made online micro-payments and corporate IP billing a reality with the latest version of its Internet Management System (IMS).
Micro-payments allow Web sites to charge small amounts for content or services, typically a few pence or even fractions of a penny. Using IMS, companies can charge their Web site visitors small amounts for services or content on the site, although at present the system only works through the cooperation of ISPs or a dedicated dial-up account.
As the customer's details are already in the system, no forms have to be filled in and there are no registration steps. Micro-payments are then added to the customer's bill, which can be reviewed online by the customer.
The new 3.1 version of IMS allows more granular IP billing for ISPs providing leased line services, by interfacing with Cisco's NetFlow technology, which collects usage data from the network. IMS then manipulates this data into formatted accounting, billing and service records, and opens up a new range of billing options, such as charging per service (FTP, Web, Email), tiered charging based on usage bands, and charging based on Quality of Service per service or application.
Partnerships with Cisco and Hewlett-Packard have also been announced, backed up by an undisclosed investment by Cisco. The partnership will see both companies marketing IMS as a solution to customers who are deploying a range of IP services in the enterprise.
IMS uses an Oracle database and runs on HP-UX, Solaris and AIX, and a Linux version is being considered. Belle Systems claims it has tested IMS with 500,000 simultaneous users, and it is hoping to get that figure up to one million.
IMS 3.1 is available now and costs between #50,000 and #60,000, or roughly #50 per user.
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