More companies are recognising the role technology plays in daily business life. Computers have become as necessary as telephones, and now most corporations have two separate sets of wiring to accommodate growing communication needs. Madge Networks, a Token Ring and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) company, has unveiled its road map to eventually combine computing networks with PBX, phone broadcast exchange, using ATM technology. MadgeOne, according to director of ATM networks Robert Nash, was more concrete than just a vision. 'MadgeOne is addressing customers' concerns about ATM,' he said. 'They want to know if they buy this network equipment, where it is going this year, next year and after that.' MadgeOne outlines the company's product plan over the next few years to help corporations adopt ATM technology and deploy it across the network. 'Our proposal is to move PBX into the data network, switch calls over ATM switch fabric and do call control over client/server,' Mr Nash said. 'This would work on an open architecture rather than proprietary.' He said Madge was concentrating on issues concerning video and voice networking that many people did not necessarily consider when looking into ATM. 'Some people in the industry have been naive,' he said. 'Video or voice are just on an open ATM circuit and there is no technology yet to address the need to transfer calls, forward to voice-mail or other extensions, or add conferencing capabilities like you have on PBX systems.' MadgeOne is designed to address these problems and incorporate the two systems. Mr Nash said this promised to be a cost-saving measure in terms of having one set of wiring and added phone features, such as dialling from the computer. The system includes costs such as software upgrades and phoneset connections to the computer. 'We are not proposing the companies rip out their existing systems, but when they build a new office or decide to replace the current system, this is a good answer,' Mr Nash said. 'Inter-operability between the legacy headquarters' system and the new branch comes through WAN (wide-area network) access switches with signal calls across a public network over leased lines.' Ben Sham, marketing manager for greater China, said Madge's focus for the region would be on infrastructure backbone. 'We will target large accounts and work in conjunction in terms of installation,' he said. 'We will show customers how to have our product work together with competitors' products in their existing system.' Raymond Lee, president of Madge Networks Asia, said there were four countries in the region critical to the company's success. He said South Korea, Australia, greater China and India were the largest markets until the year 2000, according to an International Data Corp report. 'Our focus is clear,' he said. 'We have expertise in end-to-end networks. We just completed an installation in a bank in Malaysia and were on time and on budget and have on-site staff to manage the system.' He said Madge ranked highest in the market and that was how it differentiated itself from its competitors. According to a study by research firm Dataquest, however, Madge did not merit its own slice of market share and was lumped into the 12 per cent under 'others'. In terms of worldwide ATM switches by ports and revenue, Fore Systems holds the largest share at 47 per cent, with Cisco at 18 per cent and IBM at 8 per cent. Madge was founded as a Token Ring solution to compete against IBM. In the past year, the company moved into LAN and WAN technology with its acquisition of LANnet and Teleos. Battered quarterly results have shown the company's turbulent transition from an old technology to an emerging one. 'Madge has gone through a major transition in the last three years,' Mr Nash said. 'We now have a switching focus and concentrate much less on Token Ring.'