(c) SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum

April 18-2014 - Issue #240


Selling SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum provides thought leadership on SIP, 

Unified Communications Apps, Lync CEBP Apps, Cloud Communications, 

OTT-Over The Top Apps from SIP Trunk Providers, Network Providers, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.

Microsoft Lync is a trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.  




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 Welcome to the SIP, UC Apps & Cloud Communications Forum 


Having developed software for more than 30 years and faced the either buy or build scenario more than you can count.  I have seen entire divisions of thousands of people terminated for failing to deliver ontime and onbudget.  I have also seen companies in total frustration trying to get the software vendor to add features which they don't seem important but vital to a customer operation.  Lync is in its infancy but its success will largely depend on this balancing act.


Next, QoE/QoS is the craziest concept because like art it is really dependent on the user not just reports.  The RTCP-XR reports can report everything good but cannot test the hearing of the user.  However, being prepared and having a plan is better than spending your time looking for a new job. 



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Lync Apps Build or Buy   


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2615.jpg Here is an abstract of a White Paper from Instant Technologies regarding the age old issue of build or buy.  Given that Lync is a new platform for UC there are ample opportunities for both building and buying. 


Q - Buy to Standardize or Build to Compete?

Let's see what they say.  Note: There are more issues explored in the complete White Paper, click here for the paper.


A - Communications media (email, IM, fax, voice) and their various add-on components (anti-virus, anti-spam, VoIP, voicemail, etc) are commodities on which nearly every company in the world has standardized. Would an in-house anti-virus solution give you an edge over your competitors? Unless you are in the business of selling anti-virus software, the answer is almost certainly no.



Q - Features and Functions 

Here's the part of the paper that hits home to companies I talk to nearly everyday - keeping up with all the features.  Here is what Instant Technologies has to say. 


A - The complexities of complying with regulatory requirements, meeting discovery orders, and enforcing internal policies give rise to a host of technically challenging feature requirements. Whether it's built or bought, your solution needs to address these (and many more) issues:

Security and Confidentiality

 Granular role-based access control

 Windows pass-through client authentication

 Integration of AD and SQL

 Server-based authentication with Active Directory and/or SQL

 Allow authorized users (legal, HR) to search vs. IT to maintain privacy of data and employees


Q - Timing

From my experience you will never have all the features exactly when you need them and ontime.  However, timing, workload, PM, funding and other factors some into place when you decide to build.  Here is what Instant Technologies has to say.


A - In a build situation, time-to-market pressures will dictate the functionality that you can include in your solution. Do you have enough time to match the stability and maturity of commercial software products that have improved over numerous versions via feedback from the market?

In a buy situation, you have the opportunity to evaluate multiple solutions-quickly, immediately, and without risk. And depending on the vendor, you might also be able to request custom features enhancements.


Note: There are more issues explored in the complete White Paper, click here for the paper.


Bottom-line - I find that the Lync apps marketplace has a number of companies devoted to building powerful apps for your business.  In that light, I agree with Instant when they say, "Similarly, an in-house solution to search your Lync archives is unlikely to yield any competitive advantages. The conclusion in this case, therefore, is 'buy to standardize' because your business has nothing to gain from reinventing the proverbial wheel." 



Lync QoE Apps Get Road Tested  

Microsoft and Ixia are collaborating to test and qualify mobile devices for Microsoft Lync applications using the Ixia wi-fi mobile device test solution

Once testing is complete, the company will deliver a qualification report to Microsoft and the technology partner with performance, security and reliability findings. Based on this report, Microsoft determines whether the technology is qualified for use with its UC platform.  During the past year, Ixia has worked as the official test house to qualify Lync applications against wi-fi networking devices, such as wi-fi access points. It has also worked directly with Microsoft partners to test and qualify the technology used with the system. Here is their thoughts on the process - "Mobile usage is growing exponentially with more and more users depending on mobile devices to connect to and use mission-critical tools such as Microsoft's Lync collaboration suite," said Joseph Zeto, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Ixia. "Quality of Experience is no longer a 'nice to have,' as enterprises and individual users rely on mobile devices to work anywhere and anytime. Working with Microsoft and mobile device manufacturers, Ixia is helping to prepare today's devices for tomorrow's applications."


VoIP is present in all profiles, constituting from 0.5 percent to 15 percent of network utilization. Even though only a small part of the overall throughput is used for VoIP, the quality of experience for voice calls is critical. Users expect the same quality for VoIP calls as for land-line service. Transporting real-time voice over the same network used for all other data traffic presents challenges for service quality. Verifying VoIP performance under conditions of high data stress is important to ensure expected results.


Testing Challenges in VoIP Networks




Due to voice traffic's high sensitivity to delays, packet loss and jitter, a converged network can have a negative impact on the voice quality when is not properly configured.  Quality of service (QoS) configuration helps to guarantee required bandwidth while minimizing latency, jitter and packet loss. Minimizing those effects is assured by detecting and prioritizing voice traffic, thus controlling available bandwidth.


Data traffic may be impacted when voice traffic is prioritized, because it is restricted from accessing bandwidth when VoIP needs it. However, data applications are less sensitive to packet loss and delay, and user experience is less affected.  Proper testing of device handling of both data and voice traffic requires generating a mix of data and voice traffic that is common in the environment(s) where the DUT will be deployed. Baseline performance tests must be conducted for each individual

protocol passing through the network.



In a distributed architecture in which devices from multiple vendors are used, VoIP networks add an additional layer of complexity. Interoperability between different protocols (for example, SIP to H.323, H248 to SIP) and the interaction between different media (for example, PSTN, wireless, and pure VoIP networks) can lead to additional issues related to protocol translation (for example, SIP to H.323) and multiple media encoding-decoding operations that lead to degradation of speech quality.


Complex features

When VoIP shares a common network with data applications, unified services and extended feature sets can be provided beyond those available with regular PSTN networks. The performance impact of common, complex features, such as Class 5 telephony features (for example, call transfer, call conference, call parking, call waiting), is underestimated. In practice, the complexity and message overhead added by those features may lead to system stability issues if minimal testing was performed at low scale using just a few phones.



A VoIP system is susceptible to a number of attacks and threats, including denial of service (DoS) attacks, eavesdropping, registration and session hijacking and server impersonation. Multiple levels of security are implemented at the transport and application levels to prevent attacks. Protocols such as IPSec, TLS, and SRTP add additional complexity, and system performance can decrease.


Bottom-line - Take this seriously or face the RGE-resume generating event which which will happen but may save you from being tossed of the bus.



One Last Look

Lync Customer Case Study in Seamless Integration in Minutes


This is a customer case study from AudioCodes.  Here is what they say.  Behind Microsoft's UC  strategy is that Lync can integrate with the vast majority of existing voice systems (including most of the Avaya PBXs sold in the last 20 years).  This allows those businesses that have significant investments in Avaya PBXs to stay right where they are, surrounding the PBX with UC capabilities at a much lower total cost than a complete replacement or major upgrade.

This is exactly the goal set by Michael Williams, Director of IT at Western Growers Association, an agricultural trade association based in Irvine, CA.  "Western Growers was based on a legacy Nortel system... upgraded through Avaya, but was still very limited in its functionality outside of doing anything other than what a basic phone system would offer," says Williams. 
https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2660.pngWith the help of their partner Datalink Networks and AudioCodes, Western Growers was able to introduce Unified Communications and Collaboration with their current PBX, enabling mobility and improving productivity for their staff.  William also noted "Our customer service personnel can communicate to Corporate through instant messaging, voice and video services and take full advantage of Lync services, while still fully communicating with the legacy Avaya system". 


The result is one unified corporate communications system that enables legacy Avaya users and Lync users to seamlessly communicate, preserving all of the existing corporate voice and messaging functions.  AudioCodes media gateways have the ability to transition legacy PRI lines, connecting them to Microsoft Lync.



The gateway routes those calls and decides whether they continue on to my legacy PBX or on to Microsoft Lync. It makes those decisions for you," says Williams.  When asked whether the AudioCodes media gateway was important to his network, Williams noted "I would say it's an extremely vital piece of equipment because it's going to control every line I have coming into the building. You'd want to make sure you use a quality vendor like AudioCodes so that if you have a problem, you have experienced people behind you." 


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 One Last Look

Skype TX Takes HD Audio Global  


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2668.jpg Skype TX is taking on a new voice for global communications.  This potentially means Skype is going to be a major media player not just a telephony, chat, sharing and collaboration tool.  Here is what they say. Skype TX is an easy-to-use hardware and software combination that allows Skype video calls from anywhere in the world to be seamlessly integrated into any production.


Benefits of using Skype TX:

- Skype TX hardware and software is easy to set up, with experts on hand should you need advice or assistance.

- The hardware has been designed for use in a studio environment, with call output in full frame HD-SDI formats with embedded or balanced audio.

- HD-SDI video can also be sent back to the caller along with balanced audio.

- Video and audio are free from all notifications, signals, adverts or pop-ups.

- Skype TX takes care of aspect ratio mismatches automatically and the software operator has full control over screen aspect ratios using Skype TX software.


Here are three examples of customer uses:



Our Skype Collaboration Project and other lifestyle campaigns aim to bring audiences closer to the industries that interest them - and even teaches us a thing or two about the hard work going on out there. To do that, we've joined forces with top names in art, fashion and music.



Live Events

Whether you're streaming a live gig, interviewing stars or on-site at one of the world's biggest sporting events - Skype allows you to get audiences closer to the action than ever before. We've connected fans with movie stars at film premieres and helped people from around the world join industry events.



When the big news stories break, you want to hear from the people on the scene. You want to see what they see. Hear what they hear. Skype is often used in bringing on-the-ground coverage straight to your TV, radio or desktop - with many of the world's famous newsrooms - including the BBC and CNN integrating Skype into their reports.



One Last Look Putting Some Energy into Compliance


Integrys Energy Group Meets IM Compliance Requirements with the Help of HR Auditor


Integrys Energy Group with nearly 5,000 employees across the Midwest and beyond is committed to fulfilling their vision of "People Creating a Premier and Growing Energy Company."


Challenge: Microsoft Lync is heavily integrated into the workday at Integrys from trading natural gas and electricity to scheduling board meetings. With the huge role that Lync plays in the business, it was absolutely necessary to have a reliable IM archive reporting solutions prior to implementing and deploying Microsoft unified communications back in 2006. Natively, Microsoft did not provide a viable option for easily searching and viewing the IM logs.


Solution: HR Auditor from Instant Technologies successfully balances a comprehensive feature set with an intuitive interface that requires little or no training for administrators, managers, or end users. Integrys has been managing their search and discovery queries with HR Auditor for 7 years now and as a result is able to perform IM discoveries quickly, easily, and discretely whenever needed.


"The HR Auditor solution not only provided us with a fully functional solution, but the easy out of the box deployment meant HR and other departments were up and running without any additional training needed."

Alan Weber, Senior Server Analyst at Integrys.


Bottom line: "By granting HR Auditor access to select HR staff we have enabled them to conduct their searches whenever they need to without requesting and waiting for IT resources to perform database queries. This has saved valuable time for both HR and IT departments."


HR Auditor from Instant Technologies provides:


- Advanced searching capabilities based on keyword, user or date range

- Ease of use from installation through setup and discovery searches

- Instant information access - data becomes usable (and valuable) business assets


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2615.jpgAbout Instant Technologies

Instant Technologies specializes in developing social applications for the enterprise including IM-enabled service desk and compliance. Instant Technologies is a Lotus Advanced Business Partner and a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, headquartered in Portsmouth, NH.



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One Last Look Fashion Fone Solutions for SIP  



Few would doubt that the biggest problem with the iPhone is the battery life or rather the lack of one.  Few would also give up their iPhones for any other phone much less a deskphone.  Lastly, charging is a pain and your desk often looks like a plate of spaghetti than something sleek they show in the movies.  Here's comes a very cool chic tech solution from the country that really invented IMHO fashion via Coco Chanel.  The country is France.   

The Invoxia NVX 620 is a VoIP SIP and Skype Phone made for small businesses.  This device is both a desktop phone and a conference unit. Configured to your SIP account and /or Skype account in a few seconds, you'll benefit from a powerful and clear sound during all your calls while using the handset or speakerphone.

As a convergence tool, you'll also be able to use your mobile line or any voip apps running on your smartphone and tablet and find all your mobile contacts from your voip line.

The device is now completely compatible with iPhone 5S, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5... and with Android (beta).


Here are the core features:

- In Vivo Acoustic Technology: 6 broadband speakers, 4 digital microphones, 1 passive radiator

- Compatible with Android (beta) smartphones and tablets, from 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), fitted with Bluetooth and an Internet connection.

- All iPhone, iPad versions compatible

- Full-duplex handsfree

- Background noise removal

- HD corded handset

- Bluetooth 4.0

- Incoming call reception via handsfree, mobile or corded handset

- iPod Touch 4th & 3rd generation, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, iPad mini, New iPad, iPad 2 and iPad compatible

- 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports with integrated PoE

- 2 USB ports

- Broadband codecs support

- Created and designed by invoxia Paris

- Patented technology, design registered 


For the techheads, here's the tech scoop.  These innovative technologies are further improved through the use of wide-band, or high definition, codecs (G.722, SILK). In conventional telephony, speech is encoded at bandwidths ranging from 300 Hz to 3400 Hz, and as a result only transmits the most essential part of the human voice. Our telephone has been designed to encode the human voice using bandwidths ranging to 8kHz. These bandwidths also pick up voice harmonics: the human voice's natural qualities, a sense of the speaker's physical presence and the space around him or her.



With HD telephony, you can discern every nuance of the human voice. Nasal sounds are reduced and similar sounding consonants such as S and F can clearly be discerned. You no longer need to repeat yourself; your conferences are now crystal clear and stress-free.


Immersive Soundscapes
But that's not all. The speaker array, driven by the in Vivo acoustic engine, can produce sounds coming simultaneously from different directions in the room.

- In hands free telephony, this allows to separate people of a conference call. In a 3 way conference with two remote callers, the phone will reproduce the two voices in two distinct auditory spaces: one on your left, the other on your right. As the human ear is very sensitive to sound localization, you'll be surprised how easy it is to distinguish the two participants, even if their voices are similar to you because you've never met them and that they have a different accent to yours . Once again, you will get the impression that they are right next to you at your desk. The conversation becomes less strenuous and easier to follow, and you can focus on the task at hand without any distractions whatsoever.

- For music, in vivo acoustics allows a surprisingly wider stereo image.  Left and right channel separation is very impressive, especially regarding the actual small dimension of the product. You'll hardly notice the sound comes from the speakers. Throughout the room, enjoy an immersive listening experience, where each instrument is spatially isolated and distinctly heard.


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2667.jpgBehind its discreet elegance lie 4 digital MEMS microphones placed around and in the middle of the console, which pick up the room's soundscape in its entirety. Combined with 6 speakers, the resulting whole brings acoustic comfort unrivalled on any telephony product today.


Bottom-line - Time for fashion to meet tech and that for tech to be fashion it needs to be fashion-first then tech.  Steve Jobs taught us that when he introduced the iPod in "pastels."  Invoxia is such a cool approach to blending fashion with tech just don't show your C-levels this unless you want a raise.  There is also an Invoxia app.






If you want a really good clue about Microsoft's strategy is then click on this link.  As a fan of and author of the first book on Telecommuting, working remotely is entirely the wave of the future.  People are more productive, often much less-distracted than working on in cubicles or worse open space offices where people who are sick, smell bad and seriously obnoxious can be avoided.  Adding to the hazards of people constantly (70% or more) texting while driving, delays, wasting time/gas, etc commuting has never been a viable option for most workers.  As a fan from the beginning, Kinect is the most human of all user interfaces available today.  Smashing it together with Xbox and Skype, this is a really exciting business solution.  Here is some of what they say.


What you can do with Skype on Xbox One

- Use Kinect to make HD, wide-angled, one-to-one video calls or get everyone together with group video. For 1080p video call, both users must have compatible HD displays, web cams and messaging clients, and broadband internet. Up to four people can be added to a group video call on Xbox One. At least one person on the call must have a Skype Premium account.

- Call landlines and mobiles around the world at really low rates - right from your sofa.

- Get call and message alerts on your TV screen, so you never miss a thing.

- Send instant messages with friends while you watch live TV or play games


Bottom-line - With Google, Facebook, Amazon and so many on Microsoft's tail, this is a very important global business strategy not just consumer solution.



Seriously FB Want User to Wear This  



Facebook did it again in hardly more than two weeks after gobbling up WhatsApp, there surprise $2B purchase of virtual reality headset maker Oculus has many investors wondering how it fits into Facebook's long-term strategy.  The analysis on PBS NBR-Nightly Business Report was one of the best.  NBR analysts suggest that Facebook is not in social media but they are a social platform.  Actually this is a good assessment of what FB is morphing into a technology platform which users can perform social, personal (health, family, church), business, public caring and other "human platforms."  Click on image for NBR report. 



Androidwear Making You More Like an Android


Ghttps://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2649.jpgoogle ever more on the wearable tech road announced Android Wear: Information that moves with you.  This is yet another attempt to thwart Apple from iWatch and anything Apple might do in fashion tech. Remember Dick Tracy, circa 1931 watch was 2-way TV even today that would be a feat if it worked for more a minute (battery-life for a watch might be only a few second).  


Here is what Google says, "Today we're announcing Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. And we're starting with the most familiar wearable-watches. Going well beyond the mere act of just telling you the time, a range of new devices along with an expansive catalogue of apps will give you:

- Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you'll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more. 

- Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say "Ok Google" to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say "Ok Google" to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm. 

- The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk. 

https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2639.jpg- Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say "Ok Google" to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There's a lot of possibilities here so we're eager to see what developers build"


Bottom-line If you want to waste your time watching a vid about a watch, click on image.

 If, however, you are more interested in living think of something more interesting than finding out that someone is going to late via a watch, the weather, sport scores or other trivial nonsense and oh, you will still need your smartphone for anything you want to see larger than a postage stamp.




 Today, Lyncosphere - "Lync Visualized" is released.

Click on image for Lyncosphere (uses Flash)


After a lot of beta testing and feedback this new microsite that is designed for indepth explanations and explorations of Lync by providers of Lync solutions and applications. 

Here are some view comments: 


"Lyncosphere is an innovative way to help sales, channel and end users "see" how Lync works. This really helps me engage with customers faster and get solutions understood by all the decision-makers."

                              - Matt Jolly - Senior Support Engineer Vology.com


"Lyncosphere visualizes how Lync works and helps you understand which 3rd party Lync solutions are available to provide additional functionality to your Lync environment." 

                              - Rui Maximo - CEO Lync-Solutions.com


"This is a very good - well done indeed, it would be of great use to both channel partners and end users evaluating Lync."

     - Douglas GreenPublisher, TelecomReseller/Usernews Publications - The World's Leading News Source for Unified Communications, Collaboration and Cloud  www.telecomreseller.com 



https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2477.jpgSecurity Issue - Restricting Remote Access to Only Corporate-Issued Computers



Corporate security policies require employees to use only corporate-issued computers to connect to the corporate network. Personal devices aren't permitted to connect to internal resources. How can I enforce security policies for users connecting to Lync Server from a sanctioned computer?



By configuring the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filter to block NTLM authentication requests as well as restricting authentication requests from only authorized Active Directory domains, the Security Filters prevent users from connecting to Lync Server from a non-corporate issued computer at the network perimeter.



Lync Server when published to the Internet are susceptible to many types of attacks. Without a solution such as the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filter, user accounts can easily be locked out in Active Directory Domain Services, passwords can be brute-forced, internal Lync Server resources can be consumed unnecessarily by DDoS attacks, Lync meeting attendees can be hacked by cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and many more attacks (SOAP, XML, etc) as shown in the following figure.  



With the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filters, attacks can be blocked at the network perimeter as illustrated in the following diagram.




Solutions to Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) and other Hacker Attacks


Why are DDoS attacks disruptive to your organization?   

Here are the most common reasons:

- Each failed authentication attempt counts in Active Directory Domain Services as a failed login and locking out the account in Active Directory Domain Services.  

- It becomes trivial for a remote attacker to lock out any of your Active Directory user accounts if the attacker knows (or can guess) the account name.  

- No credentials or privilege is required to mount a DDoS attack.  

- Locked-out Active Directory user accounts often generate the largest number of support calls to IT.  

- DDoS attacks can represent a substantial disruption to users when employees are unable to reach the resources they need to do their work while internal Lync Server resources are under attack.  

- Organizations that allow employees to remotely sign in to Lync Server from the Internet can be susceptible to password brute-force attacks.


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2472.jpgSecurity Edge Filter is an application layer firewall for Lync Server. It augments the Edge Server by enforcing a soft lockout at the network perimeter to prevent account lockouts at the Active Directory Domain Services. Security Edge Filter tracks failed sign-in requests and block further sign-in attempts before the Active Directory lockout limit is reached. The Security Edge Filter protects the SIP traffic. 


The benefits are:

- Security Edge Filter provides an additional tier of account security.  

- Security Edge Filter prevents password-guessing by blocking authentication attempts after the number of failed authentication attempts reaches a threshold.  

- Even when the account is locked out by the Security Edge Filter at the network perimeter, the user can still sign in to Lync Server from within the corporate network or through a VPN. As a result, the DDoS risk is substantially mitigated, with minimum inconvenience.


- Security Edge Filter can enforce that remote users to sign in from a corporate-issued computer. By blocking NTLM authentication, external users are forced to sign in by using TLS-DSK authentication. It requires that a client certificate be installed on the user's computer when it's connected to the corporate network.


Security Web Filter is a Web application firewall for Lync Server Web Services. It protects the Lync HTTPS traffic traversing the reverse proxy. Similar to the Security Edge Filter, it protects against DDoS attacks by enforcing a soft lockout in the network perimeter. The Security Web Filter monitors Web traffic originating from the Internet for potential attacks. In addition to Lync Web traffic, the Security Web Filter can monitor authentication traffic from external Exchange and SharePoint users. 


The benefits are:  

- Security Web Filter provides an additional tier of account security, safely locking out the account at the network perimeter without locking out the account inside the corporate network.   

- Security Web Filter prevents password-guessing on the extranet by blocking authentication attempts for that account after the number of failed authentication attempts reaches a threshold.   

- Security Web Filter monitors external traffic for XSS attacks, SOAP attacks and XML attacks, and blocks those requests at the network perimeter.


- The enterprise edition of the Security Web Filter allows the administrator to block unauthorized Lync mobile devices from signing in to Lync Server.  

- When combined with the enterprise edition of the Security Edge Filter, the lockout policy and logging can be centralized with both products in a SQL database.



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