Sirocom has launched a new service that offers retail companies a single network to support applications and IP telephony.The Retail Application Network "is a multi-carrier network running from southern Europe to the U.K. What we\u2019re offering is a single network replacing a variety of different retail applications, meaning that a merchant should have considerable cost savings," said Dave MacFarlane, technology chief for the virtual network operator.A retail organization might have a mishmash of different systems including chip-and-pin verification, IP CCTV or batch transfer to head office, said MacFarlane, so it is hard to say how much an organization could save by consolidating its systems. But he estimated that it would be at least 20 percent of network costs. "Organizations should be paying no more than 300 to 400 [pounds]\u00a0for setup costs."MacFarlane dismissed claims that RAN, which is based on Cisco equipment, could be vulnerable to failure as all functions are now run off a single network, "If there was a failure, we have 2.5G and 3G backup and will switch to that if necessary."The company has already signed one customer, British sports retailer JD Sports. Peter Atkinson, operations director for JD Sports said: "Adopting Sirocom\u2019s RAN service for our next-generation network was a simple decision; it allows us to streamline business processes and reduce costs, whilst investing in innovative technologies that will elevate us above the competition."MacFarlane said the system would be particularly useful for companies looking to comply with the PCI standard for protecting credit card data.The virtual network operator is looking to bring out a series of similar products for other vertical sectors. The company already has pharmacy and hospitality products in the pipeline.-Maxwell Cooter, Techworld.com (London)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.