Integra5: Converged services deployments ready for 2nd phase
What’s notable about the PTCI deployment, from Integra5’s perspective, is that for the first time, an operator has simultaneously launched TV Caller ID and PC Caller ID, along with subscriber personalization and management features.
TV Caller ID has been around for a few years now, and during that time, Integra5 has been steadily beating the converged services drum. But now converged services are becoming much more than phone messages on a TV screen.
“Caller ID on TV is just a baby step,” Integra5 CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley told CED. “Call control and personalized services are the next wave, and the bar is continuing to be raised. Operators understand that converged services are huge for customer retention, driving ARPU and going beyond the bundle.”
On Friday, Cablevision announced that it had recently surpassed one-billion Caller ID on TV messages on its customers’ TV screens (story here); the service launched in November across Cablevision’s entire New York City metropolitan footprint (story here).
Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) Caller ID on TV service was first launched in June 2005 in its Columbia, S.C., system, with the second launch in Rochester, N.Y., in September of the same year.
Currently, TWC has Caller ID on TV in more than half of its 23 divisions.
While PC Caller ID was first deployed by an Integra5 customer earlier this year, PTCI was the first operator to launch the management features. Flynn-Ripley said that early Integra5 customers who started with TV Caller ID are starting to add additional services on the i5 CSP platform, including PC Caller ID.
PTCI, which was one of the nation’s first operators to deploy an IPTV service, can now let subscribers log on to their accounts to add photos and set “tones,” nicknames, fonts and colors for TV and PC Caller ID notifications.
The i5 CSP also provides subscribers with active call control, enabling them to manage TV and PC Caller ID notifications, including the ability to ignore a call or divert it to voicemail with the click of a button; manage the TVs and PCs in a home that receive the service; and view call logs, which list names, numbers, dates and times associated with incoming calls.
“PTCI offered a basic TV Caller ID application in the past,” said Ron Strecker, CEO of Panhandle Telephone Cooperative. “However, in this increasingly intense competitive environment, it became clear that we needed a long-term strategy for rapidly delivering new, differentiated services to our customers on an on-going basis. The i5 CSP has allowed us to lay a foundation for the efficient, continuous rollout of new applications – starting with TV and PC Caller ID – that our subscribers can personalize and manage across TVs, PCs and mobile phones.”
PTCI faces stiff competition, throughout its Oklahoma panhandle and Texas panhandle footprint, from satellite providers, Allegiance Communications, Windstream Communications and wireless operator Alltel.
PTCI is offering TV Caller ID, marketed as “OnScreen Caller ID,” to customers who subscribe to its digital TV and phone Caller ID services. PC Caller ID is available to high-speed Internet subscribers for a separate fee of $3 per month.
Integra5 has more than 20 contracts in place for its platform, with deployments in the “high teens,” according to Flynn-Ripley. The company does have Tier 1 operator deals in place, and it expects to announce some of those throughout the course of the year.
Integra5 is also working on applications that utilize EBIF and tru2way technologies, as well as SMS applications, the latter of which is used for voting on “American Idol.”
“We’re very focused on SMS,” Flynn-Ripley said. “We’re working on a service that allows you to create a social network. You can be watching a TV show and then invite your friends in to send messages to, or set up a conference where you can chat while you watch TV.”
The social networking service, which is called Media Friends, is currently in beta testing with availability scheduled for next year. Flynn-Ripley said that there is a lot of interest in “social TV” services such as its Media Friends.
More Broadband Direct: