Liberty Global’s VTR deploys Integra5’s converged services platform

Mon, 10/20/2008 - 8:15am
Mike Robuck

Liberty Global-owned VTR, which is a large cable operator in Chile, is now offering converged services such as caller ID on PCs and TVs through Integra5’s platform.

VTR started rolling out Integra5’s i5 Converged Services Platform (i5 CSP) three weeks ago in a free, 60-day trial to roughly 50,000 customers in various service areas throughout Chile.

VTR is jumping into the converged services arena with both feet by offering i5’s personalized TV and PC caller ID services with phone caller ID for a three-screen caller ID service it calls “Look Who’s Calling.”

“The thing to highlight here is that VTR is launching with a multiple application, multiple platform angle immediately out of the gate, and they’ve included personalization as well,” said Integra5 CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley. “It’s caller ID to the TV and PC with the ability to add pictures, nicknames, and personalize which applications are available to which devices in the home.”

Integra5’s TV and PC Caller ID applications display incoming phone calls on subscribers’ TV and PC screens before the phone even rings. The personalization features enabled by the i5 CSP allow subscribers to log into the Web-based VTR-branded i5 Customer Control Portal to add photos and set nicknames, fonts and colors for TV and PC Caller ID notifications – along with other device and service management features, such as diverting calls to voicemail, turning notifications on and off, and setting how long they remain on-screen.

VTR has deployed the i5 CSP ­– which is in various stages of deployments by more than 35 operators worldwide – in its video headend, which includes Macrovision (formerly Aptiv) and Motorola infrastructure.

Integra5's i5 CSP platform 

Integra5's i5 CSP platform

“As the pioneers of the triple play in Chile, we are constantly seeking ways to increase the value of our voice, video and broadband services to our customers,” said José Navarro, vice president of products at VTR. “With the flexibility to work in our network environment and the scalability to serve our entire market base, the i5 platform allows us to blend our basic service offerings – breaking through traditional service silos to deliver a whole new genre of cross-device communications services that provide a more integrated, synergistic experience for our subscribers.”

VTR is Chile’s largest multichannel and residential broadband ISP, and the second-largest provider of residential phone services. VTR has 1.1 million subscribers, and Flynn-Ripley said the i5 CSP slate of converged services will be rolled out across VTR’s footprint in a phased approach.

In August, Canada’s Videotron announced that it had deployed Integra5’s platform (story here). Like Videotron, VTR is charging customers about $4 per month to use the caller ID services.

Flynn-Ripley said VTR came up with a fresh angle in regard to informing its customers about the caller ID services by using the on-screen caller ID banner. When calls come in, customers see a message about the free trial before the incoming calls are displayed. By using the caller ID banner space, VTR has found a way to communicate with its customers without using other avenues such as direct mail.

“We’re seeing an increased desire to use the i5 platform to not only foster communications among customers, but to also increase communications between operators and their customers,” Flynn-Ripley said.

Operators can use i5’s platform to notify customers about programming changes, up-sell different tiers of services, provide customer care notifications, provide billing information, and even provide Amber Alerts.

Integra5 unveiled its MediaFriends TV Chat in August (story here). MediaFriends allows viewers to watch a show together while sharing text messages in real time. Flynn-Ripley said social networking applications such as MediaFriends, which will eventually encompass TVs and PCs, are the next phase of converged services and help service providers stand out in a highly competitive environment.

“I think it’s now pretty commonly acknowledged that to provide TV caller ID is table stakes, but there is much more to meeting the communications needs of subscribers,” Flynn-Ripley said. “We’ve had a fantastic reaction to MediaFriends. We definitely see a lot of interest around the next step of converged communications, which has a heavier focus on integrating mobile into the converged communications mix without having to be a wireless provider.”

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