Alcatel-Lucent has devised a set of tools that IPTV providers on the Microsoft Mediaroom platform can use to write an application only once, yet have that application run across consumer products ranging from handhelds to PCs to TVs.

One of the first announced uses of the toolset will be an interactive advertising “proof of concept pilot” with Telefonica in Spain.

In January, Microsoft introduced the Mediaroom Presentation Framework, which helps IPTV operators blend broadcast programming with content and services pulled from the Web.

Alcatel-Lucent is a reseller/integrator of Microsoft Mediaroom products. Alcatel-Lucent is calling its contributions to the Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework the Multimedia Content Manager and Interactive Media Manager.

The Alcatel-Lucent digital media tool suite includes the 5930 Interactive Media Manager, which includes a set of templates that operators can give to their content providers and media agencies to quickly create new interactive TV applications (e.g., voting, enhanced TV, interactive ads). These templates give content providers and media agencies an abstraction layer so that they can focus on their core expertise and do not have to worry about the technical capabilities of the TV software platform.

Use of the templates allows application developers to simply write their applications without regard to the end device, so that any application written should run across mobile, PC and IPTV screens, A-L explained.

A-L expects the approach to work for video-on-demand (VOD) applications. The company said VOD assets can be combined with mobile assets to provide an enhanced storefront of services for consumers. 

A-L’s 5920 Multimedia Content Manager manages content from ingest through partner management to end-user delivery, which the company contends will reduce network complexity, operating expense and time to market.

Telefonica is using Alcatel-Lucent’s 5930 Interactive Media Manager to develop and test an interactive IPTV advertising application for its Imagenio IPTV customers throughout Spain.

In the test, Telefonica viewers are able to use their remote controls to access Web-based content such as games, additional information, competitions, etc., linked to specific products. Audience participation can of course be measured and analyzed.

"By streamlining service operation over IPTV platforms, Alcatel-Lucent enables service providers to concentrate on content retailing and maximizing their advertising space," said Rik Missault, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent's Digital Media and Advertising Division. 

"IPTV providers leveraging Alcatel-Lucent's solutions can infuse subscriber services with a rich mix of video, music, games, mobile and interactivity to make the IPTV viewing experience more personal and compelling for subscribers. And, with our support of the latest version of the Microsoft Mediaroom platform, we are now extending this functionality to an even broader market."

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