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UXP powers multi-screen phone service for Trinidad cable op

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 2:34pm
Brian Santo

Columbus Communications' FlowUXP Systems has developed a software-based platform that bridges back office and delivery infrastructure in what appears to be a both obvious and unique way to integrate elements in the bundle for service providers.

The first test of the software-based platform is the impending commercial introduction in May by Columbus Communications’ Flow cable system in Trinidad of a service that combines multi-screen calling, messaging and cable TV listings.

The service will enable Flow VoIP subscribers to make phone calls from pretty much any device they have handy, on pretty much any network they have available to them.

The service, to be called Home Phone To Go, takes the TV Everywhere concept and extends it to VoIP.

This is important as worries grow that cable may end up facing the same phenomenon that has been sapping traditional phone companies – that subscribers will begin to cancel wired VoIP lines in favor of wireless accounts, UXP’s CEO Gemini Waghmare explained to CED.

Home Phone To Go would forestall that, Waghmare said. “It extends the value of the home phone.”

Filling out the bundle was always going to be hard, but it’s been harder than expected – witness the cable companies constantly shifting strategies to secure a wireless component and the phone companies’ ambitions for wireless broadband slamming up hard against capacity limitations in the spectrum available.

So while everyone is hunkered in their meeting rooms trying to figure out what their next bundle moves are, why shift some focus back to actually integrating the elements in the bundles they have now?

UXP’s Multi-screen Interaction (Mint) platform hooks to any service provider’s business support system (BSS), VoIP switch and call server (or any application server).

In the case of the Flow service, this set of connections allows the Mint platform to verify that the individual user has an account and a voicemail box and then orchestrate the delivery of the combined applications.

Columbus Communications' FlowThe accompanying screenshots show integrated message pane and calling pane on an iPad, connecting home VoIP service through a Wi-Fi connection, and similar screens would show up on a smartphone (iOS and Android), PC monitor or connected TV.

A call could be made through any broadband connection, including a 4G network, if the subscriber had an account and chose to do it that way, Waghmare said.

And while the Flow project is specifically about VoIP, it won’t end there. A forthcoming release will also include live television, UXP said.

Asked about the hypothetical situation of integrating a service like HBO Go, Waghmare said that for the Mint platform, it would be treated as any other application the platform handles, including VoIP.

“I authenticate in the same way,” he said. “We have four channels we’re running in Flow’s lab. This would be just one more.”

The UXP platform goes a step beyond authenticating accounts. Each home phone account is probably serving an entire household. Mint is capable of setting up an individual profile for every user in the household, with individual permissions and settings, Waghmare noted.

“The key is service federation around an individual, and we can do that,” he said.

That opens up additional possibilities, including support for text messaging, and even targeted advertising.

Columbus Communications’ Flow in Trinidad offers video, Internet and voice services. It has a customer base of more than 200,000 households.

Flow will be UXP’s first deployment. The company, based in Toronto, said its system is also being evaluated by two Canadian MSOs.

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