Softel helps power Canoe Ventures' iTV offerings
Canoe Ventures is using technology from Softel to enable its interactive television (iTV) services for programmers and cable operators.
Canoe Ventures  is using Softel's MediaSphere platform for its request for information (RFI) product, which launched last year. Canoe's RFI campaign currently reaches more than 22 million digital cable households, with the bulk of those coming from Comcast subscribers.
Canoe's RFI product uses CableLabs' EBIF specification to enable its RFI product. The RFI campaigns enable the enhancement of advertising with interactive overlays that allow viewers to request additional samples, coupons, information or other offers with simple selections using their remote.
Programmers taking part in the RFI campaign include AMC, The Style Network, E!, Bravo, Discovery Channel, History Channel and USA Network.
Softel has worked with Canoe since 2008 to provide expertise on iTV playout and to deploy Softel's MediaSphere platform. The MediaSphere system has been deployed at multiple programmers to playout EBIF applications in support of Canoe's RFI campaigns, and the system will support in-program interactivity via Canoe's polling and trivia products  that are slated to launch later this year.
"Softel is constantly evolving its platform to answer the complex technical challenges presented by interactive television," said Joel Hassel, Canoe Ventures' chief technology officer. "The company has also demonstrated a commitment to working closely with other iTV ecosystem suppliers to deliver full interoperability, and its in-depth knowledge of U.S. deployments is extremely valuable."
Softel said that MediaSphere was deployed by more than 20 major operators, programmers and developers in North America. In addition to EBIF, it also supports the playout of tru2way middleware applications from a single unit.
"We are proud to have been selected by Canoe Ventures for their enablement of the largest iTV platform ever created nationally in the U.S.," said Softel CEO Sam Pemberton. "Softel's MediaSphere already supports the OpenCable Content Definition Format (CoDF) specifying the universal distribution of iTV applications, and it is ready to deliver the next generation of highly evolved interactive applications. We look forward to participating in many more innovative iTV deployments with Canoe Ventures."