Delivering IPTV services will be no small task for telephone companies. You have to make sure the user experience is consistent with expectations in terms of service availability, picture quality and the variety of programming offered. As always, customer care is also a major concern.
At CompTel/ASCENT Fall 2005 Convention & Expo Tuesday, xchange and PHONE+ magazines are sponsoring the Emerging Markets Track, which includes a panel called Beyond the TV Screen Delivering an End-to-End IPTV User Experience. The session includes Paula Bernier, editor in chief of xchange; Meir Friedlander, senior director of IPTV marketing at billing and customer care vendor Amdocs; and Michael Lam, senior systems engineer at Eagle Broadband, which provides IP set-top boxes and video content, as well as a soup-to-nuts video solution called IPTVComplete along with its partner GlobeCast.
This interactive session will include brief introductions from Friedlander and Lam followed by at least a half hour of open discussion between the panelists and audience.
Lam says key topics he expects to address include the distribution infrastructure, content and the user experience. Friedlander will offer comment on ordering, service changes, parental control, TV-based self-care, content personalization and more. Today if I have Comcast service here and I want to change my package, I have to do it through a phone or PC, says Friedlander. To see a bill or ask a question, I have to get on the phone. But I want to do this all through my TV.
New Revenue Streams and Services Using IP is another panel on the Emerging Markets Track. This one features xchanges Bernier; Kevin Brown, vice president of marketing at Pannaway Technologies; and Jeff Silbert, vice president of marketing and sales at M5 Networks Inc. Brown will discuss how to enable the triple play with IP-based systems that can support a variety of services and applications over either existing infrastructure (copper) or FTTx. He also will offer information on how particular applications such as caller ID on the TV are generating new revenue for service providers and building customer loyalty.
Silbert will offer perspective on generating new revenue as it relates to business customers. His comments will focus on how M5 provides outsourced phone systems for businesses so they dont need to purchase and maintain their own phone systems. The lesson here is that a carrier can provide and manage the phone system for customers so theyre offering more than just a commodity pipe increasing potential service provider revenue and bringing added value to the customer.
Also at the show, Khali Henderson, group editor for New Telephony, PHONE+ and xchange will moderate a session called Cable VoIP Complexities: The Role of CLEC Partners and System Interconnection featuring Apollo Guy, vice president and general manager of cable and broadband at Telution; and Scott Widham, president of sales and marketing at Broadwing.
Whats going on now is the RBOCs and the cable companies are bitter enemies and will be that way for a very long time trying to compete over the same turf, says Widham. With AT&T being purchased by SBC [Communications Inc.] and MCI [Inc.] being gobbled up by Verizon [Communications Inc.], I think the cablecos that do lots of business with those two providers are going to be loathe to continue to fill their coffers given that they are the competition.
So, its a very dynamic market and changing market, and it does provide opportunities for some of the smaller guys, the tier two operators. Thats one of the reasons we have identified the cable industry as a place we want to play. We are not only an IXC. We are very much in the local business with our acquisition of Focal. We have 26 local DMS
500s. We are very built out to the end offices of the LATAs that we are in. So, in terms of giving cablecos a nice territory to get their DIDs, their phone numbers to provide services like LNP, CALEA, 911, we are actually well-positioned to provide what they need.
Guy, meanwhile, during his speech will focus on VoIP interconnection issues for cable operators, particularly partner management tools. What I mean by that is that in the cable space, a lot of cable operators have chosen to partner with CLECs to get voice to market, says Guy. You are seeing the same thing on the wireless side. There are network issues, whether its LNP, translating LSOG data, 911 data, 411 data. But, more importantly, how do you plan and manage revenue settlements between the CLEC and yourself? How do you plan to offer flow-through order management? How do you plan to do flow-through for Web self-care, particularly if your CLEC partner is providing a hosted solution instead of just media gateway services or transport services.