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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 23, 2009

180Squared: IPTV Is All About the Middleware

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

If you ask Amir Littman, 180Squared VP, manual processes really do not work for provisioning IPTV (News - Alert) services.
“Some companies have spent 11 months getting ready for a service launch,” he said. “There are lots of issues around provisioning, billing, middleware, installation and so forth. We put everything together in one package and everything is ready from day one.”
Lots of the key issues center on middleware, and the way middleware is approached matters, he says. And one common mistake is to “look at it like another network element.” It isn’t. Instead of resembling a discrete element, it is more like a machine with lots of moving parts.
“Middleware is like an operating system, getting updates all the time,” said Littman. The complex business logic and transaction support is more complicated than just turning up a port. There might be 17 function calls to turn up a single subscriber, Littman says. So the middleware has to be treated like an operating system.
Middleware also has to handle large volumes of transactions and yet not crash when a software update is occurring at the same time. So the 180Squared framework is middleware-agnostic and encapsulates processes so that doesn’t happen.
“If we make an API call, we can dynamically throttle back function calls under load and wait until the load eases off, while maintaining state and transaction awareness,” he said. “Nobody has time to manage all that.”
Part of “all that” is following the business logic imposed by other applications, and requires self policing.
“If we create a transaction, and it didn’t occur, we do an audit,” Littman said. “We dynamically can detect and then update provisioning and billing systems, and then validate the service load. If customer has ordered HBO, then it is validated before installer leaves, so there are no mistakes.”
As soon as I80Squared gets a call from a subscriber, “we can identify which device somebody is calling about, and we can tune and diagnose, reboot all devices in the home, from a desk,” said Littman.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri