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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 08, 2012

Over-the-Top Services Becoming a Must for Multiple System Operators

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The trend is clear: with a sixth of all international calls now using video through Skype (News - Alert), and over-the-top telecommunications services growing rapidly in the U.S. domestic market, multiple system operators (MSOs) need to offer rich services or lose customers.

“People today are used to features like they find in Skype, which are enhanced, which are innovative, which are first to market,” said Effi Goldstein, director of marketing at IPgallery (News - Alert), during a conversation at the 2012 Cable Show in Boston. “They are accustomed to over-the-top (OTT) services.”

According to Goldstein, that means MSOs need to defend against the threat of becoming a dumb bit pipe by leveraging their inherent advantages and making sure they keep up with customer expectations.

IPgallery, which provides legacy service providers with the technology and capabilities to better compete against the likes of App Stores and OTT, wants to bring this innovation to MSOs.

“We are trying to find a way to grow the legacy services for voice calls, file sharing, messaging, network address book and so on,” Goldstein explained. “This is our turf, and we are trying to help the legacy service provider compete with all the threats they have today.”

Central to that plan is IPgallery’s product, MyContactZone, offered both in residential and enterprise editions.

MyContactZone is a turnkey solution that provides operators with rich session capabilities, such as image and video sharing, instant messaging, cloud-based contact lists and gateways to social communities using a platform that can be overlaid on an existing MSO legacy network.

“Imagine that you are talking on a voice call, then you can escalate to a video call, then file share and send instantly images, pictures and videos between subscribers,” Goldstein said.

Those are the type of capabilities legacy MSOs can offer their customers, with IPgallery’s help.

Goldstein predicted that mobility services are an important part of where OTT services are heading.

“One of the features we have is a second line on the mobile [device of customers] itself,” he said. “How to tie the fixed number to your mobile [device] so you can actually pick the fixed line coming to your home as a second line on your mobile device.”

He continued, “This is the coolness of the service. You can actually be anywhere, you can be on Starbucks Wi-Fi, and if you’re a subscriber to the service the call can be rerouted from your home phone to your mobile. This is the second line. It can be integrated with one number, meaning simultaneous ringing both at your home and on your mobile. You can pick it up, you can transfer it back to your home. This is the innovation.”

And this is what customers are asking from MSOs now, Goldstein noted.

“For MSOs, it takes more time to provide the services on their infrastructure,” he stressed. “This is why we offer a platform to provide these rich features.”

Whether purchasing a turnkey solution such as IPgallery’s MyContactZone or developing a custom solution, it is clear MSOs must step up and stay current with the OTT offers pushed by the likes of Skype, Google (News - Alert), Facebook and others.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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