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IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – Having been active on the fringes of the emerging telco TV sector, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has unveiled a full-blown IPTV strategy that couples its IT infrastructure with an impressive menu of telco TV point solution partners.

IBM's message to the telecom operator world is this: We've got the IT systems and integration smarts you need to put video and TV services on your network. IBM says it's lining up a bundle of specialist partners, from the video headend to the set-top box, with proven video system capabilities and deployment experience.

"Primarily, we can help carriers develop their IPTV business model and create a service delivery platform, supply the relevant systems, and provide integration and support services," says Shelley Sackett, global marketing manager for IBM's digital media group.

That's quite an advance on the company's previous IPTV involvement, which has centered around a few triple-play partnerships (see IBM, Orca Partner on IPTV).

IBM says it has already built a position in the sector as an IPTV integration partner to China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906) and BCE Inc. (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), better known as Bell Canada (see China Shapes Up for IPTV Boom).

So is IBM ready to butt heads with telco TV heavyweights Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)? It may be ready to compete with these companies on the integration and software front. Alcatel and Microsoft have been winning the major carrier deals lately (see Alcatel & Microsoft Going Steady, SBC Awards Microsoft $400M IPTV Deal , and Mais Alors! Alcatel Bags $1.7B SBC Deal ).

But in many cases, IBM could serve as just another, complementary supplier to the massive telecom networks being built for IPTV. A spokeswoman says IBM is performing a lot of the integration work for Alcatel at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), where Alcatel is the IPTV outsourcer. If that's the case, then the outsourcer has outsourced the outsourcing work!

So what is IBM offering carriers? Here's a rundown:

  • IBM hardware and software components, including the eServer xSeries and eServer BladeCenter, TotalStorage DS4000 disk storage, the Websphere Web portal server, and the WebSphere Telecommunications Application Server for a carrier's service delivery platform (SDP)

  • Integration and business service support from IBM Global Services, including the creation and design of an SDP, content management consulting, customer premises equipment design and support, and business model and service system testing services and support

  • Video servers from the likes of Arroyo Video Solutions Inc., Entone Technologies Inc., and Kasenna Inc.

  • IPTV middleware from Microsoft, Myrio Corp. (now part of Siemens Communications Group), Orca Interactive Ltd., and French group Thales SA (Paris: TCFP.PA)

  • Head-end encoding equipment from Envivio Inc., Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), Scientific-Atlanta Inc. (NYSE: SFA), and Tandberg Television

  • Set-top box technology from multiple suppliers, including Entone, Scientific-Atlanta, Amino Technologies plc, Kreatel Communications AB, and Thomson (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453).

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

  • Page 1 / 4   >   >>
    light-headed 12/5/2012 | 3:12:12 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party A spokeswoman says IBM is performing a lot of the integration work for Alcatel at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC - message board), where Alcatel is the IPTV outsourcer.
    -------------------------------------

    If this is true you should name the spokesman... since i know that it is not i understand the lack of a name. IBM is not involved in either the infrastructure portion (and does not have the expertise, especially in the access) or the MS Video application portion. If they are involved in anything maybe it is supplying servers or billing systems or something but they are exaggerating quite a bit here... They are far from being able to deliver an end to end IPTV solution and for example they do not even mention the preferred vendor for the home gateway: twowire. A lot of fluff in this article.
    networkprofessor 12/5/2012 | 3:12:11 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party Maybe this could be leveraged in the IBM/Nortel alliance. Nortel has some great thinking in their 3P game but is lacking the delivery engine that someone like IBM could provide.
    Goeran 12/5/2012 | 3:12:09 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party Interesting news from the IPTV front:

    UTStarcom/Cisco Announce Triple Play Partnership

    "UTStarcom, Inc. , a global leader in IP-based, end-to-end networking solutions and services, and Cisco Systems, Inc. , the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced a partnership to deliver triple play services -- high-speed data, voice-over-IP (VoIP) and television-over-IP (TVoIP) -- to the Brazilian market." source: http://china-netinvestor.blogs...

    Is this exciting news or only PR?
    laserboy 12/5/2012 | 3:12:09 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party "Nortel has some great thinking"... and what might that "great thinking" be???
    materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:12:07 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party This whole IPTV hype is a dead end. It is trying to re-crate the broadcast TV model in the Internet era. The future is in services like EBAY and GOOG, who have no use for this junk. They are too busy creating economic value by adding productivity to our economy. It will not scale (too complex, proprietary). As another poster said, "If you think VoIP is hard..."

    And for what? Exactly where do the revenues come to pay for all this? Unless the IPTV SPs exert monopoly control over all users, this will result in economic loss. Again, EBAY and GOOG work fine without any of this junk. This is the 3G spectrum auctions of 2000 all over again. The IPTV equipment crowd as a bunch of losers looking in the wrong place for a new buck.
    rjs 12/5/2012 | 3:12:06 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party I beg to differ with post#5!

    IPTV is a step in the right direction and it is a win-win for everybody --- content providers, media providers, and hopefully the users. IPTV is Internet headed in the right direction.

    People have been conditioned to believe that content is free and the content providers have had to squeeze out the buck in some other (most often underhanded ways) ways because nothing is free.

    This is especially true of broadcast. Ever since the first radio program went on air squeezing ads has been made into a science. With broadcast since there is no means to control endusers receivers, it should be assumed that everyone has access to the content. People with sufficient motivation will always find ways to decode broadcast. That is one reason why analog cable is being phased out by the cable companies in favor of digital cable (and hence digital encoders).
    There were way too many third party decoders available to decode the premium channels. Likewise
    Satellite TV. The cable and satellite rates are higher to take care of the bleeding due to the unauthorized users.

    With IPTV, the concept of a individual session can
    now take hold. Hopefully, the media providers and the content providers will be able to make a buck by subscription and make more content available at
    anytime without having to worry about loss of revenue.

    I believe that Apple's I-Pod made that amply clear with respect to music. If it is cheap enough (reasonable is the key word) people will pay for it and not try to screw the author out of his fair
    take.

    I am looking forward to the day where we will have a huge number of independent labels and studios putting out their content available to homes with
    IP connectivity.

    -rjs
    zoinks! 12/5/2012 | 3:12:05 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party >I am looking forward to the day where we will have
    > a huge number of independent labels and studios
    > putting out their content available to homes with
    > IP connectivity.

    Great ... 1000's of channels of crappy programming instead of today's hundreds, the majority probably being amateur pornography and Wayne's World knockoffs.

    What next? Millions of personal pages voicing opinions that nobody cares about ... oh, sorry we already have that with blogs.

    Zoinks!
    OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:12:05 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party rjs says; 'People have been conditioned to believe that content is free and the content providers have had to squeeze out the buck in some other (most often underhanded ways) ways because nothing is free."

    And eye pee'rs haven't preached anything on the internet isn't free. De-coders will always be built in this environment. The music DRM has been broken for some time.

    But I agree with tera's post that the difference is in being the distribution control (Internet TV vs IPTV).

    OldPOTS
    opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 3:12:05 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party The advantage I see for IPTV over cable is that it is point-to-point, rather than a 'party line'.

    So in theory, IPTV can offer a greatly expanded video-on-demand. You could access a months worth of everything available on television. You can throw away your DVR which can store at most two channels of info. Want to watch a movie? You could access the equivalent of an entire Blockbuster to get exactly the movie you want, when you want.

    Of course, this is only 'in theory'.

    Also, there is a difference between IPTV, which is television from the phone companies, and Internet TV, which is television from anyone on the internet. A really clever IPTV would bridge this gap.


    desiEngineer 12/5/2012 | 3:12:04 AM
    re: IBM Scopes Out IPTV Party If I were zoinks, I'd question the productivity of GOOG - I probably waste more time following all the interesting but irrelevant links that searches always show up.

    Silly people wasting their silly lives making silly webpages that distract me with my short attention span :-)

    -desi
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