Myrio Rides Triple Play Wave
One of the companies riding the current wave of interest in delivering video services over copper and fiber access networks is Myrio Corp., one of a number of video middleware companies that has been waiting patiently for the major fixed-line carriers to dive into video.
The startup's marketing VP Roger Shanafelt says a hefty proportion of its 36 commercial deployments got started this year. "We had six customers at the end of 2002, and 19 at the end of 2003. We've added 17 this year, and we're looking to close a few more before the end of this quarter." Those customer gains will give the company a revenue boost of between 40 and 50 percent over 2003, though Shanafelt isn't revealing any numbers. (See Pioneer Picks Myrio for Video, Myrio Adds CLEC Users, and Myrio Wins CLEC Video Deals.)
He sees even the biggest carriers catching the video bug now. "There's intent to buy video delivery systems from the RBOCs now. There are a lot of RFPs out there at the moment." There's also growing interest in Europe, where the company has offices in the U.K. and the Netherlands, and in Japan, where Myrio has a market development office.
European interest has manifested itself in a trial at Belgian national operator Belgacom (Euronext: BELG), where Myrio is involved through its partner Siemens Information and Communications Networks Inc. (see Belgacom to Trial Interactive TV).
And Shanafelt says the company is involved with all the major European operators that are dabbling with video services, including BT Group plc (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA). (See BT Moves Ahead With Mega Project.)
So who is Myrio coming up against in the carrier RFPs? Shanafelt says its main competition comes from sector heavyweight Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which just got its first big IP TV system break with SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC). (See French Say Oui to DSL TV, Alcatel Denies iMagic Fadeout, and SBC's $6 Billion Banquet.)
"Those are the guys we're seeing in the big RFPs globally, and we come across Minerva Networks in North America, Orca Interactive in Asia/Pacific, and we've srarted to see Infogate Online."
So how big a threat is Microsoft? Shanafelt is relaxed about the software giant's emergence with SBC. "Microsoft has made announcements like this in the past, but they've never come through. We're waiting in the wings to see how they do. They have a great concept, but at the end of the day it's a Microsoft product," says the Myrio man, alluding to the issues with the firm's Windows systems over the years.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch