Optical/IP Networks

New Services Let Wired Networks Push Data, Video

INDIANAPOLIS -- IP Possibilities -- Rural telcos are in position to make money from the smartphone revolution even if they don't operate wireless networks, Steve Gleave, VP Marketing for Metaswitch Networks , told the audience here.

The key is to leverage the network switches and software to allow users to share more data and content back and forth between wireline and mobile connections.

Metaswitch is demonstrating multiple ways to let businesses and consumers share content during calls, push calls from a smartphone to a desk phone to a tablet without dropping them, and push out Web pages during a call to offer coupons or business information to folks calling in.

One example Gleave cites is a local pizza parlor that can offer those calling in from a smartphone a look at its menu specials and coupons while checking the location of the caller to derail prank deliveries.

Telcos have existing relationships with businesses and consumers and are "ideally placed to deliver an immersive communications experience" for both groups, if they are willing to invest and innovate, Gleave says.

In an interview prior to the keynote, the Metaswitch executive admits that there is no shortage of ways smaller and rural telcos -- his company's original customer base -- can generate new revenues and retain their broadband customer base. But implementing these new ways of doing business is easier said than done, especially during today's uncertain regulatory climate.

"It's easy to say 'You should change your business,' but much harder to take a company that has been doing business in a certain way for years and turn it on its head," Gleave says.

That's one reason why Metaswitch is actually providing on-the-ground expertise, usually from a third party, to help local operators make the changes needed. This is the latest step in its very hands-on approach to helping smaller telcos adopt new technologies and deploy new services.

"We parachute a team in to work with the operator for a couple of months, helping them see how they can develop their own apps, and use an OTT cloud-based solution to offer new services and build new loyalties," Gleave says.

Key to the Metaswitch message is that control of the network is required to enable much of what softphones can deliver in terms of immersive communications, and that gives rural telcos -- all telcos, really -- a way to fight back against the incursion of smartphone makers and OTT content providers.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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