Dialing Up New Features2/27/2005 7:00 PM Eastern
Integra 5 Communications Inc. today will release version 2.0 of its software, providing broadband players with new capabilities to combine messaging and caller ID across video, voice and data platforms.
The product enhancements include full cellular-telephone integration for broadband providers that offer wireless phone service; enhanced call history; picture caller ID; personalized caller ID; distinctive caller ID; and a UniPC service that displays information about incoming phone calls on a subscriber’s personal computer.
“We’re offering increased functionality,” CEO Eyal Bartfeld said.
Integra 5 offers broadband providers software that provides caller ID on the TV screen. Comporium Communications, a South Carolina cable operator/telco, has rolled out the service.
Integra will announce today (Feb. 28) that Hargray Communications Group will roll out the service in Hilton Head, S.C., and in other service areas in South Carolina and Georgia.
The vendor is also close to signing a deal with a Midwest-based MSO and will soon start lab trials with a top-10 operator, said Integra 5 executive consultant, marketing and sales Meredith Flynn-Ripley.
Comporium also offers cell phone service, and would be able to take advantage of the cellular-ID software in Integra 5’s 2.0 release. Calls to a homeowner’s cell phone could pop up on the TV screen, Flynn-Ripley said.
The enhanced call history allows viewers to access a phone call log on their TV screen.
The picture caller ID correlates a photograph with a specific phone number, while the distinctive-call ID displays a particular banner color for a specific phone number.
The UniPC software included in 2.0 allows the user to have the same capabilities for call alerts and information retrieval on their PC screens. PC users can see their e-mail and voice mail calls without leaving their PC.
The PC software has multi-line capabilities, automatically flags new messages and provides a comprehensive call history.
In addition to the 2.0 enhancements, Integra has developed UniTV, a platform that can unify voice, text, e-mail, instant messaging, short message service (SMS) and customer-care messages across wireless and wireline phones, PCs and TVs.
Integra 5 said it has completed interoperability testing with all the vendors that were part of its initial partner program, including Scientific-Atlanta Inc., ICTV Inc., Myrio Corp., Tut Systems Inc., Biap Systems Inc., Siemens AG, IP Unity Corp., Openwave Systems Inc. and LogicaCMG plc.
The Integra 5 software sits on a server next to the application and the media servers that handle voice calls, Bartfeld said. The interface retrieves information about calls that enter the network for a subscriber’s home, then sends a caller-ID message to that customer’s TV set, if it’s on.
The banner can be displayed even before the phone rings. “That’s a big 'wow,’ ” Flynn-Ripley said.
Flynn-Ripley said the company surveyed 130 users in an unnamed market and found 78% of respondents would spend between $1 and $2 per month for the service. Sixty percent had shown the feature to friends or neighbors. “Neighbors were amazed with the service and noted how 'cool’ it was to see who was calling before the phone range,” Flynn-Ripley said.
Integra believes 15% of subscribers in a given market would sign up for the service within six months, at a price of $1.50 per month. Comporium has included the video service in its standard caller-ID service, which costs $6.95 a month.