Comcast Video Mail Has 'Vibe’

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Comcast Corp.’s new Comcast Video Mail application, being offered to its 5.8 million broadband subscribers this month, is powered by Vibe Solutions Group software, Vibe executives said last week.

The software allows cable-modem subscribers to send video e-mail greetings to other broadband users. “It’s a fairly turnkey application they can add to their bundle,” said Vibe senior vice president of product marketing communications Brad Herrick.

Comcast’s Video Mail application includes a wizard-like interface that helps the consumer set up their webcam and video-mail archive. “We built for them a totally branded solution,” Herrick said.

THREE MODES

There are three modes for setting up e-mails. The basic video mail allows consumers to record and send personal video messages. Greeting Card allows users to add more than 50 different greeting cards to their video. And Photo Narrator allows users to add digital photos to the video.

The video mail includes 45 seconds of recording time, storage for 30 days, 200 kilobit recording and a “Click to View” e-mail link.

Herrick said it was important to make the application as easy as possible for use by mainstream broadband users.

“A lot of video-based applications have been built off of text chat and were designed for early adopter, but that doesn’t translate well to masses of early broadband users,” Herrick said. “You need something simple that a grandmother could use.”

Comcast users will be able to download the video mail application from their Comcast.net home page. The application resides on their computer, but the actual video e-mails are stored on Vibe servers throughout the country. “We do all the hosting on the backend,” Herrick said.

The recipient clicks on an embedded link in the e-mail, and can view the video mail with Windows Media Player.

FEE MODEL

Vibe said the partnership is based on a subscription/licensing fee model. Vibe also provides customer support rep training for Comcast, and online support and management tools.

The company also is developing Vibe Phone, a live, two-way video calling module. It has partnered with webcam manufacturer Logitech, and will begin pitching broadband operators that product later this year.

Herrick said he’s in discussions with several other MSOs about the video-mail application. He said cable operators are eager to look at value-added applications and services to help differentiate their high-speed offerings.

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