SupportSoft Rings Up VoIP Offering


SupportSoft Inc. is introducing an upgraded version of its ServiceVerify software and has inked a new voice-over-Internet protocol service software deal with Brix Networks Inc.

The ServiceVerify 2.0 software package includes new SmartIssue network templates, SupportFlow technology and one-click household checks, giving operators better tools to handle and support service-verification issues.

The new software for VoIP employs many of the same service and verification elements used for high-speed data.

One key to the new software is that it gives MSOs a view into both network and premise issues, said SupportSoft director of product management, digital service providers Mark Itzkowitz.

Two MSOs are conducting lab trials of the new 2.0 software, and Charter Communications Inc. is using components for its high-speed data rollouts in the Northeast, he said.

SupportSoft’s 1.0 product has been deployed by five major MSOs: Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Adelphia Communications Corp. The software provided installation and service-verification support tools to cable operators.

With its purchase of Core Networks Inc. last year and the development of ServiceVerify 2.0 software, SupportSoft has added other elements to its product portfolio. They include online and offline service automation; customer service representative-assisted service acceleration; customer-premises equipment configuration; firmware management; security and usage policy management; and installation automation.

The software will allow field technicians to provide a “whole-house check” before installing triple-play voice, video or data services, said Itzkowitz. It will provide views into both the network and in-home equipment like a PC.

Itzkowitz relayed an incident in which a homeowner called about a weak video signal. An additional amplifier was added to fix the problem, but the customer soon called back to say his cable modem wasn’t working. A technician then fixed the cable-modem problem, only to find it was the extra amplifier put in to fix the video signal that caused the modem failure.

Without a whole-house view, the cable company spent money on several more truck rolls than were necessary to fix the problem.

For instances, an installer that runs into a problem setting up a cable modem would be able to ping the network to determine whether that issue occurred in the home or back at the cable-modem termination system.

Among other things, the SmartIssue templates provide greater insight into a customer’s PC to help set up cable-modem service or handle any high-speed data-related problems. Cable systems can collect information about the network or premises equipment.

“We set up on top of network management systems,” he said.

The SupportFlow technology allows CSRs to access the same information engineers see so they’re better able to help customers who call in with problems. Those “dashboards” can be configured based on a CSR’s level of expertise, Itzkowitz said.

A “yellow-light marginal fail” field was added to the software, helping MSOs to monitor less severe problems, but ones that need eventual attention nonetheless.

The VoIP software deal with Brix will allow MSOs to monitor both the hardware and software stacks associated with VoIP. Itzkowitz said it will help smooth VoIP installations and assist CRSs by allowing for automated testing to resolve problems.