, Inc. announced with Thomson
the successful integration of products from both companies to automate the installation of triple play services. The two companies will initially showcase the combined solution's capabilities for "zero-touch configuration" of DSL CPE, as well as online, easy-to-install customer-driven installation for either new VoIP or IPTV service upgrades at a series of demonstrations this week in Germany.
The two companies have integrated SupportSoft ServiceGateway and SupportSoft SmartAccess service automation software with Thomson's broadband CPE devices to provide both WAN and LAN-side management capabilities out of the box. The demonstrations held this week for industry experts in Munich, Germany will highlight features of the integrated solution, including:
- Remote management and zero-touch configuration of CPE devices for faster and easier deployment of device software updates across a service provider's entire subscriber base. Zero-touch configuration can help service providers ease the deployment of broadband service as well as upgrade devices to simplify the deployment of additional triple play services.
- Subscriber-driven service level changes via a self-service portal, enabling broadband customers to increase the speed of their broadband connection, or add new services such as VoIP or IPTV without the need to call a service technician. By empowering the customer to manage their own service level upgrades, consumers can save time in setting-up new services as well as avoid the hassle of dealing with call centers or home visits from installation technicians. In turn, service providers can avoid costly truck rolls to consumer households while increasing customer satisfaction at the same time.
Installation and service upgrades can play a significant role in the adoption of combined IPTV, VoIP and broadband delivery. The degree to which customers are satisfied with the installation of one service can play a key role in determining whether or not they will decide to add more services from the same provider, or decide to switch providers altogether. Yet a 2005 study(1) among broadband users in the U.S. and Europe shows that 37% and 43%, respectively, of those surveyed in each region expect customer service to improve or "improve significantly" if they receive triple play services from one provider. Meeting this heightened customer expectation will be a challenge, considering the high reliability of traditional phone and TV services versus the increased complexity and relative immaturity of VoIP and IPTV services.
"Thomson and SupportSoft understand that service automation can both help speed and ease the deployment of IPTV and VoIP services, while also making the customer experience a more positive one," said Chris Grejtak, senior vice president of products and marketing. "In today's competitive environment, digital service providers need proven, standards-based solutions to help simplify the deployment of triple play services. Working with Thomson, SupportSoft can help assure that service providers are able to successfully deploy new triple play services from the start, while using automation to make the process more cost-effective for the provider and more seamless and enjoyable for their customers."
(1) The European survey was conducted by InsightExpress, an independent online market research firm, and completed in January, 2005. The sample included 309 ADSL subscribers from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The survey results are projectable across the population of ADSL subscribers within the countries surveyed and indicate a margin of error of 5.54% +/- at a 95% confidence level. The U.S. survey, also conducted by InsightExpress, was completed in January, 2005. The sample included 200 DSL and cable subscribers from the United States. The survey results are projectable across the population of DSL subscribers in the U.S. and indicate a margin of error of +/-6.78% at a 95% confidence level.