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Motive targets digital home, ease-of-use


AUSTIN, Texas--Motive today announced a new customer, a new partner and a new strategy aimed at helping service providers deliver converged broadband services that are easy to deploy and use.

Softbank BB, Japan’s largest broadband service provider, will use Motive software to enable the delivery of value-added services such as security and streaming software, the company announced at its Motivation 2005 annual customer conference here. The new partner is Intellon Corp., which announced today that its HomePlug-compliant integrated circuits will now integrate with Motive’s broadband management solutions. Intellon’s ICs are deployed in home networking, network entertainment and connected powerline systems.

The new strategy, dubbed Motive 2.0 by Chairman and CEO Scott Harmon, is intended to make Motive the preferred partner of service providers globally as they deploy new IP-based services including IPTV.

Motive hopes to replicate the success it has had in the DSL world, where BellSouth, Bell Canada, SBC Communications and other major service providers are dependent on its software to enable customer self-installs and trouble-shooting, in the new converged IP services arena.

In his keynote address, Harmon exhorted the service providers attending Motivation to take chare of their broadband networks and not cede control to software, applications or content providers.

“Who owns the broadband 2.0 network?” he queried. “You have invested billions to lay infrastructure without which none of this [advanced services] is possible.”

Harmon also cautioned service providers not to lock themselves into single-vendor, proprietary approaches to building their broadband networks as these solutions “come at too high a cost.”

“In the 2.0 world, you need to keep your options open,” he said. “You need the freedom to provide the best hardware, the best software and the best content.”

Motive has done extensive research of existing digital and IP video deployments, including those by cable and satellite players, and has discovered some serious challenges in the business case, said Ben Geller, market segment manager, communications, for Motive.

“These are mature deployments, and you would expect to see the cost of service deployment and customer service trending down,” he said. “But that’s not the case.”

According to Motive’s research, the existing digital/IPTV deployments average 2.5 support calls per subscriber within 30 days of installation, said Sanjay Castelino, vice president of industry marketing for Motive. After the first 30 days, there is an average of 5.6 calls per subscriber per year, he said. That makes customer support too expensive.

“A customer wants to be able to plug in all the pieces and then turn the TV on and have it work,” he said. “But today, if you want to turn up IPTV in a house with three TV sets, there are 11 pieces of equipment required. The time it takes to install all of that and get each thing configured is what is going to make it difficult for telcos to succeed in IPTV.”

What Motive is offering is “a logical layer of intelligence on top of the network, based on standards,” that will give service providers visibility into the customer’s home, down to the device, to troubleshoot problems quickly and easily, Harmon said.

Motive’s Home Device Manager, based on the DSL Forum’s TR-69, uses network-based servers and client software to directly manage devices in the home, and troubleshoot problems, potentially even pro-actively alerting customers to issues that can be resolved.

When customers do have to call in, the Motive system enables customer service representatives to quickly determine the issue without having to walk the customer through a series of technical diagnostics, Castelino said.


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