Skip to main content

Making Sure TV Gets the Message

Hoping to expand its product line combining TV, Internet, wireline telephone and cellular services, Integra5 Inc. has added a new set of software applications that gets messages to subscribers’ TV or computer screens.

The Burlington, Mass., company’s new iInform line of software applications allows Web content, Rich Site Summary (RSS) news alerts, text messaging and targeted advertising features to be delivered to a TV or computer screen.

The first cable customer for the new software is Hilton Head Island, S.C.-based Hargray Communications.

Until now, cable operators and other service providers have defined converged services mostly as bundling separate voice, video and data offerings into a single bill. With its software, Integra5 tries to stretch between the services, allowing operators to offer features such as telephone caller identification on television screens.

“What we’re beginning to see now is the advent of what we call the user experience convergence,” said Meredith Flynn-Ripley, Integra5’s chief operating officer. The point is “how do you deliver to [users] personalized services that cross all of these networks and services, and how do you deliver it to all of the devices in the household?”

Hargray installed Integra5’s platform and launched a TV caller ID application almost two years ago. The response has convinced the company to add the new iInform applications, according to Ed Heuck, Hargray’s chief technology officer.

The TV caller-ID application is free to any customer that subscribes to Hargray’s voice caller ID service and takes digital cable service. The ID feature is popular with customers.

“I can tell you as far as caller ID on the TV set goes if you thought folks got upset when their Internet or cable didn’t work, don’t let the caller ID on their TV set go down. They are all over you,” Heuck said,

The software includes iInform Care, a package that offers operators the ability to send messages about service issues right to the television or PC display. iInform Target offers a range of alerts that can be shipped to the PC or TV, such as an Amber Alert for a missing child. And iInform Act lets users respond to messages from programmers or click for more information on an ad.

Hargray is looking to add customer service messaging and alerts. It also wants to add features such as e-mail address links added to a digital Yellow Pages listing it is developing for TV display, and the ability to send e-mails from the TV set asking for more information on an advertised product.