SoftAtHome Says Multiple Companies Developing for its Convergent Applications Platform

--Companies Include Accedo Broadband, httv, Punchcut, Visiware, Zappware
--Also Announces VOD Partnership with Anevia

SoftAtHome, a company created by France Telecom-subsidiary, Orange, with the stated goal of helping service providers deliver convergent applications for the digital home, announced Thursday that a number of companies--including such European interactive TV stalwarts as httv, Accedo Broadband, Visiware and Zappware--are "investing resources" in its SoftAtHome Operating Platform, and/or using the platform's free software development kit to build applications for it. SoftAtHome bills its platform as containing "all the features and API's necessary to create convergent applications for the digital home," and as allowing operators to combine elements such as voice, video, user interfaces, security, network access, connectivity and management and deploy them across different devices in the home, including set-top boxes, home gateways and PC's. "Using standard programming languages and development tools," the company says, "those services are accessible through the SoftAtHome API, made available to the developer community through the SoftAtHome SDK."

SoftAtHome claims to be "fostering a new business model where third-party application developers play a key role by bringing innovation to the digital home market." Once applications have been developed on the SoftAtHome Operating Platform, the company says, they are offered to telecom operators and service providers "so that they can be deployed to deliver a richer end-user experience." According to SoftAtHome:

  • httv is using the SoftAtHome SDK to develop various applications for hybrid IP set-top boxes, including an EPG, a multiscreen mosaic and a VOD app. The apps are developed in HTML and "access the SoftAtHome API's through standard JavaScript language," SoftAtHome says.
  • Optiva Media is "evaluating applications to optimize the use of DLNA to share content inside the home."
  • Punchcut, a San Francisco-based user interface design company focused on convergent experiences for handheld and television devices, has created a high-definition connected TV interface using the SoftAtHome Operating Platform. SoftAtHome says that the interface "extends across devices and demonstrates a new spatial navigation paradigm for TV that embeds social connectedness into the viewing experience."
  • Accedo Broadband, a Swedish company best known for its Funspot IPTV games (a number of which have just launched on Portugal Telecom's Microsoft Mediaroom-powered Meo service), has ported a number of those games to the SoftAtHome platform.
  • V4x, a company that bills itself as enabling "content producers, telecom operators and services providers to create, manage and deliver compelling, synchronized contextual interactivity for video on mobiles and PC's," is using the SoftAtHome platform to deliver similar services to the TV ("SoftAtHome is providing an open and standard-based development platform," V4x co-founder and CEO, Nicolas Marchand, said in a prepared statement. "This enables us to seamlessly and quickly port our existing mobile- and PC-based applications on TV to deliver on the three-screens promise).
  • WizTiVi, an IPTV start-up that claims to have developed "a highly innovative solution for interactive TV applications that simplifies the creation of interactive TV channels from Web 2.0 services such as Dailymotion," is integrating the solution with the SoftAtHome platform in order to "provide operators with access to different Web 2.0 content providers through TV."
  • Zappware is using the SoftAtHome platform to developer interactive TV applications for hybrid IP set-top boxes.
  • Visiware has ported games to the SoftAtHome platform and has used it to develop a new TV interface.

According to SoftAtHome, its SDK provides extensive documentation of the features available on its platform, as well as code samples and development tools. It is offered in three different versions: a set-top version (for applications based on JavaScript/HTML or ActionScript/Flash technologies); a home gateway version; and a PC version (for Windows and Linux, and based on C). The latest version of the SDK can be accessed at devzone.softathome.com, SoftAtHome's portal for third-party application developers. In addition to providing documentation and support, SoftAtHome says, the portal offers an application catalog in which developers can publish their applications in order to "increase visibility to service providers."

In other SoftAtHome news: The company has announced a partnership with IPTV and VOD technology provider, Anevia, that sees it integrating the SoftAtHome Operating Platform, running on set-top boxes, with Anevia's VOD backend servers. According to the companies, their joint solution will enable operators and third-party developers to create "dynamic applications that combine video content coming from the network with interactive applications running on the set-top box." Applications mentioned by the companies as being enabled by their joint solution include VOD, network PVR, timeshifting and catch-up TV apps. According to the companies, as a result of their integration, developers will be able to "easily create new interactive applications on TV in Flash/ActionScript or HTML/JavaScript to transparently access Anevia's features." They say that the integration of their respective technologies was achieved by using the industry-standard RTSP protocol, and that the integration "gives developers a homogenous set of API's across all the services required to build an application and insulates them from any future upgrade of their VOD server." "We are very pleased to be working with SoftAtHome in such a constructive partnership," Anevia co-founder and president, Tristan Leteurtre, said in a prepared statement. "The combination of Anevia's focus on network features and SoftAtHome's delivery of value-added services inside the home enables us to deliver the next-generation TV experience."

Europe