Viapass Selects Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Platform with Virtualization for Hospitality Offering

--Offering to Feature Interactive TV Services, VOD, HD

Microsoft last week announced that French telecommunications and network services provider, Viapass, has selected its Microsoft Mediaroom platform, equipped with the platform's recently launched virtualization feature, as the basis for an interactive TV-enabled IPTV service that its Viapass TV subsidiary plans to offer to hotels, hospitals and MDU's. According to Microsoft, Viapass will be the first European Mediaroom customer to take advantage of the platform's virtualization capability (note: Microsoft bills virtualization as making Mediaroom--which has traditionally been disparaged by competitors as requiring a large server footprint--more cost-effective for smaller operators to deploy; according to Microsoft, which claims that Mediaroom is the first IPTV platform to offer virtualization support, virtualization can deliver up to a six-fold reduction in the number of physical servers required to support a full-featured IPTV service, thus significantly reducing hardware and management costs and speeding time-to-market--for more on Mediaroom's virtualization capability, see the article published on itvt.com, May 28th). Viapass says it will use Mediaroom in conjunction with networking equipment from Cisco and set-top boxes from "several providers."

According to Viapass, its new IPTV service--which it says will launch in the fourth quarter and will be highly customizable--will offer live TV and VOD, HD, and rich interactive TV applications, most likely including travel information, financial and news apps. "Hotel operators are excited by the possibilities offered by next-generation IPTV," Viapass sales and marketing manager, Eric Legros, said in a prepared statement. "They have already started to talk about our Microsoft Mediaroom-based solution as the most advanced hospitality juke box on the market. With Mediaroom, we can bring them a cost-effective platform that offers guests a highly personalized TV service with an extensive line-up of live and on-demand high-definition content as well as innovative information and service applications. Hotel guests are accustomed to a sophisticated TV viewing experience at home, and hotel operators, especially in the luxury sector, need to ensure that the TV experience they offer matches or even surpasses this, helping them to differentiate from their competitors, drive services revenue and attract and retain clientele."

Viapass claims to have an especially strong presence in Cannes and the French Riviera market in general, where it says it provides Internet and network services for many of the large hotels. It is also the official Internet and network services provider for all events hosted by the Cannes Palais des Festivals et des Congres. It claims that it is seeing "significant interest" in its Mediaroom-powered interactive TV service from a number of international hotel chains and large hospitals.

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