IBM Rolls Out IPTV, VoIP Services

IBM released several products it said will help telecom service providers offer consistent, high-quality connections more easily to consumers. The new products, available now, are based on IBM’s Tivoli Netcool Service Quality Manager tailored to address three specific services: IPTV (define), IP-VPN (define) and VoIP(define).

In a related announcement, the company said it would offer similar off-the-shelf services in a few months designed to improve the consistency and quality of Short Message Service (SMS) (define) and voicemail services.

IBM reported that 89 percent of the 250 global telecom executives it surveyed noted service quality as an important differentiator for their business. Where IBM saw an opportunity with its latest offerings is that nearly half of those surveyed said they had no end-to-end service-assurance capability.

“There are other solutions and tools that can do what we’re offering, but they come with a lengthy professional services engagement to set up,” Joakim Tenlen, a manager for IBM’s Tivoli Netcool Software,” told “The key here is that we’ve taken a standard approach to let service providers enable and manage these services more quickly.”

Each of the applications for IPTV, IP-VPN and VoIP are designed to quickly detect problems when they occur, prevent future problems from happening and improve overall customer satisfaction, the company said.

The software includes real-time status views and automatically generates alarms and notifications as well as historical reports on how key parameters have varied over reporting periods. Other features include management of service level agreements (define) (SLAs), service-quality monitoring and “customer experience” management.

IBM Tivoli Netcool Service Quality Manager is based on technology IBM acquired when it bought two telco-related software companies, Micromuse and Vallent, as well as its own tools. Tenlen said support for IPTV, IP-VPN and VoIP service quality would be released first, because they were the features most requested. SMS and voicemail are slated for release in the second quarter of this year.

“We’re targeting the big telcos, the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world,” Tenlen said. “Which is not just consumers; they have a lot of big enterprise customers as well.”

He also noted enterprise customers have SLAs that guarantee a certain level of uptime; otherwise, the provider has to give rebates. “It’s a requirement we’re seeing from customers to manage their services faster and provide a complete software product to get up and running faster,” Tenlen said.

According to IBM, the number of IPTV subscribers is forecast to explode to 103 million by 2011. A Gartner report noted that “as carriers move to more complex IP services, mixing network and content services, customers will differentiate them according to their customer experience.”

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