180Squared expands beyond Microsoft roots

180Squared, a start-up formed by former Microsoft Mediaroom architects in April 2008 to focus on billing/operational support systems or IPTV deployments based on Mediaroom is moving beyond its Microsoft beginnings to be platform-agnostic. The company today also announced two customers using its product line geared towards rapid IPTV installation, integration and deployment, Surewest Communications and Reservation Telephone Cooperative.

While Surewest and RTC are both Mediaroom customers, Amir Littman, vice president of business development, said it is his customers that have requested 180Squared support more than just the Microsoft middleware. Cisco’s platform, in particular, has been selected by several customers that 180Squared plans to announce over the next two quarters.

“Microsoft Mediaroom has been our core bread and butter as an offering we did from the beginning, but they are not going to be in every account,” Littman said. The Mediaroom IPTV ecosystem was originally considered too expensive and server-intensive for most Independents, 180Squared’s target customers, to deploy. But as activity in the rural space has picked up around IPTV, Microsoft has been courting this market more than in the past.

Littman said that most IPTV operators are in one of three positions: completely greenfield, using Mediaroom and looking to transition or build on it, or having some level of IPTV deployed but still require services and software. To accommodate companies at any stage,180Squared integrates existing B/OSS applications with third-party software through a standard, open interface for application development. The company’s apps and services include support for middleware integration and third-party apps, set-top box activation and provisioning, billing support, caller ID and remote personal video scheduling applications.

“We have figured out that bundling software and services together in a solution set can significantly speed up the time to market,” Littman said. “That’s important, because the longer you sustain the existing platforms you have, the more expensive it is.”

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