Orange shift to Viaccess-Orca platform
By Julian Clover
March 19, 2012 11.09 Europe/London

France Telecom is in the process of migrating its entire Orange IPTV installed base to Viaccess and Orca’s Unified Platform.

The process, which began in November 2011, has to date seen the transfer of 400,000 customers to “la nouvelle TV d’Orange”. It incorporates a new user interface, including VOD, catch-up TV, content discovery and recommendations, EPG, PVR and a number of self-developed applications.

The Unified Platform has been adapted for IPTV, OTT delivery and hybrid, combining different delivery modes.

A key differentiator in the new service is COMPASS, a Content Discovery platform which personalizes the content offering for each user according to their preferences and usage habits.

The 5.1 million subscriber deployment represents the largest-ever IPTV middleware migration, a process in which three different existing services over ADSL, FTTH and hybrid satellite-IP will be converged onto a single unified platform.

Francois Moreau de Saint Martin, CEO of Viaccess and Chairman of Orca, said: “With “la nouvelle TV d’Orange” service, Orange has taken a big step forward and is now able to provide a more up-to-date, comprehensive service. However, the competition for pay-TV subscribers in France and around the world is increasing. To maintain their position, operators such as Orange must provide a great experience for the viewers.”

Philippe Rozes, head of TV service platforms at Orange Group, added: “The operational difficulty of managing multiple separate service platforms (for ADSL, web and Hybrid Satellite-IP) was impairing our ability to keep pace with the market. Collapsing all those separate silos onto a single platform has given us significant operational efficiency and has freed up resources to allow us to innovate faster. The use of advanced solutions, such as RiGHTv and COMPASS, helps us improve our service velocity while the tight integration with Viaccess’ IPCAS content protection solutions ensures that we are able to preserve the value of our premium content.”

Orange’s IPTV middleware had previously relied on a combination of in-house components and Thomson’s SmartVision, a service delivery platform acquired through the purchase of Thales IPTV systems business in 2005.

The Viaccess contract calls into question the future of SoftAtHome, the software company backed by Orange, Sagemcom and Etisalat.