Pace Plc (LSE: PIC) is demonstrating that it's more than a set-top box maker by supplying software and professional services to support France's Bouygues Telecom (Paris: EN.PA) as it rolls out a gateway platform in 1.3 million subscriber homes.
The Pace Helium Unified Gateway Software will let Bouygues remotely manage and deploy hardware- and vendor-agnostic service and technical changes across subscriber-based gateway devices. The software lets subscribers connect devices as diverse as printers and digital photo frames to set-top boxes and laptop computers into the gateway-managed home network. Pace, in a news release, said that the software allows Bouygues to test and qualify on one gateway solution so that vendor-specific integration works when changes are made.
Bouygues is aggressively pursuing a broadband and TV offering package that will be accelerated by the hardware-agnostic aspects of the Pace software, the telco said in a news release. Pace will also provide integration, training and consulting services but, in the end, Bouygues Telecom will have full control over the platform.
The agreement is an important element as the telecom continues "the rapid growth we've enjoyed over the last few years," said Yves Caseau, executive vice president of technologies, innovation and services at Bouygues in a news release. "To deliver the latest and greatest entertainment experience to our subscribers, we simply cannot afford to wait for technology partners to carry out complex integration projects in order to get a new TV service or social media application into homes."
As evidence of its ongoing movement to push BBOX into more subscriber homes, the telecom also announced that it is teaming with retailers Darty to sell the fixed line broadband and TV service along with its Eden mobile services and Ideo quad play offering in 226 stores across France. In addition to the sales end of the equation, Darty will also be responsible for installation and customer care.
In Pace's case, the telecom has opted to learn then do. The training and service element of the agreement means that "working with their team, we can train our own software engineers to work with the platform, allowing us to evolve our own services as and when we need," he continued.
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