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Product Spotlight: APS

Dec 9, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: APS from JacobsRimell, a London-based software company. APS is a service-fulfillment platform designed to ease the provisioning of new technology services for cable operators.
What it does: APS allows operators and customers to provision and activate new services such as high-speed data, interactive TV, telephony, advanced data services such as virtual private networks and traditional video services. APS resides between the incumbent billing system and the applications themselves. In some cases the operator may want to provision the services. In other cases operators may allow customers to order and change services, said Henry Barton, chief technical officer, broadband, for JacobsRimell.
How it used to be: Historically, operators have built “silos” for their service provisioning and have relied on a different system for each service. JacobsRimell’s APS is “convergence at work,” Mr. Barton said. “It is much cheaper operationally and in the integration process if you can have a common system.”
How it works: “The way it would work is that there would be a new service being launched and we would put our system in to support the new process, and then over a period of time you would migrate over the legacy services [to be provisioned by APS as well],” Mr. Barton said. An operator typically needs a few months to complete the migration for all its services to the JacobsRimell system.
Self-service: If the operator allows, customers can interface through a computer or a TV screen to activate and change their services. A customer could add a new e-mail account, subscribe to a chat group, set up instant messaging, sign up for interactive services or order telephony, Mr. Barton said. “Provisioning works both ways-by the operator and the customer,” he said.
New deal: JacobsRimell just signed its first deal in the United States with AT&T Broadband to use APS for high-speed data, video and telephony provisioning. The pending merger with Comcast should not affect the deal since the system will still be used for most of the AT&T Broadband cable systems, said David Jacobs, CEO of JacobsRimell. A substantial portion of the installation should be complete by the end of 2003. “This is our first big win in the U.S.,” Mr. Jacobs said.
Availability: APS was launched in 1999. The current version designed for the cable space has been developed over the past six to 12 months.