Ooma provides free home phone service "once you purchase our device for a one-time fee," company officials say. Sound good? Let's see how it works:
Plug your high-speed Internet and existing home phone into Ooma and call anywhere in the U.S. for free. Like the sounds of that? You pay only applicable taxes and fees. Ooma officials say the service offers "clear, landline quality voice and bundled features like caller-ID, call-waiting and voicemail." And that all you need is a high-speed Internet connection (cable, DSL or fiber-optic) and a regular home phone.
And "unlike most VoIP systems, Ooma has the clarity of a landline,"one user says.
Evidently you don't need special phones or headsets. "Ooma works with your existing corded or cordless home phones," company officials say. "Use your phone exactly like before." Unlimited phone service, say people who use it, can be had for about $30 to $40 a month."
Alcatel-Lucent recently issued a white paper covering, among other topics, key elements of next-generation managed services.
"The entire concept of 'managed services' has changed," the paper finds, adding that "no longer can managed services be limited to operationally focused and network-centric."
The main components of the old approach -NOC services, multivendor maintenance and network outsourcing - were "sufficient," the paper says, "in an environment where point solutions, cost savings and the bottom line were primary considerations. But the next generation of managed services, out of necessity, shifts the emphasis significantly to a focus on the end-customer's services."
Some key elements include:
Today's consumers are adopting a more flexible viewing experience that includes connected devices like smartphones, PCs, tablets and netbooks, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials, who add that consumers want more than the ability to watch content on different devices, "they want true multi-screen services that offer seamless access to the same content and quality of experience on any screen, anytime, anywhere."
As research by Alcatel-Lucent confirms, the market is ready for multi-screen. A recent survey of the global youth market found that 71 percent of respondents said they would use a multi-screen service; 65 percent would willingly pay for it. In addition, 64 percent of respondents would remain loyal to their current provider if it offered multi-screen services.
According to the research, respondents were most interested in multi-screen time-shifting (80 percent), program guide (72 percent) and PVR (71 percent) features, and supported payment through triple-play bundles (45 percent) and subscription premiums (41 percent).
Multi-screen services are already reaching the market, and major media industry players - including content providers, broadcasters, advertisers and device vendors - "are vying for market share," the paper finds, adding that "with assets like existing media offerings, multi-device reach and subscriber intelligence, network service providers are well positioned to capitalize."