Lucent Technologies has announced a strategic alliance with Orca Interactive, a developer of applications for internet protocol television or IPTV, the next generation of integrated interactive television services.

The alliance will exploit the expertise of Lucent in carrier-class networks and Orca’s experience in IPTV middleware and integration.

Backed by the research and development facilities of Bell Labs, which has been pioneering innovation in communications since 1925, Lucent Technologies designs and delivers systems for communications networks around the world. Lucent likes to talk of convergence in terms of the ‘blended lifestyle’, spanning wired and wireless networks to deliver seamless services.

With the partnership, Lucent will continue to enhance its end-to-end solutions based on open standards to allow carriers to deliver secure and highly-reliable bundled video, voice and data services.

Central to the Lucent solution is its Stinger platform for broadband access, which provides special features to support the robust and reliable delivery of internet protocol services.

The Orca middleware and a new set of innovative applications out of Bell Labs will extend the Stinger functionality to provide the quality of service and service-level agreement guarantees essential for carrier-grade deployments.

Lucent has integrated the Orca RiGHTv IPTV middleware platform into its network infrastructure solutions for the delivery of video applications. The system was on show at the Supercomm show in Chicago.

“When Lucent combines our expertise with Orca’s RiGHTv middleware platform, we give our customers the best IPTV delivery solution today, and lay the foundation for deploying advanced multimedia services in the future,” said Rob Piconi, vice president and general manager for broadband solutions at Lucent Technologies. “We also have an unparalleled understanding of networks – both wireline and wireless – and a unique vision for providing what we call ‘blended IP Multimedia services’ over these networks.”

“This announcement represents Orca and Lucent’s significant mutual commitment to accelerating the deployment, viability, security and quality of service of IP TV and video services,” said Haggai Barel, the chief executive of Orca Interactive.

“Orca provides a service delivery platform that is readily deployed in more than six countries worldwide and is benchmarked, scalable and based on open standards, providing a fast time to market,” he told informitv. “Our best of breed approach allows customers and system integrators to select the leading components for their required solution.”

“Middleware is our core focus and now, together with Lucent, we have the expertise of their network and application integration capabilities together with our proven IPTV solutions already in deployment,” he continued. “Looking ahead, Bell Labs and Orca will provide future innovative IPTV applications.”

The companies are collaborating on a series of joint development initiatives. These will include the enhancements for a flexible user interface, content security, quality of service, and the integration of applications from Bell Labs, with a continuing commitment to open standards.

The alliance brings with it the multi-vendor systems integration capabilities of Lucent Worldwide Services. Lucent have also announced a strategic alliance with Capgemeni, providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services.

So this is how the main software vendors and their network infrastructure and systems integration partners now line up: Microsoft has partnered with Alcatel, while Siemens has acquired Myrio. Orca, a leading independent player, now has an alliance with Lucent.

Orca is positioning itself as an independent provider, aiming for easy outsourcing of integration services by the preferred systems integrator of a particular operator. Orca already has strategic partnerships with other leading players, including HP and IBM.