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France Telecom Launches the Livebox Lab

TelecomTV reports that France Telecom (FT) has launched its Livebox Lab, which it describes as an incubator of products and services. It is designed to encourage the opening of Livebox to third parties, creating a 'Livebox ecosystem' in line with its general convergence strategy. Livebox is FT's home networking terminal, which it intends to migrate from a basic broadband modem into a multimedia hub.

Some ten projects are currently in the course of development and testing in Livebox Lab and FT hopes these will enable a range of new services to be offered based around security, communications and leisure within the next months. At present, France Telecom (through Wanadoo and Orange) has 2.4 million European users of Livebox.

The first product to be delivered by the Livebox Lab will be Liveradio. This is an IP alarm-radio, created in partnership with Baracoda, which connects directly to the Livebox. Liveradio will be launched by the end of 2006 and will let people listen to Internet radios or podcasts from around the world, and to display information directly on the terminal.

According to FT, Livebox Lab's mission is to "assess and test partners' proposed projects, in line with the market's expectations and the latest technical innovations." It was initiated with CEFT (French Telecommunications Entrepreneurs' Club), but is now open to a wider number of partners.

FT adds that the Livebox Lab is in line with its Technocentre innovation industrialisation process, which brings together all projects in phase with FT's NExT (New Telecommunications Experience) programme. After having analysed the technical and economic assessments of each submission, the teams decide which ones to develop. Those that will not be brought to market by France Telecom will still be offered an "OK Livebox" label designation, to reassure consumers that they are compatible with Livebox.

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