One of the companies exhibiting at the CableShow’s CableNET in Los Angeles next month is Maxxian. (For more on CableNET, click here).
Maxxian takes data from operators’ billing systems and security systems, and it then performs an audit to find what the company calls "hot boxes" – set-tops that, for one reason or another, have been lost somewhere within the operators’ systems.
"They’re enabled, but they’re not supposed to be," said R.J. Juneau, Maxxian’s founder and CTO.
Juneau noted several reasons that hot boxes exist, ranging from theft of service to mistakes that happen when systems merge to technically complicated scenarios resulting from different billing systems and conditional access (CA) systems working across a provider’s different silos of services.
Although Juneau declined to name Maxxian’s customers, he said the company had helped operators in North America and the Caribbean to shut off 150,000 boxes.
Of those 150,000, Juneau said 40,000 customers have "returned to revenue." In other words, they contacted their providers to find out what was wrong with their set-top boxes, and they then got set up in the provider’s billing system.
Aside from gaining new subscribers, retrieving 40,000 boxes at $200-$400 per box has resulted in a big chunk of change.
Maxxian’s auditing process, which corrals and organizes facts and figures from myriad vendors, also has produced valuable new information for its operator customers, whose installers and service technicians now have access to more complete data about set-top boxes.
"If we’re shutting off boxes, our data has to be trusted," said Juneau. "Technical troubleshooting is a side effect of our business."