NISC Acquires Affinegy; Launches NISC User Services System

Acquisition will result in enhanced broadband solutions for NISC Membership

Lake St. Louis, Mo., April 23, 2019 –– To offer NISC’s Members enhanced broadband solutions, National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of software solutions to utility and telecommunication companies, has acquired Affinegy.

Based in Austin, Texas, Affinegy provides cloud-based, service enablement software and connected device management for broadband service providers. Affinegy’s secure and scalable solution provides Auto Configuration Server (ACS) Management for customer-premises equipment (CPE) and managed WiFi orchestration for any TR-069 enabled CPE.

“NISC has become acquainted with the Affinegy team and discovered we share the same passion for service and delivering world-class information technology solutions,” said David Bonnett, NISC vice president of Product Management. “While technological advancement is paramount, the affirmation of sharing the same values was key in this acquisition.”

“NISC is a cooperative whose mission and vision aligns perfectly with Affinegy’s,” said Melissa Simpler, Affinegy CEO. “By joining NISC, Affinegy will be a part of an organization that can continue to develop and enhance the technology so that it will continue to meet the needs and demands of the industry well into the future.”

With this acquisition, NISC launched the NISC User Services System, leveraging the Affinegy product as part of its overall solutions portfolio. The solution can be operated independently, or it can be integrated with NISC’s customer care and billing solutions along with NISC’s SmartHub web and mobile tools for payment processing and order management. The acquisition marks the next milestone in NISC’s iVUE fully-integrated Enterprise System, which provides accounting, engineering and customer care functions. Affinegy’s solution will integrate across NISC’s enterprise platforms and will allow its Members to provide enhanced broadband services to their end consumers/customers.

“NISC Members have asked us to provide them with the functionality that the newly launched NISC User Services System will provide. The NISC User Services System offers fast, automated diagnostics and single-click repairs for the most common WiFi connectivity and performance issues in broadband homes,” said Bonnett. “It also provides consumers with all the self-care capabilities for managing their home WiFi networks and adding new services.”

The NISC User Services System will also support the requirements for Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II) reporting that broadband operators can use to satisfy reporting or Alternative Connect America Fund reporting requirements to the FCC.

For more information about the NISC User Services System solution or to request a demonstration, please contact NISC at 1.866.999.6472 or at sales@nisc.coop.

About NISC
National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members/Customers. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to 835 independent telecommunication companies, electric cooperatives and other public power entities. NISC is an industry leader providing information technology solutions including billing, accounting, operations, automated mailroom services, third-party integration as well as many other solutions. With facilities in Mandan, N.D., Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Shawano, Wis., Blacksburg, Va., and now Austin, Texas, NISC and its subsidiaries employ more than 1,300 professionals between the six locations. For more information, please visit NISC.coop.

About Affinegy
Affinegy is a global provider of service enablement software and connected device management for the home and small business. The preferred hardware independent solution for the seamless integration of WIFI for all things connected, Affinegy’s CHARIOT solution allows providers to quickly onboard new subscribers and install and provision CPE to manage and support broadband powered services, including Managed WIFI. Built to scale, Affinegy’s software solution offers seamless integration of video, data, voice over WIFI for today’s leading broadband, managed service and customer support providers. For more information, please visit Affinegy.com.

White Paper: How to Remove Pain of CAF-II Monitoring and Reporting

Affinegy recently released a white paper providing a summary of how ISPs can meet the newly released FCC requirements to measure and report their ability to meet their advertised Internet speeds. Testing is required and is to begin in July 2019.

The time is now to pick a CAF-II compliance and reporting solution to protect the fiber funding you worked hard to achieve with FCC mandated reporting commencing Q3-2019. What if you could automate that reporting and simultaneously deliver a delightful customer experience where WiFi always works and does not bottleneck the broadband connection?

Click here to download the white paper and learn more about Affinegy’s CHARIOT CAF-II reporting service.

Connected Engagement: Video Brings a Tipping Point

Wifi Managed Home

More than 50 percent of U.S. broadband households now watch internet video on a TV screen, Parks Associates reported this summer. The research firm says the shift in video consumption habits, including use of over-the-top (OTT) video services, has fundamentally changed the businesses of broadcast, pay TV and online video.

“For years, the television has been the stronghold for the traditional TV industry,” said Brett Sappington, Parks’ senior director of research. “Today, more televisions are connected to the internet than ever, either directly or through connected devices like game consoles or streaming media players, such as Roku or Apple TV. The fact that one-half of broadband households watch internet video on a television shows that we are well past a tipping point. The market has fundamentally changed.”

An even more recent Hub Research study found that 52 percent of U.S. TV viewers prefer to watch their favorite shows via digital sources such as Netflix, compared to just 31 percent who prefer to watch “on live TV.”

Just the Beginning: Video’s Multiple Roles

This first explosion of internet-delivered video to the home, largely enabled by Netflix, is just the beginning. The quick spread of broadband, the ubiquity of WiFi and the tremendous interest in smart home appliances – perhaps most dramatically evidenced by bursting sales of Amazon’s Echo and Dot, controlled by the virtual assistant “Alexa”— promises to dramatically reshape the nature of the nation’s homes, as well as several consumer retail markets. We call this coming world of exponentially proliferating smart devices the world of “connected engagement”.

Video, enabled by broadband and WiFi, is the catalyst that’s finally made these sorts of devices simple to control, easy to understand and interesting to consumers.

Five years ago, virtually no one had heard of a “smart home” or the “Internet of Things”, but within the last two years, both have begun to hit the mainstream big time. More than 40 percent of U.S. broadband household plan to buy a smart home device in the next 12 months, and analysts predict that 50 percent of all American homes will be “smart” by 2020.

Video in a smart home is used not just to provide digital entertainment content to TVs, phones, PCs and tablets, but also to provide real-time information about all kinds of smart devices. It’s not just video surveillance, either. Smart ovens will be video-enabled to show you what your food looks like as it’s cooking, while smart locks and smart heating/cooling systems will be cued to act by motion sensors and video capture. Robot vacuums and mops will use video to provide you cleaning reports, maps and schedules. Then, smart health and fitness appliances will use video to display and report information about blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index, fat, water, muscle mass and bone composition. Video will completely enable the reshaping of at least two major industries: Education (via remote learning) and health care (via remote monitoring and treatment, or telemedicine). 

The WiFi Service Opportunity

Managing all these hardware devices being delivered in rapid-fire fashion from multiple vendors all trying to claim a stake in the new smart environment represents a huge challenge—but also an opportunity.

Wifi Managed Home

Tomorrow’s homes will make ample use of video over WiFi to view video via smart phones, tablets and streaming boxes. Helping manage those devices is a tremendous opportunity for today’s broadband providers.

The Netflix revolution was the Big Bang of the video revolution. Broadband providers missed it. Instead of innovating, enabling and offering video services themselves, they waited and stuck with their cash-cow models. Then Netflix came into the market and radically disrupted and changed it. Will broadband providers miss opportunities in this next explosion, too?

The most obvious and tremendous opportunity is the chance to deliver high-quality, reliable and fast WiFi that just works. Internet providers to date have mostly been delivering internet to their customers’ homes, but not to the devices they use. With the explosion of WiFi-connected, personal devices, WiFi is now the internet.

The opportunity here is partly to deliver desperately needed efficiency and streamlining to the management of a complex galaxy of often incompatible devices. Today’s connections struggle with incompatibility, slowness and the need for continual reconfiguration. A management platform that removes this complexity from the subscribers and offers near instant connection, auto configuration and continual real-time auditing and updating can realize tremendous efficiency for broadband providers, and build profitable revenue on simply that.

But there’s also an opportunity in top-line revenue. By 2020, analysts predict, broadband households will purchase more than 55 million smart devices.

The top-line revenue opportunity for providers here is to deliver WiFi that’s reliable and fast to all members of a family or business, directly to their WiFi devices, in a way that is consistently reliable and provides the speed needed for high-quality video.

Who will be the Netflix of connected engagement, the coming second video revolution? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.