Worldspan is to participate in the Microsoft TV Content Builder Initiative (CBI), enabling Worldspan to utilise Microsoft TV resources and support for development of travel-oriented interactive TV (iTV) applications to run on the Microsoft TV platform.
The announcement was made at Cable 2001, the annual convention of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), being held until 13th June at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Demonstrations of interactive TV travel planning will be available at Worldspan`s booth ## 3717 throughout the event.
Worldspan travel applications will allow network operators to offer their subscribers a comprehensive set of travel planning services via interactive TV, including researching and booking flights, hotels, rental cars, tours and complete travel itineraries.
Under the CBI, Microsoft will provide Worldspan with Motorola DCT-5000+ advanced set-top boxes for development of interactive TV applications ready to run on Microsoft TV Advanced client software. The CBI provides a framework for members of the Microsoft TV Developer Program that are working on advanced interactive TV programming to create solutions for the Microsoft TV platform, as delivered in a broadband, advanced set-top box environment. The Microsoft TV Developer Program educates and offers resources to content providers and producers who are interested in developing interactive TV content and applications.
The Microsoft TV platform is a standards-based, client and server software family that enables network operators and their partners to deliver interactive TV services to consumers. On-demand media, archiving and the rich array of content available on the Internet are combined with the most common device people use to stay informed and entertained, the TV. Additionally, Worldspan will utilise the MetaTV Universal Portal Platform to develop its interactive TV travel applications. MetaTV will map Worldspan`s content into TV-centric designs that create a compelling interactive travel experience for cable and satellite subscribers. The content can then be easily deployed to cable and satellite operator portals that run across all major interactive TV middleware platforms. In addition, Worldspan will employ MetaTV`s hosting facilities for a completely managed solution, allowing Worldspan to extend its brand through interactive TV while focusing on its core customers.
Travel is already the leading source of e-commerce transactions on the Web, and analysts project Internet travel bookings will escalate rapidly in the next few years, from about $15 billion in 2000 to more than $40 billion in 2003.