Citrix aims to help ISPs grow

The maker of the popular GoToMyPC remote desktop access application says it's in talks with local broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell its remote desktop access solution as a co-branded offering.Now that broadband is starting to become commoditised, ISPs are asking how they can diffentiate themselves from the competition, Mike Mansbach, vice president of enterprise marketing and business development at Citrix' online division, said.

The maker of the popular GoToMyPC remote desktop access application says it's in talks with local broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell its remote desktop access solution as a co-branded offering.

Now that broadband is starting to become commoditised, ISPs are asking how they can diffentiate themselves from the competition, Mike Mansbach, vice president of enterprise marketing and business development at Citrix' online division, said.

Broadband providers first began adding gaming services to their product lines, then moved to security offerings, Mansbach said, adding that real-time collaboration and remote access was the next phase.

"Real-time collaboration services create a stickiness that reduces the churn that any telco has. So I think in the next couple of years, every telco with any weight or longevity will start to look at more and more of these value-added services," he said.

In Australia, Citrix Online hopes to replicate its partnership with British Telecom which sells a re-badged GoToMyPC as BT Remote Access Pack. This product is squarely aimed at the United Kingdom's small business and telecommuter communities.

Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan's telecommunications expert Chia Seiler agreed with Mansbach that telcos were interested in adding collaboration and remote access solutions to their portfolio.

"It's definitely a hot area," she told ZDNet Australia . "It's an area that telcos are looking at quite closely.

However, noted Seiler, "In some instances the uptake hasn't been as great to justify the business case of pushing these services."

While Mansbach declined to reveal which companies Citrix was courting, two of the more obvious candidates are giant telcos Optus and Telstra, which already offer additional broadband services.

The second declined the opportunity to comment while an Optus spokesperson said: "Whilst we do not comment on future products, we can confirm that at this stage we do not offer this service."

Meanwhile, HR Shiever, Citrix Online Asia-Pacific managing director, told ZDNet Australia  a number of unnamed broadband providers were interested in its GoToAssist product, which allows tech support workers to take control of a user's screen remotely.

According to Shiever, GoToAssist is currently used in India by a few of its ISP partners to remotely connect to a customer's PC over a dial-up phone line to set up new broadband accounts.

"I don't think it's been done yet [in Australia]," said Shiever of the tech support technique, "but I know a lot of people that are looking at it."