OpenCraft to Launch Web TV 2.0

12 Jan, 2009

Access to the Web via TV is gaining momentum, as a number of access devices with Web capabilities are gaining global household adoption with tens of millions of units being sold every year. These devices range from Set-Top Boxes like DreamBox, video gaming consoles such as Xbox, Playstation and WII, and new LCD TVs with Web and Bluetooth capabilities are being shipped, such as the new Sony Bravia.

Capitalizing on the growing TV to Web connectivity OpenCraft an Egyptian open-source software & outsourcing company is planning to launch a Web TV 2.0 code named (FooTV), though still under development, OpenCraft founders demonstrated FooTV demo to me in their office while I was visiting Egypt, but authorized me to disclose little information about it on AC.

FooTV will bring TV experience to the world of online videos, a conversion of the Web and the TV, with Web 2.0 features. FooTV will be also tailored to the TV handset. According to Abdel Karim co-founder of OpenCraft.

OpenCraft is building FooTV based on their past experience in developing Set-Top Boxes. In 2007 they won and completed a contract from Intel to build a media center appliance (Intel HelioCreek STB) using Intel hardware for the Arab regional market. The appliance is a home entertainment center with Web browsing, DVD, PC capabilities and Music player, it was not commercialized by Intel but only for R&D purposes!( Something I do not understand why Intel did not commercialize it!)

In (Intel HelioCreek STB) project, OpenCraft used current open-source software to cut down development time, they used and customized MythTV an open-source media center, customized and trimmed-down Ubuntu Linux distribution to support the appliance, and Arabaized MythTV theme among other things that include using C++ and Qt.

One of the other interesting projects OpenCraft did, was the American University in Cairo migration to Google Apps, using Django, Python, jQuery, MySQL, Apache, Linux, and Google Data API to build the Google Apps self-service migration wizard, which is an easy to use self-service wizard-style portal to facilitate migration of various IT services such as email and contacts to the Google Apps platform. The resulting code base has been released under an open-source license.
OpenCraft was founded in 2004 as an open-source software firm that specializes in Web 2.0 information architecture and system integration using PHP, Python, SugarCRM and Drupal along with providing custom software development. The Company is backed by Hermes-TDF an Egyptian venture capital firm. The cofounders are Rady Fahmy as CEO, Abdel-Karim Mardini as software delivery manager, and Karim Ratib as Tech. Director. The company has 25 employees and is based in Dukki, Cairo, Egypt.

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