IBC 2017: time for ubiquitous content in an IoT world

Every year, content providers find new ways to deliver interactive media seamlessly and securely to every device – and the advent of Internet of Things enabled devices is making this choice of device even wider. This leads to an overwhelming number of competing services and subscriptions, which in turn means consumers have to navigate numerous apps in order to watch their favorite content. In this situation, the simple operation of choosing what to watch becomes a challenge. This fragmented approach to multiscreen can be a great source of frustration for consumers, but operators can resolve this by aggregating all content sources and delivering them via a single application. I recently talked to Goran Nastic, editor of CSI Magazine, to discuss how multiscreen needed to evolve to offer this experience today.

Dr Neale Foster, Managing Director and COO of ACCESS Europe, interviewed by CSI Magazine Editor Goran Nastic
Dr Neale Foster, Managing Director and COO of ACCESS Europe, interviewed by CSI Magazine Editor Goran Nastic.

This unified approach to multiscreen is something forward thinking operators, such as Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) in India, have already started to adopt. Earlier this year, we announced that Jio had deployed ACCESS Twine™ to power its multiscreen service targeting 100 million subscribers across India. Beyond Jio’s own content, available in the cloud, the service provides access to the consumer’s personal library and external sources such as YouTube, Dropbox, Google Drive and social media content in and out of the home.

This year we will be returning to IBC to explain how Jio has laid the foundations for the next generation of multiscreen services for operators all over the world, and how pay-TV operators can follow in their footsteps and offer a similar experience to consumers.

Our on-stand demonstrations at IBC 2017 (stand #14.D14) will include:

  • ACCESS Twine™: The solution increases stickiness to services, regardless of content and/or device. Platform-agnostic and built on industry standards, ACCESS Twine™ enables operators to combine all kinds of content sources, be it public, private or premium content in an effort to limit application hopping. The platform’s functionality extends to data aggregation and management, which enables operators to create, transfer, store and analyze relevant usage data of media consumption, behavior, and preferred devices.
  • NetFront™ Browser family: NetFront™ Browser solutions are high performance HTML5-capable software solutions that provide operators, Systems on Chips vendors and device manufacturers with solutions enhancing Chromium and WebKit HTML5 engines with support for HbbTV, Freeview Play, YouTube on TV 2017 and up to 4K and 8K services. The NetFront Browser solutions present and execute an application that is an associated collection of documents (typically JavaScript™, CSS and HTML) as well as the content from the broadcast DSM-CC Object Carousel to provide the consumer with the interactive services they now expect.

Alongside product demonstrations throughout the show, Dr. Fleming Lampi, Global Product Director at ACCESS, will also be taking part in a panel discussion entitled “Service design considerations for the multi-screen OTT world” in the Content Everywhere Hub (Hall #14.J10 – Sunday, September 17 at 15:30 – 16:15), Attendees to the panel discussion will be able to learn about the various elements to take into account when developing a multiscreen-friendly user experience and learn how to choose the right content protection solutions for their online video services.

Our solutions are deployed in over 1.5 billion devices. To learn more about our plans at IBC 2017 or to book an appointment with us at the show, please contact tv@access-company.com

CES 2017: taking connectivity to the next stage

Beyond the myriad of smartphones, fridges, drones and robots, CES offers an annual reminder as to why technology is such a fantastic area of business: by combining creativity with efficiency, we can provide new services that improve our everyday lives in a heartbeat. Yet, it’s important to remember that each of these fabulous new products have required months of development, testing and design to be shown on the Las Vegas show floor – and of course, better connectivity, which has become the crux of technological innovation. Reflecting on this, we are proud to see the level of innovation that we have witnessed in automotive and video at the show:

TV: shinier displays and better integrated solutions
In our CES Preview blog, we reminisced about the evolution of TV over the past 50 years. The days of the black and white, one-channel screen are long gone. Instead, our digital lives are coming to a screen near you, thanks to greater connectivity, sharper contrasts and better forms of integration.

Our main focus at CES was on new services such as NVidia’s The Shield, an Android-powered TV box supporting YouTube in 4K, Netflix in HDR and access to Google Play movies, Amazon Video and games streaming.

As strong believers in the idea that content sources need to be made accessible to consumers in an easy, centralised way, we are very excited about this new advance in aggregated media libraries. Our mission is to enable operators to offer best in class experiences across multiple devices and content sources through products like ACCESS Twine™, regardless of the hardware and infrastructure to deliver this content to the consumer.

Operators that want to ensure that consumers stay within their branded environment for all their media needs will need to combine quality content catalogues with content aggregation and data collection for analytics features within their apps. By using solutions that also support secure media re-distribution across all platforms and HTML5 powered experiences for HbbTV and other current standards, operators can deliver immersive experiences to subscribers on the beautiful displays showcased at CES.

Automotive: concept cars galore
Since the advent of connectivity in the car, CES has been the place to go to discover first hand the latest announcements, concept cars and products in the automotive space, an industry that is reported to weigh about 25% of all activity at CES. While the traditional players showed their innovations, like e.g. BMW’s BMWi Inside Future gave visitors to the show a glance at the future of its autonomous fleet, Mercedes’ EQ’s 24-inch display confirmed that connectivity and User Experience were at the core of its future ambitions.  Besides that, upcoming players showed their new products and concepts. A particularly prominent one is Faraday Future, which was founded in 2014 to rival Tesla. At CES, Faraday Futures presented its FF91 electric vehicle, slated to ship in 2018.

What we found particularly interesting however is the combination of consumer electronics and the automotive industry going one step further with the integration of Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Alexa, inside Ford’s SYNC 3-enabled cars. This integration will provide advanced features like weathering updates, locking or starting the car remotely. Others, like BMW, Nissan and Toyota, are investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to better assist drivers as we transit from our current, driver-centric industry to the far away driverless future.

CES was also a perfect opportunity for us to reunite with other members of the GENIVI Alliance, and to showcase our solutions for the automotive sector: ACCESS Twine™ Car and our HTML5-based NetFront™ Browser family. These solutions enable car infotainment to support media distribution for Head-Units, Rear-Seat Entertainment and Bring-Your-Own-Devices as well as HTML5 based browsing and applications. Centralized control, general usage data creation and complementary cloud components to manage users, devices, content metadata and usage data enable easy service integrations. This provides manufacturers and Tier 1s with readily available solutions to enrich custom in-vehicle infotainment systems.

If you’ve missed us at the show but would like to know more about our solutions, please contact automotive@access-company.com (Automotive) or tv@access-company.com (Video). Alternatively, head to our website for more information.

CES 2017: 50 years of automotive and TV innovation

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is turning 50 in 2017, which gives us a perfect opportunity to look back on how the automotive and video worlds have evolved.

TV: from one channel to TV Everywhere

Younger readers of our blog might not remember it, but back in the 1970s, watching TV was a lot less diverse than today. Germany was divided into two separate countries with radically different TV cultures and the rest of Europe consisted almost entirely of public broadcasters, with British TV airing just three channels: BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Today, each consumer can access a plethora of channels from a number of sources (cable, IP, Over-The-Top, satellite, terrestrial) and across an incredibly wide range of topics such as sports, news, reality TV and TV series.

In addition, the rise of new video sources like YouTube and the move that social media platforms are turning into smaller scale broadcasters is providing viewers with access to even more content. This in turn has led to the requirement for good quality Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) and search engine, as well as a need for better user experience solutions.

While this may come as a surprise to many, even though there wasn’t much variety in the content people had access to back in the 1970s, the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) was born in that era. An incredibly viral video last year showed that children today have no clue how this device works anymore, which demonstrates that we are indeed in a completely digital era for consumption, storage and security. Today, viewers use the cloud to store their content, restart a programme exactly where they left it off and appreciate lifelike details using Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) ready TVs.

We are very excited to see that our product portfolio is at the intersection of these technologies, enabling broadcasters and operators to offer state-of-the-art experiences across multiple devices and content sources. ACCESS Twine™ provides content aggregation & data collection for analytics features that can be easily integrated within operator-powered apps to ensure that consumers stay within the operator’s branded environment for all their media needs. Our solution also facilitates secure media re-distribution across all platforms, including support for state-of-the-art end-to-end DRM and DLNA® VidiPath™. Our NetFront™ Browser family also enables a seamless HTML5 powered experience across all screens – from smartphones and tablets through to the next generation TV screens. ACCESS’ solutions include WebKit-based NetFront™ Browser NX and Chromium-based NetFront™ Browser BE, both available as HbbTV editions.

Automotive: 50 years preparing for the driverless car?

‘The Car’, a thriller about a rogue driverless car committing murders in a remote area of the US, was released back in 1977. While the evil machine trope wasn’t new in any way, it shows how far back we started thinking that our cars would drive themselves one day. Cars today may be smart, capable of parking themselves and towing each other, but the days of the fully autonomous, driverless car are still a few years away as the industry solves fundamental challenges of security and passenger experience.

The automotive revolution is moving up a gear and we’re proud to be an active player in one of the most exciting areas of technology today, such as In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI). We are now preparing for the next wave of technology innovation that will be presented on the show floor and discussed in a number of tracks, including Automotive and personal mobility, Connect2Car and Vehicle Technology.

We have been involved in the movement towards more connectivity and entertainment in the car for a number of years, working with OEMs and Tier 1s alike to build the in-vehicle infotainment experiences of the future. Using standards-based proprietary solutions, we are opening the door to seamless solutions that can be accessed directly via the head unit or the driver’s own mobile device plugged into the car for a truly personal feel.

As members of the GENIVI Alliance, we will be showcasing how ACCESS Twine™ for automotive and our HTML5-based NetFront™ Browser family enable car infotainment to support 2- and 3-way media sharing for Head-Units, Rear-Seat Entertainment and Bring-Your-Own-Devices, HTML5 based browsing, control, applications and media re-distribution playback together with usage data creation and cloud components for easy service integrations.

We hope you are as excited about what the future holds for TV Everywhere and IVI as we are, and we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas! To register to meet with us at the GENIVI Networking Reception at CES 2017, contact automotive@access-company.com.

IBC 2016: Verimatrix and ACCESS secure the future of multiscreen

We are pleased that keen industry watchers have noticed the continued story of cooperation between ACCESS and Verimatrix. Our collaboration started back in 2013. It focused on the new Verimatrix Gateway product, which was launched at TV Connect 2013. At the time of this announcement, security was one of the biggest hurdles preventing the adoption of multiscreen sharing. In response to this, we worked together to ensure that Verimatrix Gateway provided operators with ‘studio confident’ security, enabling multiscreen sharing.

However, since the announcement of our partnership three years ago, the broadcast world has evolved and so has our partnership. Gartner forecasts that there will be 6.4 billion connected ‘Things’ in 2016, with a potential to increase the amount of data generated, which IDC evaluates as being 1.7MB every second per human being on the planet by 2020.  This ‘data’ delivered to mobile devices will primarily be video, as Cisco predicts that 70% of all mobile consumption will be video by 2021.

These staggering numbers lead to the significant challenge of delivering content to all of these devices seamlessly and securely. This is precisely the purpose of our partnership, which was extended in the run up to ANGA COM 2016.

The synergy between our products has increased since the launch of ACCESS’ multiscreen management platform ACCESS Twine™, which enables operators to understand how subscribers access their service, the content they watched and the devices used. The platform also enables them to easily create seamless multiscreen experiences and secure the delivery of content – two assets as development and test phases become shorter.
While ACCESS Twine enables enhanced data aggregation and seamless delivery of content to multiscreen, the Verimatrix VCAS™ and ViewRight® solutions secure revenue, which empowers operators to deliver content seamlessly and securely.

Verimatrix VCAS™ is a comprehensive architecture offering video service revenue security for the broadest range of networks and device types. The VCAS technology and IP-centric architecture provides solution profiles for broadcast, hybrid, OTT and multi-DRM deployments, offering a future-proof way to help video service providers secure and enhance their business.

Our partnership has evolved with the multiscreen world and enabled operators to retain a competitive edge despite new players entering the market. From multiple content media sources through to a plethora of devices, deploying the right content protection measures in the current media landscape is the primary challenge for operators. Our combined solution relieves these headaches for operators by enabling the sharing of content in the same home whilst simultaneously offering them tracking capabilities to better understand how subscribers use the service, which content they prefer to access and via which device.

At IBC, you will be able to see how our partnership has responded to market demand by facilitating the secure delivery of content across every device. To see the demo live, contact tv@access-company.com or head to stand #14.D14.

IBC 2016: powering the multiscreen world

This year, IBC will demonstrate the latest innovations in technology that facilitate the next generation of multiscreen services. As ACCESS returns to IBC, we expect the discussions on the show floor to focus on the continuing evolution of multiscreen. In response, we will be demonstrating how operators can maximise the value of their relationships with consumers to monetise their multiscreen services further.

From providing granular data about the consumer’s habits through to delivering a seamless experience across a growing number of devices, operators already have a lot of challenges to tackle. On top of it, they now need to compete for subscriber attention as consumers move between platforms and content sources – from their personal media library to external services and premium content. To avoid losing subscribers to new players, operators need to ensure that consumers remain in their branded environment, which can be achieved by deploying the right technology.

Visitors to our stand at IBC will see our solutions portfolio in action and how it empowers operators to solve these three challenges at once to maximise the potential of their services.

Our product portfolio at IBC will include:

  • ACCESS Twine™, our multiscreen management platform that enables data aggregation and facilitates the deployment of highly targeted content catalogues and personalised search and discovery options.
  • The NetFront™ Browser family, enabling a seamless HTML5 powered experience across all screens – from smartphones and tablets through to the next generation TV screens. ACCESS’ solutions include WebKit-based NetFront™ Browser NX and Chromium-based NetFront™ Browser BE, both available as HbbTV editions.

Alongside product demonstrations, there will also be the opportunity to attend our session in the Content Everywhere Hub (Hall 14 on Friday, September 9th at 12:00 – 12:20), where visitors will be able to learn how to utilise data and browser-based user interfaces to offer services that adapt to consumers’ evolving habits.

We are also delighted to be working with a number of partners this year, who will also demonstrating their multiscreen services. Our partners include AirTies Wireless Networks (#5.C70), EKT (#5.B30), Innopia Technologies (5.B08), Opentech (#5.B11), Pixsan, Verimatrix (#5.A59), Vestel (#14.A20) and Zenterio (suite at Okura Hotel).

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