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

ANGACOM 2016: where all services converge

The cable industry has faced many challenges in recent years. From the advent of OTT services through to consumer demand for multiscreen, operators have learned to adapt to a new era of content consumption where the consumer is King. However, with the PayTV market expected to grow to €2.4 billion in Germany and €2.6 billion in other German speaking markets, it appears that operators have retained their competitive edge despite the rising popularity of OTT services. At ANGACOM, we anticipate that many of the discussions will focus on how operators can stay ahead of the curve whilst simultaneously increasing customer loyalty and boosting revenue. In the run up to the event we’ve developed a step-by-step guide for operators on how to remain competitive:

1)    Step one: Understand your audience
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around Big Data and how it can drive personalisation and recommendation. Prior to the proliferation of connected devices, it was quite easy to imagine every consumer having relatively similar viewing habits. However, now consumers are using numerous personal devices to access content, which means there is an abundance of data providing insight into what content different TV audiences are watching, what device they are using and at what time. For example, a person may reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up to access world news but watch their soap operas on their tablet whilst cooking dinner.

Service providers who want to deliver an unrivalled experience to their subscribers need to be able to utilise this data effectively. Our multiscreen management platform ACCESS Twine™ enables the TV industry to aggregate data on consumer habits, device usage and facilitates the deployment of highly targeted content catalogues and personalised search and discovery options.

2)    Step two: Deliver content to every device  
The multiscreen era means that consumers expect to be able to access content at any time, any place and on all the devices they own. The reward for service providers who can achieve this is huge: they will have a far more detailed view of their customers than ever before. Then, being able to store and analyse the data coming in from multiple data sources empowers service providers and operators to provide more sophisticated recommendation engines to retain customer loyalty. It also allows them to design user experiences that take advantage of the varying interaction methods used to access content from connected devices. After all, no matter how great the recommendations are, a consumer will abandon a service if it does not provide a cohesive and familiar delivery of the user interface and content across all the devices they use. Thus, it is critical to provide a compelling cross-platform user interface that accommodates subscribers who are accessing content via everything, from touch screens on smartphones to gamepads on game consoles, and to the traditional TV remote control.

This is where our NetFront™ Browser family can help: regardless of the device’s capabilities, we have a solution that ensures that consumers can enjoy a seamless experience on every platform. Operators have the benefit of a standards-based approach, enabling them to reuse their code across devices. It also provides easy access to the services that consumers demand, such as BBC iPlayer and other catch up TV services, and YouTube on TV, within the controlled operator environment.

3)    Step three: Protect your content
Whilst consumers want to be able to access content from any device, operators need to ensure that the content is protected in order to fulfil their studio obligations. To offer the latest Hollywood blockbuster or acclaimed TV series, operators need to be in control of the media sharing experience by deploying solutions that protect assets every step of the way. By deploying market ready solutions that enable operators to better understand their subscribers, devices used to access the service and ensuring the highest level of security, MPVDs can stay safe in the knowledge that their content is secure.

We have developed ACCESS Twine™ with this idea in mind. Alongside DLNA-compliant media sharing, it supports a wide range of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems to ensure that content remains protected – and hence only accessible by authorized users. ACCESS Twine™ also enables consumers to securely access their content when away from home.

The days of PayTV and Over-The-Top (OTT) in opposition are now over: by using the right technology, operators can turn OTT services into a complimentary offering available directly within their service. This enables operators to remain in control of the relationship with consumers and to become their main advisor for all their video needs.

How IoT can be turned into a Secure and Personal Multiscreen Consumer Proposition

Over a short space of time, web technologies have evolved rapidly in order to create new immersive web experiences such as tailored web browsing, multiscreen TV and the mobile web. For example, the web has matured considerably since the first mobile web browser developed by ACCESS for NTT DoCoMo, and has played an integral role in transforming consumer interaction with devices. With the emergence of Internet-enabled devices including smart TVs, wearables and the connected car, operators looking to deploy multiscreen services have room to create immersive services spanning the entire connected device spectrum, which combine to create the Internet-of-Things (IoT). A recent Gartner report predicts that the number of connected devices will increase by 30% in 2015 to 4.9bn before growing fivefold to 25bn by 2020. Due to the sizeable scope of IoT, this article will focus on the Internet of Connected Entertainment.

From linear TV to multiscreen
A few decades ago, the TV was a dumb screen offering linear programming on a few channels. However, consumer adoption of Internet-enabled handheld devices such as smartphones provided the breeding ground for operators to bring interactivity into the connected home and radically transform the TV experience. The emergence of IoT has facilitated the increase in the number of devices used for ‘at-home’ entertainment. The average British household has six devices or more to watch content, allowing operators to create a fully immersive multiscreen experience both in and out of the home.

However, the increase in Internet-enabled devices has also caused security concerns around content transiting over the open Internet. With more devices connecting to the service, the risk of unauthorised access is on the rise and operators need to integrate robust support for Conditional Access (CA) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions within their multiscreen solutions to offer ‘studio confident’ streaming that earns the studios’ trust.

By deploying solutions that can ‘trans-crypt’ different types of CA and DRM systems on the fly, operators can secure the delivery of any type of content to any screen within the home via the home gateway, reducing the need to invest in cloud infrastructure. Additionally, using the in-home network increases quality of service, while limiting the risk of that content being accessed or streamed illegally over the Internet. Content can also be downloaded in the appropriate format to companion devices such as smartphones and tablets, opening the door to video consumption out of the home, and it’s likely that wearables and the connected car will enable TV Everywhere to truly emerge.

An important part of the explosion in IoT will be down to the connected car, according to recent Gartner research. A new report states that one in five vehicles will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020, accounting for more than a quarter of a billion cars across the globe. Bringing connectivity to the car is the first step for OEMs and integrators to offer video content in the confines of the vehicle, enabling TV services to extend to any environment.

Processing data in multiscreen, multi-device environment
This multiplicity of connected devices inside and outside of the home leads to a host of challenges for operators, including offering a seamless experience on all devices. As consumers now expect a single service spanning the entire connected home, it is imperative for operators to create a familiar UX (User experience) across all supported browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, device types and interaction methods. Integrating solutions that support HTML5 and the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Media Source Extensions (MSE) can help operators to develop this seamless UX including a security framework on all screens automatically.

While providing a seamless experience is a pre-requisite for operators, constant access to web browsing and social media has led to a tremendous increase in the amount of data produced and shared by consumers. This has triggered increased subscriber demand for personalised services that are accessible on every device everywhere. Recent research from BI Intelligence predicts that IoT will contribute to $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019, demonstrating considerable opportunities for operators looking to deploy large-scale multiscreen services both in and out of the home.

Operators are increasingly looking for solutions that automatically aggregate and analyse data to help them better understand subscriber behaviour, the types of devices used to watch content and more. They need to be able to offer more targeted services and content, including tailored advertising on multiple platforms and better search and discovery options. It is clear that data and analytics will play an integral role in determining the future of multiscreen and it is those operators who can be entrusted with their subscribers’ personal data and utilize it to tailor services that will benefit from multiscreen connectivity.

The article was by-lined to Dr Neale Foster, COO and VP Global Sales, ACCESS

Dr Neale Foster is COO and VP Global Sales at ACCESS, a global provider of advanced software technologies to the automotive, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital TV markets. Since 1984, ACCESS has provided advanced software solutions and services for over 1.5 billion mobiles, smartphones and tablets, connected TVs and set-top boxes. ACCESS will be demonstrating its multiscreen product portfolio including ACCESS Twine™, the NetFront™ Browser series and NetFront™ Living Connect at TV Connect at the ExCeL in London on April 28-30 (stand 93)

This article was originally published on www.tvbeurope.com

Multiscreen’s 4 biggest challenges of 2015

Multiscreen is maturing at a rapid rate thanks to increased operator competition and consumer adoption. However, there are still challenges to overcome before we reach true TV Everywhere:

1. Secure high quality delivery to multiscreen, in and outside the home

As well as overcoming the challenges of a consistent user experience (UX) on multiple devices, operators need to ensure that their multiscreen services offer high quality content catalogues to attract and retain subscribers. To achieve this, they need to comply with the content industry’s stringent security requirements and ensure the high quality of service that consumers expect. Home gateway solutions that can ‘trans-crypt’ multiple types of Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management systems on the fly enable operators to deliver any type of content to any screen within the home, reducing the investment into cloud infrastructure. This also increases quality of service by using the in-home network, while limiting the risk of that content being accessed or streamed illegally over the Internet. Content can also be downloaded in the appropriate format to companion devices such as smartphones and tablets for viewing when away from home.

2. Knowing the user and reacting to changes quickly

Consumers have more choices to consume content than ever before, whether OTT or alternative pay-TV providers. Operators need to provide the highest quality of content and service in order to attract and retain consumers. It is highly critical for operators to better understand the consumer requirements and detect any change in subscriber behaviour. Better understanding of how consumers use the service will enable operators to make the right decisions in a timely manner. This will help reduce subscriber churn, increase subscriber satisfaction, improve the operator’s service and gain new subscribers.

3. Seamless experience on all devices

The proliferation of devices and systems used to access content means that operators have to deploy solutions that support multiple browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, device type and interaction method. A key requirement for every operator consists in creating a familiar UX across all supported devices. For the consumer, the ideal solution is a seamless service spanning linear and catch up TV services, OTT, multi-room, PVR and other personal content. Solutions that support HTML5 and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Media Source Extensions (MSE) help operators deliver a seamless UX on all screens.

4. Monetization

Providing the best experience and offering the best content catalogue everywhere is crucial to retain subscribers, but operators need to ensure that their multiscreen services are profitable. For the past fifty years, advertising has been the TV industry’s main means of increasing revenue and it’s unlikely that this will change in the near future. To ensure that advertisers also see a benefit from multiscreen, operators must offer data analytics on subscriber behaviour, devices used to watch content and more. This in turn helps advertisers tailor their campaigns to deliver them to the right audience at the right time and on the right screen.

2015 will see operators launch effective business models based on advertising and high quality content catalogues to consolidate the multiscreen market. Aggregating and analyzing consumer data will be pivotal in enabling operators to offer a successful multiscreen experience. This business intelligence data will be particularly crucial as pure OTT players and broadcasters start fighting head on for multiscreen supremacy.

The 2015 International CES is focusing on integrating CE devices in with the multiscreen mix, and taking TV Everywhere a step further by deploying it in smart cars. This demonstrates that once more, technology plays a crucial role in enabling the industry to refresh and create new personal stories that will resonate with all audiences, in every location and on every device.

This blog was originally published on IP&TV News

Parks Associates examines multiscreen video security challenges in new white paper

Parks Associates Whitepaper
A new Parks Associates white paper, “New Market Realities in Content Delivery”, looks at the security challenges that need to be faced before multiscreen is ready for primetime.

Parks comments that: “in an arena where content has seemingly ruled, consumers, instead, are the driving force.”

The paper looks at how security and multiscreen interacts for operators, the content industry and the consumer. A key finding in the Park Associates paper is that :”Smart TV manufacturers will hold a prime seat at the table if they develop a future- proof roadmap that allows for affordable upgrades to their own technology.”

Parks also provide a reminder that usability is key, stating: “While the evolution of connected CE devices causes consumers to expect to view the content of their choice on any device, at any time, and anywhere, the multiple options threaten to create an environment that is too technologically difficult for the average consumer to navigate.”

If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of the white paper, please visit: http://eu.access-company.com/whitepaper-download.html

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