For the second year in a row The Cloud emerged as the standout theme of IBC. However, the reasons in 2014 are very different to this year. Data, enabled by the transition to IP video, also made a strong showing. The industry continues to wrestle with the thorny issue of multiscreen video app delivery.
Of all the themes of IBC 2015 the most pervasive was “The Cloud”. It reared its head in many forms, but the underlying message was the same: don’t buy hardware, do it in The Cloud. Here are some of things I saw that reinforced this message.
- Amazon Web Services purchased Elemental, Ericsson bought Envivio. Video encoding is becoming a service of The Cloud, the need to own huge numbers of physical encoders is diminishing.
- Network DVR. Many companies were talking about their nDVR solutions, including Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Envivio. Soon consumers will not need to own a DVR box, it will be another service they buy from their network operator.
- Cisco launched its Infinite cloud and virtualization solutions allowing operators to implement many of the functions that the video headend performs running as software in the cloud. For example, the company’s V2P solution allows operators to implement video processing functionality in software that used to require dedicated hardware.
The cloud was the top theme from last year’s show because vendors wanted to sell providers complete IP multiscreen solutions. This year they want existing TV operators to replace their traditional hardware with software and services in the cloud.
The move to IP as the platform for the distribution of video is creating a revolution in the amount of data available about every aspect of the process.
- Gracenote is rapidly expanding its metadata’s depth and breadth. It bought sports data aggregators InfoStrata and Sportsdirect. It also purchased WhatsOnIndia to allow it to expand in Asia.
- Ineoquest is instrumenting every part of the video’s journey, from content creator to content consumer. The company is moving toward providing the same level of information and control in IP video delivery as found in traditional pay television headends today.
- Every vendor involved in the delivery of client video solutions was touting their data analytics engines.
This massive increase in the amount of data, particularly consumer data, highlights an increasingly difficult problem for OTT services providers. How to use the data to create actionable intelligence. And there were decidedly few products at IBC that could help operators with that.
The video app development space continues to grow, with new innovative ideas and cross-device development platforms.
- Metrological is working hard to get its app store available on as many pay TV operator systems as possible. As part of this the company announced the app store will be available on all Skyworth set-top boxes worldwide.
- Dutch app developer 24.i was demonstrating various apps developed using its APPCore technology. APPCore was developed to simplify and streamline app development and to ease migration across platforms. RTL’s Videoland kids video app, built on APPCore, was one of several apps on display in the company’s booth.
- Piksel was demonstrating its innovative Transavia solution for KLM airlines. This inflight entertainment app allows people flying KLM to download movies to watch for free on the flight which vanish from the device when the trip is over.
Many solutions to the app fragmentation problem have been created, some good ones were on display at IBC. However, it’s not clear which ones will emerge as the leading solutions.
Why it matters
Vendors have started to migrate the critical functions of the TV value chain from hardware in headends to software in the cloud.
The move to IP video is generating massive amounts of data at every level of the video ecosystem. Creating information from this data remains a work in progress.
Innovation in video app design continues despite the persistent multiscreen portability challenges.