Driving the future through cloud and virtualization: Part Two

By Mark Russell, CTO and Head of Strategy, Ericsson Media Solutions

As I highlighted in the first part of my blog, the development of new cloud technologies will be fundamental in realizing the future of our industry. The combination of IP and software is now playing a transformative role in broadcast workflow, offering remote production, unrivalled connectivity and deeper reach to the home.

Harnessing a data-driven future

By directly addressing the needs of the consumer, we can begin to deliver a more personalized and immersive viewing experience to viewers worldwide. And another way of enabling this will be to adapt and move towards data driven recommendation. While data exists everywhere, only a small percentage is actually utilised effectively. We can see this in the way video information is generated via digital spectrum and then discarded once delivered on screen.

The cost of capturing, curating, managing and processing video has been perceived, to date, to be too high to justify the video analytics. MediaFirst TV Platform, our software-defined, media-optimized cloud based TV platform is designed to deliver premium content to these connected devices, offering a personalized viewing experience that learns more about the consumer and their needs.

By utilizing the power of smart analytics and data, our industry has an opportunity to delve deep inside real-time data and in doing so, deliver superior recommendations for content, with search options that match the viewing behaviors and patterns of the consumer – both geographical and by type of genre. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab TV and Media research, the average time spent searching for content has increased to almost one hour per day, highlighting why service providers must do more to reduce the complexity of content discovery and enable more personalized, relevant recommendations.

The role of the cloud in media processing

The cloud is also playing a fundamental role in the industry’s engine room – media processing. At a time when demand for ultra high quality encoding and mobile video delivery is more important than ever, the role of cloud technology is allowing all players to resolve the challenge of performance, scalability, agility and reliability. The scalability of cloud-based platforms will be particularly important in delivering the necessary streamlined media processing workflows required to make content suitable for increasingly mobile-first audiences. Ericsson ConsumerLab TV and Media research shows that approximately 70 percent of consumers watch videos on a smartphone (double the amount from 2012) and do so for around six hours per week – almost a fifth of the total time spent watching TV and video.

Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing Encoding Live solution offers a software controlled and highly scalable means to address challenges such as compression and stream processing, while at the same time, providing the necessary personalization elements to dynamically adapt content to address different device constraints and mobility profiles. By 2020, Ericsson ConsumerLab research predicts that overall viewing of linear and on-demand content will be close to parity. Within the same time frame, 50 percent of video viewing will be on a mobile screen. Converged delivery platforms will be a vital part of a service provider’s arsenal to ensure audiences receive the requisite level of on-demand content to differentiate and compete in the future.

To ensure efficient and seamless delivery of superior performance level video content, traditional players need to evolve their infrastructures. Through Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing, we are providing a simple and consistent user experience that delivers the best media processing available for the application, extending network and service device capability. The solution can also manage and support compute environments, and is deployable across private and public clouds, as well as on-premises.

The future of the cloud

The TV viewer of today has never been more demanding. With multiple devices in use – often simultaneously – there are a plethora of challenges across the TV and media landscape. From the need for more immersive experiences, the expansion of software-centric media, and increased need for more relevant content discovery options, through to data-driven, personalized and targeted smart media, the roles of IP technology and the cloud are helping to transform the future of our industry. The ultimate objective for service providers is quite clear – to understand how to converge services with the internet, and reimagine how content interconnects, how it is captured and how it is distributed to the consumer.

You can read more on Mark Russell’s vision for cloud and virtualization in part one of his blog here.