Khalid Alosaimi, Multimedia Development Section Manager at Saudi Telecom Company (STC), on the integration challenges he encountered launching managed IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) services in Saudi Arabia, and the methods used to achieve fast troubleshooting in both managed and unmanaged environments.
Where does STC currently stand with its IPTV and OTT deployments?
In 2008, STC formed a company to introduce content services, enabling STC to individualise and release our IPTV service ‘inVision’, and in parallel STC signed agreements with one of its strategic partners to deliver platforms, STBs, middleware and all the necessary infrastructure.
inVision delivers a range of religious, documentary and cultural programmes, in addition to movies and TV series. By bundling these with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), Arabic-language content and great value-for-money offers and packages, STC is now one of the leading IPTV and OTT service providers in the region.
What are the key steps you have taken to ensure excellent QoE across OTT and IPTV services?
Ensuring good customer experience is always a major concern when launching or enhancing any OTT or IPTV service.
Considerations must include: a dedicated network operations centre (NOC), a dedicated monitoring team and a dedicated customer care centre and team to answer IPTV and OTT customers; using state-of-the-art video head-ends and encoders; and implementing a well-managed process of initiating, developing, designing, testing and marketing before any new service launches.
What integration challenges have you faced?
Most challenges have been in the following areas: legal and commercial agreements of content deals; unifying encryption among both OTT and IPTV platforms; unifying user experience among both OTT and IPTV; re-encoding all assets to simultaneously match technical and contractual requirements of OTT and IPTV platform, GUI, and user devices; and authentication and provisioning on content sharing, clouding, and multi-device accounts.
How have you achieved network visibility for fast troubleshooting in both managed and unmanaged environments?
Fast troubleshooting has been always considered a major factor in customer satisfaction, and is by default one of our main goals as company.
For OTT and IPTV, we were empowered through the following major initiatives (amongst others) to achieve swift troubleshooting: pro-active monitoring system (for a managed environment); a dedicated monitoring department; quick response from our field operations and maintenance team.