Jens Persson, Manager R&D at Swedish cable operator Com Hem, on plans to deliver TiVo-based TV services, the network improvements this required, and the need to deliver services which are agnostic of access technology.
Can you tell us more about ComHem’s TiVo project?
After evaluating a number of different alternatives on the market, Com Hem decided to move forward with TiVo as a new middleware partner.
The solution will deliver a completely integrated customer experience on every platform (coax, IP, iOS, Android, PC, Mac) supporting linear TV, VOD and OTT on all devices.
The TiVo solution will offer the customer a great experience when watching TV in the living room and on TV Everywhere (out of home) services through intelligent (and remote) recording, series linking, search and browse, TiVo recommendations, VOD, companion device, apps (YouTube, gaming, Twitter etc).
The metadata – combined with a well thought out user interface for all devices – will support the customer in getting the absolute best out of their TV package and relationship that they have with Com Hem.
What network improvements were needed?
This project has quit a big impact on our network. More or less a brand new parallel platform from the backend to the set-top box is needed. Starting with the backend, this will be the Adrenalin platform from Seachange, which will be integrated to our BSS system and to ¨Tivo Mind¨.
Also, a streaming platform from Edgeware, Quality Assurance from Baton, QAM from Harmonic and transcoding from Envivio is part of this new ecosystem. To start with, Com Hem will use a set-top box from Samsung featuring a 500 GB hard drive. All the integration work is now ongoing, and alpha trials are planned around Christmas.
How do you think OTT services can be used to drive revenue?
The established OTT behaviour that we have in the Swedish market is changing the TV landscape, but it’s still not easy for consumers to access the content.
To offer OTT in an integrated solution will make it much easier for the user to search and consume content without having to visit several different channels or distributors.
When integrating OTT as part of the overall solution, you will be able add value to your customer proposition and also create stickiness to you product with a positive effect on the revenues.
Is the idea of delivering services that are agnostic to access technology a realistic goal?
The market situation in Sweden is built upon very-high-speed data services. Cable operators’ Docsis platforms compete with telcos’ fibre/LAN (FTTB + LAN) networks. On top of this, Sweden also has an Open Network model with a ¨Communication Operator¨ which acts between the service provider and a landlord or property owner.
The landlord can choose from different solutions, and a lot of them will only build/operate ONE network. New-build areas are currently only built with FTTB + LAN, so in order not only to maintain and but also grow our universe, ComHem needs to be a player in all markets/ networks.
So yes, this is a realistic goal and a necessary one.