From TV Connect, London
One of the most intriguing presences at this year’s TV Connect – currently well in swing at London’s Olympia – is Ericsson.
IP&TV News caught up with Simon Frost, Head of Marketing and Communications, Media, Ericsson, to discuss their involvement, and what it means for the company’s year.
Ericsson has a very strong presence at this year’s TV Connect. Can you tell us a bit about this?
TV Connect, for us, is one of the great opportunities to meet with not only just the Telco audience and content owners but also other pay-TV aggregators and those shaping the agenda of connected TV.
IP is the most impactful element transforming all aspects of video delivery and the consumption experience of TV. It’s very much a key area for Ericsson given our leadership in media and IP, especially mobility, and is a big focus for us at TV Connect, where we will show what we consider to be the future of TV from an experience point of view: the future of TV Anywhere. This is the culmination of Ericsson’s capabilities, and our recent acquisitions of Mediaroom and Azuki.
Tell us more about what Ericsson will actually be doing this next week, and what message are you looking to convey?
We will deliver a keynote, highlighting our vision for the future of TV. We will focus particularly on how service providers will need to harness technologies, such as IP and the Cloud, in order to realise the new agility needed to make up the most compelling and competitive aggregated pay-TV service provider experience in the future.
And then there’s also my presentation, which is about LTE video delivery and especially LTE Broadcast.
The future itself is not necessarily guaranteed long-term to be exclusively under the ownership of the current Pay-TV aggregators as we know them today. IP opens up the opportunity for over-the-top players, enables content owners to go direct, and provides opportunities also for new ecosystems to enter this space, such as an Amazon or a Facebook or a Twitter. You could imagine players that have very powerful social leverage, or very powerful device leverage such as Google or Apple, have a future ability to enter such an aggregated service provider space. We see challenges ahead across the media value chain and are prepared with insight, solutions and capability to stay ahead and build a winning strategy for success.
Has Ericsson positioned itself accordingly, based on this expectation, or is its position in this emerging ecosystem more fortuitous?
I believe we are uniquely placed to assist. Who else has the broad insights we do spanning Media, Telecoms and consumer (ConsumerLab), and the scale to guide, advise and provide the transformation support needed. Our campaign Time to Play is specific in highlighting the firm belief we have, that while the existing value chain is very powerful and far from under threat of extinction, new players and new business models and approaches will play out. Our customers need the insights, the strategy and essentially the agility to respond to new players and consumer shifts.
Ericsson has been investing strongly in media for some time and most recently with strategic investments in Mediaroom and Azuki Systems. These investments have made us the global number one in IPTV & multiscreen, from an IP platform point of view. And, as the world leader in LTE and 3G and mobile broadband, we fundamentally understand how IP is transforming video delivery, both from a fixed and from a mobile point of view. We are also bringing our huge experience in managed services, where we manage over a billion mobile subscribers, to TV. Our acquisition of part of the Technicolor Group and most recently our intention to acquire RedBee Media shows our commitment to enabling broadcasters to innovate, transform and excel in an increasingly connected world.
In addition to enabling the ultimate in consumer connected TV experience for Pay TV aggregators and content owners and broadcasters, we also have a leading role in enabling the network operator, as all networks, especially IP ones, are engineered specifically for video. We want to make every network video-centric and video-efficient, because video will be the biggest payload in the future. And as the world leader in mobility, we understand what it takes to make those networks video smart.
What is the significance of LTE?
LTE networks themselves are really going to be all about video – because why else do we need 40, 60, 80, 100 megabit download speeds to devices if it’s not about great video experiences? We see that mobile broadband subscriptions will quadruple to 8bn by 2019 and video will be over 50% of the traffic.
Ericsson is enhancing LTE on-demand video delivery with broadcast video delivery. This is called LTE Broadcast and utilises three standards we are leaders in; eMBMS, MPEG DASH and HEVC.
A simple example of where LTE Broadcast could be used is a high density area where many thousands of people want to watch the same content, such as a sports stadium – like for the Olympics or Formula One, or an area where you’ve got 100,000 people in one place. LTE is not just about making sure you can deliver video to devices in that stadium. It allows you to build upon that capability to create a new experience for that brand – which could be the NFL, the Champions League or any number of others. You could create a completely immersive tablet experience or a phone experience, giving the user camera angles, different shots, statistics, advertising – it could even tell you the delay getting out of the car-park! LTE Broadcast is a technology which guarantees quality of experience, to mass audiences, for popular content and most importantly is entirely service, location and content dynamic.
And the main message to service providers is…?
The future of TV is undergoing the greatest re-engineering and re-definition we have seen to date. The industry itself is no longer exclusive in shaping consumer values and perception. We don’t know if Twitter or Apple will make a big play in the TV space tomorrow, so what can service providers do about it?
The future of pay TV is permanent innovation in front of the consumer. Continually adding value and shaping what they call experience. Working with social media platforms, content owners, brands and devices to add value and enable innovation. At Ericsson we are investing in all areas to enable this, to be the ultimate partner in this transformation and innovation game. We have the insights and look forward to sharing them with our customers at TV Connect 2014.