ZTE’s Reuven Elmalem discusses his upcoming appearance at TV Connect Africa with IP&TV News..
IP&TV News: Hi Reuven. You’re actually based in Paris for ZTE, with responsibility for European IPTV and OTT – yet you’re going to be speaking at TV Connect Africa (17th – 19th November 2015 Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa) next month. What’s the connection?
Reuven Elmalem: There are other people in ZTE taking care of the African market, selling solutions for different countries within Africa. My arrival on the panel discussion at TV Connect Africa is not connected to any specific customer requirement. It’s about global understanding of the trends in Europe that could impact later on Africa as well.
Specifically, the panel concerns the importance of back-end ‘Features & Functions’. The fact that I’ve been asked to attend is because of the extra responsibilities I have in Europe, especially regarding the functionalities and the announcement of the cloud computing on the back end side.
Before we move on to the relevance of this to the conference and to Africa in general, tell us a bit more about your European role?
Well, operators are coming from a good technical background but when it comes to content delivery they have a lack of expertise regarding how to do the market assessment, how to do the business case. So our mission is first of all to consult different companies and operators on financial and technical considerations before they launch any IPTV or OTT initiative.
Once we have identified a customer in a good position to offer one, we come up with a reference architecture that includes a complete set of products and services by ZTE. We are in charge of the design, the fine tuning, and the majority of products related to content delivery networks, service platform middleware – all of this, including QoE measurement etc, all of this is coming from a self-made development.
Does your approach differ when deploying in markets such as Africa?
In a lot of places, such as Niger, where the infrastructure of the fixed network was poor, we were obliged to start with mobile.
Basically the different aspect is the methodology, meaning that when we talk with established operators or tier two operators in Europe, the focus is on the business case and technical solutions first of all. Whereas in the emerging markets, because of need to do a lot of assessment of network quality, and network configuration, we don’t have as much time to spend on this as we do in other countries with a modern infrastructure.
This changes the way we approach the customer and the customer approaches us, because at the end of the day the competition is growing and things are moving quickly.
The functionalities we apply in Europe often perfectly match the needs of the African population, however the difference is the quality of the network – it’s not unified.