Mikael Dahlgren, CEO of Agama Technologies, discusses key developments in video distribution and ways to exceed customer expectations.
What are the key developments that you see taking place in the video distribution business?
In a market full of choices, it all comes down to exceeding customer expectations and enabling the expansion of the customer-base. This covers everything from geographical coverage, ease of use, content, price and payment methods to service quality. To succeed, video service providers constantly improve their video services to exceed the expectations of the consumer, all while delivering those video services in the most cost-effective way.
Technologies like adaptive bitrate streaming are being used in all forms of video delivery to enable service flexibility and coverage, for example in TV Everywhere extensions and virtual cable rollouts.
When it comes to OTT services, securing premium and exclusive content is becoming more and more important. And, while a lot of OTT content is consumed on various devices, premium OTT content, such as live sports, is increasingly being consumed on the main screen. OTT is also driving the need for flexibility when deploying and running services in a virtualized, cloud or hybrid environment.
There are more changes happening in the market simultaneously than ever before and they all centre around meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
How do these developments impact on the way operators handle quality assurance?
To manage this new and, at times, more complex service delivery environment, rapidly gaining the right insights is key. This is true not only when it comes to managing quality assurance, but also for agile service development and for a deepened customer understanding. To manage service quality and customer expectations, service providers need a complete and instant view of their service’s performance for the complete delivery chain and their subscriber usage. These insights are vital when developing new offerings and managing time-critical premium services such as live OTT, where proactivity and automation are key.
What do service providers need to think about when considering new business models such as the virtual cable operator model and the live streaming of premium events?
When it comes to virtualized cable operations and premium OTT live streaming, viewers are starting to perceive these services in the same way that they do traditional premium TV services, and they have similar expectations when it comes to quality and the overall viewing experience. The underlying technology, however, obviously differs from that of traditional TV and it offers its own unique challenges. As live services affect every viewer in real-time, a special focus must be placed on the early stages of the delivery chain and the real-time requirements.
Again, a deep understanding of the service delivery through the entire delivery chain in real-time, from service creation all the way through to the individual customer’s app or device, is key to securing a growing customer base. This forms the core part of the Agama 360 concept for analytics and visualization. And, of course, the monitoring, assurance and analytics solution used by the service provider must also be able to function in a virtualized or cloud environment.
Looking ahead, what do you identify as the main trends in this space?
Looking at the current developments and challenges, there is a need for far more insights that will support service providers in maximizing customer satisfaction and creating great service offerings with must-see content.
The winners in the video service market will be the ones who have access to the right type of high-quality data and manage to draw the right conclusions from it – AI and automated analytics will be key to deliver the best customer experience possible as efficiently as possible.
First published in Digital TV Europe, Aug/Sept 2018 issue.