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IP video offers opportunity in a complex market

With IP video, service providers can cost-effectively deliver the personalized experience customers expect. And that’s a challenge, given the number of ways people now are watching TV and video.

Today, users want to watch video content on demand, anywhere and on any IP-connected device. They are using tablets, smartphones and smart TVs with different screen resolution and a variety of operating systems. Those devices are attached to the service provider’s network or they connect to the Internet, getting the content “over the top”.

Program delivery is becoming complex, and industry watchers can find the evolving world of IP video confusing. There are countless protocols, proliferating standards and loads of acronyms involved.

To help clarify the picture, I’ve created an IP video streaming infographic that outlines the multiple steps in video processing and streaming needed to reach all end user devices.

At each step, the graphic identifies the key standards, formats and protocols, as well as their role and where they fit into a network transformation strategy. And, once we can grasp the big picture, we’re in a better position to see the way forward.

Benefits of IP video

Yes, IP has paved the way for new, over-the-top entrants who compete with pay TV providers for both content and customers. And this does present a challenge to traditional service providers, especially those with legacy networks.

But moving video delivery into the IP domain presents enormous opportunities, too. Here are some of the benefits of IP video:

  • Content can be delivered over unified networks that reduce capital and operational expenses
  • Intelligence can be added to the delivery network to enhance the end-user experience
  • New applications and services delivery can be accelerated as the back-end system is migrated to cloud-based services
  • New relationships and revenue opportunities can be established with content owners and advertisers

How to migrate to IP video

Operator networks must be effectively scaled to take full advantage of IP video benefits. This is required in order to deliver what viewers want on whatever screen they prefer, and before IP technologies can pave the way forward. The path to transformation covers three main areas:

  1. Simplified home environment
  2. Distributed delivery
  3. Cloud-enabled/virtualized back-end

Whatever path your transformation takes, the key to success is to view IP video transformation as part of your overall upgrade strategy—not as a one-off project. To do this, you’ll need an integrator with as big a vision as yours.

Finding a trusted partner

I’d look for an integrator who brings together the best products for each solution component in your market. This means working together to customize an IP video transformation plan based on the latest innovations and best-of-breed products. That way, you won’t be encumbered by legacy code and allegiance to ageing products.

To keep your project on track, you’ll also want a partner with a comprehensive set of integrator capabilities that ensure shorter time-to-market and faster ROI. You’ll benefit from:

  • Expert knowledge of new and legacy technologies
  • Field-proven processes and tools to accelerate execution
  • Business and network modelling expertise
  • Lessons learned from transformation projects in your market
  • Formalized project governance and execution

What can we expect from IP video?

Today TV and video is delivered over a blend of legacy and IP networks. Most industry experts accept that in the next few years, we’ll see all video delivered over all-IP networks. If I had to go further, I’d predict that:

  • Multiscreen video consumption, time-shifting viewing habits and service personalization will continue to erode broadcast and multicast efficiencies. As a result, each end user will ultimately be served with a unique stream (with the exception of a few popular live TV programs and TV channels that will remain on multicast).
  • Dedicated video platforms will migrate to cloud-based services, enabling faster delivery of new applications, accelerating time to market and transforming costs.
  • Set-top box hardware functions of today will be carried out by both the network and the connected device itself—so the traditional set-top box will disappear.

These changes will let service providers economically deliver a great user experience. And, subscribers will get a truly personalized viewing experience that they’ll love.

Related Material

Download our ebook: Future vision for IP Video
View the Prezi presentation: See the future vision for IP Video
Alcatel-Lucent IP Video innovation solution page
Alcatel-Lucent IP Video services webpage
IP Video streaming infographic

To contact the author or request additional information, please send an email to networks.nokia_news@nokia.com.