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SP360: Service Provider

Just a few years ago, the big topic at the annual National Association of Broadcasters event was the digital transition. In that same time frame, we used to refer to “two screen” and “three screen” environments, to describe the shift of video programming to PCs and smaller screens.

All of that seems quaint now, in hindsight. The digital transition happened, without a lot of fanfare, in July of 2009; now, the number of screens capable of displaying television and video streams is into the double and triple digits.

Indeed, today’s all-digital marketplace is placing new challenges on the shoulders of the nation’s broadcasters.


John Bishop, Sr. VP of Business Development & Strategy for Inlet Technologies, now a part of Cisco, talks about Inlet’s multi-screen delivery and monetization and how these will add to Cisco’s offering.

For starters, today’s broadcast and cable networks are being asked to deliver one linear channel in as many as 30 different versions, because of the plethora of adaptive streaming methods in market. One linear stream might need to be encoded in to eight versions for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), six to eight for Adobe Flash, and so on for Microsoft Silverlight and other emerging platforms.

And now for the shameless plug, bear with me: Here at Cisco, we’re proud and glad to know that we can rely on our colleagues at Inlet Technologies, which we acquired earlier this year. Because of that, we’re able to offer broadcast and cable networks a digital media platform, branded “Spinnaker,” which ingests one stream, and outputs it in any format you might need with the help of Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) technology.

Inlet was first to market with an encoder built for scale, and our customer base reflects that: HSN, Major League Baseball, NBC Universal’s airing of the Vancouver Olympic Games and Sunday Night Football, Yahoo! and Universalsports.com are all using our solutions to realize their online streaming goals - and that’s a partial list.

Notably, AEG Digital Media announced its plans at this week’s NAB to expand its Spinnaker deployments to enable the delivery of live, streaming video to any device, over any IP network. AEG is a leading provider of webcast management and digital media services for live streaming events. For us, this is an exciting validation of our technology enabling customers to deliver Videoscape experiences.

We like to say that  Inlet has the mileage on the tires, relative to other professional encoders, because we’ve been at it for a very long time - and are very much focused on the challenges associated with live video streaming. Inlet’s engineers are regularly included in the roadmapping and product development meetings of adaptive streaming leaders including Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. We’re committed to make sure that our solutions move in lockstep with the market leaders in adaptive streaming.

Last but not least, Inlet supports our Videoscape strategy to deliver truly immersive video experiences, independent of the device or network. Specifically, it complements our Media Suite software platform of content management components, designed to power multi-content digital media services - including metadata, transcoding, encryption, and distribution to the network. Videoscape Media Suite, with Inlet’s transcoding expertise, helps us to better enable our customers to leverage the network as a platform to deliver innovative video experiences to consumers on any screen.

Please do come see us, in Inlet’s booth #SL9610, and at Cisco’s booth #SU2617 at this year’s NAB. We’ll be showing our platforms in action, streaming over-the-top content on PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices and other video display screens, as well as our work on targeted advertising and metadata.

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