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IPTV World Forum 2010: The Content Delivery Network Landscape

The worldwide shift toward IP technologies begins, in many respects, with the Content Delivery Network. CDNs are the major link in the distribution chain for moving video and communications services to consumers and businesses.

In this video interview, Simon Orme, Director of Content Services at BT Wholesale, sits down with me to discuss the CDN landscape. Topics include the difference between public and private CDNs; overall market dynamics that will lead to service provider successes; and Orme’s view of the one thing that could change the video delivery industry.

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A Conversation with TELUS CTO Ibrahim Gedeon

The road to all-IP networks continues to gather steam. Today’s focus: Western Canada, where TELUS is rolling out a multi-screen service offering rooted entirely on broadband IP principles, partners, and gear. In this two-part series, Mark Kummer, Cisco’s VP of Service Providers/Canada interviews TELUS CTO Ibrahim Gedeon about the shift of video from stream-based to file-based delivery, subscriber convergence, and what makes for a great technology partner.

Part One: Transforming the Consumer Experience & Value Chain

TELUS is no stranger to IP networks, particularly within its Canadian properties – where broadband IP over Cisco infrastructure has been a mainstay since 2000. The big thing now, says TELUS Chief Technology Officer Ibrahim Gedeon, is to simplify the consumer experience for viewing content on multiple screens – TV, mobile, or PC.

To do that, TELUS is relying on its IP networking partners, including Cisco, to build a best of breed “ecosystem” for its Western Canadian service delivery properties.

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Mobility Reporting Solution Offers Actionable Data

As an informed mobile service provider, you know that the spread of mobile applications and growth of associated traffic will place unprecedented new demands on your network infrastructure. What you probably don’t know is the specific mobile application usage trends, or how those shifting traffic characteristics may impact specific parts of your network over time.

mobile applications

In fact, one of the biggest challenges for mobile service operators today is being able to proactively predict and plan for the evolving subscriber traffic patterns on their networks. Communication protocols and consumer applications are continually changing and operators must remain agile – capable of quickly updating usage policy rules, as the need dictates.

Forward-looking network planning, operations and marketing leaders now demand actionable insights and detailed data that they can trust. Therefore, they now require an adaptable reporting tool that provides insightful reports, so they can maintain a superior quality of service within this changing environment.

Moreover, operator technical staff sometimes feel like they’re flying blind and need a real-time network intelligence-enabled view to help them troubleshoot events as they occur – thereby ensuring optimal network performance for all subscribers, under all usage conditions.

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A Brief History of Set-Top Box Innovation

Given all the recent and turbulent attention on “innovation,” as it relates to set-top boxes and IP gateways, I’d like to provide some industrial context. As a company involved in set-top and IP gateway innovation for almost half a century, we certainly have an informed viewpoint. After all, set-top boxes are a core part of our video DNA.

Let’s briefly review the innovation chronology for the cable set-top box. The original function of a set-top box – back when they were called “converter boxes,” in the early 1980s – was to convert an incoming channel so it could be watched on the TV.

Another big chapter was called addressability: The ability to remotely control a box’s ability to descramble and tune premium channels. Then came the “advanced analog” box, so named because it contained enough memory and graphics resources  to accept downloaded features, like an on-screen display, volume control, virtual text channels, a sleep timer, parental locks, reminder messages, multi-lingual displays.

In the mid 1990’s the industry took the big leap to digital video compression, and the first digital set-tops. Initial benefit: More channels – Ten video streams could fit into the space of one analog TV channel. High Definition TV later followed with HD set-tops, which brought much higher video quality. Next came digital video recorders, which gave rise to the mass adoption of time-shifted television, with thousands of hours of on-demand content, in both standard and high definition. And let’s not forget caller ID on TV, multi-room and whole home DVR, and EBIF-based interactivity, all in various stages of rollout by service providers today.

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The Money Cloud

Contributed by Sachin Sathaye, Marketing Manager, Service Provider Video Solutions Group

Call it the service provider cloud. Call it the network as a platform. Call it a two-sided market, or a “B2B2C” business architecture – consumers on one side, businesses on the other. In every way, this sustained push of Internet Protocol into the day-to-day activities of service providers is bringing with it substantial new revenue opportunities.

Which is good, because the one-sided business model – marketing services to consumers only – shows every sign of heading into a period of increasing costs, and flattening revenues.

My personal favorite, of the nomenclature above, is “two-sided market,” also sometimes called the “B2B2C” business architecture; because it illustrates that service providers can grow well beyond serving “just” consumers. Residential delivery of voice, video and broadband services are the bread and butter, no doubt – but the second side stands to be just as significant, over time.

business to business to consumer

What’s the second side? It’s a group, really, of entities that could benefit from business and technology arrangements with service providers. It’s content owners, content aggregators, application developers. It’s retailers and advertisers. It’s utilities and governments. Just like Amazon needed a nationwide mobile arrangement to move electronic books into Kindles, so will a whole range of new applications and services need that kind of managed middle-man connection.

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