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Where are you? Location and Media – How location awareness will affect rich media applications

February 14, 2011 - 0 Comments

Does it really matter where you are? Increasingly it might; even for the rich media applications that customers are starting to deploy on their networks. Location services are already emerging as a powerful transformative force in consumer electronics. Smartphone applications can already use your location to do anything from finding you the nearest Thai restaurant to locating the nearest available parking space. Increasingly essential tools for modern life in the big city. But location is also emerging as a subtle and yet important service when applied to rich media applications.

Modern network infrastructure is increasingly able to pass location information to connected endpoints enabling a new range of location based endpoint services. At the mundane level, these location services are useful in logistical management of rich media applications. For surveillance, the ability to locate and track the movements of IP surveillance cameras enables improvements to dynamic asset tracking and loss prevention. This doesn’t just apply to the increasing number of wireless IP surveillance cameras but also to wired cameras. Relying on a connectivity test may enable an administrator to check whether a camera is still active but that’s no guarantee that the camera is still located in the correct location and is monitoring the right “scene.” For digital signage applications prevalent in retail and entertainment venues, the most common method of determining which content should be streamed to a particular media endpoint is usually based on location. The media endpoint located in the lobby of a sports stadium is highly likely to be playing media content which differs from that sent to a player in an executive suite. By applying location services, dynamically learnt from the network, it’s possible to automate the provisioning of these media endpoints and even ensures that the correct content is played, even if the endpoint is moved from one location to another.

This highlights another application of location to rich media applications. In conjunction with identity services; knowing who is using the service, there are an increasing number of use cases where organizations need to apply policy control to the content served across the network. Whether this is restricting access to company confidential video content or universities ensuring compliance with syndicated content agreements, one of the key attributes is the location of the user or endpoint. Often this relates to ensuring that the user is viewing the content on the corporate network or campus, combining the identity and location attributes to determine whether the content can be streamed or not.

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly is the role that location services provide in delivering customized user experiences, especially in the realm of customer interaction and intimacy. Many enterprises decry the challenges of getting their key messages across to their customers in a consistent, effective and customized manner. Location and identity services provide the tantalizing prospect of being able to identify customers as they enter the retail or entertainment venue and based on the ability to match the location and the user to dynamically adjust media content for that location. Imagine walking into a retail store and noticing that the digital sign you’re looking at has started streaming media that relates to items you’ve previously shown an interest in. Or perhaps as you enter a sports stadium, having your smartphone receive an invitation to view never before seen footage of your teams last pre-game practice session. The possibilities are wide range and the impact significant. Does it matter where you are? It just might.

Learn more about the medianet location capabilities in the Medianet 2.1 Solutions Overview.

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