Cisco Live Las Vegas saw thousands of people come together to talk tech and get the inside track on the industry. Here’s a look at the top five video trends to emerge from this year’s event. But what does it all mean for Service Providers.

top 5Now is the time for cloud TV

Cloud TV was an ever-present topic at the show. The tech underpins all the advances shaping the industry. It’s now seen as a key platform for TV and video across all services. So what’s driving this change?

The short answer is virtualization. A virtualized infrastructure comes with a raft of benefits. Chief of these are more agility and low costs. But it’s also the foundation for cloud-based services.

Agile, app-based modes of delivery that are soon to be the norm for video, depend on the cloud. So, if you haven’t virtualized yet, it’s time to explore it soon.

Changing viewer habits favor skinny bundles

The cloud both drives and enables new consumer demands. Today’s viewer wants personalized services, offered across multiple devices. And IP video traffic is soaring: global consumer internet video traffic will be 82% of consumer internet traffic in 2020, up from 68% in 2015.

Tightly linked to the call for bespoke, multi-device content is the rise of the skinny bundle. Consumers expect to choose how they pay for content. They want to pick when and how they view it. The industry is moving away from a one-size-fits-all payment plan. Instead, skinny bundles now put content choice in the hands of the viewer.

NOW TV is a great example. It’s contract-free and available on more than 60 devices. So it works for a family watching at home, and it works for a student going off to college. Give them a Now TV box with IP access and they can decide what they want to watch.

The market is fragmenting

All this choice does have its downsides. The huge range of options can be too much for users. While one bill may seem expensive, it’s nice and easy to manage. Keeping track of multiple devices and bills can be a pain.

As a Service Provider, you need developers who can support these devices, platforms and applications. Again, the answer lies with virtualization. It’s agile. It’s scalable. And it gives you a low-risk environment for development and testing.

Speed is more important than ever

With on-demand consumption across multiple devices soon to be the norm, cherry picking platforms just isn’t an option. You need to make sure that your service is on all screens, from the day of launch.

Your developers most likely work to a 12-month cycle for a set-top box. For apps that comes down to a nine-day release cycle. That release could serve 50 different devices. It’s an exponential challenge. The success of the likes of Netflix is down to the cloud.

Security means protecting the value of your business

You need to hit these platforms quickly but you need to do it securely, too. We tend to talk about protecting content. But software security is all about using better development to protect the value of your business. Digital rights management isn’t just about encrypting at one end and decrypting at the other. It’s about building the right business models for each platform and shaping them to different demographics.

The security challenges will of course vary by platform. But it’s vital that you offer a consistent pricing structure across them. No one wants to pay for content on Android that they could watch for free on a Kindle Fire. A clear, coherent approach is vital to customer loyalty. It’s key to making all that freedom of choice feel manageable, and liberating, for users.

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Adam Davies

Technical Leader, Engineering

Service Provider, Video Solutions