In the go-go-go marketplace that is pay television, one of the most important raw ingredients for success is the ability to rapidly respond to competitive interlopers of all stripes — online and over-the-top, in addition to the “known” / traditional video purveyors. This is particularly true for satellite video providers. Their ability to quickly upgrade the installed base of consumer premise equipment (CPE), and all the associated services, is somewhat trickier than their competitors, for many reason reasons.

Most of the installed base of boxes lacks a two-way or “return” channel, and where there is one, it doesn’t necessarily operate in a “managed” environment. Meaning the satellite provider doesn’t control it, and there is no guarantee of connectivity.

So how can satellite-based service providers efficiently build consistent services for all of these environments — for connected, unconnected and “maybe connected” devices? Further, how can they release new products and services at a cadence that the Internet-trained consumer has come to expect?

Along with that, of course, is the challenge of a diverse base of equipment, operating systems and platforms. Without question, satellite video providers face a challenging environment. And, their customers expect – even demand – new products and services at the cadence they’ve come to appreciate, from their web and mobile worlds.

In large part, the path to service velocity starts with imagining, and then believing, that the most important function of any platform is to offer choice. The ability to choose and run on the operating system du jour, with applications home-spun or open for outside developers to build.

What if something existed — call it software, call it middleware, but definitely call it open — that worked with multiple operating systems, on hardware of choice, and open to  range of third party developers? What if a piece of CPE provided by a satellite video provider could work in both connected and unconnected states, with the certain knowledge of both? What if satellite video providers could match the speed of the best of the connected world, blow for blow?

That’s the world we at Cisco are building towards. Advanced satellite solutions that will free satellite providers from vendor lock-in (ourselves necessarily included), while equipping them with the ingredients that move new products and services to market more quickly. Software designed to run on a wide range of open- and shared-source components — from Cisco, and from third parties.

We’re super-excited to be a part of the change that will drive our satellite video customers into the many benefits of cloud video! And we’re super excited to be able to say so during such a video-heavy week as CES.

Tweet us @CiscoSP360 with any questions or comments and or visit us at our suite at the Las Vegas Wynn for #CES2015.


David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco