Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns
Big Video: Key to digital transformation and much more
Cui Liangjun, vice president of ZTE Corporation, explains the concept behind “Big Video” and how ZTE’s Big Video platform can help telecoms operators unlock the video opportunities in the digital era
Big Video Insights: What is your definition of “Big Video”?
Cui Liangjun: With the development of science and technology, especially of information and AI technologies, video is the mainstream content welcomed by consumers all over the world. Therefore, the video industry is attracting great attention from the capital market and growing exponentially. The application of various new technologies and innovation in service forms and business models are further accelerating the development of video services.
With endeavors in the video realm for more than 20 years, ZTE has accumulated rich experience and built a professional technical support team. At the end of 2015, Dr. Zhao Xianming, CEO of ZTE Corporation, expressed the four components of Big Video: Big Content, Big Network, Big Data, and Big Ecosystem. In the past two years, video services have developed explosively, and the four components of Big Video are:
Big Content: various content formats: SD, HD, 4K, VR/AR; various content forms: IPTV, OTT, and mobile video; various content production channels: UGC, PGC, and OGC.
Big Network: wired and wireless networks, covering access network and bearer network, which can be converged and interact with NFV/SDN and CDN.
Big Data: massive video network data and service data, user behaviors, and content characteristics to support operation and maintenance.
Big Ecosystem: collaboration between all kinds of product and service providers in the industry chain to establish an ecosystem based on open video platforms for mutual benefit.
As the leader of the video realm, ZTE Big Video will improve user experiences, construct the best video platform for operators, and collaborate with partners to establish an open ecosystem.
Big Video is the key direction of operators’ digital transformation. What challenges do operators face during transformation?
Operators are faced with two issues: network transformation and operation transformation. In terms of video service, operators should construct new-generation networks and implement FMC operation and traffic operation to evolve the video service to a platform-based, virtualized, and cloudified level. Operators should also upgrade their product architectures and technologies to enable their content pipes to support new services while achieving continuous growth of video traffic and content fees.
In 2017, ZTE launched the Premium Video Platform, which is designed to meet the trends of mobility, live broadcasting, and Internet support. The platform is based on the TV screen and home broadband and uses big-data-based content profiles and personalized refined content operation to establish a video ecosystem and social networking community with the joint effort of operators. The ZTE Big Video solution provides an end-to-end user video quality monitoring system to assure quality.
Reducing investment and increasing revenue are always goals for operators. What is the best way to achieve these goals in ZTE’s point of view?
ZTE Big Video strives to achieve the development objective of a green ecosystem and provides video service solutions that can save expenditure and increase revenue. Specifically:
- Save cost: The ZTE Big Video solution adopts an integrated CDN to realize full-service bearing, OTT multicast (M-ABR) technology to save network bandwidth, fully-cloudified deployment to reduce hardware cost, JITP technology to reduce player procurement expenses, Multi-DRM technology to reduce DRM license expenses, and Cloud-DVR, a brand-new network storage technology, to reduce hardware storage costs. All these can significantly reduce an operator’s CAPEX.
- Save manpower: The ZTE Big Video Vinsight Smart Maintenance System can greatly increase online fault handling capability and reduce maintenance labor cost. The Cloud-DVR unified storage is easy to maintain, distinctively reducing maintenance costs and an operator’s OPEX can be reduced.
- Save time: The ZTE Big Video service can greatly shorten the TTM through a fully-cloudified deployment model, modular open architecture, and rapid and flexible customization.
- Increase revenue: The ZTE Big Video Vinsight smart operation system extracts user profiles based on big data analysis, delivers contents and ads to targeted user groups and individuals, analyzes user activity level, and gives warning and advance about high churn rate users, thus accelerating content monetization, reducing user churn rate, and increasing revenue.
- Improve robustness: The ZTE Big Video service provides the dual-center remote disaster recovery solution, system-level security solution, and live streaming anti-tampering and content anti-tampering solution to improve system robustness, security, and reliability.
- Increase value: The ZTE Big Video establishes Joint Innovation Centers with customers to share Big Video concepts and visions and R&D abilities, jointly develop service features, and establish collaborative teams to promote product operation, and provide operation consulting services.
How can a Big Video solution provider help operators ensure video quality and end user experience?
Big video solution providers are always exploring how to help operators increase O&M efficiency, save O&M costs, and ensure user experience. ZTE, as a globally leading integrated communication solution provider, has inborn advantages in key network building for video transmission. The ZTE Big Video Vinsight Smart O&M System is an end-to-end smart big data O&M platform. It collects data from video sources, STB probes, and EPG and CDN monitoring programs, and accurately reflects users’ end-to-end video service experience and perception in terms of entrance interaction, content play, and wired and wireless networks. On the one hand, according to end-to-end whole-network monitoring and potential fault forecast, as well as the given handling advice, a visualized whole-network quality monitoring dashboard can be displayed with load on all nodes. On the other hand, a KPI system that is based on the big data platform and integrates healthiness, and low quality rate indicators is used to evaluate user experience and provide effective data for user experience improvement.
What’s more, improving the user experience through refined operation is another top priority for ZTE. To realize refined operation, an operator needs to first open its TV content and service operation platform, which is enclosed traditionally. The loosely-coupled architecture design allows ZTE to easily integrate or interconnect with third-party modules, thus satisfying differentiated requirements and rapid innovation pursuit of operators and enterprise customers all over the world. ZTE Big Video Vinsight Smart Operation Solution, centering on users and based on big data analysis, provides abundant effective marketing methods and refined operation strategies such as personalized display, desktop orchestration, in-depth content operation, smart advertising, smart recommendation, and smart search. The essential quality of refined operation is to give users what they want.
What is the future trend of the video service in your opinion?
Future video services will create value and drive development in aspects of content, network, data, and ecosystem. Specifically,
1. Higher-definition and more diversified content: The content will be clearer. More local content will appear, which is more easily recognized by users. The ultra HD video brings users a better video experience.
- Local video content will be increased.
- Technologies of UHD/4K, 360-degree video, or VR continue to develop.
2. Whole-network TV and content access and industry apps: Location-based TV is available everywhere, and the video content extends from home entertainment scenarios to industry applications.
- OTT will globally center on live and mobile access
- Companion screens allow users to enjoy content and apps anytime, anywhere
3. Creating more value from data operation: The core of video operation will gradually evolve to the convergence of big data-based differentiated service, diversified business models, combined content and traffic operation, and internet-based marketing.
- Data is the new revenue, and opportunities come from a mixed bag of sources
- Data informs product development and overall lifetime value maximization
4. More valuable video entrance: The video service will become a media platform whose core is content and service and whose entrance is TV screens and mobile screens.
- Prime video provides telecom operators with opportunity to aggregate content
- Bundling operators’ services with access to TV and entertainment
What are the future product plans of ZTE Big Video?
ZTE will always center on users, provide video services based on its Big Video premium Video Platform for all kinds of customers, and adopt a series of smart solutions based on big data analysis and AI to support the video services. In the future, ZTE will work on development of Premium Video Platform by focusing on service, experience, network, and ecosystem and making full use of its powerful R&D strength and market insight.
- Innovating services with new technologies to realize the best video service experience for users: The video encoding/decoding and VR technologies are integrated to build up the 360-degree VR/AR immersive experience. The flexible, diversified, and open EPG is built up based on modular, personalized, and micro-service design. Convenient operations such as facial recognition, voice search from all sources, and motion control can be realized based on AI technology.
- Ensuring services with new technologies to provide the best video service platform for all customers: The Vinsight smart O&M platform will perfect user perception, service perception, and experience perception of the whole network. It supports optimizing the KPI system by launching the broadband end-to-end KPI monitoring function together with bigDNA. In addition, it supports real-time O&M on mobile terminals.
- Integrating services with new technologies to construct an intelligent CDN for operators: The location-based TV everywhere is realized based on SDN/NFV network development. JITP and JITT technologies can be used to save resource consumption for network transmission. CDN edges nodes can be deployed in base stations and use customized equipment.
- Monetizing services with new technologies to create value for the industry chain: The Vinsight smart operation platform - through the smart search, smart recommendation, and smart ad components - maximizes the video service industry value. Meanwhile, it generates the knowledge-based profit strategy library based on user profiles and content profiles to continuously accumulate the consulting information.
This interview first appeared in Telecom Asia Big Video Insights June 2017 Edition
Matt Walker / MTN Consulting
Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns