Multi-play over multiple devices

Drina Yue, Motorola
10 Nov 2008

Consumer demand for content is increasing at an incredible rate. Just a few years ago, a cable operator would offer a couple of hundred channels and it seemed like a lot - even overkill to some. However, today's consumers not only see the selection as limited, but they feel it only satisfies part of their content viewing needs. Consumers expect more than just a huge volume of diverse content but are increasingly demanding a more flexible viewing experience, unfettered with respect to place, time and type. In other words, consumers are craving for new technologies to push the network further in meeting their demands.

Seamless video mobility (SVM) promises a far more sophisticated user experience that will enable operators to increase their multi-play service bundles that integrate voice, data and video offerings. It is designed to enable the operator to leverage a single platform that can feed multiple end-user devices.

For example, it would allow consumers to start watching a program on their home TV set, and then seamlessly switch to their mobile device as they leave the house. The same way, virtually any content they have in their home can be switched to any connected device. SVM will then extend this concept outside the home, enabling consumers to continuously access their content while away, seamlessly integrating their mobile devices with the home experience.

SVM takes advantage of the bandwidth efficiency and networking flexibility made possible when video delivery is moved from traditional unidirectional delivery methods to open IP-based networks. At this point in time, virtually every significant operator is at some phase of migration to an all IP network that will enable him to deliver all services - voice, data and video - over a single unified network.

Pulling it all together

However, several parts of the system still need to be fine tuned, as the successful deployment of SVM-oriented services requires providers to overcome a number of significant challenges - including interoperability, rights management and a congested back-office component.

Since each individual consumer device has its own combination of storage capacities, a successful SVM implementation will require a network with the intelligence to resolve all of these differences and effectively mask the complexity in the eyes of the consumers.

Assigning value and protecting the value of content is critical particularly nowadays, with control transferring more into the hands of the consumers. There is no doubt operators supporting a multi-screen service will need to secure rights to compelling video content and the associated rights for distribution on each device.

To fully leverage the SVM opportunity, industry players will need to develop a stable scheme for resolving all the business transactions involved in the process. As content moves seamlessly between the independent domains of each service provider, a clearly mapped system needs to be designed to enable each player to fairly monetize their share of the service delivery.

For example, if a user moves content that he received from his cable provider to his cellphone, how will that transaction differ from the user having received that directly from the cellphone provider‾ Or, if a sports network's highlight clips are accessed by the consumer from multiple networks to which they belong, which provider gets the credit or does credit need to be shared‾ Without a doubt, overcoming these complexities will dramatically increase the value of the service.

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