Tag Archives: VoD

Searching the myth

2 Mar

The technology industry is a wash with buzzwords and at the top of this bingo list is probably connected TV. There is a huge amount of smoke and mirrors out there, from UK companies claiming they have been involved in Kangaroo then you view when the business wasn’t even incorporated then, through to companies massively over-complicating searching for content on a TV.

The biggest thing for me at the moment is getting approached by a number of companies providing EPG information and ‘sophisticated search engines for TV’ you know who you are. They will make their money by selling ads and/or being paid by manufacturers to create a recommendation engine. The irony here is that the manufacturers haven’t quite yet realised it’s all smoke and mirrors, they need our content metadata to search, which we already provide to the TV, and they want it for free.

When will you realise this isn’t google! we are not talking about scraping hundreds of millions of web pages, organising this data, making it relevent and attaching this to ads with refined algorithms to make it an attractive proposition to joe public. We are talking about searching a few thousand, maybe a couple of tens of thousands of items, I would say currently a few thousand on all the platforms. This is really straight forwards, not complicated and not costly at all. Some of the 2011 connected TV ui’s put search at the heart of the service, but what for? there isn’t, and more importantly, never will be the volume of data that requires this. TV is lean-back show me what you’ve got, not lean forwards, providing the viewer with an intellectual exercise in searching for something.

So we are asked to give up our hard-earned data for free so someone else can place ads around it and make money, giving us nothing. Nice try guys but I think I may have seen through the plan. I just wish the manufacturers would as well.

Stop trying to create problems and business models where there aren’t any and start focusing on the viewer and their experience, if you don’t you will scare them off and you products will undoubtedly fail, get it right and you have a whole new world of revenue, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. .

The power of ‘OK’

7 Jan

The cost of set-top boxes and all consumer electronics is falling rapidly and these low-cost units have another life and purpose, not just the blind following of media to the living room but low-cost, reliable, efficient services to the living room, with the ‘OK’ button at its heart.

Social inclusion in the digital age and allowing all of those less fortunate than ourselves to be part of the post PC era, is of real importance for a number of reasons.

1. Cost to deliver services for local, regional and national government has to reduce

2. Inclusion and removal of isolation for a large proportion of those in lower socio-economic groups

3. Community creation both online and in the real world

4. Using the power of TV and electronics to make a real difference to people’s lives

5. Real business to case to cut the cost of delivery

I have thought for quite sometime that we need to consider the wider implications of connectivity to society at large being able to deliver NHS, Local Council or national government services using low-cost equipment must be the way forwards if we are going to address the cost reduction agenda as well as service improvement. In previous years this would have been impossible, doing more with less, but it’s a reality and the possibilities are enormous.

This is the turning point where technology, telecoms and IT can meet to make a difference. We should and must help government take advantage of this new era, removing the old ‘money pit’ of IT spend and deliver quality services, thinking a little bit beyond the old ways and embracing the emerging converged world to improve service delivery and the quality of living for so many in our society.

I was given an example in a meeting before christmas about the effort involved in checking people’s safety and health in the big snow falls, the effort of those volunteers was immense, but could have been made so much easier with connected council services using an all-powerful ‘OK’ button on the  remote control, a message to the TV, press ‘OK’ if you’re ok, really simple, really efficient and allows resources to be used to greater benefit.

There are a large number of teenage home carers in the UK, wouldn’t this technology make their lives just a little more bearable, creating inclusion communities, video calling peers for advice or just a chance to talk about problems, improving their lives, that of those who are being cared for and so reducing the state burden, everyone wins.

The business case is clear, reducing face to face, physical house calls, has got to reduce cost, and I’m not talking about those calls that are both necessary and critical but those that can be avoided. Nobody wants to only have someone on a video screen, and I’m not advocating that either, but just being able to cut out a couple of avoidable visits each month would be the business case in its own right. Again the ‘OK’ button proving it’s worth.   

All of this reduces the burden on government spend at all levels, improves service, improves people’s lives and get’s to the holy grail of more with less. Let’s hope those in higher places can take note and can be advised correctly so society at large can enjoy the benefits technology can bring, improving the lives of everyone but especially those in need.

Comments welcome

Paul…

Momentum is building

19 Oct

There was a group of us at CapGemini back in the late nineties early 00 who knew that the web had the power to transform not just business practice but the way we consume media and data, bringing technology to the masses. It’s a shame that group broke up. I still feel today that TCG (technology consulting Group) was the brightest group of people I have ever had the pleasure to work with, lot’s of egos but plenty of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the practical application of todays technology.

Having spent the best part of 8 years putting BiBC together and building it from scratch, It’s only in the past 18 months I can really feel the momentum building behind what we are doing. I always said back in the very early days that if the internet was going to survive it had to be more than just web pages, it needed interaction and the ability to deliver moving picture in a way that was friendly to the consumer. It may well be subconscious but finally the concept of the internet, or more importantly the IP connection that delivers the data, being used as just another method of delivery is taking shape. I can’t stress how important that shift has been. With that one realisation opens up an enormous wealth of possibilities, of which we are only scratching the surface.

When I think back to what we did nearly 5 years ago now with Philips and the very first live trial in Amsterdam of OTT services, it was really early days but we showed that media could be delivered over IP and consumed somewhere other than the home office. It was clear then as well that media extenders and the like had a very short life span, if any, as the set top box and  importantly the TV became the device at the end of the network, not the PC.

We were clearly too early all those years ago but what a treat to see some of our pioneering work taking shape in the living rooms of the general public. An even bigger treat to see the fruits of our labour being realised in living rooms across Europe.

I know there are battles forming with Canvas etc, sorry youview, in the UK and probably in other territories as well. But for now I’ll leave that to those companies who want to fight the battle. For now I’d rather look at where the industry is going, how technology is enabling that in many different forms and look forwards to all of this hard work becoming a reality