|Issue:||Asia-Pacific II 2009|
|Topic:||The next television revolution|
|Title:||Executive VP and General Manager, Tandberg Television Asia-Pacific|
Dario Choi is the Executive VP and General Manager of Tandberg Television, Asia Pacific, which is part of the Ericsson Group; he is part of Tandberg Television’s global executive management team. Previously, Mr Choi served as the Senior Sales Director, responsible for overseeing the development of Tandberg Television’s sales and business opportunities in SE & NE Asia. He joined Tandberg Television from SkyStream Networks where he was Managing Director of Asia-Pacific. Dario Choi was elected for a two-year term on the CASBAA – The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia – Council of Governors. Dario Choi earned an Electrical Engineering degree from University of Alberta, Canada and is a member of the International Engineering Consortium and the ISP-Satellites Forum.
Consumers want an integrated multimedia experience combining fixed and wireless networks to deliver both entertainment with communications. Accordingly, television will converge with fixed-line and mobile telecoms, and entertainment and communications will blend into unified services. Open standards for IMS/IP-based convergence will provide Internet-sourced video alongside traditional television and VOD as part of an increasingly personalized TV experience. Consumers will be able to access their converged multimedia services on television, through their PC or on handheld devices including mobile phones.
Over the last decade, Pay TV platform operators have adapted their technologies and business models to incorporate digital TV, interactivity, video on demand (VOD), personal video recorders (PVR), and more recently, HDTV (high definition television). Not surprisingly, most of these innovations have been focused on the home television set – which is where the TV industry has traditionally made its living. The changes during the next ten years will be equally exciting – and possibly even more significant. That is because television will start to converge with fixed-line and mobile telecoms, and entertainment and communications will blend into unified service propositions. Viewers will be offered Internet-sourced video alongside traditional television and VOD as part of an increasingly personalized TV experience. Consumers will be able to access their converged multimedia services on television, through their PC or on handheld devices including mobile phones. There is a whole generation of consumers – the so-called digital natives – who are waiting for these changes. Brought up in the post-digital, post-wireless, post-Internet world, they think and behave differently than their parents. A global study covering 35,000 consumers identified four key requirements for next-generation TV. These are ‘TV that is personal’, ‘TV that connects me to everything’, ‘TV that is high quality’ and ‘TV that is worth the money’. ‘TV that is personal’ means people want to control what they watch, when they watch it, and which devices they watch it on. They want the ability to time-shift their viewing and want to be able to transfer content from one device to another – for example, from the home television to their mobile phone when they leave the house. They only want advertising messages that are relevant to them, and they want user-generated as well as professionally produced content because, for them, entertainment is entertainment. During this extensive consumer study, it became obvious that younger consumers want to communicate, share content, view content and even produce content – all at the same time on the same device. ‘TV that connects me to everything’ is the vision of customers that live their lives online and on three screens. Taken together, these demands add up to what we call the individual television experience. Digital natives will be early adopters but history tells us that new multimedia behaviours and expectations are learnt within families and workplaces, and cross generations. For this reason, all television providers – including cable and satellite operators – will have to evolve their services. We do believe, however, that telecoms companies will lead the way, partly because they are IP-centric, partly because of their wireless heritage, but mainly because they have the most to gain from change. They are late entrants in the Pay TV market, but by pioneering converged TV experiences, they can take a leadership position and revolutionize triple-play services. A strong IPTV service with HDTV, interactive TV, PVR and VOD is the starting point on the journey to the ‘individual television experience’. Next, telcos must adapt their networks and delivery technologies. Open standards, and especially IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and OIF (Open IPTV Forum) conformance, will be key enablers. IMS is providing an open standards approach to converging services between multiple devices and provides a common platform for next-generation TV and multimedia services. IMS can be exploited to deliver communication enablers such as presence, messaging, multimedia telephony and chat, among other things. There are several examples of IMS-enabled IPTV applications that meet the expectations of an individual television experience. IPTV services can recognize the presence of consumers and their buddies across multiple devices and networks. Someone can access music files stored on their home PC from their mobile phone, using a combination of IMS and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) standards to instigate an upload/download or streaming session for any multimedia content. Thus users can access television, pictures, personal video, and such like, any time and virtually anywhere. When IPTV middleware is pre-integrated with IMS it opens the way to a number of service innovations. One example is broadcast reminder, where a consumer sets a programme reminder and, if the television is off when the reminder is due, a message is sent to their mobile phone. Another is extended parental control, where children can request permission from a guardian to watch a VOD movie that is outside their age rating thanks to SMS messaging between a set-top box and mobile phone. IPTV operators are trialling IMS-centric middleware today with a view to developing services like this. We view open architectures and standards-based interoperability as a prerequisite to these next-generation services. The Open IPTV Forum’s forthcoming standard will encourage the openness; flexibility and scalability that operators need to deliver more mobile and personalized TV experiences. The OIF encourages innovation and partnership. The Open IPTV Forum is a pan-industry initiative working to produce end-to-end specifications for IPTV. It is open to participation by the communications and entertainment industries and the consumer electronics industry. Until now, there has not yet been a mass uptake of IPTV services, partly because the IPTV industry still has no common IPTV solution standard; the OIF efforts should finally turn IPTV into a mass market service. Creating the next generation TV experience requires more than standards, however. It makes new demands on industry vendors because triple-play providers developing converged services need partners with a combination of skills taken from the world of telecoms and television. They need suppliers who understand both fixed-line and wireless, and they may well require companies with the ability to build hybrid network solutions that combine IP with satellite, cable or digital terrestrial. The next generation of television will be interwoven with fixed and mobile telecoms services so it makes sense that vendors must have experience beyond just television, mobile or fixed-line telecoms. To help network operators exploit the convergence opportunity, vendors need a deep-rooted knowledge of how to build revenue-generating services across multiple networks, with systems integration excellence in each segment and – crucially – an umbrella understanding of how they fit together to create the consumer experience of the future. This sort of vendor is what we refer to as a ‘Prime Integrator’. The march towards the individual television experience has already begun. Consumers are watching more on-demand and time-shifted content and, as well, more television on the move. They like to send text and instant messages to friends while watching video on TV or online. Network operators have to find ways to integrate these services better. Consumers have limited budgets and will only commit so much of their money to subscriptions, so operators know that advertising must be part of the revenue-generating model for next-generation services. Telcos need to prepare the ground for advertising models that can exploit a ‘unicast’ environment (content not broadcast to all, but sent directly to each user upon request), with support for VOD advertisement placements, telescoping adverts and targeted advertising, as well as local and linear advertising. Cross-platform advertising will play an increasingly important role in converged service models. Advertising can contribute towards the cost of the evolution of networks that support the individual television experience. We believe it will be important to support unified advertising campaigns through campaign management, asset management and delivery solutions. As operators deliver multi-screen television experiences they will also need more sophisticated content management systems (CMS). The CMS will need to handle video and advertising assets, and content rights, across multiple platforms to multiple types of screen. The individual television experience will increase telco customer loyalty, attract new subscribers and grow revenues. By delivering innovative services, IPTV providers can avoid competing on price and sustain growth through recession, recovery or boom. Although this change will be driven by digital natives, all consumers will adapt their behaviours. Although telecoms operators will pioneer the personalisation and mobilisation of TV, cable and satellite will soon follow their lead. Convergence will fundamentally change how everyone consumes media and how everyone delivers it.