By Brian Cappellani
Cable operators (MSOs) face many competitive challenges today, forcing a response to the enhanced user experience around video provided by telcos through their next-generation IPTV platforms, but more importantly, combatting over-the-top video providers like Netflix and Apple, among others. Operators see next-generation video as a way not only to compete, but also to deliver more sophisticated video offerings to the home, cut their high consumer premise equipment costs and offer services for a variety of IP-enabled consumer electronic devices.
The good news is that MSOs can deliver that enhanced customer experience around video, as well as the reliable integrated branded environment that customers have come to expect from pay-TV video providers.
As cable operators prepare to deliver next-gen video, they face four main challenges:
- Continuing to utilize legacy systems: Operators won’t willingly throw away existing investment on their QAM-based network, so the adoption of next-gen video technology will take time.
- Entitlement management: One of the biggest challenges MSOs face is the increasing complexity of entitlements. Managing and activating video services has moved from turning on a set-top box or set of channels in a conditional access server to the need to orchestrate customer entitlements and access to video assets on an array of delivery platforms and devices.
- Transforming the back-office: Operators must prepare for provisioning IP-enabled devices from the back-office, activating and managing set-top boxes and multimedia gateways in the home. The silo-based approach to managing voice, video and data services is no longer viable. MSOs must upgrade systems to ensure that adjusting the settings on one service does not overwrite or disrupt the delivery of a separate service on that device.
- Customer migration: Throughout the MSO’s transition to next-gen video, migrating the customer base must be a simple, cost-effective process with minimal impact on the subscriber.
To address these challenges, MSOs should first center their attention on back office systems as the cornerstone for future service delivery and provisioning. With all the changes that are taking place in the network to the delivery layer, operators must isolate the effects of this change from their BSS and OSS systems. This will allow them to clearly see the processes around the delivery of video as a service versus a specific technology or delivery platform. Attention can now be paid to the service layer, which sits between the network delivery elements and BSS. With this integrated layer, MSOs can establish a new set of common service definitions that account for all types of video services, both legacy and advanced next gen video. After these common service definitions in place, operators can provision a variety of video platforms and devices without having to modify their BSS infrastructure.
Sigma Systems’ IP Video Accelerator can provide the sophisticated service layer that operators need to meet the challenges of IP video, as well as provide integrated provisioning and activation of both traditional services and IP video in the same platform.
View more on transitioning to next gen video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OzmGrX9tag