Cable companies in North America are upgrading broadband networks to cater to surging demand for video services at an increasingly rapid pace.
However, according to Sal Ternullo, Senior Vice President for Syndication Partners at Technicolor, as the range of services and the number of devices in the connected home grows, operators will need to focus on harmonizing all these services and optimizing consumers’ experience of them.
Ternullo: There has been pretty consistent growth in demand across the cable industry and this will not abate any time soon. We have seen 45 percent year-on-year growth for the past couple of years and that rate will most likely continue.
The cable industry I believe is well positioned to support that growth given the architecture of the networks deployed, and the evolution of that architecture into the future.
That evolution includes:
This means service providers can get higher speed data closer to the customer. And I think that trend is going to continue. I think cable companies can use those tools to support growth very economically and in a very targeted manner over the next ten years.
Ternullo: If you look at some of the announcements made recently, for example by Netflix and Comcast, the ability to enable customers to access video, either in the home or via a mobile device becomes very important.
Mobility is especially important, being able to access that content no matter where I am: in my home, in my neighborhood, on the road, or via stored video to go.
All of those consumer behaviors have really changed over the last five years and they will continue to change as the industry evolves.
So, for service providers, making content available anywhere consumers want to see it becomes really important. Whether it is content that the service provider has rights to, or content from others that the service provider enables their customers to consume.
Ternullo: Historically, there was a rule of thumb that you need ten percent of your downstream bandwidth available upstream, but that has changed as a growing portion of video content is being generated by the user.
A good example is home security systems that are backed up to the cloud. Some of these systems don’t just take snapshots of what is occurring. They actually store days or weeks of content in the cloud. So there is a lot of video streaming from the home to the cloud for storage. That’s a lot of bandwidth going upstream.
Look at YouTube and Facebook content – and all of the user generated content in general – from my computer, from my phone, or from my mobile device. That really changes the dynamic and that trend will do nothing but accelerate.
The majority of bandwidth consumption will always be in the downstream as the consumption of video increases. And Technicolor is enabling this consumption given our capabilities, in encoding, compression, 4k video, and technology such as HDR and VR.
Ternullo: I think as user-generated content grows, you will really see the need for more upstream bandwidth. I think the cable industry is very well positioned for that trend. However, the majority of content that is consumed will continue to be downstream. That demand will continue to grow primarily driven by video consumption.
Many providers have launched DOCSIS 3.1. That technology, over time, will enable symmetrical services. So, the fundamental network architecture being deployed today by cable operators will enable them to manage that increase in upstream demand.
And if you look at deployments – such as the X1 portal from Comcast — it makes it very easy to find content that is service provider generated or generated by over the top providers.
So, companies like Comcast are creating the ability for the consumer to have a unique and compelling experience across the board.
Ternullo: I certainly do. I look at this way: The more complex the environment, the simpler the user interface needs to be. You really need to simplify the ability for consumers to navigate their way through that complex environment in a secure manner. Just think how many devices consumers have in their homes today versus how many they had five years ago.
I think the average consumer has about five devices in their home – I have five times as many in my home. That number will continue to grow and eventually — as we have things like smart refrigerators, smart dishwashers — all those devices will have to be managed.
Whether it is home security, home automation, the Internet of Things, my video, or my broadband, most of these will be managed by the Wi-Fi network. So the key is to ensure that these experiences are optimized and secure. In general, cable companies can provide solutions to enable customers to effectively manage this environment by utilizing technology from companies like Technicolor.
Ternullo: I think it is very important when you look at increasing bandwidth to the home that you do not lose sight of the experience within the home. Technicolor has invested a great deal of resources into the consumer experience and how to improve it.
A lot of our research has been in the area of Wi-Fi, to ensure consumers can take advantage of increased bandwidth to the home. Increased bandwidth to the home cannot provide the consumer with a good experience if they have very poor Wi-Fi within the home.
At Technicolor, we spend a lot of time analyzing the impact of Wi-Fi on the consumer experience. We also do a great deal of work in the area of video compression so that content can be delivered effectively over the Wi-Fi network; a lot of work on the user interface and how that can improve the consumer experience as well.
I firmly believe the battleground of the future will not be how much bandwidth cable providers deliver to the home, but how they enable their consumers to have a compelling experience to enjoy their content and to communicate with their peers.
Technicolor is well placed to help cable companies seize this opportunity. We work in every part of the content value chain from content creation to consumption. That enables us to have a unique perspective on the consumer experience. And it is the experience that matters.
We have a great deal of expertise in video technology. We are industry experts in that areas of encoding, HDR, virtual reality and video streaming. In short, our technology enables the production of great content while making it more efficient for Service Providers to deliver that content and for their customers to consume that content.Show less