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Why the transition to flexible, cloud-based video services is inevitable

- September 18, 2012 9:09 am

The consumer video and television landscape is in transition as Canadians are increasingly looking to the Internet to satisfy their programming needs.

Big market players such as Apple and Google are just starting to weigh in and gain traction with their respective digital media and smart TV platforms. However other players, such as Netflix and Hulu, have been successfully streaming more and more content and continue to grow in popularity.  In addition, users have grown comfortable snacking on video through YouTube or directly from studio and broadcaster websites.

Taken together, the message is simple: Canadian consumers are growing to expect access to video content anywhere, anytime and on any device they happen to have in front of them. They are also increasingly looking for content that is more personalized, interactive or has a social context than ever before.

However, this is just the beginning and when things start to move at Internet speeds it is a major challenge to know exactly what is coming next.  We do know that consumer choice, flexibility and overall user experience will be vital to a service provider’s (SP) success in this new age.

While a lot of factors are at play with these changing user trends, the emergence of the tablet has definitely increased users’ video consuming expectations. In addition to watching TV shows and movies on their devices, consumers are using the devices as a companion to their main screen viewing by looking up supplementary content, such as cast information, or to participate in social media real-time discussions with other fans.

To stay relevant service providers must be vigilant and constantly evaluate their traditional go-to-market strategies, pushing toward rapid and flexible cloud-based video services whenever possible. These services need to offer contextualized and personalized user experiences to customers on a platform that is network, media and device aware.

With customer expectations changing and evolving on a monthly basis, service providers must focus on a system that can quickly change and adapt along with them. Through IP network-delivered television (IPTV), SPs can offer digital video offerings, on-demand streaming and recording features, interactive TV applications and targeted advertising with their content.  But IPTV is only one form of technology that can help SPs improve their content delivery system.

Looking to IPTV alone to solve the fundamental challenge of meeting new user expectations will leave service providers short. The best way to approach this transition is to build flexible cloud-based video services that are completely agnostic to how, and where, the content is delivered and what devices it is consumed on.

At Cisco this key transformation is one of our company’s priorities, and we are investing in kind.  Recent acquisitions, such as NDS, and product/system architecture development are all aligned to ensure our service provider partners can successfully respond in these challenging times. Our next generation video architecture, Videoscape, helps SPs build an end-to-end system optimized for rapid evolution and any-screen delivery of rich-media services and user experiences.

To dig deeper, I’d recommend every service provider professional to check out our recent Knowledge Network webcast series. The workshops cover video, transport solutions, IP networks and many more technologies that can help you in this journey.

What are your thoughts on the transition to cloud-based video services? Please leave a comment below.

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