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Guest Post: “Medianet” - Optimising the Network for Video and Rich Media

At the November Telco 2.0 Event Simon Aspinall, Managing Director of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, described how video creates a major threat to the cost assumptions and business models of fixed and mobile operators. Building on that and Telco 2.0’s ongoing analysis of Online Video Distribution, Cisco describe below a new strategy called ‘medianet’ - building a network that is optimized for video and rich media based on a new generation of media-aware technologies…

Service providers know that the basic delivery of TV services is no longer enough. Today’s consumers want a richer, higher-quality media experience, and they want access to more kinds of content than ever before. They want to enjoy the same kind interactivity, personalization, and control that they have come to expect from the Internet with their video entertainment. And they want the ability to access any type of content they choose, whenever and wherever they choose, over a variety of devices and screens.
Video traffic growth is undeniable. Based on the Cisco Visual Networking Index Study:
  • Global IP traffic will reach 44 exabytes per month by 2012 — more than six times the total traffic in 2007
  • Nearly 90 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2012 will be video

cisco-medianet.jpg

With robust broadband connectivity, the media consumption paradigms have changed. However, for service providers, the media distribution paradigm has a major impact on their networks. As service providers strive to meet evolving customer demands, they are challenged to adapt to several overriding trends.

To take the advantage of the opportunities provided by the market trends and unleash a new generation of customer experiences, service providers need to build a medianet, which is a network that is optimized for video and rich media with new generation of media-aware technologies. This medianet built with media aware technologies will deliver a more visual, more social, and more personal experience for customers - in a more efficient, flexible, and scalable way for the service provider.

Building Blocks of a Medianet

A medianet encompasses four overarching technology pillars:

  1. Transforming video experiences tools to enhance and differentiate the user experience
  2. A media-aware IP network to deliver outstanding quality of experience (QoE)
  3. Virtualization capabilities to manage extraordinary complexity and scale
  4. Monetization through new business models and advanced advertising tools

Transforming Video Experiences

To increase market share and improve customer loyalty, service providers must be able to offer a media experience that is a clear step beyond what competitors can provide. The key to differentiating services is the ability to deliver rich social, interactive, and personalized media experiences. A medianet that is a network built with media-aware technologies will enable service providers to shatter the conventional video model and deliver a new generation of media services. With the medianet, service providers can deliver the future of personal, social, and interactive media experiences for consumers and business customers right now.

Media-Aware IP NGN

It’s not enough for service providers to deliver new types of content. To meet today’s customer demands, they must meet two fundamental requirements:

  • • Ensuring exceptional quality of experience (QoE)
  • • Scaling the experience efficiently and cost-effectively

Achieving both of these essential requirements demands a scalable, intelligent network that is optimized for rich media services. In a media centric environment, service providers must deploy technologies that will offer broad range of Quality of Experience (QoE) enhancement by correcting bit errors and dropped packets before subscribers even notice a problem, eliminating visual artifacts and delivering stunning picture quality. IPTV Service Provider should further look into deploying the medianet technologies in the set top box (STB) -that can help speed channel change times and alert service providers of quality issues over last-mile networks. It is important that the medianet technologies provide intelligent per-session admission control to prevent congestion and help ensure consistently high quality for all users. By incorporating the consumer home into the medianet, service providers can reduce CapEx and OpEx, increase revenues, and improve customer satisfaction.

In addition, to achieve greater scalability while minimizing costs and complexity, service providers need a medianet built on an intelligent IP network with high-performance multicast capabilities and guaranteed quality of service (QoS).

Virtualization

As service providers look to add additional media capabilities and thousands of hours of video to content libraries, they need new tools to manage growing complexity and efficiently scale video offerings to more customers. Consumer media consumption trends are driving service providers to deliver any type of real-time, time-shifted, or on-demand video content to any screen, across a national or transcontinental network. To deliver such services cost effectively service providers would need to ingest content once for all markets, store that content in a centralized library, and accelerate distribution to any customer, anywhere. This is virtualization. The medianet built with virtualization technologies can accelerate service velocity, deploy services to many markets at once, exponentially expand content, reduce operational costs and achieve nonstop service availability.

Another advantage of virtualization technologies is that it can enable service providers to offer IP contribution network services to content producers, providing much more flexible and efficient mechanisms of transporting video programming from the source (such as a sports stadium) to the studio. By applying IP efficiencies to processes that traditionally have relied on legacy technologies, both service providers and content producers can realize significant benefits.

In addition, a medianet built with IP and video technologies can bring legacy processes that require any content producers to still rely on analog tapes for video editing and post-production into a modern digital environment, providing a more dynamic and collaborative media workflow that reduces costs and speeds content delivery.

Monetization

Service providers building a medianet can unlock new revenue opportunities beyond traditional video subscription services, incorporating online media marketplaces and new business models such as those built on advanced advertising.

The ability to make content available whenever and wherever customers want it provides ample opportunity to monetize new offerings and services tiers. The ability to expand the traditional “walled garden” of video services to encompass web-based content also allows service providers to support lucrative media marketplaces and link customers directly with content providers, offering opportunities for a variety of transaction-based and revenue-sharing business models.
Service providers can also monetize the exceptional QoE of the medianet itself.

In addition, service providers have an opportunity to turn an investment in ad placement infrastructure into a lucrative new business, offering ad placement services to content providers. So while a service provider stands to derive incremental direct revenue from the deployment of new, non-linear advertising inventory, there is considerable revenue generation potential from partnering with broadcasters and cable programmers to place targeted ads on their behalf.

With a single medianet that delivers services to both consumer and business customers, service providers can even extend advanced advertising capabilities beyond TV entertainment. With a medianet built with virtualization technologies that delivers content to any screen and advanced advertising technologies ,, service providers can link TV advertising, online advertising, mobile advertising, and digital signage into an integrated network. Ultimately, operators can unlock a new generation of high-impact, lucrative advertising services.

In summary, the medianets built with media-aware technologies will provide a differentiated user experience with more content, control, and personalization. It will increase efficiency and reduce costs by collapsing operational silos and improve scalability by virtualizing content, infrastructure, and services, allowing operators to efficiently deliver more content to more subscribers. It will further help service providers increase service velocity by allowing the launch of new services simultaneously in multiple markets or to national or transnational audiences. Lastly, it will dramatically expand advertising opportunities and revenue models and provide long-term flexibility to adapt to evolving business models and changing customer demands

To learn more about the medianet, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/sp/medianet.

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