NAB 2017

Live From NAB 2017: Ericsson Looks to ‘Transform TV’ With New Virtualized, Software-Based Offerings

Ericsson's new offerings at NAB solutions for virtualized video processing, OTT dynamic-ad insertion, and cloud-based captioning.

At its NAB 2017 press conference on Sunday, Ericsson unveiled how it plans to “transform TV” with new OTT dynamic-ad insertion technology, MediaFirst video processing solutions, cloud-based-captioning services, content-discovery tools, and its Unified Delivery Network.

“Our theme at NAB is all around transforming television,” said Kris Hardiman, head of product marketing, media, Ericsson. “Transforming television is what we are here to do. This is our purpose in this industry. How we are doing that is bringing together an end to end portfolio with wider organization capabilities for data, the cloud, mobile, so we transform not just how you deliver video to any available device, but also how you are transforming the audience experience and making it more personally relevant and more engaging and then being able to monetize that. This is what we are hoping to achieve.”

Getting Personal: Debut of Dynamic Ad-Insertion
Ericsson is debuting a new dynamic ad insertion solution for over-the-top (OTT) streaming, Ericsson MediaFirst Stream Personalization, which allows broadcasters and service providers to personalize and monetize multiscreen video services. MediaFirst Stream Personalization provides content that is uniquely tailored to the individual. It can work across multiple formats and with any player, offering the capability to insert ads in HLS, Smooth Streaming, and MPEG-DASH. In addition to performing frame-accurate ad insertion and content replacement from the network, MediaFirst Stream Personalization offers comprehensive usage logs, which, when coupled with analytics, enables a deeper understanding of audiences and more accurate business intelligence.

More MediaFirst News: Management Controller, Encoding Live 8.1, and New Deal I in China
NAB marks the launch of Ericsson MediaFirst Management Controller and Ericsson MediaFirst Encoding Live 8.1.

Ericsson MediaFirst Management Controller simplifies the transition to software-based architecture, providing a unified access point for Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing products including Encoding Live, On Demand, Packaging, and Stream Processing. The new management platform offers centralized visibility, configuration and control, along with flexible failover and licensing management for MediaFirst Video Processing applications.

MediaFirst Video Processing Encoding Live 8.1 enables faster content deployment, drives operationally efficient delivery, and delivers more immersive consumer experiences than ever before. This newly introduced version offers a unified microservice architecture across all platform types, and includes centralized management, integral failover, and dynamic licensing benefits, together with faster video transcoding and industry leading density when deployed on a platform incorporating Intel’s Quick Sync Video (QSV) dedicated video hardware core.

Also on the MediaFirst front, Ericsson announced a new multiyear deal with Chinese cloud-computing and big-data service provider Inspur Software Group, a leading cloud computing and big data service provider, to deliver a cloud-enabled TV platform for operators in the burgeoning Chinese market using the MediaFirst solution suite. Shandong Cable Network, the largest operator in the Asia Pacific region and one of the largest in the world, will be the first to deploy the new TV platform in China. The new service will deliver live and on-demand TV content to 20 million subscribers in 17 cities across the Shandong Province.

Amping Up Closed Captioning
Ericsson is also launching new captioning services: Snap Captions, Subito Vault and Subito Conversion and Delivery Engine.

Snap Captions is Ericsson’s fastest-ever offline captioning service. It can turn around captioning jobs at lightning speed (a one-hour show can be delivered in as little as two hours), using the same technology advances used to produce real-time captioning.

Subito Vault is a single, globally accessible, integrated caption production toolkit that enables cloud-based captioning workflow management, secure management of caption and proxy media files, and a complete caption file archive delivered with a client-facing API.

The Subito Conversion and Delivery Engine takes broadcast caption files and automatically combines, offsets and converts them for optimum cross-platform output and delivery. Formats currently supported include SMPTE-TT, SAMI, TTML, EBU-TT, SRT, iTunesTT and many others.

Content Discovery Ecosystem
Ericsson is also launching its content discovery ecosystem this week in Vegas, which the company says will bring together a unique range of TV and movie data sources as well as a suite of software services that help understand and act on the data.

Broadcasters, content owners and service providers will have access to an extensive universe of rich TV and movie data sets including images and poster art, clips and trailers, ratings, cast and crew information, series and episodic data and much more. It will also offer a package of applications including recommendations, universal search, deep linking, rights management and analytics to enable personalized viewing experiences, provide insight and intelligence to improve consumer loyalty, and drive targeted monetization opportunities – all in real time and seamlessly through one API.

Ericsson’s semantic data hub sits at the heart of the ecosystem, which comprises content discovery data and application partners. Partners’ data sources are pre-integrated within the ecosystem and linked across all platforms via unified IDs to enable universal search, thereby speeding up time to market and reducing development costs. The ecosystem is also pre-integrated with the Ericsson MediaFirst solution suite and can also integrate easily with existing systems and infrastructure. Additionally, enhanced caption data created and delivered by Ericsson’s Access Services business will be integrated within the ecosystem along with services including analytics and business intelligence.

Launch partners include ColorTV, Internet Video Archive (IVA), and XroadMedia.

Unified Delivery Network Continues to Grow
Ericsson also took the opportunity at its NAB press conference to announce the latest partners to join its Unified Delivery Network (UDN), which connects content providers all with the last mile reach of network operators in order to more efficiently distribute content. China Telecom and China Unicom have joined UDN to run inbound and outbound traffic in China, while Bridge Alliance will deploy UDN across 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Industry Innovation Zone: VR, AR, and 8K 360-degree Video
Though Ericsson did not provide details at its press conference, the company had previously announced that its industry innovation zone will feature new advancements in immersive multi-TV VR and 8K 360-degree video experiences, as well as AR sports graphics.