NAB 2016: Ericsson Focuses on Processing, Discovery and Delivery of Content
This week, Ericsson is debuting its MediaFirst Video Processing solution and its global content discovery portfolio. The company also has announced that, as part of its global partnership with the Fox Innovation Lab, Twentieth Century Fox’s R&D center, it is collaborating on a proof of concept for delivering a wide variety of Fox content.
Leveraging the software-driven culture and global footprint of Envivio, which Ericsson acquired in 2015, MediaFirst Video Processing unites a suite of video-processing capabilities and video-compression research, complementing the MediaFirst TV Platform to create agile, cloud-centric TV experiences.
The solution comprises three fundamental elements:
- Software-defined management and workflow to orchestrate and manage any video-processing configurations and architectures that span multiple compute platforms
- An advanced suite of video-coding algorithms and processing functions to build any business use case for headend functions that deliver video with high quality and efficiency
- Support for any compute environment to give complete customer flexibility to deploy Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing across private clouds and public clouds and on Ericsson custom platforms, enabling accelerated processing with Ericsson’s video chip
Says Elisabetta Romano, VP/head of TV and media, Ericsson, “The media industry is undergoing its most disruptive period of transformation, and this has triggered huge changes in consumer expectations. By unifying the industry’s two greatest pedigrees in hardware- and software-centric video processing, Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing enables [our customers] to transform functions and operations to deliver ultimate quality with real efficiency — whatever the deployment environment.”
Content Discovery Services
Ericsson’s portfolio of TV and VOD content discovery services includes rich metadata, images, real-time triggering, analytics, 360-degree search, and personalization will roll out across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. In Europe, it is already the largest provider of content discovery services. All services are delivered through Ericsson’s real-time API, providing global data through one interface.
This year, Ericsson completed its acquisition of FYI Television, a U.S.-based global TV metadata and entertainment-image content provider. The acquisition marked a milestone in Ericsson’s ongoing TV and media growth strategy, further strengthening the company’s market-leading position in content discovery. Around 150 FYI Television employees joined Ericsson as part of the acquisition.
The portfolio now spans more than 10 million movies and program titles in more than 35 languages. A team of 300 editorial specialists create and deliver rich metadata, along with images from its library of about 1.7 million stills to more than 12,000 TV and VOD channels. Globally, more than 200 million people interact with Ericsson’s rich metadata each week.
Ericsson is also initiating an innovation and research study in content personalization. This program sets out to better understand how audiences feel about recommendations and, through a series of experiments, to identify solutions that better serve audiences, broadcasters, and TV platforms. The research is being conducted by experts in recommender systems and human/computer interaction at Ericsson’s R&D facilities in Silicon Valley and Europe. The findings, which will be unveiled in late 2016, will form an integral role in Ericsson’s content-discovery roadmap.
Says Thorsten Sauer, head of broadcast and media services, Ericsson, “85% of consumers tell us that they can’t find anything to watch on a weekly basis; this clearly demonstrates that we, as an industry, have yet to deliver an effective and relevant solution to address this challenge. We believe that by combining Ericsson’s capabilities and market-leading position in Europe with FYI Television’s U.S. expertise, we can offer our clients highly effective, innovative, and personalized content-discovery solutions that will meet the growing demands of audiences worldwide. Whether viewers are watching live or on-demand, at home or on the go, we will ensure they can discover the content they want whenever and wherever they want it.”
Teaming Up With Fox Lab
As part of its global partnership with Fox Innovation Lab, Twentieth Century Fox’s R&D center, Ericsson is collaborating on a proof of concept for delivering a wide variety of Fox content. Covered are new and library movies, 360-degree audio/video, virtual and augmented reality, and 4K/UHD with high-dynamic-range content over any platform, device. or network. The innovation enables seamless, optimized, and latency-free entertainment experiences that can support all current and anticipated playback devices, platforms, and networks.
The proof of concept provides a test bed for exploring new directions for consumer viewing experiences, including but not limited to device-specific content optimization, personalized just-in-time low-latency advertising, and novel VR and AR applications. It provides content creators and distributors with a benchmark technology stack and workflow to help define the processes and requirements for delivering new types of content.
Says Hanno Basse, CTO, 20th Century Fox/managing director, Fox Innovation Lab, “Working closely with Ericsson’s technical experts, we will offer our first proof of concept to showcase core technologies that overcome the constraints of network and bandwidth limitations. We will demonstrate a viable direction for the creation of new, breakthrough content services that expand our ability to deliver high-value, engaging content to consumers.”
The proof of concept leverages Ericsson’s Unified Delivery Network (UDN), connecting content providers with the last-mile reach of service providers for seamless content delivery. Fox also participates as a content-provider partner in UDN, extending Fox’s network capabilities to the public domain, enabling enhanced OTT service delivery, and significantly advancing the traditional content-delivery model.
Diomedes Kastanis, VP/head of technology, software solutions, Ericsson, says, “Content technologies like 4K/UHD with high dynamic range and virtual reality provide the natural next step for service providers looking to differentiate their offerings with truly immersive experiences. Our work with Fox is focused on enabling these new forms of content to be delivered to any type of device at high quality and without consuming excessive bandwidth. To achieve this, we address every aspect of the delivery chain, including hardware, content, workflow and the end-consumer experience.”