NAB Reflections: Net Insight’s Per Lindgren discusses latest Sye OTT and Connector Marketplace developments
As the demand for, and diversity of, OTT solutions continues to intensify, it is the companies with a consistent flair for innovation that are really making the greatest strides forward. Net Insight is undoubtedly part of this select group and had a characteristically busy NAB Show with multiple announcements about new solutions and enhancements to existing ones.
Net Insight’s headline news for the show included new 360/virtual reality capabilities for the Sye true live OTT product line as well as optimised dynamic side-server ad insertion for the same range. The company also confirmed the addition of HEVC coding to NIMBRA VA 225 – the 1RU unit that combines an MPEG encoder and decoder with an integrated video transport solution – as well as the extension of the Connector Marketplace, including the integration of Microsoft Azure to offer cloud-based media services. Suffice to say, then, that there were no shortage of starting points for SVG Europe’s post-show catch-up with Net Insight SVP of Live OTT Per Lindgren…
What was Net Insight’s approach going into NAB 2017?
Net Insight showcased a broad portfolio at NAB that includes: IP and Internet contribution with remote production of camera feeds using Net Insight’s Nimbra product line; orchestration of resources and services involved in the production workflow using ScheduALL; as well as our unique true Live OTT streaming solution, Sye, that provides ultra-low delay as well as synchronization across devices. Sye opens up for new, immersive OTT viewing experiences together with new monetization opportunities. Overall, the industry is in strong transformation both when it comes to business models and technology, with a big shift towards IP, cloud solutions and increased demand for OTT delivery. All strong trends addressed by Net Insight’s new innovative solutions showcased during this year’s NAB show.
How would you assess the current development of OTT for sports, and how do you perceive Net Insight’s role within this?
Net Insight sees OTT not just as a more agile and cost-efficient delivery of sports content, but also as enabler for new, immersive and engaging fan experiences, opening up new revenue paths for the content owners and rights holders.
The biggest technical challenge in OTT sports is the long delays introduced by the use of traditional HLS-based streaming technologies. Net Insight’s ultra-low delay streaming solution, Sye, offers true live OTT streaming that can be harmonised with the traditional broadcast, opening up for a totally new OTT experience where the second screen can be used to enhance the first. Create completely new viewing experience on the first screen by streaming complementary content such as driver/player cams or different camera angles on the second screen. Let the user become the director and control their own experience. Include 360 experiences and create a truly immersive experience.
These second screen companion applications also give content owner/rights holders the opportunity to make more out of existing content rights without cannibalising on the first screen monetisation. On the contrary, this enhanced viewing experience will drive more users to the first screen while opening up a new revenue path on the OTT platform.
How do you see the OTT for sports market developing over the next few years in terms of both content and workflow expectations?
Live OTT grows rapidly and enables more local and global coverage of content. This means we will need to produce more content in more effective ways making use of cost-effective IP/Internet contribution and optimised resource usage.
In addition, new immersive OTT experiences will give viewers even more choices and content to consume during an event, for example statistics and player data. Also, tying in social and interactive platforms into the experience will be important, as the online conversation is increasing and becoming more and more important. The rise of new technology such as 360 and VR will also change the production workflows. For sports fan especially, great new immersive experiences awaits. Bringing fans closer to the action and enabling them the power to choose who and what they want to view.
What are the primary benefits of the Microsoft Azure integration?
There is a big trend towards using more cloud-based services in the production workflows, but they are not easily available to the media companies. Today around 500 of the world’s broadcasters and production companies are using Net Insight’s ScheduALL platform to book and schedule services and resources in their production workflow. By publishing the Microsoft Azure cloud services in the ScheduALL platform using our Connector function, all ScheduALL customers can get access to these cloud services.
The next step for Net Insight is to offer Sye, our Live OTT solution as a virtualised software that can be implemented in the cloud and become part of such an end-to-end production workflow from camera to mobile screen.
Finally, can you give us some information on some of the key sports events that Net Insight solutions will be supporting this summer?
Even though it is not an event year, Net Insight’s Nimbra and ScheduALL products are involved in many national sports leagues in both Europe and the US and used to stream hundreds of hours of sports every week. Sye has now been deployed by TATA as a global service for their ultra-low delay live OTT streaming effort. The focus is mainly on live sports content and they have now announced their first customers on the platform. We have also announced an agreement with SIS and bet365 for an enhanced live betting experience on mobile devices as well as an agreement with AerNow and Pirelli World Challenge for a new racing experience with synchronised driver cams.