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Huge opportunities

Chandan Mendiratta, VP, Service Provider and System Engineering, Cisco India and SAARC

Video is today’s voice-on-an-IP network, moving from a standalone service to an application filling an IP-network. Over the next four years, more than 91 percent of all content traversing the Net is expected to be some form of video, whether peer-to-peer or streamed from servers. Global Internet traffic is likely to increase more than fourfold by 2014 and will be driven by improvements in network bandwidth capacity and Internet speeds, along with the increasing popularity of HDTV and 3DTV.
According to Cisco’s annual Visual networking Index (VNI) forecast, global Internet video traffic is expected to surpass global peer-to-peer traffic by the end of 2010, with the global online video community including more than one billion users. Globally, advanced video traffic, is projected to increase 13 times between 2009 and 2014. 3D/HD TV is likely to account for 42 percent of all video on the Internet by 2014.
Consumer IP traffic (Web surfing, instant messaging, user-generated videos, etc) is projected to grow faster than business and likely to represent 87 percent of monthly total global IP traffic by 2014. Business IP traffic (email, voice, Internet, HD and web-based video conferencing, etc.) would represent the remaining 13 percent. The need of the hour is for more equipment and faster speed services to keep up with demand.
As 3D video technology makes its way in to commercial viability and arrives into our homes, it will need massive bandwidths. Conservative estimates peg each 3D/HD channel to consume 10 to 15 Mbps. Consumer services are gearing up to offer 3DTV broadcasts and movies, while technology and service provider companies are ramping up support for 3DTV, even as growth is affected by consumers watching video via alternative devices, like game consoles. With the 3DTV revolution likely to make its way into businesses, technologies like telepresence,  which use high-definition video, will eventually be 3D-enabled. Beyond 3D video, holographic technology appears to be a big advancement in video technology.
The HD era meanwhile has ‘dawned’ as it were, what with the 2010 Commonwealth Games being watched live on HD by a global audience of about 3 billion. For the first time ‘uncompressed High Definition video’ was broadcast live over the IP network. The Network ensured uninterrupted transmission of uncompressed HD feeds from various venues across Delhi to International Broadcast Centres on the IP network. Ticketing, gaming and other applications were run over a Wide Area Network while a High-definition CAT distribution solution set up across various venues made the experience better.
IP video –Challenges and opportunities:
Although video delivery over IP presents multiple business and service opportunities, delivering high-quality video content is one of the most demanding challenges faced by the Internet Protocol (IP) because it demands the most from networks and greatly affects their design. In a well-designed IP network and with the help of appropriate service management tools, service providers can successfully deploy and operate large-scale video over IP services offering HDTV content.
Consumers today expect the network to deliver new capabilities like HD, personalized video, Internet and 3D content quickly. Solutions that rapidly deliver enhanced interactive services, offer personalized consumer experience with a broad range of content, and scale the network to support massive growth in video traffic help to meet these demands.
Service providers must accelerate their infrastructure upgrade plans in response to the growing network needs. Architectures that scale video delivery, implement Web 2.0 technologies to boost service delivery and use simplified deployment models will help to increase efficiency. They extend subscriber reach and help deliver video over IP services across a wide range of IP-connected devices, protect capital investment made in the network and increase the return on investment.
Cisco delivers IP-based video over a DOCSIS 3.0 infrastructure,. Cisco’s IP Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) solutions help to tailor video delivery to customer demands and make it more personalized.
Future scenario:
In the near term, the most formidable challenge that online video poses for the Internet backbone is flash crowds rather than the overall volume of traffic. The sheer volume of video creates the potential for traffic ‘surprises.’ Video makes Internet traffic less predictable than ever. It changes the equation for service providers because consumers pay much less per megabyte for video than for any other content or service. Going forward they must learn to value services according to bandwidth they consumption and develop a more advanced bandwidth vocabulary, as service providers develop new revenue models.
With the advent of internet-enabled STBs (including gaming consoles), internet video traffic is expected to surge. While all internet video viewing will not migrate to the television screen, gaming consoles, next-generation STBs and advanced remotes will bring interactivity to the television experience. A portion of social video viewing traffic will also migrate to mobile networks.
Viewers looking for passive diversion rather than social interaction, content, or experience will rely on mobile TV services while away from home and traditional broadcast programming while at home.
There would be three waves of growth for Internet video. The first phase is growth of Internet video as viewed on the PC; the second phase is a rise in Internet delivery of video to the TV, and the third phase a surge in video communications. Each phase will impact a different aspect of the network.
Video's dominance will be driven by growing broadband penetration, increasing screen space and resolution on consumer devices, proliferation of network-enabled devices and increase in power and speed of computing devices. The shift from P2P to Internet video will require better quality content available on easy to access sites, services, and cable on-demand. In summary therefore, advanced video types will force service providers to offer higher quality video on demand while increasing bandwidth costs.

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