The Content Storm is here

Sanjay Rohatgi, Senior Vice President, Service provider, Cisco, India & SAARC

How would you feel if you are watching an interesting IPL match on your TV, but have to leave for office to attend an urgent meeting before the end of the match? Would you not wish that you could watch the nail-biting finish on your way to office maybe on another device? Now imagine the business benefits if IPL could be streamed live on every device that has a plug or a battery. How will it work for the business partners and for the fans?

Imagine what will happen when Internet, TV, and mobile networks are unified. When they are just different windows to a world of infinite content choice; you will be able to pause the cricket match on your TV and pick it up on your Smartphone or on your iPad on the move. You could also watch it on your computer at work. This is the future of video.

Changing media delivery landscape

Today, the emergence of various, earlier unimaginable, choices to deliver content has placed us in the midst of a 'content storm' as it were. Consumers today not only have more media and communications choices than ever before but also more ways to access them. The consumer appetite for more has become insatiable with today's media marketplace having entered the age of more video-capable devices, more video services, and more video traffic than ever before. This evolution coupled with the user experience has made video the most preferred medium for communication and collaboration.

Video is today the most compelling way to engage with people and content. However, until now, the video experience has been fragmented across different content sources, devices, and complex technologies. Things are likely to change with the introduction of new technologies, proliferation of Smartphones/Tablets and the government's impetus for increasing broadband penetration. The video revolution is expected to continue at a fast pace and reach new heights in the coming years.

As per Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), there will be 19 billion networked devices worldwide by 2016, with web content and services expanding across TV sets, tablets, game consoles, and other consumer electronics devices. In fact, by 2016, as per Cisco VNI, 3 trillion minutes of video will cross Internet, each month.

In India, by 2016, 105 billion minutes of video content will cross Internet, every month.

These three trends - more devices, more online video services, and more Internet video traffic - are changing the media delivery landscape. As a result, consumer electronics manufacturers are positioning Internet-connected TVs and other devices as gateways to Internet content.

They are making significant investments in creating online video and application ecosystems. Broadcasters and media companies are seeking to capitalize on this trend and embracing new distribution platforms as well as interactive content.

Consumers today are not satisfied with better video quality, high definition content and interactive TV. They want more. They expect the content to follow them, instead of vice versa.

Consumers want to communicate, share, and manage content on multiple screens; buy content once and access it however they choose and manage their content across devices, platforms and screens without having to worry about which devices work with what content.

Meeting consumer demand

Given the ever increasing consumer demand, service providers are looking for comprehensive solutions to deliver next generation media entertainment. They seek solutions that bring together virtually infinite content and applications from pay TV, online, and on-demand sources to create a unified, personalized experience that can extend anywhere, across managed or unmanaged networks and devices. By combining content with social media, communications, and mobility it is possible to create a "better than being there" video experience for consumers - everywhere, at scale.

Solutions that take advantage of intelligence throughout the cloud, network, and clients can help to deliver the premium quality of experience that customers expect. Architectures that deliver new generation of TV and media experiences help consumers to communicate, share and manage their content across various media platforms.

Service Providers can create new business models for delivery that help by differentiating their offerings from the competition and extend service opportunities for revenue generation. New models could include capabilities such as application delivery, home Telepresence, in-video e-commerce and more. Reinventing business models enables Service Providers to deliver a consumer experience that is:

  • More intuitive - with a consistent interface across multiple devices and search capabilities across all content sources
  • More visual - with seemingly infinite content and applications available from a range of sources, made easy to navigate on the customer's screen of choice
  • More social - by integrating social networking capabilities that let consumers show, share, and engage with video
  • More mobile - with the ability to extend this unified experience over any network, to almost any device

Service providers can offer a branded and personalized experience to their customers, regardless of their location or method of accessing content. Take the case of this company, a leader in webcast management and technical media services which used the next generation video technology to stream one of the world's most innovative International award events. They streamed a three-day webcast providing a behind-the-scenes look at exclusive content including events, parties, red carpet interviews, and managed to deliver high-quality video from multiple sources to a variety of devices, including desktop, smart phone, and Tablet computer users. Besides providing an enhanced viewing experience to millions of global viewers, the company also helped to increase viewing hours because the users didn't experience buffering, delays or, poor quality video normally associated with such large scale streaming.

The future of Entertainment

The current rate of change in technology, consumer behavior, and business models are accelerating our vision of the future of entertainment. While any one of these drivers in isolation would not be a catalyst for appreciable change, in combination they unleash forces that will dramatically alter the entertainment landscape.

As consumer entertainment breaks free from the limitations of closed networks and devices, perhaps instead of buying TV sets, viewers would soon buy multipurpose screens which could display a favorite painting or change into a teleconference monitor; they might soon use words, gestures, and smart devices to control their TV; or change the show of choice with just a flick of their wrist!