By Giles Wilson, 21 March, 2012.

OTT - Embrace it, don't fear it

Service operators need to make a choice. Do they want to ignore the growing consumer interest in OTT services or are they ready to embrace the trend and leverage some of the opportunities while the television industry contintues to re-establish its hierarchy?

By Giles Wilson, Head of TV Technology, Ericsson

Service operators need to make a choice.  Do they want to ignore the growing consumer interest in OTT services or are they ready to embrace the trend and leverage some of the opportunities while the television industry contintues to re-establish its hierarchy?

OTT services are gaining in popularity with the consumer because they offer a plethora of choice, and in theory, ease of access to content.  However, the television industry continues to provide an entertainment experience and will remain to do so for the foreseeable future.  There is value in curation of content with increasing relevance to the consumer interest.

Traditional television service providers hold many key advantages over upcoming OTT service providers; namely an established reputation, proven reliability and longevity.  These are qualities that are important to the consumer.  I believe OTT services are fundamentally about choice but is far from an exclusive proposition.  TV operators need to react to the challenge set by OTT services by expanding their flexibility of choice of content.

Present ecosystems are too static and will not align with the future consumers' expectation.  Evolution will be rapid and the types of direct TV service and those added value applications that surround premium content will be key to understand.  That's the primary reason why at Ericsson we annually invest in direct TV consumer research.

The adoption of OTT technologies will allow operators to provide consumers with a true multi-screen experience and feed their customers' video appetite even when they are off the managed network.  Furthermore, by accepting the presence of OTT services and incorporating these within their own services, they can leverage additional content.  This makes for a much more compelling user proposition.

In many countries the broadband capability is not sufficient to replace a well-managed TV delivery ecosystem.  It will take time for technology to catch up with consumer demand, so operators now have a chance to enhance the delivery of OTT video traffic by providing capabilities in their own network.

We believe the most successful operators will be those who identify the opportunities offered by OTT and implement them within their offering.

Read more from Giles Wilson's IPTV News Q&A here.

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Written by Giles Wilson

As Head of Ericsson’s TV Compression Business, Dr. Giles Wilson oversees the strategy, vision and development of the company’s industry-leading compression technology portfolio to ensure that it is able to meet the content acquisition, exchange and delivery requirements of broadcasters and operators around the world.

Dr. Wilson has played a pioneering role in the company’s 20 year heritage of creating next-generation compression solutions. He has been instrumental in developing the technology architectures and solutions for many of today's leading TV experiences, including the world’s first MPEG-4 AVC HD encoder, which was recognised with an Emmy award for its technical innovation.

Dr. Wilson previously held the position of Head of TV Technology at Ericsson, prior to which he was Senior Vice President of Technology at TANDBERG Television. Before that role, Dr Wilson was Chief Architect with the company, leading the development of solutions based on advanced video compression technologies. He joined TANDBERG Television in 1995 when it was the Advanced Products Division of NTL.
Dr. Wilson graduated from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1994 with a PhD in robotics.

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