As the video industry evolves, the world is under pressure to keep up. Television is changing and starting to move away from traditional terrestrial, satellite and cable transmission. What we mean by this, is that TV is becoming as much a streaming service as giants like Netflix – except, it’s live. This is known as IPTV. And as that pressure mounts, questions start to rise about how exactly we can transfer from a cable or satellite platform to online live streaming.
On Tuesday, March 15th, Andy Waltenspiel of Waltenspiel Management Consulting held an online panel discussion with representatives from Deutsche Telekom, RDK, Broadpeak and Wyplay to discuss the move to IPTV. Their thoughts were quite insightful, and potentially answered a few of the questions that many companies may have when considering moving to IPTV.
One of the providers of software that enables companies to make the move to IPTV, is RDK or reference design kit. This is part of an integral stack that provides the building blocks for a successful app or platform. RDK comes in many forms, enabling pay TV operators to develop and launch new, user-friendly services for video streaming, broadband and hybrid services. (For more info, you can read RDK for Dummies – Tech in its Simplest Form)
During the panel, Rob Suero (Head of Technology at RDK) and Pedro Bandeira (VP Product & New Business, Deutsche Telekom) agreed that RDK is very much an enabler, rather than a differentiator. What do they mean by that? Well, RDK isn’t meant to be what makes each platform and company different to another. What is does do, is give you the foundation to create something that will then separate your company from competitors.
RDK is still a relatively new piece of software, and it’s no secret that the industry lacks developers who are knowledgeable on how to use it to its greatest potential. This is why RDK have made so much training material available to those who need it. They have training material, webinars, documentation and they can do on-site training if necessary.
Why are some not embracing IPTV?
Well, Dominique Feral (Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Wyplay) said that part of it is the different dynamics between countries globally – some are slightly behind in their innovation perhaps due to economic stress or other factors. For some countries, satellite remains the best solution, specifically for live TV and sporting events.
It can also be a scary jump. This is a process that takes a while, and can often feel overwhelming especially without any new staff to accommodate the move. Traditional means are simply the day to day, and you will always find companies who are reluctant to change through uncertainty or lack of training.
For those thinking of making that switch, the panel had some great advice.
When will everyone move to IPTV?
With the way the industry is moving, it’s clear that the switch is coming. but how soon can we expect this?
Well, according to Pedro, he expects at least all European based companies to have started the process of switching by the end of 2022. But of course, this is still very much a long process, one that can’t be rushed. “What will happen over the coming years in customers will evolve to these new offers through commercial upsell,” Pedro explained, “So in a natural way, you evolve to this product because it’s a new, better product than the legacy product you have.”
Collectively, the panel agreed that in central Europe they expected this to be ready in the next five years or so – potentially, 2025-2026.
I’m considering IPTV – what should I do?
If you’re going to make the move with something like RDK, Rob Suero had some advice…
- Don’t put your entire road map into RDK. Start small. You need to learn to crawl before you can learn to walk.
- Don’t do it alone – RDK has a big community, and you can join groups on Linked In to chat to people already using it and experts within RDK themselves.
- Bring some new people on – adding something brand new to your current staff’s plate can be incredibly overwhelming. You could benefit hugely from having fresh minds starting the training.
- Use the materials RDK make available to you – the webinars, the training materials… Use them to your advantage!
Pedro made a fantastic point too – you must get your vision right. You need to know what you want to achieve in your move to IPTV. Once you have your internal strategy right, you can then start to mould the RDK software into what you need to use it for.
Xavier Leclarcq (VP Business Development, Broadpeak) also mentioned that you should focus on your innovation. You can have multiple vendors coming in to innovate on the platform, so don’t limit yourself. And secondly, you must be aware of the quality of the customer experience. How are you going to deliver the content that people love? How are you going to interact with your users through this platform you’re creating?
One of the most important things to remember, is that RDK is an open source, which means you can essentially mould it like modelling clay. You get to define this product – don’t let it run you!
If you would like to know more about how to get involved with RDK, you can contact me (Jamie Walker) at Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org.