This week, join Jamie as he sits down with Cyril Le Goff of 4MOD to talk about…
🎙 Integrating voice commands into remotes using RDK
🎙 Creating devices that stand out in a crowded market
🎙 How companies in our industry can contribute to the sustainability movement
View Transcript in Full
Hello, and welcome to the RDK podcast. I’m your host, Jamie Walker. And today I’m joined by Cyril Le Goff. Cyril is the director of sales and business development at 4MOD. So how are you today?
Hello, Jamie very well, thank you. Thank you for inviting me.
It’s great to have you on the show. So let’s let’s get started. Right, before we jump into into 4MOD, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Yes, of course. So, I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years now, mainly working for technicolor and KAON that are video and broadband solution providers. So that brought me to several countries like living in Portugal and in Spain where I actually live. So I’m based in Barcelona, it’s good for the Mobile World Congress, by the way. So sending set top box gateways or cable fibre DSL, infrastructures who mainly dedicated to Europe, and also many too big Tier one, like telefonica and vodafone which I spend a big part of of my career. So that’s in this kind of context, that have been much in discussion with round RDK, whether it’s B or V, with a different tier one I’ve been speaking with, like telefonica, of course. So this has been my past. And now obviously, as you said, I am sales and business development director for 4MOD for more than one year.
Obviously, a big part to play in the industry, connecting the dots between people. Tell us a little bit about 4MOD, and where 4MOD sits within the RDK community and the reasons why you join them.
Yes. So 4MOD is a French company. So it’s mainly dedicated to CU for service providers, but is also adding IoT activities for IoT your product to to help the industry creating a product that embedded sensors and connectivity. So, in other terms, we help small and medium companies that have good ideas to create their product by providing them engineering design capabilities, but also producing for them because former does his own factories based in Indonesia. So, so despite we not speak about it today, will not speak about IoT really, today, there may be also with RDK in the future, some collaboration, as I tend to think that it’s an array of development of RDK in the future. So that’s why I will leave aside for the moment the IoT part, and consulting much more with our talking about about ___. So, we are in the ____ business for more than 13 years in 4MOD with a major references in on four continents or like free in France, like DirecTV in Latin America or true in, in Thailand. And obviously also with with the choice in Africa, for which we developed, the RDK solution recently. So, 4MOD is closed to, of course, a set top box manufacturer industry with all manufacturers and that through that channel that we entered into the RDK community.
So, I guess one of the big innovations should we say that you’ve probably been working on is integration voice control into remotes using RDK. How does this work then?
Yeah, also the RDK centre framework is very simple and modular architecture that enable 4MOD to develop easily the plugin in order that in one month timeframe were able to have working SU including voice, so the implementation of RDK is quite generic, independently of the set top box vendor under such, as soon as you have a first implementation, the same remote can or is able to work with the other set top box vendors. So with regard to voice itself, so it’s a high topic currently in the industry. RDK have been evolving in order to integrate it also in a need in as a features and, formulas even more innovating in that sense, because we created for instance, a unique features that we call midfield, that is not farfield that is not to push to talk, it’s a way that you put your remote control on the table. And when you say “OK RDK,” then all the information you are going to give later on will be sent to the set top box so the good thing with RDK is that there is no real restriction on the innovation to integrate new features like Kismet shield, we are integrating on their words.
That’s it, I think one of the interesting topics that came up that really caught my eye was, one of the most executed commands was people tried to order pizza, right? And they’re talking about you being able to order pizza through your remote control in the coming years, which which blew my mind.
True. So I mean, I think that service providers want to integrate the most features new feature that they can but this is much more backend management. Here we’re hearing on forward at least we are the RCU enabler for the service to happen.
Absolutely. So I guess from 4MOD’s perspective then, Cyril, how do you create a competitive device that fits all the needs for a specific service provider?
So in the CU business, it’s true that when we speak about competitiveness, we speak about sense of difference. The SU is a cheap product compared to the set top box cost, but it’s very critical for the service provider because whenever SU is failing then generic calls to the Help Desk or customer dissatisfaction and at the end of the day, it costs more to service provider to change the SU and the cost of SU itself. So, as such, what we are concentrating on in 4MOD is more than the price, is about the variability. So, that’s very important key point for the SU to be very reliable to be very solid and to not create issues to the service provider in terms of _______, okay? So, and what we do also as I said a little bit before is to bring innovation. So, many for instance with this midfield material, the new feature, so, there is still innovation possible inside the SU business. So, the other important point for the service provider is is to have a specific design. So we tailor each SU for each operator as exactly how they want to have a design.
Okay, so innovation is obviously a big part of every tech company, right? But how different has it been to work with RDK than other software stacks that you have used within your business?
So, in the case of the remote control for RDK format is participating to the working group to define and work on the specification. So it’s a different way of working then with other middleware where 4MOD can give the recommendation and when we are constantly up to date on the way of the key specification themselves. And we are able to provide any advocate customer or partner or a pre-integrated solution on any of our models. So, the difference in between RDK and others is that here we are really participating to the definition of your specifications. So there is less constraint in the RDK world also in terms of design, for instance. So you can leave the operators be crazy in their wishes. RDK is really a space of freedom, where the design can much fully the identity of the service provider. So that’s flexible middleware compared to _______.
Okay, so one of the major trends, Cyril, at the moment centres around sustainability which I know plays a big part to 4MOD. 4MOD are innovating for sustainability as I said, so, there are ways in which you will encourage these in particular market areas so idk and video broadband, how would you market for people to increase their own sustainability in this area?
Yes, so, that’s a very important topic of sustainability right now. So on your consciousness is key for for the future of the world and, and by consequences for our industry. So service provider are taking that subject seriously. But it still can go even further. And that’s why 4MOD is proposing solution for a better world. So we love to say in 4MOD that that we are cheaper for the planet, okay, so we are more than cheaper on cost, we need to be now cheaper for the planet. So, and sustainability is not only about CO2, it’s also about caring about all the resources on the planet, so water consumption or river pollution or usage of materials.
So the first important part is to be able to measure the impact on the environment overall, and that’s why format has been developing tools, in order to be able to, to measure what is the impact on the environment, and this is valid for LSU. But also for in user CP, like I said, the books on gateway and more so, so that’s the starting point is to see which damage you are currently doing with your product. And from that point 4MOD is proposing a solution that reduced by 50 to 60% the impact on the environment. So and how do we do that? Our first initiative took place several years ago to work on energy consumption. So to reduce the churn of the batteries in the remote. So when we are working also to on energy harvesting. But also taking care of that the remedy are not worse than the gain.
So for instance, if you put a photovoltaic cell inside your remote control, then you need to be sure that the photovoltaic will not consume or be worse, or more damaging for the environment than the usage of battery in your remote controller during the lifetime. So, it’s a real exercise to know that if you do better, you can sometimes do worse, okay, then, former Green solution that we are calling integrity, our GMO the programme goes much further than just energy savings. So we can… our aim is to replace any piece of the remote with less impacted materials. So in order to achieve this, this 50% reduction, that’s a subject that is important to think any piece of the remote in order to save the environment. Okay, so it’s a subject again, that touches industry. So 4MOD is implementing more than implementing innovative, sustainable solution can also advise operator or manufacturer to do to do better for their own government. So because we think that opportunity fort should be shared, and the whole industry should go in the same direction.
Absolutely. I agree. I think it’s as data shows, right, becoming more sustainable is paramount going forward. And it’s great to see the impact that you’re taking on new products. But Cyril, so far, there’s been only one 4MOD RDK deployment. What’s next for 4MOD in this market?
Indeed, yes, we did as I said, multi choice implementation with RDK . So, our aim is definitely to continue our collaboration with RDK, implementing new releases and I said also participating to the definition of your specification. So that’s very important in order for us to be much more present in RDK. And of course, then we want to address these innovative and sustainability solution to RDK customer. Mainly I would say we are we are not present so in North America, for instance where 4MOD, this is not really present. And also all the big tier one in Europe that’s sees RDK as the most attractive and flexible solution currently. So one of our major next steps is due to the fact that IBC has been cancelled is to go to the CES in January, in the end addresses this new RDK customer in North America.
That said, Well, I’ve really been I’ve really enjoyed listening to your journey and 4MOD’s journey so far today. Cyril, where can our listeners find you online?
You can, of course, obviously, write to me with my email cyril.legoff@4MOD.fr. And otherwise, I’m of course, available on LinkedIn where 4MOD is also publishing and communicating much either about SU and either about IoT.
So I really appreciate your time today. It’s been great having you on the show.
Was very, very nice. Thank you very much Jamie.