In this episode, Jamie sits down with Stefan Blickensdörfer of 3 Screen Solutions to discuss…
📺 The journey of 3SS
📺 What peaked their interest about RDK
📺 How they’re implementing the software already, and in the future…
Hello, and welcome to the RDK podcast. I’m your host, Jamie Walker. And today I’m joined by the fantastic Stefan Blickensdörfer from Three Screen Solutions. Stefan, welcome. And how are you doing?
Hey, doing good. How are you? Nice to be here!
I’m good as well, it’s great to have you on the show. I’m really looking forward to it. Stefan, just for our listeners who might not be aware of three screen solutions, could you give us a little insight into what your main focus is?
Yeah, sure. So, three screen solutions. We are in the business for operators and broadcasters since more than 10 years. Meanwhile, our main focus, if you will, is to deliver excellent video experiences to end consumers. We are operator customers. So we are a company that focuses very much on front end development. We are serving operators and broadcasters all over the world with a heavy focus still on Europe, but we are expanding as well. To do that we have launched a few years ago, the 3D Entertainment ecosystem, which is our product framework that we utilise, with a suit of front ends, but also experienced management tool named the control centre that helps operators and broadcasters then to create experiences for the users.
Great, and thank you for the insight. And, you know, with the popularity of the three ready concepts, it’s been a big part of the work that you do, especially over the last few years with with reassess. Can you give us a sort of insight into the projects you have been part of in the recent years and the kind of service providers you work with?
Yeah, sure. I mean, if you don’t mind, I will actually expand a bit because I think it’s it’s maybe interesting to hear where we came from. And, you know, our focus changed over the years. Because I just look back, you know, so I’m we’re three is as close to nine years meanwhile. And when we started, we had a much wider spectrum of customers reserved. So we mean might be focused very much on operators only. But back then we also had content owners, a lot of broadcasters.
So we started For example, one of my first projects back then was three SS was maxtow, mage, German VOD store. And this was, I would say, typical for the customers we had back then, over the years, we had for example, swisscom. We are we developed with them together, the entertainment was two, which I believe was one of the first Android based operator deployments in Europe or worldwide. And it’s a great solution. They acquired a lot of new customers with that. Then we moved on very much focused on Android and Android TV, for example, for carnality guitar, or now allender. We did one of the first Android TV hybrid deployments. Back then this was before Android TV operator theory existed. We are working for Comhem in Sweden rolled out I believe, also one of the first Android TV operated to hybrid deployments in the market was them. We’ve worked for proximus in Belgium, we work for the joint venture in Germany between procedure and discovery, to support them with a lot of multi screen development on all possible screens, super RTL, but also names like blockbuster in Denmark to bring video to the TV. So that’s pretty much our customer portfolio.
Okay, so it’s a very sort of Android TV focus background, but enabling that deployment for operators across Europe and beyond. So there is an interest buzzing around rdk amongst three screen at the moment. What’s different about rdk? That’s got you excited as a business.
Yeah, like you rightfully said, I mean, most of the references I mentioned are Android or Android TV based. And I think this background and also to go to your question is when we when we started to work for those operators. There was maybe not that much of a choice yet when we wanted to really have a competitive fast time to market on on set up boxes, was you could do custom Linux builds or you could end up to Android TV, but what we have seen in the in Last years is that, yeah, there, there have been a lot of developments in the rdk community and in the ecosystem. So the video accelerator programme, I believe is really a good, a good tool to help operators to achieve similar time to market and also maybe cost efficiencies, like the Android TV ecosystem, because it, it reduces the complexity of selecting all your components, hardware, etc.
So this together with the maturity when it comes to things like voice experiences, which are very important. And then last but not least, for us as a friendly fronted company, also with the latest development around two sets, like the lightning framework, which make it much easier for us to develop high quality experiences also on RDK boxes. And so so we looked a bit from the sidelines on the topic in the last year’s because we simply had, and had this focus on Android TV. But we saw that there’s really a lot of buzz in the industry. And it started to become, I would say, a viable option for operators that want to achieve also a great UX. But maybe need to put a different focus than Android TV gives you. And that’s why we decided to dive more into the RDK, if you will.
That’s it right. And I think the options that it gives you, your current partners, and future partners as well is only going to expand on on those relationships. You know, coming from a heavy Android background, how do you think rdk differs to Android TV in the offerings?
Well, I think they’re they’re the two main obvious differences is that one Android TV comes Of course, with with a very large and very mature and wide ecosystem, which is driven by Google. So I would say if you look at the Playstore, and the number of apps available there, if you look at things like Google Assistant, this is I think, still the main difference between the two worlds.
On the other hand, and this is then what RDK brings to the table is that that enables you to take full control over each part of the ecosystem, right? So it gives you maybe less, less wide options. So if you look at the available applications, etc, or all the ecosystem parts, so you need to invest a bit more on the development and and providing your features there. But on the other hand, you have full control over those. So I think that’s that’s one of the differences. And the other main difference. Well, that’s that’s a more technical part, of course, for us as a front end developer is that one we can develop with with Java with kotlin and now on on RDK, it’s a bit more web focused, you could also other things, obviously, it’s more about a web based UI that you would develop there.
Absolutely. Right. And and and looking at it as well, you know, with your deployments with Android TV, how do you think 3SS are planning to use RDK to your advantage in the future with your partners?
Well in the first place, we want to make sure that that we have also for our operator customers a viable option or alternative next to Android TV, with the same level of UI excellence, the level of feature richness and also our ecosystem that we have been already available on on another alternative. I think there are still for every operator, there are there are good reasons to go one or the other way. And I think it’s difficult to say this is better or that is better. It’s really a case by case.
But yeah, so we want to establish this as an alternative. So that we can also help those operators which for whatever reasons, do not want to go the Android TV route to bring the same level of UX or the same level of content aggregation and just ease of use for the consumers bought together and with the flexibility that we offer on this device as well. And well that’s where we want to go, where we are working on right now, to achieve this and how we want to use it is as I said, mostly I think the new the new ways of developing fontaines new ways of integrating voice also on RDK i think this is this is what helps us on the way there
Absolutely, definitely. And Stefan I just want to say thank you very much for for taking the time today to give us a quick insight into into 3SS and what you’re doing with rdk. And of course, thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. Stefan, where can we find you online?
Well, it’s actually easy. Our name is a bit complicated, but it’s 3ss.tv. There you can find anything about our company about our product and of course, you can stalk us on LinkedIn. We are very active. Meanwhile, we have built up an operator community for our customers. But also try to give a lot of insights on what we are doing internally, but also with our customers there.
Let’s say again, just for all of our listeners, please log on to their LinkedIn page. 3SS puts out some great content about what they do within the community as well.
Please make sure that you follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn using the handle therdkpodcast. And remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you get a notification every time we upload a new episode. Until then, take care and let’s continue the conversation.