Ericsson has lifted the veil on a new video analytics toolkit that it claims will provide a framework for deriving big data insights about personalized viewing habits, as well as operational aspects of a video service.
The launch of the Integrated Video Insights (IVI) platform marks the Swedish vendor's latest move in the TV and media sector, one of its targeted growth areas. It comes shortly after Ericsson announced plans to acquire a US TV-data company called FYI Television. (See Ericsson Scoops Up US TV-Data Business.)
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has already developed an analytics product called Expert Analytics but says IVI can be used as an "expansion module" for this or as a standalone solution.
It is positioning IVI as a tool that will help TV companies to address evolving user requirements and preferences amid soaring interest in over-the-top and on-demand services.
"There is an opportunity for operators and video service providers if they can unlock the value in data and draw insights from it," said Guy Beverlin, the head of Ericsson's global TV and media practice, during an online presentation of the new service earlier today. "That is the mission of Ericsson's IVI. It takes data and cleans and correlates it so that operators and others can extract insights."
Beverlin described IVI as a "vendor-agnostic" platform but was eager to present the new technology as another component in Ericsson's expanding portfolio of TV and media services.
"We have lots of competitors in specific segments, such as compression, cloud DVR and services, but the unique point is that we are the only one able to join all the dots," said Valter D'Avino, the head of Ericsson's Western and Central European business, in response to questions about the challenge posed by rivals in this market.
To make use of the insights generated by IVI, an operator would need to provide connections to its back-office systems -- another area that Ericsson has identified as a major growth opportunity -- as well as to content providers, said Beverlin.
Commenting on ways in which IVI might improve a TV company's service, Beverlin gave the example of a service outage at an individual property caused by bad weather.
"What if we could understand the service impact, the value of the customer to the business?" he said. "We might recognize they are high-value customers and extend the service window for 24 hours and take it off their bill."
The technology could also be used to detect system-wide issues quickly and build in automatic remedies to particular problems, such as rebooting a home gateway that has crashed.
Ericsson says the IVI service is available now and that it plans to provide demonstrations of the technology during February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
"We've been working with several companies to define the platform and we'd love to have an angel customer," said Beverlin.
Ericsson has been particularly active in the TV and media markets over the past few months, agreeing to pay $125 million for Envivio Inc. (NASDAQ: ENVI), a video compression specialist, in September last year and announcing several customer deals at the same time. (See Ericsson Beefs Up TV Biz With Envivio Buy, AT&T Deal.)
Those included a contract to help AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) shift its satellite and wireline TV services on to a single platform and contracts with Canada's Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) and the UK's Channel 5.
Telus was unveiled as the first customer of Ericsson's MediaFirst product, a cloud-based pay-TV platform designed to support both traditional and over-the-top services. Channel 5 is taking a range of playout, media management, metadata, access and business continuity services from Ericsson.
This week's deal for FYI Television is expected to boost Ericsson's position in the market for content-discovery services. FYI analyzes content and scheduling data from more than 9,000 TV networks daily and then provides information in customized formats to various clients in the TV, mobile, Internet and print businesses.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading