The convergence: broadband and broadcasting


I attended the NAB show in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and one of the key topics under discussion was the convergence of wireless broadband and broadcasting. The telecommunications and media industries are on a collision course because rapidly changing technology is pushing them into many of the same business areas. Telcos are using their advanced broadband networks to deliver interactive video content, and broadcasters are tapping into the growth of mobile smartphone and tablets to play content anytime, anyplace and from any device.

With rapidly increasing network speeds around the globe, it won’t be long before we see large-scale events, such as the NFL Super Bowl, broadcast live over mobile devices. Personally, I still prefer watching important games with family and friends on a big screen TV, but if I get caught in an airport, it would be nice to be able to catch the game on my smartphone.

During a candid exchange at the general session on Tuesday, April 9, Gordon Smith (NAB President and CEO) and Lowell McAdam (Chairman and CEO of Verizon) talked about the challenges and opportunities that convergence presents to both industries. They stressed the importance of cooperation between broadcasters and broadband providers for the benefit of consumers who are demanding content on various platforms.

Both broadcasters and broadband providers face the same challenge: building a video delivery system that can handle today’s workloads. They need a system that has the flexibility and scalability to meet new consumer needs, grow rapidly and support a variety of revenue-generation opportunities.

IBM and Fabrix developed a powerful solution to address this challenge. It’s called IBM Video Grid, and it combines innovative software from Fabrix with robust computing technologies from IBM.

With Video Grid, it’s faster, easier and more profitable to deliver any content (live or recorded) to any device over any network infrastructure. The solution is part of the IBM Media Enterprise Framework (MEF), an IBM software platform that offers proven, integrated solutions for media and entertainment.

Video Grid is a versatile video delivery platform with critical benefits:

  • Scalability: It eliminates complicated networking used to connect disparate server farms dedicated to storage, streaming, transcoding and other functions. Nonlinear and time-shifted streaming are straightforward tasks. Transcoding can be performed without separate IT infrastructure, as can mobile intellectual property (IP) content delivery.
  • Resiliency: It improves the overall reliability of the system with video striping and multitasking, so there is no single point of failure.
  • Security: It supports identity management, authentication and cross-platform encryption.
  • Reduced costs: It centralizes DVR storage with a remote storage digital video recorder (RS-DVR), also known as “DVR in the cloud.”  RS-DVR uses legacy set-top boxes without requiring hardware upgrades.

Video Grid also features real-time ad insertion, even in time-shifted video streams, which offers possibilities for greater revenue. For example, suppose a user records a TV program in January, but doesn’t watch it until July. The outdated ads from January are seamlessly replaced in real time with new ones. IBM predictive analytics can significantly enhance this capability by providing real-time targeted advertising and campaign management.

Video Grid rewrites the rules of video storage, processing and distribution, which is good news for both the telecommunications and media industries.

Learn more at EDGE

Although I can’t promise that you’ll win any money on the slots, you can learn more industry best practices for managing storage growth at IBM Edge 2013, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas on June 10-14. I hope you’ll join us for one of our industry-focused executive sessions.

For IBM Edge updates in real-time, follow @IBMEdge on Twitter and join the conversations with the hashtag #IBMEdge.

Bill Lambertson is an IBM Confirmed Principal, Certified Network Consultant and currently the STG Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Telecommunications Industry. In this role, he is responsible for supporting telecommunications clients in major and emerging markets worldwide to help them deliver smarter services, transform operations, and build smarter networks. You can reach him on Twitter @wlambertson

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