IPTV innovation has stagnated and won’t improve until the industry finds a better way to develop and deliver applications, says Brook Longdon, head of media and entertainment at Nokia Siemens Networks. “IPTV innovation is too slow, and we have to do something about that.”
He stated that in eight years of discussing IPTV, the conversation hasn’t changed much. People still talk about applications like caller ID and multiple sports angles. And the idea of ordering pizza by TV still isn’t a reality, "at least not in my house."
Longdon explained the key to making telco TV succeed is in the content — providing good TV. But because content owners hoover up the profits from TV and movies, telcos need to sell applications in addition to regular content if they’re to generate any profit margins. And that’s where IPTV has stalled because of the paralysing way in which applications are developed and released. For example, the factors that make an application “cool” aren’t the same across North America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific, yet telcos continue to obsess over building applications that can scale worldwide.
The result is that every region gets a less than optimal product, and the region with the most money to spend gets one that “sucks the least,” Longdon said. “As I’m looking to align my roadmaps with my developer teams and deciding how to spend my money, I’m always aiming for the middle.” That’s why the industry needs to bring in other ideas and more developers, said the NSN man, creating a phenomenon akin to the iPhone app store. The key, he added, is to provide development tools for free. That’s the best way to get the tools into the hands of someone who can do something interesting with them.