IBC Show Previews R – S

SDNsquare – Stand 10.F42

In anticipation of its presence at IBC, SDNsquare – a leading IP network orchestration provider – announces release 1.9 of their flagship ‘GRID’ network controller: a Software Defined Network controller which guides data-stream paths and creates predictable, low latency flow to optimize network performance and management. The new release includes additional support and configuration for a range of switches, extended approaches to visualization and monitoring, improved performance for large networks and increased API-based interoperability.

GRID’s core function is to facilitate predictable and optimal management of a network, providing for reliable, real-time production operations which are not disrupted by data transfer issues or blockage – using intelligent management to deliver predictable and reliable data flow. The new range of additions brought to version 1.9 increases the range of applications that GRID is suited to, grants users greater control and insight over their networks, and facilitates integration of third-party solutions – including Broadcast controllers and monitoring/orchestration solutions. The net result is a greatly improved SDN functionality, which in turn drives significant cost and performance efficiencies for media companies.

In addition, GRID facilitates quick, intuitive and automated configuration of an IP infrastructure in a way that is both modular and scalable. In this way, it is ideal for broadcasters who deal with a wide range of media workflows on a fluctuating basis, who need to ensure scalability, predictability and reliability in order to deliver the highest quality of service, and who need to deliver low latency network performance with no packet loss, even in bursty, high-impact traffic in many-to-many environments.

The latest expansions in version 1.9 further increase the capabilities and compatibilities of an already very powerful network management tool. As well as extending the switch support offered through GRID to a greater number of Arista Mellanox and Netgear switches, other switches which are not yet supported can still be configured within the system.

Ease-of-use is enhanced with an ability to backup and restore from pre-configured snapshots, as well as downloading them for off-site backup. Addition of a partner API allows for GRID to be used as a middleware engine integrated into user workflows, though the intuitive WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) GUI that ships with the system means that many will be comfortable operating with the system as it ships, ready to plug-and-play.

In terms of improvements made in the field of reliability and monitoring, a new deterministic switch memory model has been added –  enabling more extensive QoS settings, and alternative flow paths, flow overview and bandwidth usage have been visualised in order to facilitate improved debugging, along with the addition of a range of search and filter options. Finally, in terms of overall functionality and performance, the path cache calculation time for large networks consisting of more than 100 switches has been significantly improved.

Speaking of the latest release, CEO of SDNsquare Henry Alexander said: “In version 1.9 we’ve made a number of improvements – both big and small. Taken together they significantly enhance the scope, functionality and capabilities of GRID, as well as making it more user-friendly and intuitive than ever before.

He then concluded: “Furthermore, our new Partner API will allow us to license our core GRID technology solution to media companies  that will be able  to use SDNsquare’s proven and patented technology for advanced Software Defined Network functionality, whilst reducing costs and optimising their network performance“.

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SmartLabs – Stand 5.B26

SmartLabs, the leading provider of multi-screen, multi-network solutions for video streaming, today announces that it will be highlighting its solutions for IPTV and OTT at IBC 2021. The company will also be using the expo to showcase its first RDK-enabled Set Top Boxes (STBs), its intelligent and flexible Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) system and its powerful analytics solution, SmartCare.

Recent reports predict revenue in the OTT Video segment is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 11.54%, resulting in a projected market volume of $275,530m by 2025. The largest segment is OTT Video Advertising with a market volume of $92,253m in 2021.

Gary Hamer, SmartLabs’ Global VP for Business Development, says: “We have seen some fundamental changes in the market and an increased demand for content globally. Some of this has been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic where people were at home a lot more. This change in behaviour and accelerated demand for content has meant dramatic growth for SmartLabs, who were already well positioned to support the industry. We have seen expansion in LATAM, further investment in European installations and we are breaking into new territory in North America and Canada. We have a range of exciting new solutions and are looking forward to meeting customers, prospects and industry peers at IBC.”

SmartCare analytics – advanced technical support

SmartLabs will be using IBC to demonstrate SmartCare, its analytics programme that helps operators and content providers to understand audience behaviour and changes in viewing habits, enabling them to reduce customer churn and offer a better customer experience.

SmartCare’s powerful analytics can analyse set top box CPU and memory usage, along with stream quality and buffering statistics. By collating this information and analysing it alongside channel and content offerings, the new engine can distinguish normal behaviour from abnormal, highlight spikes of activity and report on customer drop-off.

Being able to collect and analyse this data means operators can proactively solve any technical issues before its customers are even aware of them and support the customer help centre to reduce costs related to support. Using SmartCare, operators are able to see if there are issues with its systems, in particular with OTT services, and identify how this might affect subscriber behaviour. Almost two-thirds of media executives see “exploiting rapidly increasing availability of data” as an opportunity, according to a global EY survey. Those who can use this information for quality analytical insight will see the greatest impact on subscriber retention.

As well as gaining technical insights to help the service run more smoothly, the information can be used by marketing teams to identify which pieces of content are delivering. This can assist better choices of content and be used as a negotiation tool for paid-for content with suppliers.

Better understanding of content requirements – Dynamic Ad Insertion

Used in conjunction with SmartLabs’ new intelligent and agile ad insertion solution DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion), operators can now access a solution for highly accurate ad targeting and placement to drive video content monetisation success. SmartLabs DAI solution enables broadcasters and operators to dynamically insert ad units into video content. With its server-side ad insertion technology, operators can add or replace ads in live, pre-recorded, and xVoD video content with little-to-no effort. With built-in VAST protocol support, users can partner with third-parties or configure their own campaigns in SmartLabs DAI, becoming independent of external advertising services.

RDK – future proofing legacy systems

SmartLabs is a long-time collaborator of RDK and has extensive experience and understanding of how to integrate RDK into a multi-device solution. Together with DAI, RDK is part of the SmartLabs’ product roadmap to extend its portfolio into a SaaS model. The company has also developed a new STB which is RDK-enabled, the SmartLabs STB 5045, which will be demonstrated at IBC with units due off the production line in Q2 2022.

Gary adds: “Our RDK solutions are another facet of SmartLabs’ integration and migration offerings. Like the solution we have for Linux and Android, we see RDK as another route for us to help operators futureproof legacy systems, without having to completely replace existing hardware.”

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