I’ve been wandering the halls of the IBC trade show in recent days, focusing predominantly on the many companies that provide software solutions for IP-based video and TV services -- both for linear and on-demand opportunities.
The event in Amsterdam has effectively tracked the industry’s evolution from early mobile TV services to the IP-based multi-screen, multi-device offerings being promoted today. Video has become hugely important as a form of data traffic. Indeed, a report from Cisco in June predicted that IP video traffic would account for 82 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70 per cent in 2015.
Ericsson, meanwhile, forecasts that mobile video traffic will increase by around 55 per cent annually through 2021, when it should account for over two-thirds of all mobile data traffic.
In other words, video is the most significant form of data traffic. For mobile operators it is constantly redefining how they do business. As pointed out by Kavi Maharajh, VP of product marketing at AT&T-owned Quickplay, operators almost have to start again with every new mobile generation. With 4G and future 5G services, “it feels like a new beginning,” Maharajh said. “Operators have to reconsider their video plans.”
Quickplay focused on technologies such as LTE Broadcast early on, but in some ways LTE-B is a technology that is looking for a problem to solve. Plus, with the promise of 5G, many mobile operators could decide to wait a couple of years before going mainstream.
Meanwhile some operators are doing some new and interesting things with OTT TV services. T-Mobile Netherlands, for example, recently launched the Knippr service, which offers consumers the ability to “watch content wherever and whenever they want on the screen of their choice,” according to Knippr VP Johan Trouwborst.
For T-Mobile NL, Knippr is an opportunity to compete with the converged mobile and fixed plans of its rivals KPN and Vodafone NL. The company has already pointed out that the service offers an alternative to “expensive combination packages containing large channel packages”.
As Quickplay’s Maharajh also predicts, we are about to see some exciting trends in mobile TV and video services as operators seek new ways to market what is clearly already a highly attractive consumer service.--Anne