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Around 20 years ago my life was intricately woven into a seminal merger of the UK’s cable companies. When finally merged they would reincarnated as Virgin Media.
As director of engineering of one of the big two in the merger I had my share of joint evaluation sessions between the companies to reconcile the network architecture and design; clearly the best outcome would be to operate the combined technology infrastructure as one where possible.
Looking from the outside at the time you might have concluded it wasn’t looking ideal for me; the other company had built a fully redundant network, we had single points of failure, the other company had local caching for fast response times, we had none, the other company had separated the business data traffic from the residential internet traffic, we had put it all on the same network, but to understand the outcome you needed to understand the times.
Two to three years earlier we also had separate business and residential networks, we also had local caching, and we probably had more network resilience built in. But we also had higher customer complaints.
The problems were that local caching was defeating the realtime benefits of the internet, such as realtime bidding on ebay, complex old tech was hitting reliability issues and traffic was growing so rapidly it was in danger of swamping us. If you removed local caching you needed even more massive network bandwidth, but as internet usage had massive peaks and troughs the danger was you’d end up massively over building (and over spending) on network bandwidth.
To cut a long story short, we did it anyway. We justified the massive network build on the basis that it could be used by business traffic during the day and residential at night (ironing out the peaks and troughs) and we cut costs by building redundant routes rather than a redundant network. The result? Customer complaints went down and the quality of experience shot up (removing out of date cache data), the reliability went up (less moving parts in the design) and the costs per byte delivered went down, i.e. margins went up.
So, it was less boardroom armageddon for me and more sitting comfortably behind a couple of wonderful economists that presented all this around some robust financial modelling.
Today’s challenge is streaming, and I see many parallels across a massive demand base that ranges from Tier 1 operators to premier league football clubs, from TV production companies and Hollywood studios to the streaming of local theatres, festivals and events. The tendency to over engineer the solution in an era that can deliver higher quality solutions, with more functionality, cheaper and quicker.
In an era where technology and consumer demands move so fast it makes sense to use SaaS/PaaS solutions. Built on robust globally resilient cloud infrastructure (e.g. AWS, Azure etc.) can provide instant answers to immediate challenges. But they only go so far and if you need to deliver in 2023 it is the next step that I question.
Building your own streaming platform from scratch, even on cloud computing, is not going to deliver anything in 2023 and I also believe that integrating a bunch of vertical SaaS streaming services is likewise crazy in today’s world. You’ll be hard pressed to make it work effectively in 2023 and you’ll spend an awful lot of money trying.
Differentiation is often cited as the overriding reason for building your own uniquely systems integrated streaming service. However, as touched on in my last blog, if you want to deliver a streaming service across smart TVs, streaming boxes and TV operator Set TopBoxes (STBs), then you are going to be constrained by the common design capabilities of all these diverse devices anyway.
By providing tools that allow you to instantly apply the full scope of design components available across every one of these devices you can provide all the differentiation needed. But what’s more important in this approach is that you can deliver today. Creating a streaming service, once the content and metadata is available, is only limited by the length of time it takes you to select your designs and publish your content. And when all that requires is some dragging, dropping and scheduling, is not very long at all.
With 90% of all design components common on all devices, the likelihood of getting any further differentiation in trying to use design aspects exclusive to any one device, will not be worth it. All you’ll achieve is a logistical and reliability nightmare when trying to make any changes. Any consumer joy gained will have been outweighed in spades by the customer complaints generated.
A PaaS solution like ours provides all the underlying cloud scaling and robustness needed. We also provide a rich suite of design tools for instant construction of your service across the full portfolio of devices. In additionally allowing you to define your own metadata you can further make sure every aspect of content discovery and categorisation of products, collections and menus is uniquely tailored to your brand and market needs.
Getting a highly differentiated service implemented, with high customer satisfaction, great customer experience, high reliability and low costs (all those goals we set out to achieve 20 years ago), when it comes to streaming, are now possible in a matter of days. All of which means if you want to deliver your goals this year with better margins than previously possible, come and say hello.
By building in the design tools, client defined metadata and market segmentation into our service, and applying it through data-driven apps using common code for each device type, we can immediately provide a highly differentiated Tier 1 quality service, with unprecedented speed to market and unparalleled economics. By building on highly robust and scalable cloud services like AWSand Azure, we can also scale rapidly and globally.
All this begs the question on just how much you might get from building your own streaming infrastructure. Why reinvent the wheel in such a fast-moving competitive landscape.
In an industry needing to swiftly adapt to a changing landscape forced on it by the streaming revolution, it makes sense to have an agile streaming facility to call on. An outsourced partner can offer a powerful combination of ease, speed, quality and economy that are needed in a rapidly changing, results-driven industry, allowing for the introduction of innovative revenue streams and the ability to gain market share.
For more information on how Easel TV are streaming ahead and can help your business expand its revenue streams, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com
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