Envivio Highlights the Benefits of its Software-Based Approach
At Streaming Media East, Envivio talked HEVC, TV Anytime, and why software solutions are more flexible.
[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at Streaming Media East 2013.]
Envivio is always one of the major players on the show floor at a Streaming Media conference, and at this year's Streaming Media East in New York City it demonstrated why its software-based approach offers more flexibility to operators. Marios Stylianou, the company's director of telco solutions, sat down for a red carpet interview.
"All of our products are software, based on software technology, which gives quite a bit of flexibility to the operator," Stylianou said. "A lot of the different operators across the segments are looking for flexibility when it comes to adding new channels or adding functionality to their platform. So having a solution that is based on software allows them that flexibility and allows us to be able to react to any new formats or standards that are introduced into the market. HEVC is one example."
No surprise that HEVC was a hot topic at this year's Streaming Media West. Stylianou explained Evivio's thoughts on how the standard will enter the market.
"Our view is that HEVC is going to materialize first on the multiscreen domain. There's certainly space for HEVC in broadcast, as well, but we're going to have to wait for silica to be ready to go into set-up boxes and the whole, you know, workflow to be in place," Stylianou said. "Our view is that HEVC is materializing first in multiscreen. We're actually already engaging with potential customers to discuss this potential and how to deploy it."
For more from Envivio, such as how its TV Anytime efforts are going, watch the red carpet interview below.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Hi. I'm Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, editor of Streaming Media magazine, here at the Streaming Media East conference in New York City, and I'm speaking with Marios Stylianou, and he is the director of solutions for Envivio. Marios, welcome.
Marios Stylianou: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Tell us about Envivio's software approach and how it's beneficial to operators.
Marios Stylianou: Sure. All of our products are software, based on software technology, which gives quite a bit of flexibility to the operator. A lot of the different operators across the segments are looking for flexibility when it comes to adding new channels or adding functionality to their platform. So having a solution that is based on software allows them that flexibility and allows us to be able to react to any new formats or standards that are introduced into the market. HEVC is one example. You know, when HEVC was introduced at the beginning of the year, or finalized, we were able to add it to our product and were able to demonstrate it fairly quickly. That's just an example to show, you know, how a flexible platform can support the growing needs of an operator.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Now, obviously, there's a lot of talk about HEVC. It was certainly the buzz at NEB this year.
Marios Stylianou: Sure.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: And you mentioned that you've already built in support. What is Envivio's take on what the road to HEVC adoption is going to be like? Are we going to start seeing adoption pretty soon, and, if so, what's going to be driving that?
Marios Stylianou: Our view is that HEVC is going to materialize first on the multiscreen domain. There's certainly space for HEVC in broadcast, as well, but we're going to have to wait for Silica to be ready to go into set-up boxes and the whole, you know, workflow to be in place. So our view is that HEVC is materializing first in multiscreen. We're actually already engaging with customers, with potential customers to, you know, discussing this potential and how to deploy it. So HEVC, you know, it's very exciting, as you know, in terms of bandwidth savings, CVM cost saving, et cetera. So the first step would be in the multiscreen domain, and then from there we'll go into broadcast, you know, within the next year.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: What about formats that have been around for much longer, such as MPEG-2? Have there been any new developments, or do you see any new developments in MPEG-2 application?
Marios Stylianou: Our experience shows that a lot of the service operators or the, you know, content providers in North America are looking to squeeze a little bit more out of MPEG-2 still. So in terms of codec and technology, there hasn't been too much, you know, on the codec itself. However, there is, and we are one example, there is quite of bit of push to fit even more channels, for example, in a QAM, you know, cable QAM bandwidth. So far, people have been able to do three or four HDs per QAM. Now, there's a push to do-- to go beyond that and do five or six.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Let's get away from codecs for a minute and talk a little bit about Envivio's TV Anytime efforts. Can you tell us what you're doing in the realm of time shifting and multiscreen delivery, and what you kind of call your TV Anytime approach?
Marios Stylianou: Sure. Yeah. So we have a product called Halo, which is our network media processor. Halo essentially supports all these workflows. The way TV is consumed today is certainly changing. So people not only consume TV in front of TV, but they also consume TV on any device at any time. So with that happening, we developed a product to kind of fill that niche and be able to support these different workflows. So Halo as a product can support the different Anytime consumption of TV either through a Catch-up TV mechanism or a network DVR or a network PVR. There's quite a bit of demand for that workflow, as well as Start OverTV. It's not only on main screen anymore, but it's essentially on any device. So we've developed technology basically to enable the service provider or the content owner to be able to support these workflows.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: What about ad insertion? Obviously, if people are consuming the content, watching programs on multiple devices, they're using network DVRs and PVRs or Catch-up services, advertisers what to be able to monetize, and then the content owners need to be able to monetize every view they possibly can. What's Envivio doing in that regard?
Marios Stylianou: So, actually ad insertion fits very well with Anytime TV as a use case. Ad insertion allows, again, as you mentioned, the operator to monetize some of the investment they've made in multiscreen, for example, but it also allows them to-- it enables-- we can enable ad insertion for the rest of the chain. So, so far ad insertion has been happening either with pre-roll ads in the streaming media world or with ads in broadcast television. What we enable people to do now is target ads, not only on a per channel or per half-hour basis, but we can target ads on a user basis. So we've introduced a product, NAB, which also won the NAB award, called Halo Experience. This product essentially enables this targetization of ads to the-- per user, which is very unique because now we already customize the stream that reaches the user, so the user is receiving a unicast stream that is very specific to him, and now we can enable ad insertion to that user, you know, within that stream. So it's very unique and very powerful for the service provider and the content owner.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Yeah, absolutely. And, as you mentioned, Streaming Media did give the Halo Experience one of our "Best of NAB" this year, and that was one of the reasons. What are some other features that the Halo Experience offers that differentiates it from perhaps other solutions out there?
Marios Stylianou: Yeah. So, I mean, its capacity. It can manage thousands of users. It can do what we call in the industry "manifest manipulation," which is, essentially, it can pick different pieces of content and kind of target it to a specific stream. That's kind of its core functionality, which is fairly unique in the industry so far.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Very good. Well, thank you very much, Marios.
Marios Stylianou: Okay. Thank you. Nice to meet you.
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Speaking with Envivio. For more, you can go to www.envivio.com. Signing off here, from Streaming Media East.
Operators can deliver more personalized multiscreen video services, says Envivio, while streaming more targeted ads.