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How to Ensure Smooth OTT Platform Integration

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Learn more about OTT at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Michael Bouchard: How do we ensure that our platforms are open, so that, as we're taking on new challenges, new distribution channels, or even new products and companies, that they can integrate into our underlying platform?

Geir Magnusson: Someday, I guess we'll be integrating other companies. But we're still a pretty small organization not doing that yet. We spend a lot of time ensuring that our architecture and distribution system are really custom and bespoke. Now, of course, we don't write the encoder. We have an infrastructure to manage that, but it's all automated all the way out. We write our apps--everything between the encoder to the app is ours. We're always thinking about ensuring that we don't take too many shortcuts. It does happen, but making sure that you have a design and an architecture that's thinking forward at least to some degree. You can't see too far in the future. Then you're just doing speculative engineering. But we pay attention to what's going on in the larger universe and make sure that at least we've thought about it as we're taking steps forward.

Magnus Svensson: If you're going with integration, I would say, be careful and then pick friends around you. If you want to replace a component, pick another component that's worked before, don't be a guinea pig. Try to use open interfaces instead of proprietary interfaces. Most of the vendors have partners and pre-integrated components surrounding them. One piece of good advice is to use those partners and pre-integrations, instead of trying to be the guinea pig, trying to invent something, especially if you go with proprietary interfaces and it's usually really scary to go that way. If you go with more mature, standardized protocols and interfaces, you're open.

Rema Morgan-Aluko: When you're looking at all these pieces, it's really important to have a very modular architecture so that you can plug and play certain things. Not all things can be plugged in, not all things can be integrated. You'll find that sometimes your engineering teams might kill you and say, "Hey, what is this? Why did you pick this?" Hopefully, you're working really nicely with them. But I think that one of the benefits of using a modular architecture is that, if there's a certain piece, you can take that out. You can plug it in with something else. And the other thing is, as you're evaluating things where you want to build that internally or buy, a lot of these vendors have things that are the same tooling under the hood for the most part.

Some of those challenges are, is the documentation available for you? Is it easy to understand? I think Magnus was saying something like, make sure that it is a well-known system, make sure that it integrates with the rest of your system. For our engineering teams here at Fandango, we're constantly testing out whether or not we should continue to build everything in-house or have certain external pieces. Just recently, we were evaluating something and it didn't work out. So I think that integrating is not the easiest thing. But I never want to lock myself into a system that I can't get out of, because things are changing all the time.

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