Will Android kill middleware as we know it?

Google’s Android operating system took just a few years to go from upstart newcomer to dominating the global mobile market. Can it do the same for TV?

In my last blog, a primer on Android for STBs, I described the options available to operators: the “plug-and-play” Android TV service, and the more customizable self-build route based on AOSP. Is this combination enough to kill-off the market in proprietary middleware?

Android for STBs: What every pay TV operator should know

Launching a pay TV platform typically requires 2-3 years’ development to create a customized user experience based on proprietary middleware with continuous updates throughout the STB lifetime. It’s slow, expensive and requires specialist developers, but operators get the UX they choose.

Google’s AOSP and Android TV are shaking up this status quo. Android rose from zero to global dominance of mobile markets in under seven years, so it’s little wonder this disruptor is being taken seriously.

Will content ever be ‘everywhere’?

After lots of meetings with studios and operators at CES, a memory popped into my head. “Making camel-friendly packaging”. What on earth does that have to do with content?

Back in the day
I was a product manager for STBs. Our best distributor from Dubai faxed over (yes, it’s that long ago) a complaint. Too much packaging was negatively affecting his pipeline. How?

A common goal for all pay-TV operators

With the rise of OTT services, consumers are starting to analyze their monthly entertainment expenses. The good news is that many don’t want to lose their pay-TV operator service. The downside is they want to pay less for it.

Is it the same across the globe?
What’s clear from my customer meetings is that pay-TV services are not being eroded completely by OTT. They’re still important. But pressure is building on operators to drive down the cost of delivery. From Mexico to Malaysia this was a common goal.

The next billion viewers: growing the OTT footprint

All pay-TV operators would like to improve TV quality, reduce content delivery costs and reach larger audiences. Who wouldn’t? Given today’s current bandwidth limitations how can operators’ grow their OTT business? Where will the next billion viewers come from?

TV Everywhere
Consumer’s appetite to watch their favorite shows anytime anywhere is showing no sign of slowing. And the ever increasing availability of IP connected devices is fueling this demand. No wonder, pay-TV operators are looking to offer OTT services to meet this growing need.

Turning the Internet of Threats into the Internet of Trust

Could an innocent device like a STB, webcam or home thermostat be used by hackers to attack you? In the current world of the Internet of Things (IoT), the answer is Yes! Leading to the name Internet of Threats. But operators have the power to change this.

IoT promises connected convenience at consumer’s fingertips. From adjusting your home heating when you land back at the airport, to checking your home security remotely if the alarm goes off while you’re out. Consumers depend on their operator to be the trusted party and remove any privacy or security implications.

Don’t get left behind with 4K readiness

Over the last couple of months I’ve been surprised by how few pay-TV operators have concrete 4K plans in place. Other issues are their priority. But I wonder will they get left behind as a result?

Adoption will be quicker
Earlier this year, Business Insider forecasted that 4K will roll out much faster than industry analysts predict. This echoes what we see in the adoption rates.

How safe is your STB?

Cybercrime is big business. And the impact is far reaching. No organization is immune. Cable and Satellite operators with their large number of STBs could be vulnerable to attack. Can anything be done to minimize the risk?

Changing face of cybercrime
Hackers are no longer teenagers wanting to gain notoriety. Over the years, we’ve witnessed cybercrime change.

Break free – hand off complexity to focus on your core business

Consolidation within the industry shows no sign of stopping. The EU approves BSkyB’s proposed acquisition of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. Vodafone CEO hints at interest in more acquisitions after its recent purchase of Spain’s largest cable operator – Ono. And that’s only a couple of examples. You would image that the inevitable consequence for the “mega” operator is the headache of being locked into multiple long-term vendors.

A recent customer meeting reassured me that operators are interested in breaking free. They just need the headache tablet.