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  Intercomms Issue 19
Issue 19 Articles

Infonova logoSmart TV:
A driver for the CSP Business!

InterComms talks to Werner de Buigné, Industry Lead Broadcast & Online Media, Infonova

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Werner de Buigné, Industry Lead Broadcast & Online Media, Infonova
Werner de Buigné,
Industry Lead Broadcast & Online Media, Infonova

Werner de Buigné has more than 15 years professional experience in the Broadcast and Online Media Domain including technical consulting, program & project management, and account management of leading broadcast and online media companies.

He has a deep knowledge in enhanced, interactive & hybrid TV middleware standards and technologies. In addition, he sets a focus on the new business models in the media industry and how business support systems can help to manage and orchestrate the business processes in that context.

We are looking at a changing face for the Communication providers and a blurring of roles and models. As companies how do you see this changing the market?
A: Primarily we see a real boost in any type of video related services delivered to the consumer. Every single stakeholder in the media industry currently seeks and investigates options on how to participate in this trend, especially content owners or more generally content providers are again in the driving seat here. As of today there are many options available to them, especially the fast evolution of broadband access – as well in quantity and in quality – is the enabling factor for Over-The-Top (OTT) video delivery over the public Internet. The ongoing net neutrality discussion emphasizes the importance of that particular change in the industry. A growing consumer base has learned over the past few years, that there are other, cool ways to access on demand video content on the living room 50” flat TV, compared to the usual watching of broadcast linear TV on cable, satellite or terrestrial TV networks. But on the other hand, statistics show also that consumption of linear broadcast TV is still growing. What it means to CSPs is that in any business scenario targeted to provide TV content to the consumer, both linear TV and non-linear on demand video services need to be present in attractive product offerings. This in turn means that business models and thus also the supporting IT systems have to deal with increased complexity in order to enable CSPs to deliver different types of content, packaged in various products with all kinds of transactional and subscription models. From a technology perspective it must not be forgotten that the content has to be adapted to a pretty long list of different consumer devices.

Q: How has the HD+ SmartTV deployment changed your views and created problems that needed to be over come?
A: It is important to understand that the prime goal of HD PLUS is to provide an open platform for satellite HDTV broadcasters in the German market place, who want to protect their huge financial investments in HDTV content production, acquisition and distribution. It’s up to every broadcaster itself to decide about the participation in this type of platform offering. Very much the same spirit will be reflected in the HD+ SmartTV service offering, which has been available for about half a year. HD+ SmartTV relies on the HbbTV standard and provides a comfortable way for the consumer to enjoy HD and SD linear TV along with OTT on demand video content from a wide range of different sources. Again the open platform approach is the main driver, but with HD+ SmartTV now OTT video delivery is in the prime focus. The evolution from high quality linear TV to a combination of high quality linear TV and HbbTV services in one single system, along with the dedicated HD+ open platform approach for the content providers require a flexible and extendable back office system to support the entirety of related business processes.

Q: What was the customer view on the deployment and do they feel they are future proofed?
A: HD PLUS views Infonova R6 as a reliable platform for managing the business processes related to the HD+ linear HDTV service. HD PLUS uses Infonova´s R6 for the management of all customer related business processes for the product HD+. R6 is used as a CRM system to manage anonymous customers and their products, as well as for the highly automated order management which triggers the service activation. Customers can buy smartcards or prolongations for their existing smartcards in retail outlets, via the HD+ web shop or call center. The last two sales channels are managed in Infonova’s R6 system.

Q: If we look at the main benefits to both the customer and their end users what would they be?
A: From an end user perspective the main benefit is to have a very comfortable access to HD+ channels (currently 14, well-known German private TV channels) as well as to a growing base of OTT services for HD+ SmartTV. Since HD+ and HD+ SmartTV rely on open standards, like the set of DVB standards and HbbTV, and moreover provides a dedicated specification for receiver manufacturers with specific platform details, the user experience is extraordinarily good. This is of particular importance, since the end user needs to trust in the supplier of the services. The handling of this trusted relationship is a continuous process, which is carefully managed by HD PLUS. One of the main benefits of R6 is to manage the anonymous end users of the HD+ platform in one single place Call Center agents as well as the HD+ web shop are able to rely on the consistent same source of data.

Q: Where are you looking to help with these deployments and how do you see the future in this part of the industry...
A: It is amazing how the availability of TV and video content has changed in the past decade. Some ten years ago, linear TV channels were distributed in satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcast networks and the “on demand” video experience we could enjoy only by buying or renting DVDs. But at least we had finally entered the digital age in the media domain. Nevertheless, distribution of linear and non-linear video content over IP was something perceived as not yet possible at that time. A decade later we have seen it all: the managed IPTV networks, which already got less important in the meantime, and now the Over-The-Top video delivery over the public Internet which has grown enormously over the past few years. From a consumer perspective we can access linear and non-linear video content not only on the TV screen in the living room, but also on our smart phones, our tablets, and on our gaming consoles. However, the pure existence of such technical delivery options alone is not sufficient for developing a wealthy market place. Much more than it is the case today, this kind of entertainment services need to be carefully managed and actively promoted to the individual consumers and in a way that consumers are ready to be part of the monetization process – either directly or indirectly.

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