Alcatel-Lucent and thePlatform team for TV

Alcatel-Lucent and thePlatform, an online video management and publishing company, have announced a strategic alliance to help cable and IPTV providers deliver a new generation of video services to their subscribers’ TVs, PCs, tablets, mobile phones and more.

The companies have joined forces to offer a multiscreen video platform that supports the delivery of live scheduled TV, video on demand (VOD) and TV everywhere services to a variety of screens, allowing pay-TV subscribers to access their video content in the home or on the go, on whichever device is most convenient to them at the time.

The solution offers advanced video management capabilities together with optimized video distribution through a content delivery network (CDN) deployed by the service provider. It also brings the security and reliability found today on TV set-top boxes to a broader range of devices.

Derrick Frost, senior vice president, Global IP Video Solutions at Alcatel-Lucent said: “Consumer demand for anywhere, anytime video services is exploding and our customers are looking for an edge. Alcatel-Lucent’s leadership in IPTV and content delivery networks, coupled with our strategic alliance with thePlatform provides a unique suite of capabilities that allow service providers to offer the best of traditional pay-TV and online video worlds to their customers.”

Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform observed: “In recent years, we’ve seen tremendous growth and innovation with online video, which is reshaping the future of TV. Our alliance with Alcatel-Lucent allows us to address the new opportunities and challenges facing TV service providers today. Expanding the use of our capabilities beyond online and mobile video to manage TV itself represents a significant new business opportunity for thePlatform. Alcatel-Lucent’s strong customer relationships and experience in the service provider space will help us reach a broader set of customers than was possible previously. Our joint solution will enable pay-TV providers to create groundbreaking consumer services that unify content delivery across any screen.”

The multiscreen video platform is made up of three main components – Cloud, Content Delivery Network and Clients – each of which can be deployed individually, in combination, or as part of a comprehensive solution:

A central element of this component is thePlatform’s cloud-based mpx video management system which provides the central logistics system for multi-screen video publishing. It provides video and metadata management, rights enforcement and business policy modelling between TV providers and content owners, and automated publishing capabilities. For TV service providers, mpx provides flexible deployment options that support a fully-hosted cloud-based ASP (application service provider) model, a self-hosted solution within the TV service provider’s data centers, or a hybrid deployment that combines aspects of both. In addition, customers can benefit from both companies’ subscriber management services which maintain a detailed subscriber profile for each customer, supporting authentication, payments, preferences, audience measurement, advertising, and customer service needs.

The Multiscreen Content Delivery Network – based on Alcatel-Lucent’s Velocix Digital Media Delivery Platform – enables service providers to build and operate their own dedicated CDN as an alternative to shared third-party CDNs. It also improves video quality, offers faster file downloads at significantly reduced costs, and – when integrated with thePlatform’s mpx video management system — assures seamless delivery of video. Security concerns about illegal content sharing are addressed with encryption functionality that allows pay-TV providers to implement robust set-top box-like content protection for virtually any device.

The Multiscreen Clients are a suite of subscriber applications, each designed to support video playback on either a PC, tablet or mobile device. Service providers have the option to customize the user experience to meet their specific requirements, or select an out-of-the-box Multiscreen Client application. The Multiscreen Clients can seamlessly pre-integrate the Interactive Program Guide (IPG) with search and personalization features, making it easy for users to discover and watch live TV and VOD services on a wide variety of devices in an intuitive fashion comparable to a typical TV experience.

The two companies are currently working with a number of leading TV service providers on deployments.