HbbTV finally catching telcos’ eyes

With the release of the HbbTV Operator Applications (OpApp), French software house Wiztivi is seeing growing demand for HbbTV support among its primarily European operator customers. A new deal with French DTH provider Fransat demonstrates how telcos are now using HbbTV to push their own TV portal on CPE that is outside of their ecosystem.

While HbbTV has always posed an attractive prospect for broadcasters and content owners by granting them direct access to live channels for interactive features, the OpApp means that telcos are now able to make use of the technology even if they do not own the set top within the home.

Eutelsat-owned Fransat used the Wiztivi Framework to develop its new HbbTV app – including front-end UX development and back-end support for configuration of content and marketing campaigns.

Speaking to Faultline this week, Wiztivi’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Thibault Demartial, explains how Wiztivi’s Framework had to be accommodating of legacy devices by continuing to support older iterations of the hybrid digital television standard.

Witzivi’s Framework is a tool to deploy video services to the full range of potential end devices and operating systems. On the device side, Witzivi can cover everything from set tops, smart TVs to phones and games consoles. Demartial claims that it is the only software on the market with such extensive range.

If you are claiming to serve all deployment scenarios, there is a constant pressure to stay ahead of the times. Wiztivi therefore has an entire development team that solely works on the Framework to keep it in sync with consumer watching habits and operator deployment needs.

Demartial notes that OSs like Android TV and Tizen consistently undergo annual updates which require maintenance on Wiztivi’s end, while each year also sees a new load of consumer electronics enter the market.

In response to a growing interest among European operators, Wiztivi only added support for RDK within the last year. Demartial says that a few European operators are undergoing R&D projects to see if they could deploy RDK-based set tops. So far, however, none of Wiztivi’s customers have made the jump.

They are looking for an alternative,” says Demartial, noting the common irritation among operators that deploying Android TV hands all control over roadmaps and technical support to Google […].

Fransat marks Wiztivi’s first deal of the year, and while it sounds as though there are a few more in the pipeline, Dermartial says that vendors must always allow for “the project cycle” – i.e. fully integrating with one customer before moving onto the next.

As well as telcos, Wiztivi looks to directly serve media companies of all shapes and sizes – broadcasters, TV channels, OTT platforms and content studios that are looking to take some of their offerings direct to consumers.

While telcos make up over 60% of Wiztivi’s revenues, Demartial explains that operating across two customer segments serves the company well when planning a consistent revenue stream. “Project cycles are longer with telcos. You need to integrate with all their systems,” he explained. “Media is much shorter, however. You can get a new application up and running in three months.”

Although a Europe-centric vendor, Demartial notes that Wiztivi is seeing growth in Latin America and Middle East. On the latter, we have heard from a few video software vendors that multi-tenant approaches are proving lucrative in Latin America, where several cash-strapped operators can club together to buy one shared back-end.

Although Wiztivi traditionally does not operate on the back-end, Demartial notes that the company’s eXperience Management System (XMS) allows operators to further segment the experiences delivered from their back-end, fine tuning the end experiences to each user.

Launched 12 years ago and now serving a footprint of over 30 million end users, Witzivi’s Framework is currently on its 7th edition. The technology is based on JavaScript with an abstraction layer that sits on top of an OS on the device or within a browser.

From this diverse Framework, Wiztivi can tailor unique apps for each of its clients that are specific to their own deployment requirements.

Source : Rethink Research

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