Telcos Face Complex Challenges in Scaling IP Services

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

As IPTV network operators scale their networks to appeal to a broader group of customers, they will face many complex challenges, says Heavy Reading Insider

NEW YORK — IPTV network operators face a complex array of issues and challenges as they scale their networks to deliver more robust services to a wider group of customers, and those challenges aren’t limited solely to subscriber headcount, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Insider, a paid research service of TechWeb’s Heavy Reading.

IPTV Scaling Presents a Multidimensional Challenge examines how IPTV systems are changing in response to growing demands from customers and service providers. It examines how systems deal with increasing reach and numbers of subscribers, and with growth in the amount of content and data volumes for managed and unmanaged delivery. It assesses how systems are evolving to deliver video content to multiple devices, and how IPTV platforms are supporting the development of innovative applications. Eleven leading IPTV system vendors are profiled and analyzed, with a focus on those with end-to-end or near end-to-end capabilities.

“IPTV is at an exciting stage in its development, with subscriber numbers worldwide growing rapidly around the world,” notes Simon Sherrington, research analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report. “But even during this time of opportunity, the industry faces significant challenges related to what can broadly be described as scaling – IPTV services and systems are scaling up in multiple ways, including not only more subscribers, but also more data, more devices, more interactivity, and more content.”

Demand for HD content and multi-screen delivery, the overwhelming quantity of content that must be delivered efficiently and discovered by the user, and the need to respond to competition from OTT video – as well as from cable operators’ increasingly sophisticated services – are all affecting telco efforts to scale IPTV services, Sherrington says. “Vendors need to help their telco customers in many ways, pushing along multiple axes of the scaling challenge and opening up their systems to third parties to help in the development of new services, in which managed IPTV is likely to become just one part of an even more complex TV and video delivery service.”

Key findings of IPTV Scaling Presents a Multidimensional Challenge include the following:

  • Vendors are evolving their systems in several ways, from handling IPTV and video traffic at lower layers in the network to opening up middleware to innovative third-party apps.
  • The IPTV service layer can cope with HD and 3DTV content, although 3D is two years away from being significant.
  • Efficient technical and commercial models for multi-screen TV services have not yet emerged.
  • The processing power of set-top boxes will soon approach that of PCs, and will handle hybrid managed and OTT content in an integrated way.
  • Intelligent content discovery and recommendation engines are increasingly important.

IPTV Scaling Presents a Multidimensional Challenge is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,995. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

Companies profiled in this report include: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Espial Group Inc.; Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG
(NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE); SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC); Technicolor SA (NYSE: TMS); UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI)