IBC 2014 Conference Preview: Creating an improved EPG through adaptive machine learning

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Q&A with Navneeth Kannan and Dinkar Bhat

 What are you going to discuss in your conference session at IBC 2014?

Navneeth Kannan (NK): We are presenting a method for a machine learning framework that simulates how we could develop a more personal viewing experience based on viewer behavior.

Video consumption behavior is evolving at a frenetic pace with the viewer freed from both the confines of the living room and the limits of traditional broadcast TV. While there have been advances in the user interface for over-the-top content, like catch-up and on-demand, interfaces for broadcast television need to catch up.

Consumer devices and network infrastructure have advanced to the point where channel navigation interfaces could, and should, be significantly improved from the traditional Electronic Program Guide (EPG). We believe we can harness the increased processing power of consumer devices to make machine learning techniques feasible.

You mention a machine learning framework. What does that mean?

Dinkar Bhat (DB): The adaptive user-interface takes advantage of content characteristics and viewership behavior based on the premise that though the number of channels available has increased, people are ultimately only interested in a certain number – i.e., we all have our favorite channels.

NK: The framework we’re putting forward allows for a platform that can accommodate multiple viewer profiles that orders channels based on the number of times a viewer opts for a channel and the amount of time spent once there. We’ve added in a few more factors with the ultimate aim to be able to learn viewer channel preference and even predict channel ranking for unwatched channels – something that could be done for alternative movie, sports or news channels for instance.

DB: We believe this adaptability is vital. Even if you have user interfaces that provide filtering features for large number of channels, they are not able to flex to changing user viewing patterns. 

Why are you recommending an alternative to the traditional grid-style Electronic Program Guide (EPG)?

DB: Program guides originated at a time when the number of broadcast channels was far fewer, and programming was limited to prime time. Newspapers and magazines published these guides as tabular grids, with channels listed as rows, time-slots listed in columns, and program information filling the cells.

The EPG came to replicate this structure, but as the number of channels vastly increased, this grid interface remained – despite developments in video delivery, the capabilities of set-tops and on-screen graphics, and that’s before we even begin to talk about metadata. Everything is still ordered by channel numbers, and that’s something we believe is far too limiting for today’s consumption habits.

Even recent advances at the headend that organize channels by genre are themselves still too rigid, in that they are unable to offer an experience personal to each viewer.

What benefits does machine learning have for broadcasters and service providers?

DB: This framework modernizes the EPG to bring a level of informed suggestion, flexibility and personalization to TV experience. By enabling better navigation, broadcasters and service providers can potentially benefit from an increased understanding of audience behaviour, which could be extended to create opportunities for targeted advertisements as well as cross-selling VOD or other high-value content.

It is also scalable and agile. Newer components can be added after initial development and deployment, making it possible to refine and optimize the navigation experience – something we think broadcasters and service providers will find valuable.

What are some ways to improve the user interface and make it more attractive to consumers?

NK: We believe that the user interface should be as streamlined as possible to let viewers get to the content they want to watch as quickly and easily as possible. Recent OTT players have made viewers increasingly accustomed to recommendation engines, and the framework we’re proposing speaks to that in a live broadcast sense. Viewers increasingly demand an immediacy with their technology, and having to scroll through over a list of a hundred unsorted channels makes little sense in this day and age.

Navneeth Kannan and Dinkar Bhat co-wrote “Adaptive Television User Interface using Machine Learning Concepts”, a paper that Navneeth will present at IBC 2014: Paper session: New consumer trends – the rise of social media and second screen technologies (11:30-13:00, September 12, 2014)

 

Labor Day + Buffer-free Binge Watching = Ultimate Staycation

Labor Day is right around the corner.

If you’re like us, that means extra time to kick back and relax… and binge-watch all the Netflix series you SBG6782-AC-heromissed over the summer.

We think every “staycation” deserves to be smooth and buffer-free. So along with popcorn, drinks, and BBQ, make sure to start your long weekend off right with our SURFboard® Internet solutions.

Our entire SURFboard line is dedicated to delivering fast and reliable Internet to your home, without the hassle of a lengthy or complicated installation. Tom Boshell, our Director of Global Retail Sales, recently covered the ARRIS Wi-Fi cable modem product collection in this video.

This weekend, we’re taking the labor out of Labor Day with our SURFboard collection. Find them at major retailers nationwide.

Happy Relaxing!

ARRIS Talks CCAP Migration @ Customer Leadership Forum

CCAP or Converged Cable Access Platform is paving the way for the industry’s migration towards a common video and data delivery platform.

CCAP is a hot topic at this week’s Customer Leadership Forum (CLF) for the Caribbean and Latin American(CALA) region. Mauricio Janisset, Staff Solutions Architect, mentioned in his talks this week that while CCAP defines a particular architecture, there are numerous ways to reach that converged endpoint.

The question remains: how will the industry implement CCAP?

The answer, of course, is multifaceted, but it’s important to understand that the CCAP initiative addresses a common and urgent need to enable more narrowcast QAM channels in a more dense and power-efficient footprint. Service providers with several CMTS and Edge QAM architectures rely on a range of technology suppliers and various service delivery goals—and their approaches to CCAP will vary accordingly. But while CCAP is a technology and an architecture, it is also an evolution…

Picking the right evolutionary path is critical not only for reaching the right destination, but also for ensuring that the journey matches your infrastructure, capabilities, and business requirements.

This has been the subject of many discussions in the context of CALA, this week, but for a more detailed look at CCAP considerations, check out this white paper from Tom Cloonan – our CTO, Network Solutions – and Todd Kessler – our VP Product Line Management.

At A Glance: ARRIS Customer Leadership Forum in Miami

For the past seven years, we’ve held our annual Video Leadership Forum in Europe, but this year we’re excited to announce the launch of our Customer Leadership Forum (CLF) for the Caribbean and Latin America.

It’s only Day One here in Miami, and we’ve already shown a variety of game-changing demos and held sessions with industry’s leading futurists and technologists. We’re taking full advantage of this collaborative setting to hear from customers in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for content delivery. The conversations we’re having at the forum are inspiring the way we invent the future of entertainment and communications in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Check out a few photos from this week’s event and be sure check our blog and to tune in on Twitter for live updates.

ARRIS: INVENTING THE FUTURE AT IBC 2014

logo_ibc2014_smBinge-viewing, multi-screen usage and streaming are driving an era of ‘Entertainment My Way’, according to ARRIS’s fifth annual Consumer Entertainment Index.  At IBC 2014, ARRIS will showcase the latest in transformative solutions for the video delivery chain, from content creation to consumption. We will also launch some game-changing new products that help address these consumer trends.

Alongside new 4K set-tops, DOCSIS gateways and IP streaming solutions, ARRIS will also demonstrate the latest nDVR solutions, cloud platforms and discuss how a compelling content experience can be delivered in an ever-changing industry.

We hope you’ll be able to visit us in Hall 1, Stand D31 where we’ll also show how we’re helping service providers to transition to DOCSIS 3.1, and how they can capitalize on the opportunities of HEVC.

If you’re joining us in Amsterdam, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Nav Kannan, VP of Engineering, speak on a panel titled New consumer trends – the rise of social media and second screen technologies on Friday September 12 at 11:30. Also, Cornel Ciocirlan, our CTO in EMEA will speak in the SCTE Session on In-Home Architecture Issues on Monday September 15 at 14:00 where he will tackle the topic of extending service assurance in the 4K Wi-Fi home.

Everyone at ARRIS looks forward to seeing you for what promises to be a very exciting show.

Philly Tech It Out with ARRIS

WICTThis Thursday, join ARRIS and women from all over Philadelphia at this year’s WICT Philly Signature Tech It Out. This all-day seminar on August 21st is dedicated to Wi-Fi and how it’s changing the way we live.

Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) is an organization that’s helping to develop the industry’s next generation of women leaders. This year’s event features a rock-star line-up of industry leaders who are driving Cable’s ongoing transformation. They’ll chime in on Wi-Fi, connected experiences, and entertainment from their diverse areas of expertise.

ARRIS is a proud sponsor of WICT Tech It Out, and a few of our executives will be speaking at the event:

At 2:00 p.m. ET, join Eli Baruch, ARRIS Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management, for a panel entitled: “It’s the Experience! How to deploy the best Wi-Fi end user experience.” Eli will discuss creating effective carrier Wi-Fi networks and the components of successful deployment.

Then, at 3:30 p.m., join ARRIS SVP of Global Marketing Sandy Howe and Senior Director of Global Communications Jeanne Russo as they host “Anticipating Generation Next,” a game show exploring the changing ways that we’re consuming content all over the world, featuring the results of our 2014 Consumer Entertainment Index.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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