The Revolution Will Be Televised: Asia’s Quick March to a Digital Future

Asia is in the midst of a digital transformation. Across the continent, Asian service providers are leading the way for some of the most advanced home entertainment experiences in the world. But what’s even more exciting are the incredible advances they’re making to bring these experiences to billions of consumers.

Service providers in many countries in Asia are leapfrogging entire technology generations. In some emerging markets, for example, broadband providers are going straight from dial-up to fiber broadband, while video providers are transitioning from analog to digital MPEG-4, completely bypassing MPEG-2 in the process.

These broad deployments of next-generation technology have a number of advantages. From a business perspective, they’re enabling local providers to unleash top-of-the-line services that are heads and shoulders above the competition’s offerings. And for consumers, it means that the future will arrive sooner—with faster speeds, smarter devices, and the latest entertainment coming on the heels of these cutting-edge deployments.

Even in areas without ‘straight to tomorrow’ trajectories, local providers are upgrading networks and technology at a pace that exceeds much of the world. It reflects the fact that Asia, as a market, is more competitive than ever before.

Among the biggest growth trends in Asia is the digitization of cable networks, fueled in large part by government mandates for nationwide infrastructure advancements. The resulting leaps in technology generations are changing the way that Asian providers introduce new services like network DVR. For example, in China, where few have ever owned a VCR, there is no interest in hitting the record button to watch something later. Chinese consumers expect providers to offer all shows—past and past—whenever they want them.

Asian providers are anticipating these new experiences as well as idiosyncratic expectations of their local consumers using a combination of technology and market insight. Content consumption across wireless networks is huge in Asia, as is multiscreen. In addition to investing in new network technology to handle the inevitable shift to multi-gigabit broadband, providers are also racing to ensure that there’s enough Wi-Fi coverage throughout consumers’ homes to take advantage of those speeds and power tomorrow’s TV in every room.

According to the ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index 2015, consumers in Asia-Pacific experience challenges when it comes to WiFi:  four out of every five Chinese consumers reported issues with their Wi-Fi. Add that to the nearly three-quarters of respondents who indicated that they want high-speed Internet in every room, and quickly the notion of generation-hopping both network infrastructure and home networking technology begins to make sense.

Whether it’s deploying network extenders, the latest DOCSIS devices, or laying fiber and shifting to all-IP networks, Asian service providers are setting a global example for the introduction of tomorrow’s entertainment. And very soon, Asian consumers will be the ones enjoying the fruits of falling technology prices, highly competitive markets, government incentives, and forward-looking service providers. The TV revolution in Asia is alive and very real indeed.

ARRIS @ NCTC

NCTCNext week, ARRIS will be exhibiting at NCTC’s Winter Educational Conference in Phoenix, AZ from February 15-16th. Our focus is on the technical underpinnings of delivering advanced new entertainment services like Cloud DVR and Multiscreen.

Our booth (#303/305) will feature active demonstrations of our industry-leading Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and network solutions supporting the new bandwidth and technology requirements of these services. We’ve organized them in four relevant experience areas under the following topics: Cloud & IP Video Solutions, Gigabit Services, Wi-Fi® Without Limits, and Next Generation Devices.

We’ll run a remote demo of IP video over our DCX3635. Our E6000® Converged Edge Router will showcase Gigabit service using DOCSIS® 3.1. We’ll demonstrate our Hosted Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution for public, commercial and domestic deployments—which played a key role in our recent collaboration with Suddenlink to roll out carrier-grade Wi-Fi to its commercial customers.  And we’ll have a variety of new CPE devices on display, including new IP gateways.

Also, be sure to catch Charles Cheevers, ARRIS CTO of the CPE business, talk on Preparing for IP Video, which will cover the evolution of network and CPE technologies and—like ABR, DOCSIS 3.1, and Gigabit Wi-Fi—that’s driving new IP video experiences.

Educating Educators: ARRIS Hosts Teacher Development Day in Philly

Recently, ARRIS brought in teachers from all over the Philadelphia School District for a full-day IMG_0980survey course on tomorrow’s entertainment and communications technology.

We opened up our Horsham Customer Experience Center to host the Spring 2015 Philadelphia School Teacher Professional Development Day—giving local teachers a glimpse of how we help service providers bring new technology and experiences—like 4K, multiscreen, and high-speed broadband—to homes in the Philadelphia metro area.

Our own Global Services manager, Kim Andrews, volunteered the ARRIS Horsham campus for the event as a way to bring community educators up to speed on how a local technology leader is collaborating with its customers to Invent the Future for millions of people around the world—while offering some inspiration as to the kinds of  jobs, innovation, and experiences that await local students.

“Our presentations included recommendations to energize the ‘conversations between teachers and students,’ ” said Kim. “And hopefully, they’ll jumpstart interest from students in the local tech industry.”

How does Twitter + SnappyTV create opportunities for second-screen advertising? ARRIS research sheds light

Twitter’s acquisition of video-editing startup SnappyTV is broadening advertising opportunities on the second screen.

“Twitter is where television viewers come to talk about what they’re watching on TV when snappythey’re watching it,” said Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costello, in an interview last year.

As higher-quality video becomes part of the Twitter experience, the question for second-screen advertisers is how to capitalize on this change of scenery.

Sandy Howe, SVP of Global Marketing for ARRIS, offered the following insight:

“Using smartphones and tablets to accompany the TV experience is no longer a niche activity; it’s the norm. ARRIS research* shows that more than half of global consumers are second-screeners and 12% are using more than two. For content providers and advertisiers, these viewers are an untapped goldmine.

36% of second-screeners used their second device to access live information about the program. Perhaps more compelling is that 30% used it to purchase products featured in the programs they watch. This engagement shows a fundamental shift in how we’re self-seeking to spend money, and consequently has tremendous implications for monetising entertainment.

43% of second-screeners engage in conversations about the TV show they’re watching… while they watch it, and Twitter is an important component in that experience. But more importantly, 41% of consumers find ads on their smartphone intrusive, and nearly half never click through or follow up on TV advertisement on their connected devices. In fact, 40% of consumers record content to skip over the ads! What advertisers need to consider is how to personalize and place their videos to become a relevant and welcome part of the conversation so that they can begin to monetize this opportunity.”

*The ARRIS 2014 Consumer Entertainment Index, an independent study of global media consumption habits, surveying 10,500 consumers from 19 countries

Five Reasons to Give Your Dad a SURFboard® This Father’s Day

Let’s face it: we all watch a lot of TV. And sometimes (like every day) Dad needs to stream, binge, and multiscreen his way through the latest and greatest.

That’s a complex set of objectives that we’re not really advancing with cologne and a necktie… So this SBG6782U_RIGHT (revised2)Father’s Day, ARRIS has a better idea: our SURFboard® SBG6782-AC Modem & Wi-Fi® Router. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

For years to come, Dad will thank you as he streams his favorite sports and videos… without annoying buffering or dropouts. That’s thanks to the latest 802.11AC Wi-Fi and a host of other technology that we stuffed into the SBG6782-AC.

And now we’ll help you count the reasons why it should be at the top of your shopping list this month:

#5: The Wil Wheaton Project, now on Syfy. On the living room TV, on a tablet. In a box with a fox. Dad gets it however he wants it.

#4: The whole season of HBO’s True Detective in one night? Done.

#3: Binge viewing House of Cards… from a tablet? Done and done.

#2: The NBA finals. Can Dad catch the game after work? Can he rewatch the moments he missed when he was busy multiscreening #s 2-5?

#1: NFL season. It’s almost here. We’re thinking ahead, which means you’re thinking ahead. Pro tip: brush up on last-season’s highlights before this season’s kickoff.

The SURFboard helps Dad get his TV, his way. And that’s good for everyone. Priceless.

The SBG6782-AC is available at Amazon, Best Buy and Target now.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

FIVE WAYS BIG DATA WILL CHANGE VIDEO ENTERTAINMENT

Big data, one of the hottest topics in technology, remains an untapped opportunity in video services. Andy Aftelak, VP of Advanced Research at ARRIS, reviews the Top Five Ways that big data will alter the consumer entertainment experience and explore how service providers can use it to stay ahead of consumer demand.

1. Increasingly personalized TV experiences

Big data will continue to give us contextual relevance at unprecedented levels. For example: metadata on what’s actually happening within the content, behavioral information on the viewer and insight into what device they may be using.

Scene-level metadata can provide contextual, semantic cues for personalized and supplemental viewing. It has the potential to offer increasingly sentient content discovery processes, like knowing exactly what you’d want to watch based on your mood – and increasingly cool supplementary experiences – like a call-to-action game appearing in sync with the main screen content. Our recent Consumer Entertainment Index research found that 49% of consumers never click through or follow up on TV advertisement on their connected devices – which shows that personalization has much room for improvement before securing the attention of today’s time-short consumers.

2. Truly targeted advertising

In line with this, TV advertisements have a long way to go to be as targeted as web advertisements, because they still rely on location and demographics. Indeed, our research also found that Traditional TV advertisements are a turn-off to consumers – with 60% downloading or recording a TV program just so that they can skip the advertisements. However, 17% of consumers use secondary devices to purchase products featured on the programs they watch, so there is a big opportunity for the service providers who get this right. With big data, video ads now can dig deeper into viewer preferences and buying behaviors, better matching the ad to the viewer. Furthermore, big data will allow for ads in supplementary viewing experiences (such as a corresponding mobile app) to appear at the right time in the actual content – for example, during a quiet moment of an otherwise explosive drama. Now that’s targeting!

3. Supreme quality of service

More data means better quality of service. It can enable real-time fault repairs and allow providers to predict outages even before they happen. This data-driven network optimization can free up operational resources and technical services and will give providers better insight into planning and scaling their networks for the future.

Our research shows that today’s consumers are still struggling with quality of service – 46% of consumers use an online subscription or streaming service at least once a week, but 73% had problems with streaming subscriptions and on demand services. With big data, providers will also be able to utilize the data gathered from the increasing number of connected devices to instrument the way that Wi-Fi® is distributed through the home. The result? Unprecedented Wi-Fi optimization for consumers.

4. Holistic discovery process

Today’s viewers are used to getting content from multiple sources on multiple devices. However, this process is not very well-managed: consumers still have to sift through various content catalogs – including TV channels, VOD libraries and OTT sources – to find what they want.

With big data, the search process will change dramatically. By making metadata searchable, contextual search will give better results. Automated search will also be improved, with methods like facial recognition enabling new levels of holistic discovery. Viewers will also be able to curate their video content, allowing for a strong social recommendation model – ultimately resulting in services that might look like the “Pinterest of TV.”

5.  Direct marketing measurement

The value of today’s advertisements are determined by measures such as Nielsen statistics. With big data, there will be additional methods of valuation, allowing providers to directly measure consumer interest. In fact, big data will provide insight that can be considered the primary indication of intent – for example, mapping click-through rates and channel-changing tendencies.

Those are just some of the implications of big data for the consumer entertainment experience. For more information on ARRIS’s transformative solutions for big data, please email Andy here. And share your thoughts on how big data will change the world of the video in the comments section, below.

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