'MCN’ Announces Innovator Award Winners16 Firms Tapped for Tech Products, Services 9/30/2014 11:15 AM Eastern
NuTEQ Solutions seeks to level the competitive landscape for small service providers by supplying software originally developed to boost efficiency, revenue and customer service for industry giants. At prices aligned with their economics, modest-size electric utilities and broadband, telco and wireless operators can gain affordable access to scaled versions of the same technologically advanced business solutions once available only to large top-tier operators. The latest addition to NuTEQ’s growing portfolio of affordable solutions, GOCare, enables lower-tier small operators to bring their customer-service initiatives into the mobile era. The app supports a full range of scheduling, billing, marketing and customer surveys through texting. NuTEQ also offers long-distance call management software, which allows toll-call providers to reroute traffic to NuTEQ’s centralized server, lowering the expense of providing vital telecommunications. With NuTEQ’s lineup of digital telephone services, a broadband operator can morph into a phone company, providing full-feature primary line services. NuTEQ supplies video-conferencing solutions to carriers. In turn, carriers can offer their business and institutional customers a secure video-conferencing platform with the flexibility to link to any office system, laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone worldwide.
With Placemedia, a subsidiary of cable ad-rep firm Viamedia, self-service advertising is just a few clicks away via the Internet. Through the fully automatic online portal, now reaching into 210 television markets since its launch last September, advertisers can plan and purchase national advertising based on audience segments, not networks. Built-in consumer databases allow brands to target consumers according to a blizzard of variables — age, income, ethnicity and household combination, for example. Proprietary technology automatically interprets third-party supplied “big data” such as consumer purchasing behavior and real-time viewing habits from 16 million set-top boxes. Once an advertiser has defined the parameters, the portal creates the optimal campaign. Accountability is built in; the brand pays for only the impressions that were delivered.
Jones/NCTI provides training and consulting services to the cable industry — online and off, in the classroom or on the job. From workforce assessments and pre-employment skills testing to customized training packages and higher-education support services, Jones/NCTI’s extensive range of content, tools and services have helped advance the goals of countless companies and the careers of thousands in the industry workforce. For example, more than 400,000 broadband technicians, customer-service representatives, industry executives and other professionals have used its offerings in earning college degrees. In August, Jones/NCTI’s introduced Amp, a mobile-learning app that delivers real-time information, training content and problem-solving to field technicians. The just-in-time knowledge — previously inaccessible in Jones/NCTI’s vast technician training library — is now available to front-line field teams, where and when they need it, enhancing the ability to provide an excellent customer service experience “in the moment.”
SeaChange Cloud Adrenalin is a cloud-based solution that empowers small-to-midsize telcos and cable operators to compete with top-tier providers of multiscreen video. However, the so-called software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform expands the scope of multiscreen content, embracing a mix of personalized TV Everywhere service and Internet video — blended video entertainment. Not only can modest-sized operators launch multiscreen video easily and speedily with Cloud Adrenalin, eliminating the need for a service or content provider to install any hardware. Cloud Adrenalin is an end-to-end solution that comes with everything from content and multiscreen consumer access to back-office tools such as promotions, analytics, catalog management, business intelligence reporting, remote monitoring services and much more. The Cloud Adrenalin also is a “pay-as-you-grow model,” allowing service providers the flexibility to control investment spending by adding content, features and service levels according to consumer demand. Options are available in digital rights management, single sign-on and movie and TV content.
With the new PEG-NE24-IP and PEG-NE24-IP-C encoders, Drake seeks to meet cable operators’ demand for economical and reliable distribution of local public, educational and government channels in high-definition. By significantly lowering operating costs, these new desktop HD-ready encoders enable operators to meet franchise obligations to carry free local access channels, but with greatly improved picture quality. The PEG-NE24-IP delivers this unlikely combination of exceptional, but economical, video quality by incorporating advanced encoding and networking technology that enable distribution at lower bit rates over fiber networks. Cable operators and telcos can efficiently transport video and audio from origination — think local high-school football games or town hall meetings — back to the headend for rebroadcast to subscribers. The encoder can also be configured with streaming video.
Deep Fiber Solutions
Deep Fiber Solutions has developed an innovation for removing coaxial cable and replacing it with fiber optics at substantially lower cost than broadband operators incur with traditional approaches. The state-of-the-art process involves injecting an engineered, biodegradable fluid into a coaxial cable, which ejects the polyethylene core and center conductor from the surrounding shield. The result is a ready-made conduit ideal for jetting a micro-fiber cable of up to 192 fibers. Core ejection enables a cable operator to install fiber deeper into the network at an 80% to 90% savings over traditional boring and trenching. By dramatically speeding fiber-optic deployment and eliminating heavy construction, the process also reduces customer relations issues. It is ideal for aerial upgrades such as bridge crossings, which require burdensome and costly regulatory approvals.
CNN go is a real-time convergence of live TV and the Internet that gives consumers complete control of their television news. The app allows a seamless one-stop experience that delivers consumers the latest live news broadcast while receiving related content curated by the channel simultaneously and in real time. All of the consumer’s desired information is at his or her fingertips. By developing CNN go, the network fulfilled a desire to bring the CNN broadcast together with the network’s vast digital content archives. Now viewers have the ability to watch what they want, when they want and as much (or little) as they want of a particular story.
From a partnership of Akamai and Vubiquity, top providers of multiplatform video services, comes “Content-as-a-Service,” a new antidote to the headache of launching multiplatform video. CaaS eliminates the bewildering complexity and greatly reduces the expense of introducing multiplatform entertainment services for service providers and content owners. As a result, CaaS is positioned to be as much a game-changer in the digital video market as “software as a service” was in business software. Think of CaaS as a wholesaling model that enables a service provider to ramp up and launch multiplatform video almost immediately. In this case, the “wholesalers,” Akamai and Vubiquity, supply Content-as-a-Service — essentially a turnkey, cloud-hosted multiplatform video service — to a “retail” service provider. In turn, the retailer markets the multiplatform video service to subscribers, who gain anywhere-anytime access to a deep library of content on a tablet, smartphone, PC or any Internet protocol-enabled consumer device. Attractive and manageable economics are a key benefit of the CaaS model. For example, infrastructure costs are shared across multiple service providers, reducing capital expenditures. And the flexible “pay-as-you-go” approach modeled into CaaS allows the “retailing” service providers to pay only for what they use.
The Nimbra VA 220
The Nimbra VA 220, Net Insight’s latest video-processing appliance, uses the Internet for transporting video, giving cable operators a low-cost alternative to leased lines and satellite transmission. But with a built-in MPEG encoder and decoder, the Nimbra VA 220 also is an attractive, cost-efficient solution for live media, while also providing the same error-protected transport as the predecessor model, Nimbra VA 210. And Nimbra VA 220 guarantees video quality by monitoring streams and employing built-in network path redundancy, an attribute designed to give distributors confidence to grab channels over the Internet cheaply. Operators are scrambling to add niche programming as they compete with low-cost Internet video providers and TV Everywhere services.
NSG Exo, introduced last spring by Harmonic, is high-performance next-generation cable gear that enables service providers to remove radio frequency delivery of video, data and voice services from the cable hub and relocate it deeper into the fiber access network. As a result, headend design and operation can be simplified, yielding lower capital and operation costs. Referred to as a Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), NSG Exo processes and delivers DOCSIS broadband and digital video to customers through a single, integrated device. With NSG Exo, service providers, therefore, will be better equipped to reach unexploited customer bases, such as multiple dwelling units, educational institutions and hospitality-related businesses such as hotels, resorts and casinos. Simply, NSG Exo is a cable modem termination system (CMTS) device laden with all of the functions demanded by the CCAP standard.
Live Stream Cache
Qwilt’s Live Stream Cache, the latest addition in the Qwilt QB-Series Video Fabric Controller, fuels speedier streaming of live events from ESPN, MLB.com and other programmers to millions of viewers. Consequently, network operators are able to scale their infrastructure more precisely and to optimize live streaming video traffic across their networks, while improving the quality of experience for subscribers. Unlike traditional live streaming via bandwidth-hogging unicast transmission, Qwilt Live Stream Cache takes an intelligent approach that is economical, efficient and faster. After quickly identifying trending and popular live Internet video streams, Live Stream Cache alerts the QB-Series to instantly direct the traffic into the controller's FastCache, a dedicated control and storage path optimized to swiftly deliver live streams. The Qwilt Live Stream Cache then establishes local live video transmission points, from which very large numbers of nearby subscribers can be served using a single seed stream. Significant load is removed from operator network infrastructures. The short- and long-term result: reduced bandwidth consumption and customer churn, as well as smarter investments in network capacity.
Switch, a multiformat media player from media-centric apps publisher Telestream, gives media professionals everything they need to play, inspect and correct multi-format media in one easy-to-use application. Today’s diversified media universe — overflowing with multiple formats and multiplying algorithms —requires media professionals to employ a proliferating array of equipment to perform their jobs. An all-in-one app, Switch provides multiformat media playback, deep file inspection and powerful conversion as well as iTunes verification and presets. All relevant formats enjoy high-quality playback — MOV, MP4, MXF, GXF, MPEG-2 Program Streams and Transport Streams. Switch features standard navigation controls and displays all relevant information about a media file. The video- track display includes codec, bitrate, frame size and rate and more. The audio track inspector displays audio tracks and channels, speaker labels, and encoding format information.
With its Elemental Live encoders, Elemental Technologies is throwing major support behind the rollout of 4K UHD services, next-generation life-like television via the Internet, satellite, cable and broadcast. Representing an exponential increase in pixels, 4K (or ultra-high definition) is much the buzz in media circles — along with a new 4K-favorable video codec, HEVC (high-efficiency video coding). Without the one — HEVC — rolling out the other — 4K — would be a stretch, as the codec compresses video with 4k resolution to half the size, or bitrate, that is possible with MPEG-4, the most-efficient current encoding format. Because Elemental’s encoders suppors HEVC compression, the technology company has been a prominent promoter of 4K rollout, collaborating with other suppliers within the 4K TV ecosystem. During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, for example, Elemental worked with Russian broadcaster NTV Plus and HEVC chip supplier Broadcom to produce the world’s first 4K UHD HEVC satellite transmission.
A leading player in set-top-box guides, data and recommendation, Rovi recently launched Rovi Guide, a cloud-based multiplatform entertainment guide. Unlike its predecessors, Rovi Guide is based on HTML5, providing a single application for multiple platforms and devices. With the technology, Rovi is aiming to attract third-party vendors worldwide to integrate next-generation applications and services onboard for access on any screen, device and location with consistent navigation and discovery. The new guide can also integrate Rovi’s suite of discovery services, including advanced search and recommendations, natural-language interaction and extensive entertainment metadata. Personalization is thus encouraged, making for more engaged and loyal users who consume greater volumes of content. Rovi Guide is also expected to provide new analytics and insights to service providers based on multiscreen consumption patterns and behaviors.
StreamScope MT-50 is Triveni Digital’s latest generation of its real-time DTV transport-stream troubleshooting tool. Introduced in February, the StreamScope MT-50 enables broadcast, cable, satellite and IPTV operators to observe and evaluate DTV transport streams, plugging directly into the backbone switch to ensure performance and reliability. Unlike prior generations, the MT-50 supports multiple input streams and includes enhanced remote-monitoring functions. The new HD touchscreen, with a 16-by-9 aspect ratio, is compatible with either finger or touch pen, allowing for greater ease of use for operators. All of the improvements to the StreamScope platform have been designed to assist cable operators that are transitioning toward a higher performance networking infrastructure and need advanced monitoring and analysis tools.
Real Time Universal Service Activator (RTUSA)
RTUSA is a software solution from Intraway Corp. designed to allow telecos to manage the activation of multiple fixed and mobile services from a single platform. At the core of RTUSA is the Connector Design Framework, a unique feature that allows the introduction of new network devices in a matter of days by facilitating simultaneous communications with the network and such business systems as billing and customer-relations management, something that now requires several different solutions. RTUSA leverages Intraway’s specialty in providing solutions to challenges faced by telecommunications companies in Operations Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS).