By Barry Flynn, Contributing Editor
Content security firm Viaccess-Orca plans to make the Asian market one of the targets for its new converged card and cardless conditional access system (CAS) Adaptive Sentinel. The move forms part of a new Asian sales strategy that will see a new hub being created in Singapore, says newly-appointed CEO Paul Molinier.
Speaking at IBC 2015, he described a number of possible use-cases for the new product, which claims to provide an â€˜unprecedentedâ€™ ease of transition between cardless and card-based modes.
â€œItâ€™s really a fully dual solution which gives the customer much more flexibility, because for most content, cardless will be enough,â€ he said.
Molinier said this offered advantages to operators, because cardless STBs were cheaper and easier to deploy, offering better reach, earlier on, in the launch process.
This allowed for operators wanting, for instance, to launch a new UHD service only when their service was mature enough, to simply send out a smartcard to those customers willing to pay extra for a UHD tier. Thus only those customers requiring an enhanced level of security would receive the upgrade, effectively paying for it out of their premium subscriptions.
â€œIt gives you a way to start with basic, cardless boxes and use cards only when itâ€™s necessary,â€ said Molinier, saying this feature made it well suited to emerging markets where pay-TV had yet to take off, lowering the barrier to entry.
â€œWe think that, for example in Asia, there can be a potential for that type of solution,â€ he said. The new Singapore hub would address that, as would developing sales partnerships with third parties to address countries in South-East Asia such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia, â€œwhere we think that there could also be a potential for that type of solution.â€
The plan is not just to sell Adaptive Sentinel solution to this market, but the rest of the Viaccess-Orca portfolio as well, including its TV Everywhere solution, â€œwhich we will progressively cloudify, if I can use the word, so that we can address the Tier 2, Tier 3 customers who cannot afford to invest and throw out a lot of money on to this architecture,â€ said Molinier.
Molinier pointed out that the product could also be used the other way round â€“ by allowing the creation of a new, lower tier which used the cardless version of Sentinel for less premium product.
Orange France will be one of the first customers to take advantage of Adaptive Sentinel, where â€œwe are on the way to deploy the first customers,â€ said Molinier. He said Orange was attracted by the flexibility the solution offered.
Meanwhile, Viaccess-Orca’s Connected Sentinel Player, which delivers secure playback, was being leveraged for one of the more intriguing demonstrations on Viaccess-Orcaâ€™s IBC stand, which featured an electronic programme guide accessed via a Virtual Reality (VR) headset.
This formed just one element of an entire end-to-end VR eco-system being shown at IBC, featuring products from both Harmonic and VideoStitch – with Harmonic providing the video compression, encryption and streaming, integrated with VideoStitchâ€™s Studio V2 post-production 360-degree video â€˜stitchingâ€™ software.
The VR headset featured a consumer-grade head-mounted display connected to a smartphone, which offered the user a 360-degree viewing-field containing programme â€˜thumbnailsâ€™, which when focused on could trigger playback of a variety of 2D and VR videos by a simple tap on the helmetâ€™s touchpad. Once launched, the VR videos could then be navigated in 360 degrees by turning and tilting the head.
Viaccess-Orca believes that VR technology has the potential to revolutionize television, especially for premium content, such as sports. The company said it was â€œlaying out a complete roadmap to address premium content providersâ€™ needs with regards to virtual reality â€” including live capture and stitching, encoding and distribution, as well as playback experience and content protection.â€