Home Analysis Service intelligence split in the home

Service intelligence split in the home

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Broadband operators have a variety of alternative architectures for delivering next generation multiscreen home services, ranging at one extreme from pure cloud based platforms, to multi-box solutions distributing intelligence around the customer premise at the other end of the spectrum. In all cases becoming the smart hub of the home in an Internet of Things world will bring additional challenges, such as how to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership for the end user wanting to benefit from multiple sensors in the home while providing overall intelligence. At SoftAtHome we believe strongly that the emerging smart home will be best served by an operator-based platform combining a set of low cost sensors with an advanced user experience, in turn harnessing connectivity with the cloud. We also believe just as strongly that operators must be free to specify their own device design within a common extensible software platform, suited to their business model and adapted to their specific economics.

The Operator device should be adaptable to all envisioned use cases, capable of being tailored to incorporate whatever connectivity, integration and storage requirements are needed for a given home. That is the philosophy behind our modular software platform SOP, which enables broadband operators to separate completely their home platform from the underlying hardware, which can be built from a variety of chipsets and interface components to match varying requirement with different hardware designs

Some operators may want a cheap and cheerful low cost box like a simple dongle such as the Roku one. In other cases it will be a multi-purpose device enabling a range of added value services such as gaming in addition to multiscreen TV, like the Livebox SoftAtHome has deployed for Orange in France and Poland. With our modular SOP platform we offer a mixed portfolio of solutions that can meet the needs of all operators, with a balance between the service intelligence in the home and in the cloud.

The only model we believe is not, at least yet, scalable is pure cloud based PVR or UI rendering, which we are convinced will prove too expensive in terms of bandwidth and lead to poor user experience. PVR is probably best located in a central box, which would be a gateway for broadband operators or a super set top box for broadcasters in general.

Rendering on the other hand is probably best done in the home close to the TV set, whether in a set top box or gateway. Transcoding is probably better performed in the cloud in the case of rare codecs, but otherwise in the home with a dedicated non secured box, or a secured one where decrypting is required.

Finally support for mobility is needed to enable remote access from mobile devices outside the home. Here the cloud has an important role as the best place to hold content for delivery outside the home, and that can be done by maintaining an index to assets subscribers have recorded in their home. Then the cloud can deliver content from its store to devices outside the home. In this way the home device and the cloud can act in unison as a joint platform, enabling broadband and broadcast operators to expand services both inside and outside the home in a scalable way.

At SoftAtHome we are then quite agnostic over the hardware itself, which is why we have been working with a wide variety of hardware and chip set makers, so that our SOP software will work with all the principle components and give operators freedom to build their own system. Intelligence has to be split between the home platform and the cloud to deliver the best possible quality of experience, wherever the user is located.   The optimal split for a given operator or home deployment will be determined by deep analysis of detailed envisioned use cases and user behavior.

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