â€œWe are now able to achieve the same service velocity as Internet companies because we use web-based services in a cloud solution,â€ Eric Meijer, Senior Innovation Manager and Senior Project Manager at Ziggo declared recently, talking about the Dutch cable operatorâ€™s successful roll-out of an STB-less interactive service that harnesses CI Plus 1.3 CAMs
(Conditional Access Modules) and a cloud UI using technology from ActiveVideo.
Launched in November 2013, the STB-less interactive solution makes life easier for Ziggo customers, Meijer told Connected TV Summit recently. â€œThe installation process is easier; you slot the CAM module into the television set and that is it. No cable, no additional power supplies and no STB, and most important of all, you do not need a second remote control. The market impact has been very big.â€
There are two distinct but closely related parts to the current Ziggo strategy: one to take the user interface into the cloud and the other to provide an STB-less solution for interactive services.
In March 2013 Ziggo introduced the worldâ€™s first fully cloud-based interactive DVB-C service to give users with one-way STBs access to on-demand services (including catch-up and movies) using a cloud-based user interface. This harnesses the ActiveVideo CloudTV software platform that stitches together the UI in cloud servers and delivers the dynamic graphics the viewer sees, like a VOD title and a page change showing the selection and information about a title, as a video stream. Because the UI images are rendered in the cloud they can be delivered to STBs that lack modern browsers.
Ziggo already provided an STB-less solution for its linear services using CI Plus modules but in late 2013 the company also introduced a CI Plus 1.3 CAM offering that supports the on-demand services. Once again, this uses the HTML-5 based CloudTV software to generate the UI. In all cases the video itself is delivered across the DVB-C network via QAMs in the traditional way.
Ziggo is enjoying a good uptake for its STB-with-cloud-UI and STB-less-with-cloud-UI offerings and there is already a noticeable impact on the business. By the end of 2013, customers who used the cloud-based UI accounted for 40-50% of total VOD activity and the innovation is being credited with an increase in VOD sales and an increase in ARPU. Ziggo surveys have shown high levels of customer satisfaction with the cloud-based service.
According to ActiveVideo, it is the use of standard web technologies in CloudTV that helps to improve service velocity. â€œZiggo can now deliver updates and new experiences within weeks across a customer footprint that includes hundreds of different TV and STB models.â€