Pay TV operators are looking to transform their operations to make them more IT-centric, which will require virtualization of video processing functions like encoding and transcoding and the orchestration that goes with it, with some using private clouds and others public clouds. This is one part of the wider ‘digital transformation’ that is underway across the service provider industry.
There are mixed messages about the impact on human resources when moving to a more IT-centric operations model for television. There have been suggestions that IT/IP engineers are easier to find and hire but the majority view is that there could be a skills gap or at least significant organizational challenges.
In a recent survey, the market intelligence and advisory firm IDC asked service providers what would most help them transform into digital service providers. “Having the right skills to create and implement digital transformation strategies were ranked first and second,” the analyst firm reported.
Andy Hicks, Research Director, Telecoms and Networking for EMEA at IDC, reports that HR executives familiar with TV service providers say it is hard to find people with modern IT knowledge and all the traditional networking skills that they still need. “There are only a handful of those people so you have to solve the issue by putting together teams the right way, and by making sure you have people communicating properly.”
Tom Lattie, VP Market Management & Development, Video Products at Harmonic, which provides traditional and virtualized video headend and playout solutions, also highlights an organizational challenge. “The shift to virtualization provides content and service providers with a very powerful architecture but it does require a complete rethink about how workflows should be designed and deployed.
“Migrating to a virtualized offering can impact technology as well as the organization, since service providers can combine functionalities that were previously managed by separate teams of people,” Lattie explains. “This transition will require significant retraining and augmentation of existing staff.”
Gil Cruz, Architect for Video Software at Cisco, says staff poaching is already a problem. “Some of our customers have built pools of expertise in certain areas and then had it taken by companies who are not even service providers. You are now competing with the whole virtualization market, whether it is for healthcare or retail or another function. This is a definite concern for some operators.”
Cisco reports that previously separate video groups and IT groups with different organizational structures are now blending and working together at some Pay TV operators. IDC says its research points to service providers using professional services to bridge some of the skills gaps.
Interested in the TV operations revolution?
This story is taken from the recently published 6,000 word Videonet report: ‘21st century TV operations: Ready for anything’, which you can read here, totally free.
You can read about the motives driving the transformation in TV operations including agility, the crucial role of orchestration and how video workflows can be created and consolidated, how virtualization is ready for ‘mainscreen TV’ as well as multiscreen, the potential to unify operations around adaptive bitrate streaming and the different ways in which the new operations environment will be hybrid.
The report considers how companies like Comcast, Globo, nc+, Magine, TVPlayer, Sky and Voo are using virtualization or ‘cloud’ technologies and includes insights from Parks Associates, IDC, Cisco, Ericsson and Harmonic, among others.