People want to access all content on every screen and enjoy the best video and sound quality, explains Netgem CTO Jean-Francois Galtier.
Can you briefly explain the background to the creation of Netgem?
Netgem was created 20 years ago in the Internet TV space, quickly evolving to IPTV and OTT. We have been providing solutions for telecom operators to develop connected entertainment since then.
How quickly did the primary objectives of the Netgem business emerge?
After the first few years developing internet TV systems, Netgem scaled up its business with the massive deployment of IPTV and DTT in Europe in 2003/2004, serving several million households.
If you had to identify three milestones in the early development of Netgem and its range of solutions, what would they be?
The first step was the foundation of Netgem embedded software running on the very first generation of digital TV hardware. The second major milestone was probably the seamless integration of OTT services with traditional broadcast TV. Finally, the roll-out of our service platform enabled new business models for operators with an innovative TV-as-a-service solution.
Turning to more recent developments, can you outline Netgem’s philosophy with regard to the cloud and the Diamond Cloud Platform?
With the development of new entertainment usages (OTT, multiscreen, mobile applications) and the advent of the cloud a few years ago, we decided to extend our services and propose to operators a pre-packaged solution including replay TV, network PVR, EPG and device management.
In what ways do Netgem’s Diamond Multiscreen Software Clients support (in the company’s words) “the most immersive multiscreen audio and video experience”?
User experience has always been at the heart of our roadmap. We are committed to helping operators deliver the best entertainment services. Our multiscreen solution proposes a seamless integration of TV, on-demand video and music. With voice control and personalisation features, customers can easily find the right content and we can deliver it on their device.
How do you expect the home entertainment experience to evolve over the next few years?
People want to access all the content on every screen while enjoying the best video and sound quality. We will have solutions to deliver this experience, supporting more devices with less cables, voice control-enabled, and best sound quality in every room. We are starting with our Alexa-enabled Soundbox product line.
Can you tell us a little bit about the functionality that Netgem solutions have brought to some major recent clients, such as EE and Netia?
We bring a turnkey solution to our clients, providing the best TV experience, merging DTT, IPTV and OTT. We have integrated this solution with existing operator assets, taking into account local regulations and market specificities. In the UK, for example, we deliver Freeview Play in our latest generation products. We can help this ecosystem to grow: deliver what consumers need, grow operator revenue, and help online brands be partners and not enemies.
The space in which Netgem operates remains highly competitive. What steps do you take as a business to ensure you remain one step ahead of the curve?
While developing in home software, we partner with major players in the entertainment and technology industries to build our solutions. We have agreements with Amazon for both Prime Video and the Alexa voice service. Netflix is deployed on our products in several countries. Our cloud solution runs on Microsoft Azure and we have connections to Anevia and Broadpeak video delivery systems.
In what ways has the organisation and logistical operation of Netgem evolved in recent times?
We are creating a dedicated business unit for operator projects. With the triple-challenge of client acquisition, retention and increasing ARPU, the solutions have to be highly tuned for each project. While delivering our products, we will closely work with our clients to optimise their integration in each local market.
Can you offer a few hints about future Netgem product developments?
You will see Netgem technology on more and more connected home devices. Not only set-top-boxes but on new generation hardware. We started with our Soundbox range of products, the first all-in-one soundbar and TV box.
Jean-Francois Galtier is Chief Technology Officer at Netgem