In the latest IBC SHOWCASE session, Phil Miller, Director of Technology at Comcast Technology Solutions (CTS), shared his experience of launching a new pay-TV service, COSMOTE TV, with Greek telecoms provider OTE.
Entitled ‘Comcast Technology Solutions – Transforming tv with cloud services’, the session discussed the service itself as well as taking a look at the bigger picture of digital transformation and the key features pay-TV operators are employing to stay competitive.
Miller was joined by Dimitris Paouris, Deputy Director of TV Systems & Services at OTE. He explained that COSMOTE TV represented the first time that the group had launched an OTT-first TV product, and the focus was very much on creating a premium product offering.
Phil Miller, Director of Technology, Comcast Technology Solutions
Dimitris Paouris, Deputy Director of TV Systems & Services, OTE
“Consistent navigation, quick navigation, personalised experience, dynamic UI structure, attention to detail, all these attributes can define the product as premium in all markets, including the Greek market,” he explained.
CTS started working with OTE on the design of the technology platform that would support the new service in early 2018, the brief being to deliver a fully featured OTT video service to replace the legacy service that was in production.
For OTE, however, the scope was much wider, representing a true digital transformation.
“We had to change everything: the way of working, the way of interacting, collaborating with both internal colleagues but also with partners. And, from a technology perspective, the transformation was massive; a transformation from a bare metal infrastructure to software-based solutions realised as a service; a transformation from huge upfront investments for the whole set up, to pay as you grow investments where we scale on demand.”
So what is the secret to making a business transformation successful? “The secret, if there is one, is the people and the skills. It’s very hard to find engineers with deep knowledge of video importing but also able to create complex templates for automation deployments; it’s hard to find marketing people who understand concepts like searching algorithms and perhaps how to place the data in a UI. So, the secret is the people, the skills and, on top of that, the mix of skills.”
When it came to the solution itself, there were a number of key elements to consider. Personalisation, for example, is central to the offering and something that CTS has also benefitted from. Miller explains: We’re now able to bring the deep personalisation features that COSMOTE TV used in their user interface to make their proposition more compelling to our cloud TV solution for other customers – we call it Consumer Personas.”
Automation, orchestration, agility, reusability and portability were also key goals in this extensive project. So what advice would Paouris give to others looking to embark on a similar project?
He concludes: “I think it’s important to say that it’s OK to have setbacks. OTT is a bumpy road, especially at the early days of a service launch, but always analyse and learn from technological setbacks. Make sure it’s well explained and the root cause is found and mitigated so it will not happen again – this is key when you have a microservices-based architecture. In order to do that we have to invest in measurements, analytics, artificial intelligence. At the end of the day, for me, being more agile means being able to provide a better service.”