An IBC2023 ‘Panel Discussion: Is legacy platform replacement the next industry trend’ set out to tackle some of the questions around legacy platforms, specifically those operated by OTT and IPTV service providers. Hosted by Russell Trafford-Jones, Chair, IET Media Technical Network - Communications Manager, Techex, and featuring Marko Hiti, Chief Marketing Officer, UniqCast, Olga Kornienko, COO & Co-Founder, EZDRM and Simon McGrath, VP Strategy & Portfolio – Merapar; the session began by setting out a definition of ‘legacy’, which was surprisingly contentious.
Both Hiti and Kornienko agreed the term implies a lack of future roadmap, while Simon McGrath, VP Strategy & Portfolio Merapar, said that he believes that legacy can mean many things to many people: “You know, one or two companies merge, then immediately the old system is called the legacy system - what is today’s legacy is yesterday’s technology.”
Olga Kornienko was keen to emphasise the value of standards in ensuring that there is healthy competition, and thus vendors are forced to continue innovating: “You can pick from providers, but once you have competition - obviously people either compete on cost or services on some sort of unique thing that is specific to their company - but once you have competition, you have potential cost savings or feature upgrades where companies are trying to win your business.
“If you’re looking at a solution that is only offered by one vendor, and there is no competition data, they don’t have a reason to keep innovating and they don’t have a reason to upgrade because they know they have you. Then they charge crazy maintenance fees, so part of it is cost, and part of it is also being able to have newer features and seeing what the future can bring…”
Hiti also brought up the issue of vendor lock in, which McGrath in turn picked up, pointing out that the big cloud providers are moving away from the traditional vendor lock in tactics.
Hiti spoke frankly about the “lack of standards in general in the IPTV industry. It is causing pain to all of us” and the knock-on challenges this causes. McGrath agreed wholeheartedly: “So the whole challenge and the concept of vendor lock in and technology lock in - I think that’s something we’re trying to step away from. I think the big cloud providers are demonstrating, and what I suppose modern technology principles in software development principles are making much more open.”
Kornienko picked up the baton to dismiss on-prem concerns – often a key talking point when making hardware decisions: “We talk a lot about the cloud and talk about monolithic on-prem versus cloud versus whatever. I think a good chunk of it is making an assessment of what actually makes sense for cloud versus on-prem. We have so many people coming to us to say, ‘we need your solution on-prem,’ because we control it.
“But where are your clients? Are they on-prem with you? Are they within the city limits? Or are they within the country? Are your clients within country or are they worldwide? [If the latter] why would you want all your infrastructure on-prem? Then going back to switching from legacy systems, if the legacy system already on prem, then yes, it’s a cost to get out of that, but [potentially] delivering a much better and much more responsive service to your clients…”