Today we released Parallels Toolbox for Mac, version 1.5. In this blog post, I will tell you and show you what is in this new release. As you may recall, Toolbox 1.2 and 1.3 were released in the fall of 2016. These releases added five new tools (Launch, Eject Volumes, Take Photo, Take Video, and […]
Telcos have accounted for roughly 50% of growth in the media and communications industry, which stood at a £0.4 billion increase to £56 billion, a rise of 0.9%, reports Telecoms.com.
According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016, the telco industry grew by £200 million over the course of 2015, which has been attributed to the growth of 4G and bundled packages, amongst other factors. 4G coverage is now available to 97.8% of the UK and 80% of households now have access to superfast broadband. Uptake now stands at 48% of adults and 37% of fixed broadband connections are providing actual speeds of 30Mbit/s. 4G coverage is now almost on par with 2G and 3G services.
Telcos were also bolstered by an increase in bundled services, which saw an increase when comparing Q1 2016 to 2015. The bundled services are generally viewed as the industry’s fight against the trend of being relegated to the likes of a utility. 68% of households reported buying at least two of their communications services together in a bundle in 2016, which demonstrated an increase from 63% in 2015. Dual-play packages of landline and broadband, and triple-play packages of landline, broadband and TV, were the most popular.
The report also highlighted the continual shift in the way the UK consumes popular media, as on-demand services become more popular and more adults shift towards OTT services such as WhatsApp. Live TV could be seen as one of the casualties of the report as viewing fell by 5.5 minutes year on year, while recorded and catch-up viewing within a week of broadcast increased by 1.3 minutes. The number of adults who used Video-on-Demand (VoD) services increased over the course of 2015, and while this growth is slowing in some demographics, paid-for services are increasing becoming more popular.
A more worrying sign for the live broadcasting segment could be seen in the breakdown of the age demographics. Although those in the 65+ bracket are continuing to watch live TV, 83% watch live TV over VoD, in the ‘Adult’ age bracket, this number decreases to 63%. The 16-24 age bracket, which could be seen as the future target market for numerous live TV broadcasters claim they spend 37% of their time watching live TV against VoD. Overall, the number of people who view live TV over the course of the week has declined by three percentage points.
These statistics imply there is a shift in the way the younger generations in the UK consume popular media, posing the challenge to traditional broadcasters, who to date may not have considered VoD services such as Netflix as a direct competitor. This is also backed up by the increase in average data usage from households (fixed-line), which grew by 41% over the 12 month period. While a concern to the live broadcasters, this could be seen as a lifeline for the telco industry which is becoming increasingly reliant on bundled services to counter the challenge of the OTT’s.
When looking at the OTT’s, there once again has been an increase in popularity. The number of people who are using the instant messaging services such as WhatsApp is up from 28% to 43%, and photo/ video messaging (MMS) has risen to more than a fifth of adults in a given week. These services have been at the expense of SMS and email, which has seen a decline year-on-year of eight and seven percentage points respectively.
The shift implies a shift in the means in which consumers interact with the media and communications industry. While the utility concern has been on at the forefront of the industry for some time, the increasing popularity of bundled services and VoD services, could offer compensation. That said, the OTT’s are becoming more prominent not only in the younger generations but also the older, demographics which could be seen as somewhat of a cash-cow for the telcos. The 16-24 year old demographic are more likely to embrace the new offerings, though the trend can be seen to be penetrating the ‘Adult’ demographics also.
With this in mind, Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s Group Director of Spectrum, believes the trends will impact the allocation of spectrum.
“One of Ofcom’s key jobs is to manage the UK’s spectrum to enable existing services to grow and new services to develop and come to the market,” said Marnick in the report. “We often hear about the demands for more spectrum to support the increasing demand for mobile data, which is expected to increase by as much as 31 times by 2020 in Western Europe.
“As most spectrum is occupied, we have to consider moving one service to make way for another; for example, squeezing up TV to make more spectrum (700MHz) available for mobile. As part of this, and given the high levels of use of wireless microphones, we are now enabling these to share with aeronautical services.
“We are already looking at the spectrum needs of 5G, which will provide higher capacity networks that are more responsive and can offer faster speeds. This will open up a new range of frequencies in the millimetric bands – an area of spectrum in which satellites provide TV, radio navigation services, support for emergency services, and broadband for very remote locations, on land, in the air and at sea.”
The role of Ofcom is to ensure all services work effectively without interference, though the picture is becoming increasingly complicated with the faster introduction of new services. Alongside the greater reliance on mobile technologies and data, autonomous cars and the connected home may require exclusive spectrum, adding to the “three dimensional jigsaw”.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced they are offering a free preview of Microsoft Stream, a new business video service. Anyone with a business email can now sign up for a preview. Microsoft’s goal of the new offering is to allow employees to communicate and collaborate with video in an easier way. Currently, Microsoft is delivering the following features:
- Sign up in seconds: Get started with Microsoft Stream in as few as five seconds with easy signup and no credit card requirements.
- Easily upload and organize your video: With easy drag and drop capabilities, upload your videos and organize them by either starting a channel or contributing to a channel based on team, group, topic etc.
- Discover relevant content: Enhanced content discovery through “trending” videos powered by machine learning, as well as search by hashtag, most liked videos and other key search terms.
- Watch anywhere, on any device, anytime: View videos in Microsoft Stream on all your devices from anywhere, anytime.
- Secure video management: Manage who views your video content by determining how widely to share within your organization, and to what channels. Secure application access is enabled by Azure Active Directory, a recognized leader in identity management systems, to protect sensitive corporate content.
- Follow what matters: Follow channels to see content you want in your Microsoft Stream homepage.
- Engage with content: Socialize videos by sharing via email, “Like” your favorites and embed videos to webpages within your organization.
To get the full scoop on Microsoft Stream, check out their blog post.
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By Ben Stephenson, Emerging Media Specialist
Clearleap’s video services will be offered through IBM Cloud data centres around the world, which will give clients global 24×7 service and technical support for problem identification and resolution. Clients using the service can now share data and content across geographies and hybrid clouds. IBM will offer the Clearleap APIs on IBM Bluemix in 2016 so clients can build new video offerings quickly and easily.
IBM says Clearleap’s open API framework makes it easy to build video into applications and adapt it to specific business needs like custom workflows and advanced analytics. The framework also means that it works with many third-party applications that customers may already have.
In addition, the Clearleap platform includes subscription and monetization services and data centres from which to host digital video assets. This means IBM customers pass the multi screen video experience on to their own clients.
Clearleap will be integrated into the IBM Cloud platform to make it easy for clients to make money from user video experiences. IBM says this is part of its broader strategy to help clients realise the value of video as it becomes increasingly important in business.
With businesses increasingly using video for CEO webcasts, conference keynotes, customer care and how-to videos, a secure, scalable and open cloud-based system for managing these services has become a priority, says IBM.
Clearleap’s ability to instantly ramp up capacity has won it clients such as HBO, A+E Networks, the NFL, BBC America, Sony Movie Channel, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communications. Clearleap is headquartered in Atlanta and has data centres in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam.
“Clearleap joins IBM as visual communications are exploding across every industry,” said Robert LeBlanc, Senior VP of IBM Cloud, “clients want content delivered quickly and economically to any device in the most natural way.”
Meanwhile, in a move that will support the delivery of video services over the cloud, IBM announced a new system that lets developers create apps that tap into vast amounts of unstructured data.
IBM Object Storage, now available on Bluemix, promises simple and secure store and access
Functions. According to IBM 80% of the 2.5 billion gigabytes of data created every day is unstructured content – with most of it video.
Cisco has unveiled its new Infinite range of cloud-powered video services aimed at service providers, broadcasters and media companies. It claims the cloud could cut the delivery time for a new video service from 12 months to 90 days.
The first two services in the range to be released are Infinite Home and Infinite Video. Home will deliver linear, on-demand and time-shift TV video to any screen over two-way cable and telco networks. Infinite Video offers the same service, but is geared to cater for a variety of consumer electronics devices reached over unmanaged mobile Internet connections.
Cisco claims its new efficiencies will make the tests, trials and roll-outs of new services quicker for service providers and make service updates easier. This, claims Cisco, will improve the subscribers’ experiences, cut costs and boost revenue for broadcasters.
Broadcasters can now launch a new video service in 90 days, according to Cisco, because the networking technicalities have been dramatically simplified by the new cloud infrastructure. Once running, service improvements that once took months can now be completed in minutes, because the functions are no longer installed on individual devices, having been centralised on the cloud infrastructure. This makes addressing changes a lot less complicated and time consuming. Advances in cloud orchestration software have also helped automate and simplify configuration and activation even further, Cisco said.
With the pace of management quickening, service providers will get a faster delivery of new features. The Infinite systems will be pre-integrated and will use open-source components with open application programming interfaces.
Getting video services to market quickly is crucial to today’s video operators, said consultant Colin Dixon, digital media analyst at nScreen Media. “This is exactly the type of technological approach needed. That agility will have huge implications.”
The Infinite Home service was used in beta trials by service provider Kabel Deutschland. “The platform moves control and functions into the cloud, making it quick and easy to update and offer new services,” said user Florian Landgraf, senior VP at service provider Kabel Deutschland.
Broadcasters’ latest legal target is 2-year-old upstart Aereo—which retransmits over-the-air broadcast television using dime-sized antennas to paying consumers, who can watch TV online or record it for later viewing. The case, before the Supreme Court, may have impact on cloud computing generally, not just on Aereo’s business. A federal appeals court said that Aereo’s service is akin to a consumer putting a broadcast antenna atop their dwelling. Aereo, the appeals court ruled, “provides the functionality of three devices: a standard TV antenna, a DVR, and a Slingbox”
Companies like Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Yahoo, and others are worried that a victory for the broadcasters could upend the cloud. The companies, in trade association briefs, told the justices in a recent filing that the “dramatic expansion of the cloud computing sector, bringing with it real benefits previously only imagined in science fiction, depends upon an interpretation of the Copyright Act that allows adequate breathing room for transmissions of content.”
Consider any file-hosting service that allows people to store their own material, such as Dropbox. What if it can be shown they are storing copyrighted work. Do they need a license?
Mitch Stoltz, an Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney, said in a telephone interview that, “If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the broadcasters, their opinion might create liability for various types of cloud computing, especially cloud storage.”
But, in urging the high court to kill Aereo, the broadcasters said that “The disruption threatened by Aereo will produce changes that will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.”
A very hybrid cloud…
CodeLathe today launched a new Windows 8 mobile app that lets individuals watch videos, listen to music, see photos and open documents that are stored on their computer (PC, Mac or Linux).
In this video, GreenPages Solutions Architect Ralph Kindred talks about the latest industry trends around unified communications and video collaboration and the positive impact it has on businesses today.
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