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|Visualising the future of digital media business
By Simen K. Frostad, Chairman
Published in TV-Bay/ KitPlus, March 2015
More and more, successful delivery of digital media services is all about data management. Data about how well the services are performing can come from many sources – from market research and customer satisfaction responses, from analysis of customer support and maintenance activity, and from monitoring systems.
Of these sources, it’s the monitoring system that has the greatest potential for the digital media service operator. Not just because it provides hard data in real time – data that helps maintenance engineers quickly track down faults and remedy them; but because an advanced monitoring system has the capability of becoming an altogether more powerful tool for understanding the operation and how it could grow.
Like nearly every kind of enterprise, a digital media operation is a complex organism for making profit. Any business uses financial and other models for forward planning, research tools for defining market sectors and matching product development to them, and so on. This can be seen as a kind of monitoring of the health and fitness of the organisation, and of predicting and anticipating future developments.
The challenge for our industry is to raise our expectations of what ‘monitoring systems’ should be, until they include the capability for understanding and planning for the future. In place of monitoring systems that simply raise the alarm when something goes wrong in the present, we can advance the technology to be a far more serious tool for business growth.
In the connected media consumption landscape, there’s a vast amount of data to be accessed and understood by the digital media operator. Every OTT client and set-top box can contribute to a rich data resource for the operator to use in identifying and understanding new patterns of use, emerging market niches, increased competitive stress, and so on. But the enormous volumes of data available need exceptional analysis tools if the data is to make sense.
Complex scientific research makes use of advanced visualisation to pick a path through massive data sets, with the ability to correlate data from heterogeneous sources as a way of discovering new patterns and connections. And advanced visualisation can do something similar in our industry.
Old-style monitoring tech was designed with the limited aim of delivering a message about the operational performance of individual equipment resources, but today’s most evolved monitoring systems are much more comprehensive – they look at the organisation’s whole delivery chain, and can correlate performance data from any and all points simultaneously. They can also contextualise the data against external sources for a more complete and nuanced understanding.
So the platform for wider exploration of the data is already there. Far beyond a simple alarm-raising functionality, monitoring systems in the future will be used by operators to explore consumption patterns against market segmentation, geographical breakdown, mobility data, infrastructure quality and many other criteria. This kind of analysis will allow operators to take an extremely well informed approach to forward planning.
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