Each year, the cable industry in Europe (and some of the US side), congregates in one of the major capitals and spends two to three days discussing a wide variety of trends and happenings in the industry. It is truly a fascinating few days for anyone who works in or near to the Cable industry, and offers the attendee a great insight into the motivations behind both business and technical events taking place now and over the coming 12 months.
This year was no different, with the industry adapting to significant consolidation over the last couple of years, with Virgin Media and Ziggo combining into Liberty Global and Vodafone acquiring Ono and Kable Deutschland to make an industry that is, to save the words, lumpy. It is certainly interesting to see how the next twelve months to two years will develop and see what both Liberty Global and Vodafone do next. That was not the main interest though, as technology developments in both RDK and the major competitors to that strategy – TiVo and traditional Middleware – are changing the industry and making it much more focused on the technology behind TV, and making sure that every major cable operator has a significant eye on software and how it can enable competitive advantage. The sessions and corridors were full of the discussions about the challenges of System Integration, Agile, Open Source software, and obtaining velocity of development and product roll-out. Very exciting times, certainly with the practical issues really being in people’s minds now. This is not just the promise, but the meat of deploying high technology and very user friendly software for consumers to watch everything, everywhere.
The next big thing is also coming – UHD or 4K or whatever you want to call it. What matters is that there is a real new thing (not the rehashed old thing of 3D) that is coming in the pipeline and all the companies in the cable industry, the new players in OTT and the old satellite kings are all looking at how this can be deployed and technically supported. The first phases of UHD offers increased ‘numbers’ in resolution and a learning experience for the operator, but even now many seem to pin the wow factor on what comes after this – HDR (High Dynamic Range) and HFR (High Frame Rate). Certainly the announcements out of the Olympic organisations that 4K only is not enough have dampened the early adopters so we will have to look towards 2018 World Cup to be the stage for UHD, although I cannot help think that the OTT players will steal a march on those who are waiting.
It is certainly an exciting time for Fairmile West, with consultants working on everything from UHD platforms through to Dynamic Ad Insertion and we are certainly looking to meet new associates and clients alike in the coming days and weeks. This week we will be at TV Connect 2015 in London on 29th and 30th April, figuring out where everything is like every other old school attendee who is more used to Olympia than ExCel, so if you are around drop us a line to meet up via firstname.lastname@example.org or even tweet us at @fairmilewest.