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Jul 29, 2020

Blog

The 24i Video Experience Platform makes its debut!

This week we are celebrating the launch of our all-new Video Experience Platform. In the latest episode of the ‘In Conversation With…’ video series, Pim Verbij, VP Product at 24i, explains the ins and outs of the new platform.

https://youtu.be/p6pN7B814q0
A short introduction: What is the Video Experience Platform?

The Video Experience Platform in short, is the latest evolution in the 10+ years 24i has spent innovating the video experience. Over the past years, 24i has developed and released applications on many devices, including, but not limited to: web; mobile; SmartTV, consoles and Set Top Boxes. The Video Experience platform is the logical successor to all that experience amassed over the years.

Being able to deliver apps at a quick pace (fast time to market/revenue), while still being highly configurable and scalable, lies at the heart of what the Video Experience Platform offers. It is a combination of technology, a way of thinking and a way of working, all in order to accelerate how we develop and publish video applications to market. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.

The Three Musketeers

When you read the subtitle above, you might begin to wonder what I mean with this. Why the Three Musketeers? That’s exactly what the Video Experience Platform is: a combination of three products, that combined, make the ultimate video experience.

Going top to bottom, you obviously need a website and apps, that will be used by your users. That’s where the Smart Apps product comes in. Comprised of a single code base for all types of devices, and heavily relying on microservices and ready-to-use components; we leverage the Smart Apps product to quickly setup and create applications.

So now you have your app. But what does the app look like, how do you position and display content in such a way that it attracts users and keeps them on your platform? That’s where the second musketeer comes into play: Backstage. Simply put: Backstage is a CMS and integration manager that allows you to configure almost every aspect of your application. You can adjust the branding, determine the content shown, and even leverage partner-integrations in order to get the most out of your application.

Finally, you obviously need to make sure that there is actual video content making their way to your apps. That’s the third musketeer: Smart Video. Whether you need Video on Demand, Live Video, Catchup and many more; Smart Video is there to handle any type of content.

Which brings us to the D’Artagnan of this story: the actual video content. The series and movies that your customers have grown to love and adore. The goal of the Video Experience Platform is in that sense also very simple. We don’t want you to worry about setting up apps, branding, or delivery of that video content. That’s what we do for you. Allowing you to fully focus on making sure that your users are getting the content they deserve.

But why is it better than what we did before?

The Video Experience Platform is not done, and it never will be. Like technology in general, we are continually evolving and adapting to the changes in the market. This allows our customers to continiously leverage the latest and greatest features offered by the platform.

People usually say that change isn’t always easy. That is however a key thought behind this platform. We want to change, we want to evolve and adapt. And that’s where the key architecture behind the platform comes into play. Everything is setup to be interchangeable, through the use of microservices.

As an example, the platform comes with recommendations built-in. We take user data, make some calculations and recommended content comes rolling out. There are however companies specialised in only that: recommendations. Our microservices architecture allows us to quickly switch between various recommendation engines. The input will still be used data, and the output will still be recommended content. In between is however a different microservice, that calculates the recommendations in a different way, leveraging the partner implementation. By switching between these microservices, the entire platform still continues to work as expected, but you are now using a completely different recommendation engine. Simple as that.

End-user first, but with maximum configurability

24i has always been at the forefront of the field. Over the past decade we have created many applications, where the focus has always been on delivering the best app-experience for the end-users. That remains unchanged. The Video Experience Platform only aims to accelerate that behaviour.

The experience from the past decade has shown us what is exactly needed from things like the backend, that we know are working well in the front-end apps. By having complete control over the entire video chain (from content ingestion to front-end application), we are able to deliver a seemless experience across all platforms. Each aspect of the Video Experience Platform is developed in such a way, that end users get the best experience.

We do however still want to offer maximum configurability. Apps should look exactly how you want them to look, and should present content in such a way that we know is working for your end-users. That’s why the platform caters to both aspects of the field. We make sure that end-users get the content in the best way possible, meanwhile enabling you to configure the apps in every way you see fit.

In conclusion

Short time to market, offering the entire video chain in a single package, end-user focused and with maximum configurability options; the Video Experience Platform aims to make things easy for you. We don’t want you to have to worry about getting your apps live on time, or having to resubmit applications only to change a little image. That’s what the platform handles for you. And it’s all ready for use. Right now.

If the video, or this accompanying blog, has interested you in the platform and are you keen to learn more? Feel free to get in contact so we can have a chat about the possibilities available to you or download the 24i Video Experience Platform brochure for more details.

This blog is also published on Medium by Matthijs Langendijk

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Jul 22, 2020

Press

New Video Experience Platform Accelerates Convergence of Pay-TV and OTT Services

Flexible SaaS Platform Combines Consumer Focus with Operational Excellence


Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 22 July 2020 – 24i, the industry-leading, global video experience company, today announced the launch of its Video Experience Platform (VEP), a smart and cost-effective SaaS platform that, for the first time, productizes all the services required for the convergence of Pay-TV, IPTV, and OTT streaming. 

VEP has been designed to accelerate time-to-market while delivering the essential flexibility and functionality required for the creation of next-generation video services. 

Redefining the modern video experience

“The launch of the 24i Video Experience Platform challenges traditional industry delivery models by maximizing flexibility and functionality to provide service providers with, for the first time, the freedom to choose their own path to delivering next-generation video experiences,” said Martijn Van Horssen, Joint-CEO 24i. 

Combining significant industry experience, consumer insight, and modern microservices-led architecture, 24i has created a powerful, modular, and flexible SaaS platform that focuses on the consumer, prioritizes operational efficiency, and provides cost-effective, agile technologies to ensure flexibility, scalability, and continuous innovation. 

“The development of this exciting new platform has been informed by the deployments we’ve handled recently for customers such as BroadwayHD, Slovak Telecom, T-Mobile Czech Republic, Topic, and Youfone. Every customer is different, but they all need flexibility and a laser focus on the consumer. By launching services through VEP for all these customers with very different aims and goals demonstrates that this new platform is incredibly flexible and powerful. We look forward to our new platform continuing to help TV and video service providers to stay audience relevant by taking advantage of new business opportunities at every stage of their video evolution,” added Van Horssen.

VEP combines 24i’s Smart Apps framework, the 24i Smart Video engine, 24i Backstage, and a Smart Ecosystem of technologies and partners, to power the redefinition of the modern video experience. 

The 24i Smart Apps framework supports every media company’s unique video business strategy and technology architecture with custom or white label applications, UX, and UI development. The framework simplifies the syndication and delivery of live and on-demand TV and video content to mobiles, web, Smart TV, TV, STBs, and game consoles. 

24i Smart Video is a feature-rich platform that gives video providers the operational flexibility for end-to-end multiscreen video delivery. Smart Video simplifies the syndication and delivery of live and on-demand TV apps across mobile, web, smart TV, game consoles, and Set-Top-Boxes (including support for HbbTV and ATSC 3.0. The scalable cloud-based model is designed to leverage existing infrastructure and/or 3rd party technologies and provides options for on- or off-premise deployment of relevant workloads, such as service creation and video processing. The platform takes in and converts raw live or on-demand libraries to the required delivery formats for all types of devices, including encoding and transcoding of linear content to multiple bitrates and resolutions. 

24i Backstage is an award-winning, real-time UX and integration manager that allows media companies to define and manage their application experiences by connecting back-end systems via a cloud-based management console. Backstage enables media companies to configure apps, define and schedule content availability or promotion, curate content, orchestrate and enrich metadata, and seamlessly integrate with ecosystem technologies. 

Additionally, 24i has also announced the launch of the Smart Ecosystem, which ties together the online video value chain through a seamless combination of in-house products and premium partner integrations. This open ecosystem delivers TV and video service providers with the most effective video experience solutions based upon their unique business needs and growth strategies. Modular and flexible, the 24i Smart Ecosystem is designed to scale and expand platform architectures without the complexities and risks typically associated with a multi-vendor strategy. 

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Jul 01, 2020

Blog

UI/UX – The Best Kept Secret To Reducing Churn

There is much debate around the future of TV, from both a production and consumption perspective. One thing is clear, however, that while we mostly take the User Interface of our TV and video services for granted, it is often a key deciding factor when the time comes to renew our subscription(s).

The hidden importance of UI design for TV and streaming services

In a recent interview published for International Women's Day, hosted by Women in Streaming Media, Peggy Dau, Founder & Managing Partner, MAD Perspectives, and Yujin Joung, UI Designer at 24i, discuss the often hidden importance of UI design for TV and streaming services. The lively and informative discussion covers: 

What's new in a modern video experience?Why is this important to consumers? How did we get here? How can a service's UI help video providers attract and retain subscribers? What are the Best practices to deliver a positive user experience?How did the concept of rows emerge when displaying content within streaming apps?
Listen and read the interview


1: UI/UX is gaining a lot of attention with the increased number of OTT services. Why is UI/UX important to pay-TV and OTT Providers?

As we already know, today the market is very competitive and fast-growing. Service providers need to build their own clear strategy for UI/UX in order to retain their customers.  We can help them by creating distinguished features that users love to have. We look at the market trends and see if they are relevant to our clients based on their users and their own content. For example, let’s look at autoplay. This is when the video service automatically starts playing the next episode when you are watching a TV series. There is no need to manually select the next episode. If all services don’t have this same feature, subscribers will get annoyed by the services that don’t have it. This is a good example where the UI/UX anticipates the user’s needs. This small feature improves the general perception of the product.

2: Why has the UI/UX design with rows of images become the "standard" for video services?

Image Rows - Creating a standard from a trend

I think the rows of images started from the experience at the movie theatre when you see posters next to each other on the wall. We wanted to provide a similar experience which was the start of a trend that has become the standard.


We are more attracted to visual images than text. Images are easy to consume because they require less cognitive effort. Big images are more eye-catching than long boring texts. I believe the same to be true for video services. TV is a visual platform, not made for reading text. Instead, TV is mostly made for consuming media. Therefore, we need to make an easier and more usable product for the content.

3: What's new in UI/UX design?

There is a lot of focus on personalizing the user experience. Artificial Intelligence helps to understand your profile and what you like to watch. You see relevant content directly from the homepage, instead of using the menu to find what you’re looking for. The content comes to you, instead of you going to the content. The product can understand how you use it, and adapts its interface.

One of my colleagues gave me an amazing example of this. He has a video app and uses the same channel every Monday. This app collects the data about what and when he watches. The app now shows the same channel every Monday for him. That’s really impressive. Just imagine how this will evolve in the future.

4: Why is UI/UX important to consumers?

I think I can explain this with my personal experience. Recently I wanted to get more fit and I was looking for a fitness app which allows me to choose any kind of gym. So, I decided to download a few of them and just compare which one I want to use.

In one app, it was hard to understand what’s what; in general, it was just too difficult to use. I tried to use the map function which would allow me to see the nearest gym, but the result was just a chaos of data and images. Also, the look and feel of the app felt old, which made me wonder if the information provided by the app would be trustworthy. The content of an app is very important, but how we present it is also crucial. UI/UX helps consumers to experience the app in the best possible way. This is why UI/UX is important.

5: What's important as we move ahead?

Users all behave differently and experience products in their own way. We need to keep looking for new solutions and technologies to improve the experience.

Summary

There must be a "wow" experience when they start to use the product. We need to make the user instantly fall in love with the services we create. Beautiful graphic design, playful animations, and easy interaction are examples of ways to impress the users.

To discuss how to create a winning UI talk to the 24i design team today

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