The 24i Video Experience Platform makes its debut!

Published July 29th, 2020

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.

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

Youfone delivery of The Netherlands’ First Android TV service powered by 24i and Amino

  • Being the first Android TV service provides Youfone with a real differentiator in the highly competitive Dutch market
  • Rather than the traditional 12 – 18 month engineering project, Youfone refreshed its user experience & consumer offering and reduced CAPEX and OPEX in a 5 month project
  • This speed to market was enabled by the end-to-end 24i and Amino solution
  • Nextgen consumer features included, such as Chromecast built-in to simplify casting from mobile or tablet to the TV

Cambridge and Amsterdam, 13 August 2020 - Amino, and sister-company 24i, today announced that on 3/8/2020 Youfone launched the first Android TV service in the Netherlands, providing consumers with a next-generation converged OTT, VoD and live TV experience on TVs and mobile devices.

The Youfone service is powered by the 24i Video Experience Platform and devices from Amino, providing an end-to-end solution that enabled the Dutch MVNO to completely refresh its user experience and expand the reach of its TV service.

“The unique power, flexibility and breadth of the integrated 24i and Amino solution meant that Youfone launched the Netherland’s first Android TV service in just 5 months, rather than embarking on a major engineering project of a year or more if we had followed another path,” said Valentijn Rensing, CEO of Youfone.

“A key advantage of the 24i and Amino solution is that it is truly end-to-end: covering all the functions we need from content ingest, encoding and transcoding, management, customer care, content distribution, all the software required from front-end to back end and even the set-top boxes serving our TV viewing customers,” concluded Rensing.

Powered by the 24i Video Experience Platform, Amino 7x Android set-top boxes, and Amino OS, this is the first deployment of the joint 24i and Amino cloud-based solution which enables video delivery from any source to any device.

Youfone, whose TV service was initially launched in 2017, tapped 24i and Amino in December 2019 to deliver an expanded TV and OTT offering. 24i and Amino partnered to provide everything the Youfone service required, from smart Set-Top-Box (STB) hardware, service management, a robust backend, and an intuitive UI layer. Functionality includes transcoding, middleware, CDN, and front-end applications for Android, iOS phones, and tablets; enabling live TV, catchup, restart and nPVR for approximately 100 channels. This is the first joint deployment announced since 24i became an Amino Technologies group company in July 2019.

The turnkey, multiscreen solution provides Youfone with the operational flexibility to deliver local or hosted live and on-demand streaming content to any device and platform, including Linux and Android TV. The hardware product deployment runs on AminoOS, all managed through Amino SM Engage, Amino’s cloud-based service management platform.

The solution is a hybrid cloud deployment taking advantage of on-premise private cloud services for 24/7 headend services that minimize infrastructure cost and public cloud services to maximize flexibility. It provides Youfone with nimble, modular operational services, ranging from content ingest, infrastructure, capacity, load, API and front-end monitoring, to change management and 3rd party support.

“The innovative 24i and Amino solutions combined with the expertise of our teams enabled Youfone to launch an advanced Android TV service powered by the 24i Video Experience Platform and replace their existing set-tops with the advanced Amino 7x devices,” said Donald McGarva, Amino Group Chief Executive Officer.

“Traditionally, launching an advanced modern converged OTT, VoD and Live TV service would take a year or more and would be technically demanding. Before the 24i Video Experience Platform (VEP), companies such as Youfone were faced with the choice between over-engineered single vendor systems, smaller single-vendor solutions with gaps in functionality, or the complications and delays associated in dealing with multiple vendors. Getting Youfone up and running with the Netherland’s first major Android TV service so quickly proves that VEP is the ideal solution for today’s multiscreen market conditions,” concluded McGarva.