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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Sep 10, 2020
Episode 5 of IBC On Location takes us to the NDSM neighborhood in Amsterdam North, a vibrant haven for creatives challenging the norm of the Dutch art scene. Where better than to meet Sjors Hendriks, COO at Youfone, the Dutch MVNO challenging the market by offering people more value, choice, and freedom on how they bundle their internet, (mobile) phone and TV subscriptions.
Speaking to Vanessa Vigar, 24i's VP Marketing, Sjors explains Youfone's journey from mobile telephony to television and streaming video and how their recently-launched Android TV service offers even more choice and content to customers. Sjors explains why the service had to be launched in just five months and how this was made possible by the fast deployment of the 24i/Amino end-to-end multiscreen solution, and close collaboration with Google.
He advises industry executives that that without trade events, such as IBC, they can get a good feel of where the market and technologies are heading by working more closely with existing technology partners and influencing their roadmaps. While on location, Sjors and Vanessa enjoy "Dutch sashimi" and another typical IBC breakfast!
Sep 08, 2020
At 24i we work hard and have fun - especially during IBC. In the 2nd episode of IBC On Location, Martijn van Horssen takes us to the Escape Club in Rembrandtplein, central Amsterdam, which is where we usually host the famous 24i IBC party. While we cannot party together this year, Martijn gives us a master class on how to eat Dutch bitterballen as well as surprising us with a one-time-only performance from the 24i and Amino band ... enjoy.
Apr 06, 2020
In just a few weeks, all our lives have needed to adapt to a new way of working - in the broadest sense of the word. The focus of our work has had to shift several times already and is sure to change again as the needs of our customers and their subscribers change.
We are all adapting to working at home, each having our own very individual environments and complications. From finding space for additional TVs for development and testing, to combining conference calls with home schooling, or even simply adjusting our situation after the workday ends. We need to work on staying connected with each other while practicing social distancing and, most of all, we must stay safe.
These circumstances can bring out the 'Darwinian' in all of us. Since founding 24i over 10 years ago, our team has always used shifts in consumer behaviour to accelerate, adapt and innovate. Little did we know that change would take on such a dramatically new perspective in 2020.
I could not be more proud of how the entire Amino and 24i family is showing strength and solidarity during this new kind of disruption. Not only are we helping each other to stay connected but also providing extra support to our customers and communities while keeping ourselves and our families safe at home. It is not a surprise, but certainly inspiring, that some of our team have put technology to work to help their local communities tackle the COVID-19 virus where they can. In many countries, there is a problem with a shortage of protective tools, especially in the medical field. In our Brno office, in the Czech Republic, we have a team working together with Industra Lab to 3D print protective face shields for hospital medical staff, dentists and paediatricians. We have already printed over 60 shields and we are looking to find ways to accelerate the process so we can get more into the field.
While we may not be on the frontline fighting this terrible virus, we are doing what we can within our communities and by helping our customers provide streaming video services. Through these efforts, we hope to make the lives of the people now staying home a little bit more comfortable.
Finally, I look forward to when we can meet in person and look back on how this truly testing time has brought us together, made us take greater care of each other, and inspired us to use technology and creativity to innovate for a better future.
Until then, thank you and stay safe.
Martijn van Horssen, Joint-CEO, 24i