Nowadays, more and more operators are realizing that video is not just a value-added service on top of traditional telco services but is also fundamental to future strategy, especially in the coming 5G era. 5G cellular will enable significantly greater capacity and dramatically lower latency, and optimized support for Ultra High Definition (UHD) streaming video embedded with many advanced applications and services including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), telemedicine, education, and various IoT enabled applications and services
Meanwhile, the video industry has benefited greatly from the recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and there are tremendous opportunities to offer captivating user experiences to subscribers and new revenue streams to content and video service providers.
To capture these openings, ZTE has launched its Premium Video Solution with a platform evolving toward the future, and helps the operator unlock new business models by using innovative AI technologies.
ZTE’s Premium Video Solution
ZTE’s Premium Video Solution is a convergent platform that allows IPTV, OTT, mobile, and DVB video content to be accessed, managed, operated, and delivered in a unified manner. It helps operator efficiently provide rich and high-quality video content such as 4K/8K, AR and VR with ultimate experience and across multiple network types and terminals.
ZTE’s Premium Video Solution is mainly composed of the video service platform, the convergent content distribution network (CDN), and core components such as O&M module and STBs. On top of the basic video services, ZTE provides in addition an AI abstraction layer which encapsulates various AI technologies such as object or face recognition, Deep Learning (DL), Natural Language Processing (NLP), etc. and helps operators to differentiate their video services, improve their customer loyalty and discover more opportunities for their revenue growth.
AI powered video services
In today’s connected universe, data is as important to the movie and TV experience. The ecosystem of the video industry involves many parties and is expanding today from content producers, aggregators, solution vendors, to many AI capability providers having their own data analytics and learning algorithms, trained with massive data. As part of this convergent and innovative video ecosystem, ZTE cooperates with industry’s leading AI capability providers by encapsulating their capability including object or face recognition, Deep Learning (DL), Natural Language Processing (NLP), etc. into the AI abstraction layer, in order to deliver new consumer experiences through innovations in artificial intelligence with the highest accuracy. Based on open APIs, the AI abstraction layer allows operator to unlock many advanced features in addition to the traditional video services.
For example, data analytics help content or service providers learn from the massive big data sets, and therefore build up a neural network by combining data from different dimensions for each customer behind the screen. Features using data analytics such as personalized UI, precise recommendation or intelligent search allow operators to re-imagine the TV experience, change the way viewers connect with, discover, and enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies, and finally attract users and increases revenue with long tail marketing.
Furthermore, with the development of network technology and expansion of social platforms, short-form, UGC, mobile-friendly and UHD video may dominate the future of content, and content and service providers more and more consider the value of social as a distribution network. AI based 4K UHD restoration of the classic movies will enrich the UHD content library, and features such as short-form editing and content recognition will facilitate from production to delivery of the massive UGC contents, as well as creation of short clips and trailers of sports event or traditional TV programming. For example, as AI is able to analyze each video frame to figure out all the imageries and mark them up with timestamps, video clips as trailers can be automatically generated. Moreover, object and face recognition technologies have made it possible to automatically tag objects with additional information, and can be used to enrich the content metadata, to generate smart advertisement, or to shorten the content reviewing process before sharing it by social networks.
TV advertising is another interesting topic regarding the use of AI technology. TV advertising has been a dominant marketing channel across the world for more than 60 years. Unlike traditional linear or programmatic TV, smart advertising using AI such as addressable technology can completely eliminate wasted reach, when ads are viewed by viewers who aren’t part of the target market. This precision helps the operator target its audience whatever they are watching, and closes the loop on true marketing outcomes and delivering improved audience understanding. Technology is fundamentally changing the way brands connect with audiences through television and helps to maximizes advertising effectiveness by delivering the data-driven capabilities for advertisers using any television platform for their campaign, and introduces new revenue opportunities to the operator and Ad inventory owners.
UHD video distribution
With the Premium Video Solution, ZTE extends its video platform to network edges in order to optimize UHD video distribution and bearing, as the Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform is impacting the future of the telco ecosystem. By providing vCDN and content processing modules as software-based solutions on the MEC platform, the content can be rapidly ingested, processed and delivered at the very edge of the network, closer to the customers.
In addition, the Premium Video Solution adopts microservices-based architecture. The use of microservices will not only facilitate O&M or launch of new features, it will allow under 5G, expansion of video service capabilities to various vertical applications, to meet market requirements for expanding video capabilities into other industries. As 5G network architecture relies on network slicing to deal with high external demands, and network slicing requires a scalable and software-defined infrastructure, microservices-based architecture will properly support the responsiveness, flexibility, updatability and scalability that 5G demands.
Today, hundreds of millions of users watch TV programming or online video supported by ZTE video solutions. However, network, AI and video technologies continued to progress from generation to generation. This year’s World Cup featured a range of emerging technologies, and the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang also provided many innovations including some events covered already in 8K. Aiming to become the operator’s best partner in the video industry, ZTE accelerates the transition to pervasive next generation video by connecting people and media across any device with its Premium Video Platform, and continuously removes the barriers of accessibility and watching experience with industry’s leading technologies.
By Frank Fang, Vice President of ZTE Corporation