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ANGA COM panelists mull cloud versus client for advanced services

Video-on-demand traffic will almost triple by 2017, and CDNs will deliver almost two thirds of video traffic, according to Yves Padrines, vice-president and general manager, EMEA, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group. Taking part in a strategy panel session at ANGA COM, Padrines told attendees that almost a million minutes of video content will be delivered via the internet every minute by 2017.

Padrines said that  the cloud could help video service providers provide services to multiple devices with flexible updates to UIs, allowing them to compete more effectively with OTT players. “This is bringing faster time to market. We can see that cloud efficiency has been proven in the IP domain,” said Padrines. “The cloud is also bringing a lot of new features and adding value.”

Padrines said operators would not be able to switch to a pure cloud-based platform in one step. Service providers would face a range of options about how much to implement in the cloud and how much in the client device, he said.

Padrines also said that he did not believe the deployment of hardware by operators would disappear. “You will still have a box in the home – probably not a traditional set-top box but a box,” he said. “Over time there could be fewer boxes in the home…and this will be done gradually. Each service provider will have to decide what the right balance is. Saying that operators could be completely replaces by a cloud operator is something I doubt.”

Speaking on the same panel, Stefan Jenzowsky,vice-president of communications, media and technology at Siemens Austria, said that the cloud infrastructure could replace the infrastructure of current service providers. “People hate the set-top,” said Jenzowsky. “We believe we can make a virtual product that replaces a traditional telecom delivery system.”

Cable operators on the panel took a different view of the future of the set-top or gateway. Peter Deiling, director of strategy, Unitymedia KabelBW, said set-tops still offered a way to deliver services with quality assurance. He said that Liberty Global’s Horizon box was highly valued by users.

Johannes Eckert, vice-president, enterprise development, BSS, Cox Communications, said that customers did not like the look of traditional set-top boxes but, other than that, did not really care if services were delivered from the cloud or from a box. He said the average US household had nine connected devices, and these could only really be managed by a device such as a gateway.