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EBU sets sights on open personalisation standard

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has set up a group to develop a non-proprietary, cross-platform authentication system in a bid to make it easier for broadcasters to offer personalised user experiences.

The Cross-Platform Authentication (CPA) project group is being chaired by Sean O’Halpin, who is lead engineer at the BBC’s R&D internet research and future services unit.

The EBU said the group will develop “an alternative to proprietary single sign-on systems that already exist,” developing a variant of the open OAuth 2.0 standard protocol that is targeted at IP-connected media devices. The proposal may ultimately be submitted for adoption in OAuth 2.0.

“While the growth of internet-connected TV and radio receivers has opened up many new possibilities for innovative online and hybrid services, authentication remains a blocking point. A solution to this problem would unlock the potential for a minor revolution in the usually anonymous world of broadcasting,” said the EBU.

The new group will aim to simplify accessing multiple services across different platforms and devices, while protecting users’ information and ensuring data isolation between broadcasters. It will also take into account different device capabilities in terms of displays and input methods.

“The lack of standards in this area has led to early adopters taking the easy option of hooking into pre-existing authentication systems from popular web-based services like Facebook or Yahoo!. However for broadcasters, and public service media organisations in particular, it would be preferable to have the option of using an independent solution that is not under the control of a commercial company,” said the EBU.

The first meeting of the group is due to take place in early September.