Long reads

Q&A: Mikael Dahlgren, Agama Technologies

Mikael Dahlgren, CEO at Agama Technologies, talks about key developments in video distribution and ways to exceed customer expectations.

What key developments do you see taking place in the video distribution business?

In a market full of choices, it all comes down to exceeding customer expectations and enabling customer base expansions. This includes for example geographical coverage, ease of use, content, price, payment method and service quality. To succeed, video service providers constantly improve their video services to exceed the expectations of the consumer, all while delivering video services in the most cost-effective way.

Technologies like adaptive bitrate streaming are used in all forms of video delivery to enable service flexibility and coverage, for example in TV Everywhere extensions and virtual cable rollouts. For OTT services, securing premium and exclusive content is becoming more and more important.

Also, whilst a lot of OTT content is consumed on various devices, premium OTT content such as live sports is turning consumption to the main screen. OTT also drives the need for flexibility in deploying and running services in a virtualized, cloud or hybrid environment.

There are more simultaneous changes happening in the market than ever before in order to meet and exceed customer expectations.

How do these developments impact on the way operators handle quality assurance?

To manage this new and at times more complex service delivery environment, the need to rapidly gain the right insights is key. This is true not only when it comes to managing quality assurance, but also in agile service development and for a deepened customer understanding. To manage service quality and customer expectations, service providers need a complete and instant view into service performance for the complete delivery chain and subscriber usage. These insights are vital when developing new offerings and managing time critical premium services like live OTT, where proactivity and automation are key.

What do service providers need to think about when considering new business models such as the virtual cable operator model and live streaming of premium events?

When it comes to virtualized cable operations and premium OTT live streaming, viewers are starting to perceive theses services in a similar way as traditional premium TV services, with similar expectations on quality and overall experience. However, the underlying technology obviously differs and offers its own unique challenges. As live services affect every viewer in real-time, special focus must be placed on the early stages of the delivery chain and the real-time perspective.

Again, a deep understanding of the service delivery through the whole chain in real-time, from service creation all the way to the individual customer’s app or device, is key to secure a growing customer base and is the core of the Agama 360 concept for analytics and visualization. Of course, the monitoring, assurance and analytics solution used by the service provider must also be able to function in a virtualized or cloud environment.

What other immediate business and regulatory challenges are operators facing, and what do you think they need to do to address these?

In Europe, this year’s big regulatory issue has of course been GDPR. The leading suppliers in this industry have worked with privacy matters for years and have experience in supporting service providers in implementing processes and solutions.

Looking ahead, what do you identify as the main trends in this space?

Looking at the developments and challenges currently seen, there is a need for far more insights that will support service providers in maximizing customer satisfaction and creating great service offerings with must-see content. The winners in the video service market will be the ones who have access to the right type of high quality data and manage to draw the right conclusions from it – and in this, AI and automated analytics will be key to deliver the best customer experience possible as efficiently as possible.

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This Q&A is sponsored content.