ZTE’s Co-Cloud Multi-Screen Smart IPTV Solution

2011-05-20     By Weijun Lee

The emergence of cloud computing is fuelling the IPTV industry and enhancing IPTV’s competitiveness. Access to information, media, and services in the cloud from anywhere, anytime is becoming a reality. ZTE is the first in the industry to propose a multi-screen smart IPTV solution based on a carrier-optimized cloud (Co-Cloud) architecture, which is also nicknamed Colorful-Cloud architecture. The solution represents a major trend in the IPTV industry.

 

Co-Cloud Architecture

While cloud computing in the IT industry has the advantages of resource virtualization and elastic expansion, it is deficient in carrier-grade network resource management. To overcome this weakness, ZTE’s Co-Cloud architecture introduces the following enhancements: 

■ bandwidth virtualization and management

■ system and data security management

■ reliability enhancement

■ QoS enhancement

■ support for different business models including Communications as a Service (CaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

■ support for cloud computing standards in both the IT and telecom domains, including ITU, IETF, ETSI, DMTF, Open Grid Forum, and SNIA.

ZTE’s co-cloud IPTV solution includes three cloud service platforms: user information cloud, media storage cloud, and smart application cloud.

User information cloud

Key user information such as service subscription and personal information (favorites and bookmarks) is stored in the cloud (not in the device itself) and can be accessed from any device so that the media service is ubiquitously available from anywhere at any time.

Media storage cloud

 A multi-layered content delivery network forms a media storage cloud that delivers content to any edge node efficiently and transparently. In addition, the network-based digital video recording technology enables user-selected content to be stored in the media cloud, as opposed to on a local set-top box. This allows users to access their desired content through any screen.

Smart application cloud

 User services are served from a smart application cloud. Application servers are hosted in the central node as a logical cluster to control service logics, whereas user interaction processors are distributed into the edge nodes that are closest to users. This allows for elastic capacity expansion by adding more edge nodes while simplifying service introduction and upgrades only in the central node. The powerful servers in the smart application cloud are utilized to make up for the limited processing capability of a set-top box. For example, instead of searching locally with its own processor, a set-top box can submit a video search request to be performed by the smart application cloud, and then receive and display the page-by-page incremental search results.

 

Multi-screen

ZTE’s Co-Cloud IPTV solution incorporates the concept of “any service, anytime, anywhere and any device”, and allows users to enjoy interesting contents and applications over multiple screens.

Modern users play with multiple screens including TV, PC, mobile phones, and media tablets.

■  TV screens offer immersive large-screen high-definition theater-like experience;

■  Computer screens allow complicated and efficient content editing and schedule management;

■  Mobile phone screens allow ubiquitous browsing and playing of media content anytime, anywhere;

■  Media tablet screens are most suitable as the home media control centers, thanks to their intuitive multi-touch features such as scrolling, pinching, dragging, and dropping.

Operations between multiple screens include time shifting, space shifting, and companionship. Time shifting allows video content to be paused, resumed, or skipped on any screen; Space shifting allows convenient sharing of bookmarks among multiple screens and seamless handoff from one screen to another; Companionship allows users simultaneously access different information about the same content with multiple screens. For example, while the TV screen is playing a movie, a media tablet may be used to browse the Internet for information about movie characters or to make a purchase about related merchandise.

 

Smart TV

ZTE’s Co-Cloud IPTV solution incorporates the popular functions of Internet TV and Smart TV.

Internet TV, represented by Yahoo! Connected TV, adds Internet video and applications to the traditional “walled garden” of TV operators. Internet TV is essentially a TV operating system with an application development kit that can be used to develop and display dynamic widgets on the screen.

Smart TV, represented by Google TV, is the next step of Internet TV. Smart TV provides an additional AppStore, which allows users to purchase and download applications for TV, PC, mobile phones, and media tablets. This opens up a new revenue source for TV operators and application developers.

Recent technology advances enable a much smoother user experience over unmanaged IP networks than before. Such technologies as low-bitrate high-definition video encoding, adaptive bitrate streaming, and progressive downloading may partially compensate the latency, jitter, and packet loss issues of transmitting videos over an unmanaged IP network without any quality of service guarantee.

ZTE offers a commercial multi-screen application store for mobile phones, IPTV set-top-boxes, and media tablets, a multi-screen service delivery platform, and a rich set of applications including social network services, video calls, home monitoring, interactive gaming, and TV shopping.

 

Value Expansion

ZTE’s Co-Cloud multi-screen smart IPTV solution has enjoyed successful commercial deployments in advanced markets such as USA, Europe, and Singapore, as well as in developing markets including China, Vietnam, Belarus, Venezuela, Columbia, Indonesia, and many others. It creates significant new values for consumers, TV operators, and application developers.

■ Users enjoy the convenience and novelty of multi-screen access to contents and applications anytime, anywhere and on any device.

■  TV operators retain subscribers with appropriate new business models enabled by seamless multi-screen convergence.

■  Application developers rapidly deliver innovative programs using standard APIs and software factories, and directly reach out to customers through the TV operator’s multi-screen application stores.

 Aiming for excellence and innovation, ZTE is committed to win-win growth with service operators, end users, and application developers across the world.

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