IBC Q&A: Net Insight’s Karlsson on the power of live synchronized OTT sports
Net Insight had a busy IBC 2016, exhibiting on two stands to highlight both its offerings and those of the recently acquired ScheduALL to introduce several products. However, the main highlight for the company was a sports-content–fueled demo of Sye, its synchronized live OTT solution.
With Sye, Net Insight aims to resolve the lack of synchronization between first and second screens in live sports coverage. Sye delivers a live feed synchronized across both broadcast TV and streaming, allowing rightsholders to provide a harmonized multiscreen experience and show complementary and personalized second-screen content in sync with the broadcast feed. Fans can choose content to watch on the second screen (favorite players/drivers or alternate angles, for example) along with integrated live statistics, real-time recommendations, and alternative commentary, as well as real-time betting, voting, and polling. Also, if a viewer wants to see a second-screen camera angle on the first screen, Sye enables a simple swipe to seamlessly flip between content.
At IBC 2016, Sye was demonstrated with actual motorsports content in which viewers could follow the linear telecast on the big screen while selecting from in-car cams on a tablet.
In addition, Net Insight launched a virtualized version of its Nimbra VA internet media-transport solution, which allows broadcasters and service providers to extend their media networks to the cloud. ScheduALL also had a large presence at the show with a public-cloud version of its scheduling/resource-management platform, ScheduALL Cloud, and the new ScheduALL Mobility Portfolio, a mobile version of the web-based ScheduALL Portal.
SVG sat down with CTO/VP, Product Portfolio, Martin Karlsson to discuss the SYE demo and how he sees it opening new revenue opportunities for live OTT sports content, how Nimbra VA enables cloud-based workflows, and the ever growing ScheduALL user base.
Sye debuted at NAB 2016. How has it developed since then, and how are you highlighting it here at IBC?
Our headline is SYE, which delivers a live OTT experience that’s synchronized between all screens. We are [demoing] some real sports use cases that shows how you can really take the viewer’s level of engagement to the next level. We have shown the technology before and talked about its technical advantages, but now we’re showing where you can enable that for a real-world [use case].
The SYE offering synchronizes all the screens to provide a harmonized experience. In this [live motorsports] demo, you have the main production on the big screen, and we’ve aligned your second-screen experience [on a tablet]. As you’re watching the big screen, you can pick different views: in this case, driver cams. The big screen is harmonized with the second screen, rather than today’s normal OTT second-screen [experience], which is usually 30 or 45 seconds behind the main [telecast] and continually drifting from there.
So you’re sitting in your couch with your main screen, and you are selecting from different perspectives. You can select your favorite driver or do a picture-in-picture with multiple angles. It allows you to truly personalize your experience. All the data is also synchronized as well: the speed, the location on the track, and so on. You will also see alerts saying, for example, “There’s a battle going on downfield. Do you want to switch and watch that?” It will then allow you to switch instantly.
We are driving a whole new level of engagement, which is obviously keeping the eyeballs on the content. It’s complementary. People watching this become even more engaged, meaning the advertisement that is being served on this platform would then also, of course, be at a higher value.
How is integration of ScheduALL under the Net Insight umbrella progressing?
This the first time we are combining the brands into one, so we have two booths here. We have announced Schedule Cloud, which is cloud-based scheduling, to make it easier to get on board on the ScheduALL platform. [It is] very exciting.
We’ve also seen the ScheduALL Community platform grow quickly. The platform allows ScheduALL users to easily buy services from each other for occasional use needs. Since ScheduALL has billing integration built in, it’s all taken care of in the background. Here at the show, we announced that Intelsat, SES, CBS, and Comcast have joined the ScheduALL community, and we have other, even larger operators on this platform [to be announced]. This is now the third year of this platform, and, in just the first six months of 2016, we [saw] the number of transactions grow by 400% compared with last year — and that’s just the first six months. So it’s really taking off. As all broadcasters are under pressure to do more with less, they want to tie their direct revenue to their costs and become more efficient in their use of service providers. That’s what this ScheduALL Community platform allows, because you can see the full financial visibility all in one place and just outsource some of your needs when necessary.
What else is new at IBC for Net Insight this year?
We are launching a virtualized version of Nimbra VA: instead of providing hardware onsite, you can now actually go into your cloud — whether it is Amazon or someone else — and get live video feeds. We see a huge transformation happening today in the increased use of cloud infrastructure. You have to get this signal to your production workflow, and that workflow will be partly in-house [facility] and partly in-house data center. But, for some content, you may also want to overflow into public-cloud infrastructure so that you have more scalable, elastic capacity because sometimes, when you have to produce many smaller events all at the same time, you want certain capacity and still control the cost. That’s where we see the virtualized [Nimbra VA] as key because it allows you to tie together everything all the way into a data-center environment.