Monitoring and Compliance vendors are out in force at IBC 2023 to show they are addressing current challenges faced by broadcasters and service providers, in live streaming, remote monitoring, and quality assurance especially.
The first full blown IBC since the pandemic has galvanized vendors to show they have answers for current challenges facing video service providers across their lifecycles, and this applies especially to monitoring and compliance. It also highlights differences from NAB 2023 almost six months earlier with its greater focus on North America rather than broader international markets.
At NAB 2023 application of regulatory requirements to the emerging Next-Gen ATSC-3.0 standards was a major compliance theme, as was ad-insertion monitoring. While these themes are also addressed by some demonstrations at IBC 2023, there is a stronger focus on remote monitoring and quality control, especially for live streaming. There are also common global themes such as compliance with content mediation rules, and with regulations or demands over sustainability.
Individual vendors have tweaked their presentations and stand designs to suit the distinct messaging and technologies for the show. “One main goal is also to present our new solutions, beside the ongoing compliance and monitoring platform enhancements,” said Leslie Edelman, VP of Marketing at Actus Digital. “Remote Video Monitoring is a new solution that we present, that did not exist at the last IBC, that did not exist last year, and a main goal at IBC this year is to present it to all our customers and partners.”
Another trend is growing incorporation of machine learning in monitoring to improve detection of errors or anomalies, and to obtain early warning of problems in transmission. On this front Actus hopes that IBC 2023 will provide a forum for meeting new potential partners.
“We would hope to meet new partners that have products that we can integrate with, such as new AI vendors,” said Edelman. “Our goal is always to expand the scope of the solutions and serve more departments and more markets.”
The biggest goal though is to present the company’s own new products, as well as ongoing compliance and monitoring platform enhancements, Edelman emphasized.
Interra Systems, another key monitoring and compliance vendor exhibiting at IBC 2023, is also keen to underline advances it has made over the last year and engage more directly with customers.
“In response to the evolving demands of the media industry and our customers, our products have undergone extensive updates,” said Anupama Anantharaman, VP of Product Management, Interra Systems. “Our aim for IBC this year is to engage directly with our customers, where we will have the privilege of showcasing and engaging in discussions about our enhanced solutions and how our customers can benefit from them. We hope to connect with our ever-growing customer base from streaming, broadcast, media-production, and telco businesses, and to further solidify our commitment to excellence in media quality assurance.”
Interra Systems also has machine learning capabilities in its file-based QC system called BATON, in this case developed internally. “With the integration of AI-powered captioning capabilities, BATON and BATON Captions stand ready to redefine content quality and accessibility,” Anantharaman insisted.
For Actus Digital (Stand 7.B44) the headlines at IBC 2023 are in remote monitoring, OTT stream monitoring, as well as a new version of its compliance system and finally incorporation of machine learning under the banner of AI.
The company is showing its remote monitoring package and OTT version at IBC for the first time. The idea is to allow service providers to observe remotely what their customers see locally on their TV screens or devices, to monitor QoS and also ad placements for timing accuracy. One objective is to allow a channel to be monitored from a single remote point as it is experienced in multiple locations, to identify whether a problem is just a local issue or widespread across the network.
The OTT version allows the experience of viewers on devices such as tablets and laptops to be monitored so that quality or rendition issues can be detected before complaints come in from viewers, In the past, Network Operation Centre (NOC) engineers had no way of knowing what quality of live video streams was being experienced, and at best relied on either customer feedback, by which time it was almost too late, or statistics provided by their CDN provider on adherence to Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Actus Digital’s new OTT StreamWatch is on show at IBC 2023, for Quality Assurance Monitoring at critical points throughout complex OTT workflows, from source feeds to transcoding and packaging, as well as returns from CDN Origin and Cache Servers.
Actus is also showing AI options for automatic metadata generation, advanced searching and keyword alerts, as well as automatic clipping for more advanced news and content monitoring and tagging.
Interra Systems (Stand 7.C09) is maintaining focus on quality assurance across content acquisition and preparation stages at IBC 2023. This includes media QC, monitoring, and in-depth video analysis with its BATON, ORION, and VEGA Media Analyzer products, respectively.
A key addition this year is BATON Captions, for file-based and live captioning. It will also demonstrate improved audio/video QoE and QoS monitoring, metadata management, and strategies for orchestrating cloud and hybrid deployments.
The biggest product highlight will be its latest enhancements to BATON, including an improved engine to elevate performance. “With the integration of AI-powered captioning capabilities, both in file-based and live scenarios, BATON stands ready to redefine content quality and accessibility,” insisted Anantharaman.
“BATON will also unveil a suite of innovative features tailored for seamless end-to-end UHD workflows, compatibility with IMF (Interoperable Master Format) standards, ground-breaking machine learning advancements, and cutting-edge automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology.”
In terms of differentiation, Interra will be majoring on its ORION monitoring suite, which has improved root-cause analysis capabilities, a more comprehensive ad-insertion framework, and advanced monitoring functionalities tailored for FAST (Free Ad Supported TV) channels, which have become more widespread, especially in the USA.
“With ORION, we have meticulously crafted a platform that stands out from competing solutions by seamlessly blending high monitoring density with comprehensive in-depth analysis,” claimed Anantharaman. “This unique capability spans across a diverse spectrum, encompassing OTT, IP, and various SDI variants, including the cutting-edge 2110 standard. Furthermore, the platform's unparalleled focus on ensuring quality assurance across every facet of content and delivery — for Closed captions, audio-video quality, and ad insertions — is an unprecedented industry achievement.”
Monitoring vendors were initially left reeling by the proliferation of streaming, desperately seeking to emulate the capabilities of their broadcast platforms. They have since gone a long way to alleviate these deficiencies, and IBC 2023 will provide a useful forum for deciding how well they have done and what the remaining pain points are. It will also offer opportunities for comparing the various vendors and observing where they are. Apart from the two vendors featured in our discussion there are others such as Qligent with plenty to show on the large scale end to end monitoring front.
Other articles in this IBC 2023 'Show Focus' series:
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