New Cloud-Based Video Processing And Delivery Platform From Imagine Communication

Imagine Communications has unveiled CloudXtream, a cloud video platform for multiscreen video distribution and monetization.

At the NAB Show in April, Imagine Communications will show the first two software components of the modular CloudXtream platform: CloudXtream cDVR, which provides tools to deploy a mix of linear and lean-forward, self-selected, VOD viewing; and CloudXtream Dynamic Ad Insertion, which allows users to serve their individual subscribers with unique content.

In a statement, Charlie Vogt, CEO, Imagine Communications, said “Our industry is experiencing once-in-a-generation change and is at a powerful inflection point where vision and innovation are intersecting with reality. The control of content, device and timing is increasingly being defined by the end user.”

The platform not only helps customers, but also Imagine Communications itself; by enabling the company to innovate a lot faster, stay abreast of changes in new technology, and quickly pass those upgrades on to customers.

CloudXtream ismore than a remote signal processing platform, according to Steve Reynolds, CTOat Imagine Communications. It’s an end-to-end platform that supports live video, VOD, cloud DVR (cDVR), dynamic ad insertion (DAI), packaging, encoding, transcoding, storage management and cloud orchestration. Some of the underlying technology (IP packaging and dynamic ad insertion) is based on assets recently acquired from RGB Networks.

Steve Reynolds, Chief Technology Officer at Imagine Communications

Steve Reynolds, Chief Technology Officer at Imagine Communications

“The pace of change is continuing to accelerate,” said Reynolds. “That is being driven by the amount of power that consumers now have to choose what they want to watch, when and where. The ‘new’ Imagine Communications is really a reflection of what’s going on in the industry. Our customers have to migrate to file-based IP-delivered video, and monetize it, or they won't be competitive in the future. It’s as simple as that.”

CloudXtream cDVR provides consumers lean-forward flexibility, with cloud-based content readily accessible from any location and on any device. The wide variety of options like rewinding, restarting and replaying scenes, allows consumers to easily time-shift and consume their self-selected content at their convenience.

For broadcasters, CloudXtream cDVR enables the creation of incremental paid service offerings to their subscription-based OTT businesses, as well as enabling user-centric personalization and management of content. Subscribers can be offered new, revenue-generating services such as increased storage and enhanced time-shift options, an unlimited look-back window, start-pause-stop of both linear and VOD content, and concurrent recording of simultaneous programs.

CloudXtream cDVR offers Pay-TV providers the ability to reduce or eliminate costly truck rolls associated with home-based DVR/set-top boxes. CloudXtream also gives Pay-TV providers the ability to deliver robust content within or outside of their traditional footprints. Fresh and relevant advertising can be provided to viewers, enhancing the value of ads and helping maximize the monetization of content.

For mobile operators and the emerging group of over-the-top video distributors (OVDs), CloudXtream offers the industry’s first fully integrated platform for cloud video to support cDVR, as well as linear and VOD content. This will greatly accelerate time to market for these providers, allowing them to move quickly from concept to launch by providing the end-to-end platform to ingest, manage, package and distribute content.

Monetization of video content remains one of the biggest challenges for video service providers (VSPs), which are often unable to capture the maximum value of advertising avails across linear, online/OTT and cDVR offerings. Ads can go stale quickly, are replayed repetitively, or have little or no relevance to the viewing audience. Imagine Communications’ Sarah Foss, vice president, Product Management, Advertising Management Systems for Imagine Communications, said the CloudXtream Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) solution helps resolve these challenges with the one of the world’s most advanced advertising management capabilities, supercharging the monetization of video content and improving advertising relevance.

“The value of an advertisement can be reduced or discounted altogether when it is stale, not the optimal ad for a particular avail, or the ad is not relevant to the viewer,” she said. “The advertising ecosystem works best when viewers and advertisers see the value of relevant ads, which increases monetization opportunities for VSPs.”

Imagine Communications’ CloudXtream DAI solution allows VSPs to maximize advertising revenue from both linear and nonlinear/online advertising. CloudXtream DAI can be used by broadcasters, cable MSOs, mobile operators, OVDs, telcos, and satellite providers across a variety of service offerings, including the CloudXtream cDVR solution, other cloud DVR or time-shifted content applications, video streaming from any Internet-centric or on-demand source, as well as other nonlinear or linear operations.

The overall CloudXtream cloud video platform interfaces with established Content Delivery networks—like Akamai, Brightcove and Limelight—whereby content is processed and packaged and then handed off to a CDN for worldwide delivery. Reynolds says it’s “more like a centralcasting model” for content distributors. “We move it back into the center of operations an then allows our customers to work with one or more CDNs for global distribution.”

Imagine Communications will initially pursue a variety of licensing models, including SaaS (Software as a Service) models. CloudXtream is powered by Zenium, Imagine Communications’ workflow management solution, which allows broadcasters to design, deploy, maintain, manage and scale software-defined workflows. The hardware and software required will reside in data centers already used by customers.

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