CES 2016 – Cisco Targets Broadcasters With Cloud Software, Agrees Sky Q Deal

Cisco hopes the launch of a new cloud multiscreen product and a new deal with Sky to power the company’s upcoming next generation television service will allow the networking giant to strengthen its position in the broadcast market.

It is claimed that Cisco technology is used to power one in three pay-television users and the firm senses an opportunity as traditional broadcasters and telcos look to find new ways to deliver content to customers through the cloud.

Cisco says it has 60 broadcast customers already using its ‘Infinite’ range of cloud software, having released Infinite Home and Infinite Video, an over the top delivery platform for broadcasters, earlier this year.

Cisco broadcast

The third entry in the range, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is Cisco Infinite Broadcast and is intended to support multiscreen services planned by the likes of D-smart in Turkey and Sky in the UK.

“Through cloud innovation, Cisco is helping its customers change how their video is delivered and viewed so they can thrive in the emerging cloud era,” said Yves Padrines, vice president, Global Service Provider EMEAR, Cisco. “Infinite solutions help customers like D-Smart benefit from a system that allows them quick service introduction, with frequent updates that can be delivered in minutes versus months.”

Sky Q was announced last November is the broadcaster’s attempt to fend off competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, while differentiating itself from fierce rivals in the communications space such as BT and Virgin Media.

The new platform allows customers to watch content on up to five screens at any one time, or record up to four others while watching another. Recordings will be stored in the cloud so they can be watched on any device.

Cisco’s VideoGuard will be used by Sky to support the ‘advanced features; of the Sky Q service, while other components will be provided, along with the middleware to support the set top boxes.

“Sky Q will reinvent how our customers watch TV, allowing them to access their favorite shows across multiple screens, in and out of the home,” said Andrew Olson, director of New Products, Sky. “We needed a proven technology partner who could work with us to help bring the vision of Sky Q to life. After many years of creating leading TV experiences together, Cisco was the obvious choice.”

In October, Cisco agreed a deal to purchase 1 Mainstream, whose cloud-based video platform allows broadcasters to quickly launch live and on-demand services on a variety of devices, with content viewed seamlessly across multiple end points.

Among other things, Cisco helped with a trial of IP broadcasting during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but sold its connected devices division to Technicolor last year in a deal worth £388m.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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