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CableLabs offers toolset for testing ad systems

Wed, 10/19/2011 - 4:25pm
Brian Santo

Courtesy of CableLabs, cable companies preparing to engage in advanced advertising now have access to a set of tools that will help them test and validate systems based on the SCTE 130 ad system standards.

The Document Profile Architecture (DPA) Toolset enables developers to emulate multi-platform architectures involved in the delivery of interactive advertising messages and related content across different distribution channels, including VOD, the Web, interactive program guides and other media.

CableLabs said it is making the source code and development tools for the DPA Toolset available under a free community license. The organization has a web page with information and related resources. These tools were used in the advertising system interop that CableLabs held last June.

Delivering targeted advertising to cable customers across a variety of networks is complicated. The DPA Toolset, CableLabs explained, provides a specific, well-defined, interoperable and multi-vendor message set for each use case that occurs in the implementation of advanced advertising at national, regional and local levels.

With the DPA Toolset, technology developers can test the performance of their solutions in advance of deployment at both isolated service points and across multiple service points involved in advanced advertising implementations, CableLabs said.

The SCTE 130 specification set prescribes techniques and approaches for the delivery of interactive and targeted advertising messages within cable-delivered video-on-demand and other media environments.

The DPA Toolset creates profiles that define the valid Web services message for every use case tied to SCTE 130 implementations. These profiles, combined with Web Service Description Language (WSDL) descriptions that define the functionality and parameters of Web services involved in SCTE 130 implementations, can be used to test all elements and attributes of messages in an environment that emulates real-world deployments.

The toolset provides a two-pronged approach, CableLabs said: a set of profiles and a tool to exercise those profiles. The profiles are exercised in a software emulator that can represent any SCTE 130 service at the message level. The toolset allows any mixture of real and emulated devices to make up a testable configuration. It validates that an actual message exchange contains the correct set of messages and validates each message exchanged against a specific example of a profile.

"By opening access to the DPA Toolset to vendors, developers and the public at large, CableLabs is offering a speed-to-market resource that will accelerate the availability of technologies supporting advancements in electronic advertisement delivery, including the dynamic insertion of commercials into viewer-requested VOD streams," said Don Dulchinos, CableLabs senior vice president of advertising and interactive services.

Although the DPA Toolset is initially directed at implementing and testing SCTE 130 messaging, the technology is generic to any Web services messaging environment, including very large and complex problem spaces. The CableLabs community license allows free, non-commercial use of the DPA Toolset to address any problem space.

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