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IBM gets into the IPTV delivery business

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:25pm
Brian Santo

The development of content delivery networks (CDNs) made it almost inevitable that IP content delivery would become a service, which in turn made it a near certainty that a business services company like IBM would enter the market.

IBM has introduced a cloud platform for delivering content on behalf of consumer electronics firms. The new service is called Xfiniperiocity. Just kidding; it’s called IBM SmartCloud Service Delivery for Electronics. The first customer is TP Vision (the joint venture between Philips and TPV), which will rely on IBM’s cloud platform to deliver video to Philips Smart TVs in more than 30 countries in Europe, plus Brazil and Argentina.

IBM has not only set up a content delivery mechanism, but it will also provide analytics – the company invoked the phrase “big data.” The company said customers will be able to exploit the analytics to deliver more personalized entertainment options and targeted advertisements. Marketers can generate collective consumer knowledge derived from the aggregation of data from a population of homes, in addition to an individual TV, the company said.

The Smart TV phenomenon is still in its infancy, and usage patterns remain in flux. IBM is apparently willing to be flexible to support a business that is still developing.

So IBM is providing its cloud services on a pay-per-use basis to TP Vision. IBM said TP Vision was looking for a cloud computing environment resilient enough to support unexpected service demands at any given time when millions of TV units access a variety of services on its network.

Albert Mombarg, head of Philips Smart TV at TP Vision, said, "This provides an economic, more flexible way to create new services for our viewers. By engaging with IBM on a cost-per-device basis, we obtain a new business model with predictable costs, and great flexibility to expand our services and grow our user base. We expect it to transform the way we offer new services and drive ongoing business innovation."

Bruce Anderson, general manager of IBM's global electronics industry, said, "Televisions are about to become the next open application platform, similar to the application platforms on mobile devices.  Organizations are turning to the IBM cloud as the channel for their innovation."

IBM SmartCloud Service Delivery for Electronics can scale to serve millions of different connected consumer devices. It can be used to provision services, interface with third parties, and act as a collector of customer intelligence. IBM will bundle services, software, hardware, network and third-party services in a single integrated service, for an all-in price, with per active user pricing, making smarter TV services more cost effective for manufacturers and consumers, the company said.

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