Monday, October 31, 2011

Connexus: Avvasi, BroadHop, CommProve and Spirent Communications

On October 11, Avvasi, BroadHop, CommProve and Spirent Communications announced the creation of Connexus in a press release, an ecosystem for monetizing OTT.

Personally, I am fairly skeptical about the capacity for anyone to monetize free OTT, besides the content owners and aggregators themselves, so I called up Mate Prgin, president and CEO of Avvasi to get a little detail on this new initiative.

"We are all familiar with the take off of video in wireless networks, and how OTT is a large part of this. Optimization techniques have been used today mostly in a defensive manner, to keep costs down and are necessary but really only a band aid.
Today's main issue is is to align revenues with costs. Operator's best asset is the last mile, ensuring connectivity and quality of experience (QOE). It should allow them to monetize this service to announcers and content providers" started Mate.  He agreed, when pressed that in the short term, monetization opportunities will be mostly around premium content and services.
Connexus is an initiative to catalyze and accelerate the process for the creation of a standard that would offer a framework between operators and content owners to trade content delivery revenue vs. QOE guarantees. Last-mile QOE, traffic management, QOE testing, Policy management are all in the scope."This is  not a co-marketing exercise", says Mate. Today, the initiative spearheaded by the 4 founding companies presents blueprint, use cases and roadmap for monetizing OTT, with planned trials and proof of concept early in 2012.

While these documents are available under NDA for these companies' prospects, Connexus is open to new members and is actively talking with 4 new applicants.

While I don't follow 100% some of the premises, I have been a vocal supporter of new standards to be created in the area of traffic management. In my mind, as video becomes business critical and demand outstrips capacity in mobile networks, we need a mechanism to relay congestion and capacity information from the RAN, to the core and the backhaul to enable some meaningful negotiation of network capacity. If in the meantime, it leads to some monetization of the delivery, good for the network operators, but I think we are still very far from the operators being able to guarantee strong SLA-backed QOE to content providers.

This initiative  will need a lot more support from larger names to be effective and provide relevance in the global ecosystem. I also doubt it can succeed without bringing the content owners and aggregators themselves into the discussion. It is a step in the right direction, though and it is good to see companies starting to talk about monetization, rather than savings when it comes to OTT. It will be interesting to follow how operators and large equipment vendors react to Connexus. I am hearing more announcements will follow at Mobile World Congress.

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