Sebastian Braun
Aug 15, 2018

Many video service providers are aware that wide-ranging benefits spanning most of their operations can be gained from their data, but they often feel overwhelmed by the task of processing it – let alone deriving valuable insights. Yet they also hear about early adopters of data analytics reducing churn, boosting new subscriber acquisitions, increasing engagement among existing customers and bearing down on revenue theft and want to reap the same benefits.

We recently hosted a webinar designed to help operators spend less time collecting and analyzing data and more time on using data to drive important business decisions. We also gave a live demonstration of the solutions in our Verspective Analytics suite and the data use cases to which operators can relate their own businesses.

For the technical applications, such as setting thresholds for alerts and performance indicators, we offer Verspective RT, while Verspective Intelligence provides the historical contexts. Both feed off the same broad data platform, although different sources will be predominant in each case. The main point is that these are independent of VCAS security technology and provide a comprehensive open and collaborative platform for data analytics across the whole spectrum of video service.

The attendees were really engaged in the live webinar, so I recommend watching the full on-demand version, but as a taster or in case you are short of time, I have compiled this snapshot of the key questions and answers.

Q: Can Verspective Analytics be deployed on premise?
A: Because it’s a cloud service, it is not deployed on premise for all sorts of good technical reasons like elasticity and scalability. Although there can be some components on the customer side for collecting data that’s then sent up over secure links to the cloud. 

Q: Do you have a Verspective client for hybrid DVB scenarios with internet access?
A: We approach all networks and service delivery platforms in a common fashion with the only requirement being two-way connectivity. In the case of hybrid services, our customers will be able to take advantage of integrations already done.

Q: Can Verspective be applied to QAM VoD systems?
A: Yes it can and one example would be SeaChange Adrenalin (a multi-screen TV platform) from which we can deliver data, whether it is via QAM or over IP to OTT devices. Then there are several segmentation options by delivery method within the dashboards.

Q: Is there a client software development kit (SDK) to collect data, and if so, which platforms are supported?
A: We have SDKs for all the prevalent platforms. We have native kits for iOS and Android and an embedded SDK for other devices with some sort of porting kit, as well as a JavaScript library allowing us to address HTML5 web clients.

Q: Can you add metadata to individual titles?
A: The system supports two main capabilities for metadata integration. One is from client integrations to give a view of what a device EPG is displaying to the end user. We can also do a catalogue ingress at the head end, integrating from a content management system.

Q: Is there an available solution focused on linear and live content?
A: The service is designed to cope with multiple consumption methods including linear delivery of channels where we can overlay program schedules and ad slots. We can look at channel quality and playback and can segment by various elements of the network and overlay a piece of equipment or territory. On the Verspective Intelligence side, we can identify the share of an audience taken by a particular linear channel. In the historical sense we can see how much time is spent on a particular channel.

Q: Is it possible to see lists of devices that are buffering?
A: Verspective RT allows thresholds to be set for start-up times and buffering, and we can construct business rules to detect when particular scenarios arise. We can see which devices are missing start-up time thresholds and look at rebuffering rates by category such as iOS and Android.

Q: How can Verspective help combat churn and on the up side gain new subscribers?
A: This is a question we get asked often and Verspective can help by identifying customers whose recent behavior indicates they are at risk of churn. For example, if we haven’t seen a user for longer than say 20 days, we can label them as a dormant user and target a re-engagement campaign with some incentives such as a cloud DVR service in the hope of getting them viewing again before they have churned.

Then on the acquisition side you can recruit your most satisfied customers using Verspective to identify those that say view more than 10 times a day and offer them a credit for recommending friends. If they are satisfied with your service, they are likely to be happy doing this and more likely to succeed than say a blanket advertising campaign. It is also much cheaper.

Q: To use Verspective do I have to have VCAS? Or can it be used with other platforms such as DRM and back office systems?
A: No you don’t need VCAS because Verspective is an independent product. However, customers that do have VCAS can benefit from associated performance dashboards within Verspective so there is a synergy there. That is one extra benefit for customers of both VCAS and Verspective.

Q: Can we track potential security breach occurrences?
A: Yes we can. We are using the same mechanisms of transferring data for VCAS performance reports in our anti-piracy measures, looking at different behaviors. We use machine learning to establish a baseline for how that particular VCAS is functioning and then as we see anomalies we can figure out if it’s an integration issue, a false positive, some sort of attack underway or piracy attempt. Although that’s a completely separate offering to Verspective we’re using the same infrastructure and technology stack.

Q: Does this solution have the capability to proactively fix issues?
A: No, it cannot directly because we are in the business of issue identification and don’t provide the network infrastructure as a platform itself.  However, we can and do provide insights to third parties since we can export to external systems. Through partners we play a key role in proactive security, network management and even marketing automation.

Q: How do I enable the VCAS performance dashboard?
A: It can be set up by our global services team, who work with the video service provider to ensure it is working efficiently and delivering all the key metrics in real time.

Q: Are VCAS dashboards fed only by VCAS backends or can they include data from set-top boxes?
A: The dashboards are fed by our VCAS database and logging information on the headend. We can expand to get visibility into devices and have plans to add telemetry information.

Q: What about GDPR following its implementation in May?
A: That of course is a particular issue for our European customers, but has also set the tone for privacy more widely than that given the widespread cross border traffic in data. We are traditionally known for protection of video content and are now applying the same technology to data, which indeed is one reason why we have been able to develop Verspective. We have added support for specific features of GDPR such as the right to be forgotten and have opt-in as the default rather than opt-out. Our system can flag and delete customer data upon request.

Please get in touch if you have any further questions on Verspective Intelligence!