Increasing instrumentation of video service delivery and the intense analysis of the vast streams of data created by such sources is going to be a continuing theme for the next- generation operator. The driver behind these trends is the increasingly competitive environment for consumer attention – and the way in which analytics in various different dimensions helps operators evolve and grow their services.
Data creates opportunities both for real time adaptive functions, such as recommendations, and supports longer term planning in marketing and service development. Data analytics also has great potential for revenue generation through advanced advertising, to match general audience data with third-party databases. In one real example, buyers of smart watches were found to be much more likely to watch TV late after midnight than the average viewer. This allowed operators to make money selling such late-night slots by pitching at smart watch advertisers, who in turn could target their audience without having to buy even more expensive prime time spots.
However, there are also challenges, notably privacy, security and complexity of integration. As operators and others are looking to harness data, regulations are coming into force all over the world extending rights over privacy. For example, in the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in May 2018, giving greater control over their personal data, with restrictions over data export.
The GDPR impacts operators in several key ways:
- Companies must obtain informed consent from all consumers to collect data, including verification that minors have the consent of their parent or custodian.
- Consumers can withdraw consent and erase collected data at any time (i.e., the right to be forgotten).
- Companies cannot export data outside the EU to systems that do not meet GDPR standards.
- Companies must establish a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who reports on the company’s security systems.
Verimatrix has commissioned a survey of global operators to gain insight on how they are preparing to be compliant with GDPR, along with other regulations and best practices in data protection, and I look forward to sharing those insights soon.
But even beyond compliance with privacy regulations, operators need to be concerned about the integrity of source data collected, which can be compromised in a number of different ways. For example, it can include fraudulent data (i.e. emanating from a cloned or un-authenticated device), it can be corrupted or misappropriated on its way back to an operator’s data warehouse, or – once stored at a central point – that storage facility can be hacked. The source data also needs to be protected in transit by encrypting the data itself that is transmitted across an encrypted channel.
The first step to securely storing and managing personal data would be to conduct an organizational asset management of the collected data. A key consideration should be how to break down departmental silos, while still enforcing rules and roles on how data can be used and shared within an organization. It is important to define use-cases for data analytics and develop an “entitlement-mapping” process, as well as a detailed data policy that is enforced internally and communicated with subscribers clearly.
Operators need to be mindful that subscribers must be convinced that this data is secure and be persuaded that they will gain value by allowing their service provider to access it. This involves providing customers with clear evidence of the benefits they will obtain by complying.
Essentially operators need a revenue security solution that can gather data, keep it secure, route it to where it needs to be, and securely expose it to analytics systems owned by a media company or their trusted partners. Verimatrix offers this through our Verspective Operator Analytics solution.
It is also important for operators to become aware of the new threats posed by large numbers of smart home devices, such as organized distributed denial of service (DDoS) that can be mounted from botnets of IoT devices such as Wi-Fi routers, IP video surveillance cameras and even connected domestic appliances.
The smart home security field is still at an early stage, with several important issues to resolve, such as financing of IoT security, given the low cost of the devices themselves and unclear revenues models for IoT services. It is likely that governments are going to mandate a certain level of security and certification, while consumers themselves will start to be concerned if, as seems possible, they could be deemed liable for attacks on third parties from say botnets in which their devices played a part. IoT service providers might then come under pressure to assume responsibility for such breaches. Verimatrix is working to ensure that we have the technology and skills needed to help their operator customers address these issues.
While in London for TV Connect, I look forward to discussing how to build and enforce data compliance and security into an organisation, including best practices for developing policies for sharing and accessing data.
During the show, Verimatrix will also be providing demos of our Verspective Operator Analytics solution, showcasing how a comprehensive data collection platform can allow operators to maximize network data and monetize video services. Visit us at booth #D40 to learn more about how leveraging robust and secure data aggregation methods enables operators to make knowledge actionable.