Television viewers are demanding the ability to access television programs and on-demand content on their PC over the Internet. What’s more, they want to supplement the video program by seeing information about what they are watching. In the case of sports programs, for example, viewers want statistics on the players, the scoring plays, and other games in progress. For movies, they want to have an up-to-date Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and Pay-Per-View (PPV) listings to see what’s available, view PPV trailers, and immediately order the movies.
Our challenge was to develop an application that made it easy for subscribers to register for the service, then deliver the video feed combined with data being provided from sources on a real-time basis. Despite a delayed project start date, the delivery date was fixed, as the Satellite TV client wanted the first application (NHL hockey) up in time for the beginning of the hockey season. As well, the application had to be delivered in a cost-effective manner as the client’s budget was limited.
VisionMAX was able to use its experience delivering IP-based video, self-serve registration, and media integration to satisfy these requirements. VisionMAX built the solution on top of its incredibly adaptable Java-based VisionEngine development platform, an application development and delivery platform that links a company's business rules with multiple back-office data sources and any front-end interface.
VisionMAX built a system that runs on Linux, Apache, Tomcat, and MySQL, in a load-balanced environment, and uses Flash for game and schedule presentation, and Microsoft Silverlight for the video player. The system runs in a hosted environment, and interfaces with several components:
- Bell TV systems, via a web-service gateway for registration and authentication
- A Quova server for IP-based geo-location
- The NHL servers, for real-time game statistics, information on other games, and leader boards
- Bell Startcast and the Akamai CDN (content distribution network) for video streaming
- LivePerson real-time chat software, for user chats with customer service representatives (CSRs)
In addition, VisionMAX provided an administration portal for CSRs to view customer accounts and manage system access, as well as reports to track system logins and registrations by day and hour.
Phase I went live at the beginning of the 2008-09 hockey season, on time and on budget. It was highly anticipated and has been very well received by customers and client executives, due to the success in delivering a quality system in a short timeframe and within a modest budget.
Phase II of the system went live in early 2009, and provides an EPG, PPV listings, PPV trailers, and PPV video content to customers. The system paid for itself within four months based on transactional revenues, and is now responsible for serving thousands of video views every day. This project is yet another showcase of VisionMAX’s Media Practice and media convergence expertise, enabling unique, compelling, and ubiquitous customer media access experiences.
Visit the site at: http://www.bell.ca/tvonline