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Edgeware secures European win, but US wait continues

Spanish cable operator Euskaltel announced it has selected Edgeware’s Video Consolidation Platform (VCP) for delivery of live and on-demand services to set tops and IP multiscreen devices.

Edgeware’s VCP comprises of the VCP Origin, which serves from the head-end side providing support for cloud DVR services, and the VCP Edge, a managed CDN caching and distribution system, including encryption, re-packaging and real-time analytics. It will be integrated with Nagra’s MediaLive multiscreen service and will deliver content to both set-tops and to multiscreen devices simultaneously and Edgeware claims it can cut capex in these environments by 50%.

Edgeware told Faultline at IBC this year that its product is built to expand without redesigning the network, scalability being the key selling point, and the platform will deliver to a third party (or customer’s own) CDN – with the ability to work with or replace services from companies such as Akamai or Cisco. The software-defined flash memory boxes can drive over 20 Gbps of video output each.

An Origin server in CDNs refers to the first copy that is inside the CDN network, considered the single version of the truth and it holds the original version of all videos loaded onto the CDN – providers are now getting these servers to do more and more.

Edgeware has done well in Europe, adding Euskaltel to customers such as Vodafone, KPN, and Com Hem, and told Faultline that its presence is certainly growing in Latin America, as well as having wins in APAC with TVB and PCCW in Hong Kong. At last year’s IBC, Edgeware said it was mid-way through RFPs for dual QAM and IP systems in North America, but as of yet it boasts about no US clients that we know of.

Concurrent Computer, which last week sold its analytics business to Verimatrix, is about the only competitor we can identify which uses bulk flash memory in these servers, and has big players using its Media Hawk CDN for OTT services, such as Kabel Deutschland, Virgin Media, and Telefonica. Concurrent’s server is capable of supporting 2,400 simultaneous on-demand streams over different transport networks – Edgeware’s can drive 20,000 channels over 20 Gbps of output.

Around this time last year, Edgeware went from a point product supplier to a system supplier, by doing something similar to Elemental and Harmonic, adding an origin server and cloud storage to what had traditionally been a CDN edge cache product line.

Another advantage that Edgeware says it has is that its servers can output both QAM or IP video simultaneously and can dynamically shift between them – it said most rivals used 2 or 3 servers for this.

Euskatel is the 2nd largest cable operator in Spain, after Ono, which was acquired by Vodafone. It has around 210,000 video customers, and has just merged with R also known as Mundo-R, with both contributing over 100,000 customers. However Spain is turning into a three way quad play fight between Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange, and Euskatel is also seeking a merger with Telecable, which would bring their combined video customer numbers to 340,000. This would still make it about a third of the size of the next biggest video operators and it is likely that in a quad play world they need to be snapped up by one of the other players, we would suggest Orange. That would leave the three way fight in Spain about even.

Earlier this year at TV Connect in London, Edgeware showcased its VCP supporting cloud DVR in UHD, including trick-play modes – something we only saw a couple of times at the show. Even with new, more efficient encoding standards such as HEVC, recording and delivering 4K content requires between three and six times the storage or twice the bandwidth.

Nagra’s Media Live platform, which Edgeware will integrate with, is available as an on-premise or cloud solution, but in either case comes pre-integrated with the chosen components to reduce the amount of final configuration required. Nagra, part of the Kudelski Group, provides security and asset management components, with support for multiple DRMs, while OSS/BSS, encoders, video servers, ingest servers and recommendation engines come from various third parties. Its greatest success has been among operators slightly below tier 1 but still deploying multiscreen on a relatively large scale, such as Spain’s Canal+ and its OTT platform Yomvi, which Nagra parades as proof of its scalability and speed to market. It first did this in the Spanish market around Jazztel, which fell out of managed IPTV provision, into pure OTT on the back of work from Nagra, its first such instance in Europe. Jazztel is now part of Orange Spain.

Euskaltel is expanding its services beyond traditional linear cable and given the low penetration of pay TV in Spain, it is likely that Telefonica is picking up pay TV customers from previously non-paying customers in a market with a population of some 47 million living in about 17.5 million TV households.

“Scalability was a key reason Edgeware’s VCP was selected,” said Joachim Roos, CEO at Edgeware. “The ability to address immediate demands and easily and cost-effectively scale to enable new services, devices and customers on one platform is something no other company can deliver.”

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