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29 August 2019

TDC promotion for Agama with Nuuday nod, Nordisk Film+ too?

IBC previews are coming in thick and fast with video analytics and monitoring systems set to enjoy an even more intense spotlight at this year’s show. Agama Technologies, a vendor on the rise which we spoke with at the 2018 event, got off to head start this week with a pre-IBC customer win at Nuuday – a subsidiary of existing customer TDC.

The move is a reminder of Agama’s ongoing and so-far successful evolution from a supplier of probes running in-cloud or on bare metal servers to software for OTT video services.

Danish service provider Nuuday, which is in fact an amalgamation of 8 TDC-owned brands including the YouSee TV services, has tapped Agama’s full-coverage video assurance technology across the board for its OTT, cable and IPTV platforms. Agama’s assurance product portfolio swears full transparency of service performance and quality of experience – saying it can do so in the head-end for service creation, across delivery networks, right through to apps and devices.

Generally, we see on-device analytics and network quality analytics separated out, handled by vendors expert in these respective areas, so Agama’s continued claims of covering the full chain is arguably the closest the industry is right now to a full end-to-end analytics system. This is again reflective of the demo we saw at IBC 2018 when the Swedish vendor impressed with its multi-stage approach to analytics, and now the expansion of its TDC contract is a big test for the technology.

Sweden’s Agama has handled analytics at TDC since 2012, deploying a head-end and distribution monitoring product for the Danish firm’s IPTV platform built around Mediaroom, which at the time had some 200,000 subscribers. This deal in particular included Agama’s Analyzer video service quality assurance probes for monitoring the YouSee TV head-end, while the Agama Enterprise Server EX product supports, stores and manages service monitoring data.

TDC’s YouSee Play TV service launched in August 2012 via TDC’s cable subsidiary YouSee. It launched the YouBio SVoD offering launched in January 2013 but this has since been discontinued and was replaced in November 2018 with a joint SVoD venture between YouSee and Danish entertainment company Nordisk Film, launching Nordisk Film+ in partnership with the OTT video service Fox+ from Fox Network Group Europe & Africa. The partnership has escalated quickly, with Nordisk Film+ arriving only days after TDC added Nordisk Film content to its own YouSee OTT offering and the two also formed a new pay TV channel called Xee late last year. Agama could not comment on whether its TDC assurance monitoring deployment deal covers Nordish Film+.

More recently, Agama has been developing products around machine learning, launching the AI Anomaly Detection technology in October, which pings notifications to operators when anomalies are flagged in the video monitoring process. Agama says fluctuations between quality and usage KPIs depending on the time of day or day of week can limit the usefulness of alarms based on fixed thresholds. Its new extension therefore automatically identifies anomalies based on information from every subscriber – providing actionable alerts, a visual of detected anomalies and interactive analytics.

Agama also launched what it claimed at the time to be the industry’s first video monitoring system for R-PHY architectures last summer, although the firm never delivered on its promise of an R-PHY customer announcement. This involved adding R-PHY monitoring capabilities to its Agama Analyzer product, providing a portal into the DEPI (Downstream External PHY Interface specification) streams from the CCAP (Converged Cable Access Platform) core to the R-PHY itself. This tool, Agama says, ensures any streaming or content integrity issues can be detected. Specifically, it means analyzing video streams transported in the DEPI tunnel, where Agama Analyzer correlates video performance before and after the CCAP core.

“We view Agama as a reliable long-term partner, and with its analytics and assurance solution we get a complete view of the distribution chain in real-time, as well as access to in-depth data and insights. In this way, we can easily understand the video experience delivered to our customers for every channel and stream and across all platforms,” said Nuuday SVP Peter Bukhave Hansen.

YouSee made another vendor selection this week with AI firm Media Distillery, partnering on a project to identify the true start and end times for content. It uses EPG Correction to automatically make adjustments to TV timings as they are broadcast in what sounds somewhat overkill in an increasingly on-demand world.