Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

5 May 2022

VO’s transformation takes in Google Cloud, security still a slog

Morale was unexpectedly high on the Viaccess-Orca stand at NAB 2022 – fitting with Faultline’s generalized comments on company culture changes in last week’s NAB synopsis piece.

VO’s big theme at the show was integrating its suite of TV software services with Google Cloud Anthos, a fully-managed Kubernetes-based platform for managing data and applications.

With VO serving pay TV operators, as well as being owned by one, it is important that Anthos aligns with the hybrid cloud strategy. While all of VO’s customers are pushing into the cloud, most still run on-premise environments, so Anthos allows users to manage services over on-prem, public, private, and multi-cloud.

We learn, unsurprisingly, that VO’s Google Cloud push is by order of Orange, following its parent company inking a deal with Anthos for configuration management tools.

As for which of VO’s various products and services are integrated with Google Cloud Anthos, we couldn’t tell you. Neither can the press release, or a face-to-face chat with the company’s CEO for that matter, as Philippe Leonetti was resistant to name individual products, but instead took in the bigger picture – as many CEOs do – by pointing to “huge transformation” for VO, its parent company, and its customer base.

We are slightly irked during our high-octane discussion at NAB, because there are still many technologies, such as its roots in conditional access, that cannot be integrated with the cloud at the click of fingers.

Besides, VO is not what you would call a cloud-native company, despite describing how cloud-native applications can be deployed from anywhere using VO on Atmos.

What it can do, is help clients orchestrate and scale deployments based on microservices architectures between different platforms and operation models.

Nevertheless, VO’s previous work with AWS has naturally led it to Google Cloud, and the company will soon embrace Azure, although we understand there is currently lower traction for Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure, compared to its two rivals. This is largely a matter of cloud availability on a regional basis.

Migrating fully to the cloud helps foster innovation, and this – coupled with the return to real-life trade shows – has instilled confidence in the VO camp.

However, Faultline voices reservations that the vendor is facing something of an identity crisis. Does it still see itself as a security company today, or a TV platform provider, or is the new VO an ad tech company, or would it prefer to be seen as a metadata management specialist?

Leonetti emphasized that security is still important, but that requirements are lower than they used to be. Growth has slowed here, he admits, and no one is surprised. There is a feeling that the watermarking market will take off, with VO’s dynamic/forensic watermarking primed to offset the slowdown once operator deployments of this premium content protection technology tick up.

Multi-DRM, for example, has become a feature of a platform rather than a product in its own right. We learn that VO’s ears have pricked up to Verimatrix’s proprietary zero-code injection technology, as it explores an alternative to app protection, although Leonetti believes current market demand is more basic than this – doubting the value of zero-code injection.

Speaking of offsetting, Leonetti is enthused by business gains on the player side, in advertising, and in back-end platform services. In metadata management, VO is looking to simplify ingest and bring new tools to video analytics and recommendations.

If Faultline had a hundred bucks for every time someone declared “watch this space” or words to that effect, the early retirement account would be brimming. We are watching this space, that’s our job – and yours is to fill that space with technology that works and makes money.

Yet for the first time in a long time, our NAB meeting evokes a sense that VO is in a strong position, tapping into value propositions outside of security. One thing is certain, IBC 2022 will be a huge show for companies like VO.