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10 June 2021

Zappware goes AWS crazy in Wind Vision Android TV upgrade

Zappware has made its first announcement since being acquired by Reinhart Capital two months ago, revealing an update to an existing Android TV operator tier platform deployment at Greek telco Wind Hellas.

Significantly, the Wind Vision deal is evidence of Zappware delivering on its promised push into microservices, with the company’s new venture capital owner highlighting the feat in an email to Faultline, despite this buzzword not being mentioned in the latest press release. In the process, we learned that Zappware has a head start over the competition having had a microservices-based offering operational in the market for four years already.

Wind Vision is the first Android TV-based platform launched in Greece and claims to be one of the first of its kind in Europe. Wind Hellas has been on Zappware’s books for a few years now, starting the multiscreen platform build back in early 2017 and delivering multiple upgrades along the way including a turbocharged browser-based TV Everywhere platform as an extension of the existing Android TV system in late 2020.

However, this has not been an easy ride. Wind Vision launched well behind schedule, eventually rolling out around April 2018 after being pushed back from late 2017, then taking the inexplicably long time of an additional 19 months before Wind Hellas added cloud-based recording functionality. Combining DVB and OTT into a single Android TV device, Wind Vision is built and operated by Zappware using its NeXX 4.0 suite which includes the multiscreen UI and back-office operator tools, as well as the newer marketing console feature for cross-team UI management and delivery of personalized content.

Over four years later, the result is just 74,000 subscribers as of late 2020, almost double its footprint from a year earlier.

Last week’s follow up press release from Zappware could be considered a full engine rebuild judging by the wealth of Amazon services in operation, using Amazon EC2, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, AWS IoT, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon Elasticsearch Services, and AWS VPN. These give Wind access to a broad set of cloud services to continuously update its Android TV service, while the addition of more miscellaneous services like AWS IoT and AWS VPN are what we believe makes the Wind Vision platform supposedly so unique.

The value of these additional cloud services at present is questionable, although the addition of AWS IoT is interesting considering Zappware’s long-term roadmap of expanding outside of its traditional pay TV operator customer base. At the time of learning about Zappware’s takeover (taking a few weeks before the Dutch version made its way into English language publications) we suggested Zappware might target telco customers to diversify its customer base, seeing opportunities for its microservices-based approach, and Wind Hellas is exactly that.

More specifically, the latest Wind Vision update involves Zappware launching a new suite of monitoring and diagnostics tools running on AWS, that the vendor says contribute to improving the user experience and enable more effective troubleshooting. With Zappware’s analytics dashboard, Wind’s video operations team has a real-time view of the ecosystem and detailed QoS insights, with more computing power and flexibility attained from Zappware’s increasing reliance on AWS infrastructure.