Web 2.0 an innovative boost to IPTV?

Web 2.0 content and services bring benefits to Internet protocol television, but there are challenges in implementation, says an industry player.

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--Web 2.0 content and services can lend color to the world of Internet protocol television (IPTV), but challenges abound marrying the two, according to an industry player.

Ofer Weintraub, CTO of IPTV middleware and applications provider Orca Interactive, said Friday at the imbX show that the Web 2.0 era offers distinct advantages, such as spurring innovation.

Facebook, he noted, was an example of how opening up the application platform can result in third-party innovation.

Other benefits of Web 2.0 include cutting the time-to-market, improving the ability to scale and enhancing visibility.

Some examples of Web 2.0 on IPTV--a Twitter "ticker" on the TV program that shows users what their friends are doing, or the ability to access photo or video-heavy blogs.

However, there were also challenges in bringing Web 2.0 applications and services to IPTV, said Weintraub.

One challenge, he explained, is the need for the operator to manage multiple content providers and ensure win-win relationships. The concept of free content on the Web also poses pressure on identifying and implementing a suitable business model.

Service delivery must also be up to speed with user demand as increased visibility could be a double-edged sword, said Weintraub. The iLike application on Facebook, for instance, was overwhelmingly popular when it was launched, and has grown from two servers to over 2,000 today, he noted. Failing to scale according to user demand could result in a time lag to access the application.

Other issues telcos and service providers also need to take into account when packaging and delivering content are cultural differences, as well as user experience.

Noel Mathews, vice president of business development at Tandberg Television, noted the industry is headed for converged service delivery, using IPTV as a core delivery technology. Service-oriented architecture, as well as open standards, needs to be a part of the equation.

For telcos to get a slice of the pie, business models must be right, stressed Mathews.

"At the end of the day, we only exist because consumers will in some way pay for the content we're delivering," he pointed out.

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