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Great Improvements with new SmartTUBE 7

Jan. 21, 2021
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SmartLabs announces the new version of its Service Delivery Platform — SmartTUBE 7. Now IPTV/OTT operators will be able to make services more attractive, update the software on client devices in a more convenient way, gain a powerful tool for additional advertising income, and get server software updates automatically.

The following features and technologies are intended to be the key innovations of SmartTUBE 7:

  • SmartTUBE Recommender — a system for automatic generation of video content recommendations,
  • SmartTUBE Device Manager — a module for managing firmware and applications  on all types of IPTV/OTT devices including Linux and Android STBs, mobile and SmartTV platforms,
  • ADS (Advertising Decision System) — a system for dynamically inserting ad units into Linear TS and OTT video streams depending on target criteria,
  • CI/CD support — a new toolset for automatic software release deployment in private and public clouds.

Let's describe each new feature in more detail.

SmartTUBE Recommender

SmartTUBE Recommender was previously delivered as a separate system that could be integrated into SmartTUBE or a similar third-party system. From now on, it will be distributed with SmartTUBE right out of the box.

SmartTUBE Recommender is a recommendation engine that uses algorithms like collaborative filtering and context-based recommendations. It also uses machine learning to adjust algorithm parameters based on recommended content viewing statistics.  Generated recommendations are displayed in the Client UI making it more attractive for the subscribers and taking the service quality to a new level. It is an efficient tool to gain loyalty of subscribers by showing that the operator cares about their individuality. An operator may also use recommendations to promote content selected for editorial reasons — seasonal, commercial, licensing etc.

Recommended content ribbons on Home screen

To generate individual recommendations, a lot of data related to user actions and TV / VoD content is analysed. Such data includes purchases, viewing statistics, time of watching certain content, personal rating of TV channels, meta content and more. Based on the data type and analysis technique, different types of recommendations are produced.

SmartTUBE Device Manager

SmartTUBE Device Manager — a web console for managing firmware and applications on client devices installed (Linux and Android STBs, mobile and SmartTV platforms). This console has a number of features that greatly facilitate the administration of the operator's client device fleet:

  • Software artefacts management (firmware, private app repository, configuration settings)
  • Device grouping (production, staging, A&B, etc.)
  • HTTP and Multicast firmware distribution
  • Software version tracking and release notes
  • Update strategies management (soft update, force update, minimal allowed version)
  • Configuring the Home screen of Client UI

The look and feel of the SmartTUBE Device Manager interface is similar to the consoles of other SmartLabs products. It is simple and allows you to evaluate at a glance the firmware version and system apps installed on the client devices of a certain group (production, staging, test, etc.)

SmartTUBE Device Manager — Home page

The key advantage of SmartTUBE Device Manager is the control of firmware/application versions and their distribution to devices in a single interface. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the process of updating the client software. In addition to configuring the Home screen of SmartTUBE Client UI, the web-console will also allow to edit other client device settings.

ADS (Advertising Decision System)

SmartLabs ADS — a system for dynamically inserting ad units into Linear TS and OTT video streams depending on target criteria. The ADS is intended to be used for direct sold campaigns (i.e. campaigns that the video operator has sold directly to advertisers). With this innovation, IPTV/OTT operators will get a brand new tool for generating additional income with wide opportunities.

This system will be integrated into the SmartLabs platform and include two functional tiers:

  • Decision Subsystem (DSS),
  • Insertion Subsystem (ISS).

The DSS carries information about advertiser, ad campaigns, their ad creatives, duration, dates, types, target devices, target content and several other parameters. Using this information, the DSS can make a decision about which ad is the right one for insertion in a specific insertion opportunity. Advertising campaigns are managed in a concise and user-friendly GUI.

The ISS requests an ad decision from the DSS and inserts into the video stream the ads that meet the requested target criteria.

To implement this system, time-proven Smartlabs products — SmartTUBE and SmartMEDIA are used. So, operators will have a reliable tool for managing ad campaigns. Targeting flexibility can increase the loyalty of subscribers by personalising ad units. And the innovative nature of this service will also give operators an edge over their competitors.

CI/CD Support

In the process of developing, testing and implementing software products, SmartLabs adheres to the concept of Continuous Integration, which implies more frequent release of stable software updates.

Starting with SmartTUBE 7, SmartLabs will start using the Continuous Deployment toolset. Automatic service updates on operator sites are planned to be implemented, which will minimize the update time and move it to the least busy time periods (mostly at night).

Moving towards the CI/CD concept enables SmartLabs to respond to customer requests more accurately and in an integrated manner, releasing and deploying customized updates more frequently and in less time.