In recent years, one after another, the world’s leading carriers have been searching for a path to overall growth driven by video. Every year since 2013, BT (British Telecom) has invested in exclusive broadcast rights to the Premier League to achieve a differentiated experience with comprehensive growth in number of users and ARPU. In South Korea, LG U + points out the “LTE equals to Video” concept in which video services are used to stimulate a doubling of LTE traffic and provide the ultimate mobile video experience. The Video service has achieved top ARPU and profit margin growth for LG U+. And Chinese carriers are not to be outdone. For example, Sichuan Telecom has based their optimal experiences around television services with a full-service package under the 012 Strategy that attracts users with high-definition, 4K highly-competitive video services to double annual user growth and stimulate overall revenue growth. Likewise, news continues to stream from all across the world of carriers acquiring MSOs and the like to boost video services. Clearly, video has already become both a new point of growth and a fundamental service for carriers in the ultra-broadband era.
Carriers offer video services for new users and revenue growth. Given that the market is already full of free or low-priced OTT content, how exactly do carriers get a piece of the pie? Carriers should take advantage of their own network and user resources to guarantee that their video services offer optimal experiences to end users that are clearly better than that of the competition. Naturally, users will come flocking to these carriers as proven by Sichuan Telecom’s publicity on its video services. When Sichuan Telecom pulled up in front of users with two TVs on the back of a truck, one was playing Sichuan Telecom’s UHD video service while the other was playing the local video provider’s SD video service. The difference was clear and the audience voted with their feet. Just as popular is the LG U+ mobile video experience that allows four FHD channels to simultaneously play on a mobile screen. The key for carrier success in the video service is a guaranteed optimal video experience. This is the main reason why users choose your network.
Since the video experience is everything, how should it be measured? Initially, ITU-designed video MOS (mean option score) is basically an interface for engineers that presents a fairly simple standard for measuring video quality. However, this cannot meet the need for diversified, complex, interactive video experiences. As such, a new standards system is absolutely necessary to measure video quality, interaction, viewing, and other demands. U-vMSO is Huawei’s objective criteria for measuring video experiences based on the actual user experience. In fact, Huawei’s proposal is accepted by ITU-T SG12 and in the video MOS sector. The U-vMOS video experience measurement system is open to the entire video industry and provides a unified system of criteria for measuring cross-screen, cross-network, cross-service video experiences. With U-vMOS, video services can realize rapid and robust growth under uniform evaluation criteria.
To realize optimal video quality and obtain the highest U-vMOS evaluation, carriers will firstly need to tackle access-side bandwidth issues. Whether it is fixed access FBB or mobile access MBB, there must be enough bandwidth for innovative video services. Fixed optical access FTTH and copper access DSL Vectoring both support bandwidths of 100M or greater, and wireless access 4G networks can also support access speed up to 100M. This ultra-broadband technology can guarantee an optimal video quality experience.
In the interactive video experiences we are more sensitive to video latency, thus network video transmission latency will ultimately decide the benchmark of user experience. Traditional carrier networks are designed for voice and data services with quite a bit of network layering. After the number of video users grows, latency will become unbearable. As such, an optimal U-vMOS experience requires a flat network architecture that allows for network delayering with the goal of reducing latency from the convergence layer to the core layer platform. An RTT of 5ms from the convergence layer to the video platform has already become the target for optimal video bearer networks.
As the number of video users grows, original network resources may not meet the experience needs of new users. Carriers will need to collaborate with smart E2E networks for real-time monitoring of user and network U-vMOS indicators as well as dynamic management of these indicators. Networks can then intelligently monitor cable and wireless access to network element loads and dynamically adjust QoS to guarantee a definite video experience.
Video platforms that include CDN can intelligently perceive the status of network resources. Based on user priority rankings, networks can then give priority to VIP users and synergize platform resources to meet the needs for smart scheduling and ultimately guarantee an optimal U-vMOS experience for core video users.
All in all, only a network architecture with the goal of an optimal video experience, supported by ultra-broadband, flattened networking, and smart synergy, and with video quality measured by U-vMOS standards, can guarantee an optimal video experience, competitive video services, and enable video to become a new drive of revenue growth.