Nagu Gopalakrishnan – Product Director & Principal consultant, OTT and QoE solutions at Tata Elxsi – briefly interacted with Voice&Data to explain how his company’s FalconEye QoEtient platform is critical for improving an operator’s commitment to offering Quality of Experience (QoE) in video delivery/streaming to subscribers at a time of lockdown caused by COVID-19.
V&D: Quality of Experience (QoE) in video delivery/streaming is now a priority choice when it comes to choosing a network service provider for subscribers. In your opinion, how does this quality matter?
Nagu: For the past 3-4 years, video share has been hovering around 65-75% of the total internet traffic. With COVID-19 forced lockdowns across the globe, work from home and work-outs from home are becoming a new norm. With these trends, there is no doubt the video is becoming even more predominant in the internet data.
With changing customer preferences on devices (device diversity), uncontrollable network environment (especially the last-yard or in-home connectivity), and to some degree last-mile connectivity, operators and OTT players have an uphill task in maintaining Quality of Service and seamless Quality of Experience of video across subscribers. Keeping aside the exclusivity of the content and subscription costs, QoE is becoming the key differentiator, that can contribute to lower subscriber churn.
Often QoE is considered as a lagging indicator resulting in a delayed response to QoE issues. Also, its often misunderstood, that Content Delivery Network (CDN) is the only thing that contributes to the improved QoE. Thus, QoE is often addressed as an operations team challenge, limiting the response to monitoring tools, rather than having a holistic and proactive strategy. Tata Elxsi has been working with the customers to help shift the gears from reactive QoE monitoring to proactive QoE improvement using our FalconEye QoEtient platform.
V&D: How is Tata Elxsi’s Falcon Eye QoEtient designed for that proactive QoE?
Nagu: The platform is used to measure, analyze, and improve the QoE metrics. When compared to the traditional log-based QoE monitoring solution, which is a necessary ear on the ground, FalconEye QoEtient is a proactive solution, which enables to pre-certify QoE even before one hit the market, thus enabling QoE to be controlled and not just monitored.
V&D: How has the technology improved consumption of video content across platforms?
Nagu: Falcon Eye’s proactive QoE monitoring platform, supported by over 10 patents, focuses on optimization of the video pipeline and player addressing the needs of the subscriber device spectrum, by incorporating the real end user devices. In our experience over 29% of the customer churn can be linked to poor QoE. Another important aspect of this QoE-sensitive customer segment is that these are often the ones who never returned to avail the service. And interestingly, this segment of customers forms a significant part of the binge-watching customer segment as well. We have also seen a positive correlation between customer engagement and higher QoE.
V&D: Does FalconEye deployment translate to boosting customer experience?
Nagu: FalconEye QoEtient is focusing on improving the QoE, which is today the single most accepted metric for customer experience. Often QoE is seen as video-centric. However, the philosophy, FalconEye advocates in QoE = Quality of Everything because Quality is Everything. The scope of customer experience FalconEye addresses is much larger than Video QoE alone. Our customers have been successfully using FalconEye to improve application load times, optimizing navigation time, etc., in addition to regular video QoE metrics such as start-up time, buffering ratio, etc.
The ability to measure QoE under varying last-yard conditions (in-session varying Wi-Fi signals, varying network parameters) and with the help of frame accurate High-Precision APIs (HPAPI), FalconEye is able to provide the most accurate and actionable device-specific QoE data.
V&D: How has the technology helped OTT service providers?
Nagu: FalconEye QoEtient is being used by some of the world’s leading OTT providers to control and improve their QoE. One of UK’s largest OTT operator is using the platform to both benchmark and improve QoE compared to their competition.
The product has been designed to improve quality at all stages. From product managers, video backend team, application dev/playback dev team to end subscribers, the product is designed to enable every layer of delivery of OTT content. FalconEye QoEtient can proactively control the churn rather than reactive dissemination of the QoE metrics data to different internal teams, also enabling the ‘best to market’ approach and not just the ‘first to market’ approach.
This would ultimately result in satisfying the end subscribers to relax and enjoy quality video content on their preferred device and at their preferred location.