The year 2014 was nothing less than exciting for the OTT industry, with some huge development announcements such as Instagram’s introduction of video capabilities, allowing us now to embed video content in other outlets such as blogs; the roll out of voice calling services by WhatsApp; the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook; andDISH becoming the first major pay-TV operator in the United States to integrate the Netflix app into its set-top boxes.

Is it really a surprise?! Many operators around the world in the recent past have started rolling out advanced new capabilities for every screen, including personalized content recommendations, interactive apps, and social features, all in order to meet consumers’ growing appetite for online video. In fact, according to Adobe’s Q2 2014 Digital Index, online TV viewing increased 388 percent compared with the previous year.

So what’s in store for this coming year? Dov Moran, Founder and CEO at Comigo, takes a look into his crystal ball, sharing his top five predictions for the OTT industry in 2015.

  1. More and more large telecommunications companies will begin offering TV services provided as OTT/IPTV in order to offer a complete quad-play service. In fact, we already see it starting – Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile operator, recently announced it is ready to compete in the U.K.’s developing quad-play market. The operator is creating a quad-play strategy so it can begin offering fixed-line telephony, broadband, television, and mobile services to consumers. And those pay-TV operators who are not big enough, will start finding ways to cooperate with third parties like Netflix and Amazon, to be able to offer OTT services to their customers. 
  1. More Android™-based Smart STBs will find their way into consumers’ homes. Today’s television viewers are looking for an interactive experience on the big screen TV, similar to what they’re used to on second-screen devices like smartphones and tablets. Given its easy and familiar user interface, open source system, and freely-accessed API, Android is perfect operating system for STBs, providing pay-TV operators with a way to bring interactivity to the living room. It’s no surprise that Android has experienced continued growth in market share.

Just last year, CNET reported that Google is planning to produce several set-top boxes running Android software to let consumers “view content, listen to music, and play games on their          television sets.”

I believe we will see OTT operators deploying more Android-based Smart STBs in 2015 in order to provide customers with sophisticated features like personalized content recommendations   and access to the vast offering of applications available for tablets and smartphones. Aside from the benefits that Android STBs provide to television viewers, operators will quickly realize the   advantages of using Android-based STB vs Linux for their services, where it will allow them to offer a wide range of off-the-shelf applications and games, thereby opening up additional              revenue opportunities

That’s Not All…

Consumer expectations and technology advancements are key drivers behind the ongoing evolution in the OTT industry, creating a multiscreen viewing experience that is much more personalized, social, and interactive than ever before. Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where we’ll explore more predictions for 2015, such as the adoption of HEVC, context-sensitive applications, and automated recognition technologies.

More detailed insights about trends in 2015 will be available on the Comigo blog soon! Check it out here

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