How OTT Services have Benefited Enterprises and Individuals?
If you are a regular user of popular internet services such as Skype, Whatsapp or Netflix, then just to let you know, you are an ardent user of Over the Top technology or OTT services. As per definition, OTT is the technology that leverages internet to deliver audio, video and other services to the end users and works “over the top” of the network services of your service provider. It refers to all the third party services that users access through their smartphone and are beyond the control of the network carrier.
OTT is beneficial for enterprises as well as commoners since it allows them to communicate with each other for a paltry amount or absolutely free of cost at times, and thus continue strengthening their business and personal relationships. Moreover, OTT apps often provide attractive features that are otherwise a rarity with the mobile carrier.
How does it work?
Over The Time telecommunication utilizes open internet over the unmanaged networks and transports the content with the help of regular internet data protocols. It sets the service operator free from paying the cost of network infrastructure desired for service delivery. Instead, it invests in ensuring the best possible UX required for Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) and Content Delivery Network (CDN), the two main technical building components when it comes for effective OTT delivery. While ABR technique is used to stream videos securely and smoothly across multiple networks, CDNs are usedto deliver content to various browsers, set-top boxes, mobile devices, etc., quickly and in a cost-effective manner.
How is it different?
Contrary to other services such as IPTV, OTT uses a public internet network to deliver the content and is independent of any dedicated network or multiple system operators for the same. The network service provider has no control over the IP packets being delivered under OTT services, and is not responsible for any aspect of the content either, whether copyright, viewing abilities or redistribution, etc. IPTV delivers programming via video stream that is encoded as IP packets series to enable PC, TV, wireless device, phone, etc., operate together.
According to TDG Research OTT was initially meant to deliver online video straight to the living room TV hence moving over the top of the existing pay TV operators. However, with Hulu, Netflix and other online streaming services entering the fray, OTT has witnessed a significant shift as it may now include even the on-demand content being provided by pay TV operator as TV Everywhere.
OTT vs. SMS
Talking about mobile texting, OTT is better than traditional SMS but still, the latter has not completely signed off and is expected to give OTT a tough fight in. As per the reports from Portio Research published in August 2013:
- The number of messages through apps are expected to cross 32 trillion mark annually by 2017. However, SMS will slow down to 7.89 trillion.
- The overall messaging traffic from OTT apps will surpass 100-trillion messages by 2017, which is simply astounding.
- In terms of revenue generation, SMS is still expected to lead as the report postulates an annual revenue of 117 billion USD through SMS as compared to 45 billion USD through OTT messaging apps.
- On comparing SMS vs OTT revenue per hour in 2013, SMS came out as the winner with $15 million per hour as compared to $3 million generated through OTT.
- Per day traffic of OTT (28.6 Billion messages) was however, higher than SMS (22.4 Billion SMS), in 2013
Types of OTT services
Over the talk technology has knocked the door to the personal and professional lives of millions long ago, it is just that some realized it and some are yet to know about it. Some of the widely used and helpful OTT services thus include:
- Online video streaming – Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, AppleTV, Vimeo, etc.
- Video or voice calls – Skype,WeChat, Line, etc.
- Instant Messaging through mobile devices – WhatsApp, Hike, iMessage
- Console Gaming: Word of WarCraft, Xbox360
The total breakdown of OTT services by users is given in the iDate figure below:
However, despite the need of an ISP/telecommunication provider to deliver content to the end users through these services, the former is not paid for the service, which is rapidly becoming the bone of contention. Some of the telcos even tried to get the OTT apps and service providers regulated through International Telecommunication Union (ITU)in the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) held in 2012.
To summarize, Over the top (OTT) services make way for extended benefits for both the enterprises as well as individuals. Services, of the likes of Skype, Whatsapp, etc., help users to stay connected with others located elsewhere and carry on with their business and personal engagements for either a near negligible fee or absolutely free. Likewise, online video streaming facilities such as Hulu, Netflix, etc., have also gained traction with the popularity of OTT services.
To the misfortune of this technology, it has been persistently opposed by telecommunication companies as they are compelled to bear heavy losses due to free availability of communication services to users. Moreover, with users expecting a profusion of services like photo sharing, video chat, calls, SMS, etc., free of cost through OTT, it would be interesting to see how OTT ecosystem fares in the better future and maintains its consumer driven status.
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