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March 2007
Volume 10 / Number 3

IPDR — What a Difference a Year Makes

By Kelly Anderson, FOR THE RECORD
 

 

It was one year ago that IPDR.org set out to tackle accounting challenges for IPTV with an open meeting in San Jose. We had over 50 companies represented at that meeting drawing around 90 representatives. It was quite an impressive meeting. We were able to define issues and subsequently create an aggressive work plan that would be done by the end of the year. After extensive reviews from multiple organizations, we released in December of this past year, Service Specifications and modifications to our Streaming Protocol to support any type of content accounting and metrics management requirement.

Not only did this mark a significant capability in making IPTV services operational as well as profitable, it has also marked a significant increase in industry-wide adoption. Late January, the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR.org) announced that CableLabs® adopted IPDR.org technologies into its OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) Version 1.1 initiative. Specifically, the set-top box (STB) API for metrics gathering — a critical function of the OCAP 1.1 release — will be an application of JSR 190, the Java Community Process (JCP) specification of an API for metrics gathering. IPDR.org technologies are embedded in JSR 190; they will be the specification for encoding metrics messages and transporting them to a collection point. This means all OCAP 1.1 set-top boxes will have integrated into them the IPDR.org technologies. This new development is not just exciting for the adoption of IPDR specifications, but it addresses the major issue of monitoring the home network that has plagued service providers for decades.

As with all customer-related trouble reporting issues, nothing is more frustrating than being on hold with a customer service representative that cannot duplicate your specific issue. I know my breath is held the whole time hoping not to hear the words that will end the phone call, “It’s your phone, outlet, house wiring, etc. . . .” that gives you no resolution to your last 50 minutes on the line. Imagine that being a customer with IPTV. Unlike the phone where calls are placed to repair after the call and trouble, calls will be placed while the trouble is happening. If a service provider does not have access to necessary information that could explain or fix the problem, the customer is going to be dissatisfied. Add in the information gleaned from viewing habits, recorded and live television, remote functions and the like, and monitoring the home network is set up to be a crucial part of a successful IPTV launch.




The IPDR.org technologies included in the CableLabs specifications are the IPDR/Streaming Protocol (IPDR/SP) transport and the IPDR/XDR encoding specifications incorporated by reference, along with a full open source code implementation of production-ready development tools to integrate the technology into vendor solutions. This availability of code will quicken the industry adoption and usability of this solution to near-term IPTV launches. This is incredible news for a competitive industry that requires quick marketplace integration.

I am excited about the developments over the past year. With so many standards efforts going unnoticed and unused today; I am thrilled to be part of efforts that will enable big changes for the marketplace and big dollars for its adopters.

Kelly Anderson is President and COO of IPDR.org, a collaborative industry consortium focused on developing and driving the adoption of next-gen service usage exchange standards worldwide.

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