SXSWi: Future15 – Convergence (IPTV and Connected TV style)

So I stumbled across a great set of sessions called “Future 15“. These were short 15 minute talks surrounding a topic – short, sweet, punchy. Perfect as a change from long 1 hour panel sessions.

Today’s topic was convergence, and I attended a 2 hour window focused on the IPTV and Connected TV space, with some great well known companies in this space presenting.  Most of them talked about the the split screen experience, and where UIs are headed. Generally, there was not much discussed that was new to me, but it was nice to hear people speaking about this domain.

Here are some of the notes I captured on the 15 min talks.


3 Screens, 1 Cloud: Creating Optimal Connected Experiences

Speaker: Harry Mower (Microsoft)
Steps to create optimal connected experiences:
1. Solve identify and security
A lot of this has been solved.
2. State management

How do you manage state and consistency, so that you can:

  • Enable a continuous client experience
  • Ensure consistency of data

Cloud servers today can provide this.
3. Content aware
Content needs to know about itself and it’s companions.
In order to provide extended value to the users across devices it has to create value across devices.
What this means is, we need to rethink the business modeling for content.

  • Retrofit existing workflow procedures and processes to create new value
  • Build new design and developer patterns to easily expose this additional value.

E.g If you are watching a news feed, what is it about the content that can exposed related content?
We need to extend content management systems and expose new content and relationships
4. Polymorphic design
Applications need to adapt as they go from device to device.  Considerations:

  • How do we even further separate the UI from the coder?
  • How do we build new design patterns that users can use intuitively?

5. Device ecosystem
A consistent developer platform that is connected to easily discoverable applications, and differentiated features for facts, inputs etc.
Aside from all this, you then have advertising, analytics, troubleshooting, diagnostics to consider as well.


Google TV to iPad Apps: The Connected TV Experience

Speaker: Richard Bullwinkle (Rovi)
PCs are not televisions and TV’s are not PCs. No matter how much we try to bring one experience to the other, we need to realise they are different.
Most consumers have said TV is a lean back experience.  The problem for big CE is that consumers tend to live in the cable box UI.
The fact is that very few people are actually cord cutting. They might supplement, but they are not cutting cable out altogether.
The problem of the consumer
86% of people have no idea what they want to watch when they turn on the TV
They got this figure from data on the boxes.
The box really should know about you.
Using personal devices solves 5 key problems.  We know that 70-50% are on another device while they are watching television. So already it’s a pretty large.  And maybe the second screen is the more appropriate place for this.
Why secondary devices?
1. Better interface for discovering content
2. Personal interactive ads – example ABC sync app
Roughly 70% people watch TV with someone else in the room
If you have devices that are aware of the content on the big screen, then it can get personal.
3. Works with legacy devices
4. Little cost to the CE manufacture or MSO
5. Rapid innovation and revision


Personalised interfaces and the arrival of Smart TV

Speaker: Dave Maher Roberts (The Filter)
We’re in an age where we can have anything we want anytime now. But our attention is super fragmented.
This happens even more so than it used to and as a result, audience engagement is critical.

UIs need to work harder so people don’t have to

The second screen is one of the easy ways to increase engagement, but we shouldn’t give up on TV screens altogether.
Supply of content

  • Cost of creation
  • Format
  • Control
  • Rights management
  • Distribution
  • Price

For UX concentrate on demand for content:

  • Content perception
  • Motivation
  • Mood
  • Taste
  • Context

Using data to enhance the experience

We need to tap into the data exhaust. There’s a lot of data coming out of these devices.
We should use all available data- metadata – descriptions, performers, images, trailers
Some services are already doing this — you can navigate a service using purely metadata.
1. Contextual data
Location, time of day, day of week, device, subscription package. Data
2. Integration of social
Tweets, status updates, likes, friends recommendations, check ins
3. Consumption data
Plays, skips, activity, preferences
What they actually do, sometimes is more accurate than what they say.
4. Blend data types to unlock true relevance

5. Measure the effect of the data that you are using, and iterate
Next 12 months in tv interfaces we’ll see:

  • More personalization
  • More at the app level than platform level
  • Across multiple devices
  • Apply to better personalize TV ads and offers