In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, solutions provider E2M talks about how it put together a project for Lebanons leading telco provider Touch to ensure the delivery of TV content to mobile phones Touch, Lebanons leading mobile operator, managed by Zain Group, recently undertook a major installation in order to make TV entertainment available to […]
In an exclusive interview with Vijaya Cherian, solutions provider E2M talks about how it put together a project for Lebanons leading telco provider Touch to ensure the delivery of TV content to mobile phones
Touch, Lebanons leading mobile operator, managed by Zain Group, recently undertook a major installation in order to make TV entertainment available to its users on mobile devices. The three-month project was contracted to Lebanese systems integrator and solutions provider E2M, which is also an entertainment-to-mobile services specialist and a sister company of Al Sumaria TV. Both companies, in turn, belong to CET group.
Nadim Khater, Touchs Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) says the telco was very keen on retaining its innovative edge.
This is reflected in our TV offering, which can be viewed on any web-connected device including tablets, TVs, PCs and smartphones. E2Ms role was paramount in developing this state-of-the-art product. They proved to be a capable, creative, and knowledgeable partner that could deliver to the highest quality standards, he adds.
Touch essentially wanted to deliver several video formats and multi-video platforms to mobile phones so they needed a mobile TV solution which included Video on Demand (VoD) and other features, seconds Edmond Mouawad, Broadcast and Media Team Leader at Al Sumaria TV.
E2M received an RFP for a mobile TV solution and a special team started working on it. People with specialisations in IT, broadcast engineering, electrical installations, networking, programming, project management and software development were required to take this project forward. All of us had to liaise to put together the various pieces of the puzzle for this project to ensure a fault-free workflow that worked well.
E2M, which is the TV and telco service and solutions provider arm of CET, therefore, designed a turnkey solution to enable the delivery of content to mobile devices.
We provided them with a full solution including designing the workflow and integrating all of the various solutions together, explains Mouawad.
One of the main elements of this project is the Envivio platform, which primarily includes the acquisition and encoding elements.
This platform includes two live Envivio Gen 3 encoders handling six live channels each, one live backup encoder, one VoD encoder, a 4Balancer and the Envivio 4Manager.
Video streams are converted into different formats for them to work on different devices including Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian.
We used Envivio for encoding and transcoding the various video formats and delivering the content. We chose them because of the price and the quality. We have a long-term partnership with Envivio. They provide good support as well, explains Mouawad.
Live channels are received by Invex receivers and sent to the Envivo platform, chips in Zaynoun Hammoud, Software Development Manager at E2M and Project Manager for this installation.
The Envivio platform then sends the feeds to eight Helix Streaming Servers distributed among four sites in Lebanon. The Helix servers run on Dell servers that use Red Hat Linux 6. We use H264 encoding on the Envivio platform and this, in turn, ingests the feeds to all four streaming distribution centres.
A significant part of this project was the inclusion of VoD assets, which again are managed by Envivios 4Balancer and VOD encoder.
For VoD, content is uploaded onto a content server. The Envivio encoder then fetches the files and uploads them to the Helix servers. The streaming servers support several streaming protocols including HLS, MMS, RTSP and RTMP. This means most standard platforms are covered including iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry.
Users can watch the service by using Touchs web portal (mobiletv.touch.com.lb) or by downloading the relevant apps on their phone which are available for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices.
We developed the portal and the apps as well for this project. Users can login into the system using their operator account, as our system is integrated with their accounts as well, explains Hammoud.
One of the unique aspects of this installation is the fact that E2M developed a middleware that is integrated with Touchs billing and provisioning system.
We developed our own middleware for this project because Touch has a very tailored commercial requirement, which standard middleware in the market do not comply with, explains Hammoud.