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Buzzwords Of Industry: Is OTT An IoT?

IoT (Internet of Things) and OTT (over the top) are innovative concepts that are transforming customer experience. IoT refers to network of physical objects/devices that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, these devices connect with each other and exchange data which helps in improving efficiency and reduces human efforts.

IoT involves wider coverage of Internet connectivity beyond common devices like desktops, smartphones, laptops to devices like air conditioners, lighting in homes, and security systems for houses/offices etc. IoT-enabled devices can be used for connected vehicles, smart homes, and medical health care. They can be also used in agriculture for gathering data on rainfall, humidity, monitoring soil temperature, and moisture. All web-enabled devices embedded with software and sensors send and act on data they acquire from surroundings.

The network of physical devices which reduces human efforts and improves efficiency is known as IoT.

OTT is a subset of IoT. It refers to delivering content to end-user in which ISP simply transports IP packets and OTT content is video, audio, and other media content delivered over the internet without any multiple-system operator (MSO) involvement. The internet provider may be aware of the contents of the internet protocol (IP) packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities and other redistribution of the content. This model differs from pay television, video on demand and from internet protocol television (IPTV).

OTT services consumed using a service provider’s network is dominating at both the enterprise and consumer level. The number of global subscribers for these services is increasing rapidly and this requires a lot more bandwidth to keep up with consumer demand.

Let us review the history of television media distribution. Few years back, you had a TV and an antenna. Networks and stations broadcast content for that TV. You could adjust your antenna and tune into a few different channels, but the programming was determined by the broadcaster and content was broadcasted only at specific times. Next came cable/satellite/pay TV industry along with set-top box which is the present entertainment model. And now we are graduating to OTT, which is opening more options for content hungry customers. Just think of home security system, smart home locks and alarms coordinated through an app on your OTT box, with an interface viewable on your TV screen, using your TV remote to turn off all the lights in your house.

Every step in gradual development of TV content delivery technology has brought greater choice to the user. First with regard to content selection and now with regard to how we engage that content. The OTT box is making selection of media easy and you can launch whatever media you want, similar to the way you launch apps on a desktop.

The entire reason why OTT is the buzzword of industry these days is because hardware and content providers, regulators, and other interested parties have competing interests in this area, and all are pushing themselves to the best position. Regardless of who emerges the winner in this battle, the user is going to win. The technological advancements consistently provide users more choice in programming and content. OTT is giving freedom to consumers to consume content on multiple devices i.e. mobile, laptop, TV, etc. anytime, anywhere and users can take the entertainment with them wherever they are.

Many existing players continue to roll out new OTT services, while more players in the OTT space are emerging in hopes of gaining market share. All the while, the number of IoT devices on which OTT services are used is rapidly growing. All this is resulting in massive demand of data and bandwidth speeds.

It can be safely concluded that:

  • OTT is a part of IoT;
  • Data and bandwidth are the most important chess pieces; and
  • Customers are content hungry.
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