Personalization of the digital user experience is a core strategic objective for enterprises operating in today's connected economy, driven by the adoption of smartphones, broadband, cloud, and now the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Ovum's 2016/17 ICT Enterprise Insights survey, almost half (41%) of media enterprises and digital service providers report that creating a personalized user experience will be their top business priority in the next 18 months. Furthermore, as video becomes the primary customer engagement and retention tool in niche media segments including business TV and hospitality, personalization of the user experience will be at the center of growth strategy.
Personalization can be split into two broader categories: leveraging recommendation engines, big data, and audience analytics technologies, or enabling users to "cast" their own content ("do-it-yourself"). In October 2016, ADB added the vuCaster plug-in to its flagship business TV service platform, vuTyme, to enable hotel guests to stream content from their own devices from YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, or an OTT subscription to an in-room screen. Ovum believes that DIY personalization will not only yield higher patron satisfaction for businesses but also strengthen digital service providers' market position in niche media segments such as business TV.
Delivering a multifaceted and unlimited personalized customer experience is fast becoming a top priority in the business TV segment
The business TV segment, which includes the hospitality market, is rapidly changing as a result of diverse customer preferences, making it harder for businesses to achieve highly personalized engagement. These changing market dynamics include the following:
- Patrons are demanding a multifaceted experience rather than just in-room entertainment (i.e. access to personalized, transaction-based premium services, a UHD TV and video catalogue, and uninterrupted shopping functionality through multiple connected devices during their stay).
- Patrons fear breaches of personal data and identity theft, resulting in a migration from in-room entertainment (i.e. avoidance of sharing confidential data during their stay).
- Highly fragmented entertainment preferences and priorities create challenges for business TV enterprises offering hotel guests a pre-access model for popular OTT, VOD, and Internet streaming TV applications such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, as new digital services and properties emerge continually.
- Enterprises are demanding highly scalable service-oriented platforms rather than customized technologies, to accommodate not only TV and video services but also transactions such as local restaurant bookings.
- Enterprises are shifting their focus toward providing unlimited personalized in-room entertainment to reduce churn.
ADB's vuCaster, which includes Google's Chromecast built in, enables the following:
- unlimited access to personalized content from the user's own device
- access to multifaceted digital properties from the user's own device
- elimination of data breach and identity threat issues.
Although vuCaster is still in beta phase and is currently offered as an external module, HDMI port switching capabilities differentiate it from competitors providing similar add-on value propositions in the business TV market.
One of the core risks faced by enterprises utilizing a DIY personalization model such as ADB's vuCaster is the effective management of patron expectations regarding content rights (e.g. a US Netflix subscriber might not be able to stream its content through a casting module in Sweden due to geographical restrictions on particular content rights). Thus, managing expectations will be vital to maintaining higher customer satisfaction for a DIY personalization initiative. In the business TV market, this need to personalize the guest experience in order to increase profitability will result in greater adoption of solutions that enable guests to cast personalized programming from their own devices.
Kedar Mohite, Senior Analyst, Media & Broadcast Technology Services