Pace told us that from the point of view of its STBs, it is “ready for UltraHD”. The company has a new User Interface platform framework (based, we were told, on Adobe tools rather than HTML5), that is said to allow “sexier” interface designs. There were new large (home gateway) STBs on display as well as a UHD & HVC “puck” format STB and also an HDMI stick device. A new idea has been “tray” systems that can be attached to some boxes to add facilities such as HDDs and allow MSOs to sell upgrades.
The company highlighted to us that the new tools allow the same kind of “look and feel” on all the devices connected to a home network system.
One of the big topics at IBC was the support of the RDK software bundle that has been developed by the joint venture of Comcast, Time Warner and Liberty Global. The RDK concept is to make support of MSO applications simpler (there are some apps included) and to simplify software development support. There are 140 licensees of the software from Cisco to SeaChange, Pace, Humax, MStar and Broadcom. RDK has apparently been winning a lot of support from Tier 2 and Tier 3 MSOs such as India Cable for the initiative.
Pace has been expanding its services for service providers and can now supply complete OTT solutions including backends, ingesting and simple OTT functions. (Pace is increasingly using its knowledge and technology to develop its service business alongside the traditional hardware).
The company has been working on a “whole home” strategy that reflects the “thinking beyond the box” strategy that it has. It has developed triple-play home gateways and these allow home control. Other products that sell into that space include WiFi extenders and powerline networking. The company has developed UltraHD “mesh boxes” that use a combination of HEVC compression with WiFi and powerline to work out the best way to get video moved around the house. Networking is becoming a bigger issue for Pace after it acquired Aurora Networks in January this year.
Pace runs call centres for some of its biggest clients, so has good understanding of users’ needs. The firm has developed home diagnostics and self assist technology that can tell exactly how a user’s home network is set up and working. The aim is to “Help the customer to get the best experience”.
It is this experience that Pace is using to develop solutions for call centre management as well as helping the firm to develop service and product packages for service clients.