ARRIS Announces AppCarousel as its App Store Supplier and Partner for ARRIS Market

SUWANEE, Ga., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — ARRIS Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) today announced the addition of the ARRIS Market, an application store launched in conjunction with partner AppCarousel™ as part of the ARRIS Whole Home Solution Moxi User Interface experience. Launched in an HTML5 browser, the MSO customizable ARRIS Market will present a full screen app store enabling subscribers to interact with social media, enjoy games, and consume alternate forms of over-the-top content all managed, formatted and optimized for the big screen experience.

Arris1ARRIS has engaged with several cable service providers to understand and define their desired apps and assist with customizing genres, store front, specific apps, and other custom requests. AppCarousel will focus on procuring, curating, and managing various apps, as well as hosting the app platform that will deliver the Application Store.

The ARRIS Market is based in HTML5, and like many elements of the Moxi user experience, including the recent addition of an HTML5 browser, it is designed to be customized by the MSO. This customization enables MSOs to better compete with an in-home brand and bond message for their subscribers.

“We are excited about enabling these new capabilities for operators deploying the ARRIS Whole Home Solution,” said ARRIS VP Product Management Ron Miller. “We are committed to increasing the value and popularity of the ARRIS Whole Home Solution through the evolution of the application space and the cable-driven ecosystem of home entertainment.”

The ARRIS Market will be introduced in a series of Moxi software releases during 2013.

ARRIS solutionThe initial release will feature such content as Facebook®, Twitter™, Yelp®, weather, news, and games. The offering will be regularly enhanced and refreshed, giving subscribers a series of new experiences throughout the year.

Supporting the growth and innovation in the ARRIS Market will be the future release of the ARRIS Web Services SDK, a comprehensive suite of developer focused APIs and tools for creating a new generation of custom apps developed around the powerful resources of the ARRIS Whole Home Solution. The Web Services SDK will only be made available to MSO partners and key developers chosen by ARRIS to ensure the highest quality experience for the subscriber.

The introduction of the ARRIS Market will open up a variety of new potential revenue generating opportunities for service providers. Some may require additional custom work to support new types of billing integrations, special content arrangements, or select integrations with the Moxi UI. ARRIS is committed to exploring all of these types of services to deliver a unique, high value opportunity to the MSO community and its subscribers.

About ARRIS
ARRIS is a global communications technology company specializing in the design, engineering and supply of communications and IP technologies that support broadband services for residential and business customers around the world. The company supplies broadband operators with the tools and platforms they need to deliver and monitor advanced video, data and voice subscriber services, including whole home video across multiple screens, ultra high-speed data, personalized advertising and carrier-grade telephony. Headquartered near Atlanta, in Suwanee, Georgia, USA, ARRIS has R&D centers in Beaverton, OR; Chicago, IL; Cork, Ireland; Kirkland, WA; Redwood City, CA; Shenzhen, China; State College, PA; Tel Aviv, Israel; Wallingford, CT and Westborough, MA, and operates support and sales offices throughout the world. Information about ARRIS products and services can be found at http://www.arrisi.com.

SOURCE ARRIS Group, Inc.

Alex Swan, ARRIS Media Relations, +1-678-473-8327, alex.swan@arrisi.com


AppCarousel attending the SCTE tradeshow October 17 – 19

AppCarousel is in Orlando Florida for the annual SCTE cable industry tradeshow, conference and exhibition. Click the pic on the left to reach the official SCTE expo website.  We are on the ARRIS Whole Home Solution booth, announcing and demonstrating some brand new developments in “apps for TV” and “TV app stores”.  We can’t say too much ahead of the show, but suffice to say that the MSOs (cable operators) will love what we are launching at SCTE.  Here’s a sneak peek;

                           

To meet with us at the show, simply send an email to     info    <at>   appcarousel   .   com

Here’s how the SCTE organizers describe their show;

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2012—the industry’s engineering show of the year—hosts 10,000 attendees annually and provides the opportunity to discover and learn first-hand about the latest in cable telecommunications technology, products and services in one cost-effective setting.

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, Oct. 17-19, 2012, in Orlando, FL. Pre-conference and preview events will take place on Oct. 16 and technical workshops and sessions are scheduled for Oct. 16-19.

A wide variety of educational sessions, hands-on state-of-the-art exhibits and networking opportunities enable all levels of cable telecommunications technology experts to obtain the resources of technical information crucial to their company goals during Cable-Tec Expo.

Executive and mid-level attendees from the industry’s top operating companies attend Cable-Tec Expo and nearly 400 of the industry’s most prominent technology companies showcase their services and technologies. 80% of operating attendees represent decision makers & key influencers. Nearly 34% of operating attendees comprise of executive-level to director/vice president positions.

Attendees from nearly 55 countries rely on Cable-Tec Expo to experience all engineering, all the time. International presence during Cable-Tec Expo 2011 increased 21% over 2010.

The Expo exhibit hall provides an invaluable learning environment which features “hands-on” instruction from nearly 400 technology companies. Exhibitors and attendees alike will discuss various cable telecommunications applications, products and services that technology delivers.

About the SCTE

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is proud to serve as the technical and applied science leader for the cable telecommunications industry. Since its beginning in 1969, the Society has been dedicated to providing meaningful resources and programs for its members and the industry.

From industry-wide initiatives to create more efficient operations to technical training programs on the latest technologies to job aids to assist field personnel in their everyday responsibilities, SCTE has programs and benefits for every professional level in the industry. The Society’s “Boots to Suits” philosophy is designed to not only enhance the careers of technical employees throughout the network, but also provide operators with a well-trained workforce that, ultimately, means a more efficient system, economic benefits and an improved customer experience.


AppCarousel featured in major new article on “apps for TV” and “companion apps”

Check out the full article by clicking the pic!

Peggy Albright has published an excellent and insightful article on Vision Mobile’s blog which debates the role of apps on TV, second screen apps and companion apps / companion devices.  Terry Hughes, our Managing Director here at App Carousel, is featured as a thought leader in this emerging and exciting new space for apps.

Read the full article by clicking the picture or clicking here.

And share your thoughts on the future of apps on the big screen by adding a comment below.


Apps for TV: Lessons from Mobile

Where are the apps for TV? We get asked a lot about apps and content for TV, and it seems like everyone is hungry for them: TV manufacturers, set-top box builders, middleware folks…all the way down to your local cable network. Up and down the value chain, nobody wants to get left behind when their area of focus becomes “smart”. Let’s not get caught up in terminology – the point of the matter is that cloud and computing technologies are becoming more pervasive in our daily lives. The TV is just another device in the internet of things and an entire industry is simply trying to figure out how to preserve their traditional revenue stream while maintaining an innovative edge on competitors or substitute products. This is going to involve a lot of experimentation and investment, and then seemingly overnight, an entire industry will be transformed. It happened for mobile, and it will happen for TV.

What Happened in Mobile

  • Before iOS and Android ruled the mobile playing field, developers were faced with the difficulties and high cost of fragmentation from both a development and distribution standpoints.
  • When apps were popularized by Apple and Google, developers were given standardized platforms to build against with the opportunity to distribute on mass without having to worry about unique carrier integrations.
  • Now apps are adopting many web based monetization models such as advertising subsidies,  in-app billing, and premium subscription charges. Ad revenue based models are the most popular as the app is passed onto the consumer for free.

What are the challenges for Apps for TV?

  • Developers have limited resources and need to budget. Many brands are therefore focusing on the largest market, perfecting their mobile strategy before optimizing for a nascent TV app market.
  • UI and UX are not easily scalable from existing mobile products to the leanback, 10 foot experiences.
  • Support ecosystem for monetization methods is immature.
  • Like the legacy mobile environments, deployment in an cable or satellite walled garden makes it difficult to introduce many interactions or ads.

Sounds familiar right? In the end, it’s all about the money, money, money. Fragmentation costs money. Distribution costs money. Developing standards costs money. Well, as Apple could say, you got to spend it to make. The folks in Cupertino decided to invested in app developers: providing support for distribution, development, and monetization and laying the foundations for a flourishing app ecosystem. Google did much the same, giving other OEMs a viable alternative to the burgeoning iOS behemoth.

The moral of this story is that much of the same will happen to TV. Will it be Google TV or Apple TV leading the way again, just like tablets? Unlikely. Both giants are faced with many roadblocks. The TV industry is filled with powerful incumbents that aren’t going to just pass along the holy grail. But there will be a point when everything changes, and the lines are drawn between winners and losers.

The Tipping Point:

  • Clear major player(s) invests in standardizing TV apps and content. Actually, they’ve already started, or at least some are trying (a la Smart TV Alliance). Until there is a clear market leader in how apps are created, delivered,cataloged, and monetized, there’s only going to be a short and generic selection consumers will get to choose from. Once that is established, the path of resistance will be alleviated for developers to start producing for TV screens. Then the folks with distribution channels for merchandising apps and other content will have rich catalogs to satisfy consumer demand. Chicken and egg? Solved.
  • TV hardware gets better, remote and all. Ever tried to play Farmville on your Nokia 3310 brick phone? No? Albeit indestructible, it just isn’t up to snuff with the smartphones of today. TVs, the connected set-top boxes, and the remotes will all need to get a bump in performance and capabilities to offer the same type of rich experiences that consumers are used to on smartphones and tablets. It’ll be awhile before TV manufacturers stop including remotes in favor of a companion app (global smartphone penetration is still less than 40%).
  • A majority of users will change their behavior on how they use their TVs. Some would say that this has already happened with on Video On Demand (VOD), Over-The-Top (OTT), and TV Everywhere type services. I would disagree – the mainstream hasn’t voted with their wallets accordingly. Even social TV initiatives will compliment, but not drive that purchasing vote. The vast majority still buy a television to watch a service on that TV from a cable or satellite provider. When the behaviors change, the dust settles and developers will be able to confidently create apps people will use instead of apps people won’t want.
  • Advertisers will reallocate significant portions of their ad budgets away from linear TV ads. There will come a time when advertisers realize that no one is paying attention to their TV ads. They’re too busy doing other things they’re finding more value in. Heck, not even the Direct Satellite Broadcasters (DSB) are interested in having their customers sit through commercials.

Credit: Google Mobile Ads Blog

  • Brands and advertisers will create value adding experiences that span multiple screens instead. Whether you think the first screen is TV or Mobile, there are tons of benefits to digital interactive advertisements, including cost savings on common creative sets, but importantly, it offers advertisers a way to campaign to consumers in a cohesive way. The trumpets of “Content is King” are sounding, and more than ever, engaging consumers will involve keeping them across multiple screens.  It starts with “ads” that bring value to the consumer, not interruption spam.

You might be wondering why the tipping point has such a focus on advertisers. The reason is simple: much of TV content is funded by advertisers, as are mobile apps. The path to big TV app monetization will begin and end with big ad dollars.


Second screen, companion apps, companion devices (it’s new and big)

A few weeks ago we attended the CableLabs Summer Conference (read about it here).  The hottest topic there was “second screen”.  What does this mean?

Well, most people with disposable income have several screens these days; they have a smartphone, they may also have a tablet, and they definitely have a TV or two.  At the moment, each of those experiences are isolated, different and unrelated.  What you do on your tablet is in no way related to what you do on your TV (unless of course you are watching a movie and you decide to use your tablet to look up the name of one of the actors, that’s about as far as it goes).  So the concept of;

  • second screen
  • companion apps
  • companion devices

… is all about delivering experiences that are connected and seamless across all the screens and devices that you own.

There’s a great definition at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_screen

A great example is a start-up called Kwarter.

They have identified that one of the biggest opportunities for multiple screen engagement is when you are watching sports on TV.  You want to comment on the game with others, your buddies may be elsewhere in the world, you want to meet other fans of your team, and you want to have friendly wagers on what’s about to happen next on the field of play.  However you don’t want to use the TV screen itself to do all of that because that would mean missing the live action while you switch to other pages.  So Kwarter enables you to pick up your tablet and do all those fun engaging things on your “second screen”.  That’s an example of where a companion app is running on a companion device to deliver a second screen experience – that’s it for the definition and overview!

At AppCarousel we see this second screen movement as one of the most exciting things in the technology space, because it embraces the growing sophistication of users and their devices, and has the potential to turn the last “old school” business – that of linear broadcast mass-blast TV – into something truly interactive, without everyone having to go out and buy a new interactive TV.  Think of the possibility for advertisers and brands;

  • TV ads can become interactive in real time (get more info on your companion device, get a coupon for the product, re-watch an ad that you were interested in, if you like that Ford car you saw in the ad use your tablet to create your own car with the specs and color you want and then check out the exact price and availability etc.)
  • merchandising can become more relevant and personalized; if my smartphone knows what I am watching on TV (e.g. I am a fan of sports stations and car channels), then the ads and apps it recommends can be way more targeted
  • advertisers can finally create a feedback loop; instead of not knowing what someone is watching or whether they care, encouraging them to interact with the brand via their companion device gives them unparalleled visibility

Let’s face it; people are distracted these days.  60% of people watching TV are messing with other devices.  So broadcasters and brands are trying to find ways of distracting them with their own shows, products and services!

To conclude this short look at a new phenomenon – “second screen” – let’s try to boil it all down to a few scenarios.  Can we categorize the use cases?  Here goes …

  1. There are second screen experiences that mirror the one on the big screen.  For example, I can watch MLB games on my TV, then take my tablet up to bed to continue watching the same game
  2. There are companion apps that give me additional / supplementary information and interactivity regarding what I am watching (to continue the MLB example, the MLB app gives the real-time plays, stats and player profiles while the game itself is on the big screen)
  3. There are devices and apps that are effectively remote controls for the big screen.  At the NCTA conference in Boston this year, ARRIS (market leaders in set top boxes), demonstrated an iPad app that not only provided you with a more rich and interactive channel guide so that you could decide what to watch, but was also a full remote control for the set top box so that you didn’t have to look down the back of the sofa for that remote ;-)
  4. There are apps that extend the experience and make it more interactive.  The example I gave earlier where I see an ad on the TV for a Ford car is a good one because in a quick 30 second commercial there is no way I can get enough info or find out more about whether that car has the features I want (or indeed whether it is in my price range or whether Ford Employee Pricing is on right now in my area).  However by scanning a QR code on screen or typing in a short URL I can either get the Ford app or go straight to the web page designed to complement the ad, and I can carry on looking at the car for as long as I like
  5. Did we miss any categories or use cases?  Feel free to comment at the bottom of the article

In summary, I think you can see the enormous opportunities ahead as companion devices interact in real time with that big screen in the corner of the room … but wait, TVs and big screens aren’t just restricted to living rooms.  They are in public places, they are used as billboards, they are on trains and buses, at sporting venues, in malls, and on and on.

The next article in our series will look at some of the biggest names in home entertainment and gaming (Microsoft, Nintento etc.) and how they are starting to embrace the second screen revolution.

Terry

Managing Director, AppCarousel www.appcarousel.tv


AppCarousel interviewed on the subject of app store curation

Click the pic to see the full interview

Today an article by Tim Kridel of Digital Innovation Gazette was published, following an interview with AppCarousel’s Managing Director Terry Hughes a short while ago.

You can access the article by clicking the picture, or here.

A few snippets to get you in the mood for the subject … (all these are quotes from Terry Hughes)

The headline grabber is: too many apps, too hard to find what you need. However, it’s more than that. Today, users have to think about where to look for apps and what keywords to search for. Why should they? Why shouldn’t a baseball fan be presented with a highly relevant and targeted set of apps and associated content related to his beloved sport, without him having to think about what type of app he needs and where that might be located? … That is the essence of curation.

These days, anyone can create a mini store that’s relevant to a particular audience and make money in the process. Some curators use their store as a means to an end — for example, bloggers or journalists who use it to draw more people to their work. Others make money from the established business models…

Curation is all about the human touch. For example, here at AppCarousel, we have teams of people that understand the entire app landscape. For any given store, they research the target demographic and the goals of the store, whether that’s awareness building, brand showcasing, monetizing or complementing an existing service. Then, we work with our clients to hand-select apps and associated content that users will love

Let’s take the fast emerging “apps for TV” market as an example, where TV viewers are able to discover and run apps while sitting on the sofa. TV is ideal for curation because viewers don’t want to browse thousands of apps on a TV. They are in a mode where they want to be informed and shown new things, and there are subsets of apps more relevant to the TV environment (e.g., leanback experiences, entertainment apps, companion apps to shows)

Add your thoughts on curaion and the curated app store experience below.  We would love to hear from you.

The AppCarousel team


AppCarousel exhibits at CableLabs Summer Conference

The busy AppCarousel.tv booth at CableLabs

Hi from Keystone Colorado where the altitude is a breathtaking 9000 feet (literally) and where the attitude is decidedly “innovation in the cable industry”.  It’s CableLabs’ bi-annual conference and expo, and the AppCarousel team is delighted to be one of the exhibitors and vendors at the event.

What fascinates me about the cable industry (of which this event is a microcosm) is that it’s everything from large equipment, switches, head ends, and plant, all the way through to the growing areas of apps and app stores, which we specialize in.  It’s a diverse range of vendors for sure, but judging by the level of interest in our “app stores for TV” proposition [www.appcarousel.tv] it’s clear that apps are front and center in the minds of MSOs and their solutions providers.

The CableLabs event is also good because it’s private; it’s only open to MSO cable operator member companies + vendors to the industry.  So everyone you see in the above picture is a cable industry executive.  Our booth was busy from 9am to 7pm as you can see.  A lot of new friends were made in one day.

Also because it’s a private event I can’t say too much about the inspirational keynote given yesterday by Phil McKinney, the CEO of CableLabs.  However he won’t mind me giving the highlights;

  • he talked about the changes in social dynamics, where the ultimate is true visual collaboration (very relevant for the TV industry)
  • he talked about how the experience is becoming truly personal (what does that mean for TV where in general there is one in every room, the family gather round, and there’s nothing personalized about it today)
  • he discussed how networks are evolving, and “pervasive connectivity” being the ultimate goal, where you don’t have to think about what network you are connected to, or via which device, it becomes seamless to the user
  • he then went on to talk about gadgets, and everyone today having a “family of devices” so while you are watching TV you may also have a tablet next to you for a second screen experience and a smartphone for texting your buddies
  • finally he analyzed the future of content, and the potential role of the MSOs in offering cloud storage that is truly secure (would you rather trust your lifetime of pictures taken, and your bank statements, to Google or Box.net, or to your cable company?)

I will leave you with a quote from Phil:

Ideas without execution is a hobby

As the cable industry evolves very quickly from broadcasting linear channels to a rich media world of streaming, IPTV and apps, execution will be everything … and much of the debate at CableLabs was about exactly that; executing on the promise of a new generation of connected TV and smart TV.

Terry


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