An exclusive session with Jeremy Thorp, CEO of Latens Systems providers of software only Conditional Access and Middleware, Here he talks about the advantages of a cardless CAS in the Indian scenario.
What is the background to Latens Systems?
Latens was founded in 2002 to address a technological and business need in the Conditional Access (CAS) market. We could see that CAS suppliers were falling behind operator business model developments, and that smartcard based systems which were the norm, were increasingly susceptible to piracy. In addition, traditional suppliers of CAS were happy to sell smartcards in a sell- and move on basis, ignoring the opportunity to develop close business partnerships with the operator.
Latens approach has always been rooted in the objective to collaborate in long term partnerships with its customers, working alongside them to enable and develop their business. As a result Latens has strong relationships with its customers, developing further innovative products to enable their businesses.
These relationships have led to the development of new and innovative products such as our Middleware product ECO, PC Client and a full Home Networking solution, while continuing to provide our customers with high quality of service.
Latens continues to be successful, in 2008 we announced that we are now the CAS provider for Digi Cable, and our other customers including Lyse Tele and MultiMedia Polska continue to grow and innovate. Latens now has over 100 customers in over 20 countries around the world.
What makes Latens software CAS different from traditional CAS?
Latens software only CAS gives the operator a great advantage over smartcard or chip based CAS, including;
Security-Latens offers a dynamically replaceable revenue protection system, where, even if the operator is hacked, Latens can instantly install a secure software module in the set-top box (STB), meaning that content and revenue are immediately re-secured.
Cost - Being software only means that the operational costs associated with card manufacture, and the logistics of distribution to the end subscriber are eliminated. This represents a massive saving in terms of OPEX to the operator, given that the average customer will likely use 2 smartcards within 5 years owing to piracy.
Technology and Service - Latens business model is based around our customers success. We sell our system licenses linked to their use and ongoing security, thereby incentivizing us to work closely with our clients and ensuring we share their Pay TV business challenges and successes. As Latens CAS solution is software only we are not constrained by the physical card replacement cycle, so our customers and their subscribers can always have the latest features and technological advances.
Flexibility - Latens is unique because it offers a software only CAS and Middleware solution for all broadband and broadcast operators. We have been successful in installing our software with cable, IPTV, Satellite, and Terrestrial operators around the world. We were also the first CAS provider to deploy a Hybrid network, a single headend feeding a DVB cable system and an IPTV network.
How important is it to consider STBs in conjunction with CAS?
STBs are obviously a vital part of any Pay TV ecosystem, and it is very important for operators to consider the finalization of STB vendors when choosing CAS. Latens CAS is integrated with all the major STB vendors including Skyworth, GMI, EEC, Amino, ADB, Motorola, ZyXel and many more. Another benefit of our software only CAS means we can integrate quickly and easily with the majority of STBs, giving operators the latest technologies and great choice at a cost that can meet their budgets.
What are your views on the Indian Pay TV market, and the benefits of opting for CAS?
In India DTH is making significant inroads and offering better quality of viewing, and as so is continuing to grow with currently over 15 million subscribers, predicted to reach over 60 million by 2015. The digitization of cable is progressing rapidly and as more people become more accustomed to the higher levels of quality there is a shift in customer perception which will act as one of the main drivers to move quickly towards digitization of cable.
Software CAS provides many benefits for all parts of the Pay TV value chain.
The subscriber has a greater choice of programs including premium content such as movies and sporting events. It will also mean value for money, as using software CAS reduces the operator's OPEX, meaning they can pass the reductions on to their customers. Cable operators can bundle their services to give their subscribers the services they want in a way that helps them generate more revenue, while broadcasters can accurately monitor revenues from actual subscribers which in turn helps their business grow and develop. Meanwhile advertisers can more accurately determine who is watching TV and have more efficient and targeted advertising, increasing and generating revenues. Similarly implementing CAS allows the Government to accurately track revenues from cable and other TV.