The continued push towards cloud computing and virtualised services throughout the IT industry is making its way into video markets.
According to a report from ABI Research, virtualisation in the encoder market is expected to grow from 34% of the market in 2014 to 44% in 2020.
As service providers look to expand their service offerings, the desire for flexibility in the launch and maintenance of these services grows as well. A shift in encoding formats to the upcoming HEVC focus, along with a multitude of new devices and device types to support it, is pushing the industry to embrace unified head-ends to satisfy these needs, the firm said.
"Traditionally, video infrastructure components have been disjointed and independent from each other, making for an inflexible platform," said Eric Abbruzzese, research analyst at ABI Research. "Virtualising video delivery components and unifying them will solve this inflexibility and make supporting newer and popular IP video services alongside traditional TV services easier."
Those that already offer virtualised products, including Cisco, Elemental, Envivio and others, will have an early market advantage. Cisco, with their V2P system, and Elemental, now part of Amazon Web Services, are leaders in the space.
Implementing virtualised and unified solutions could reduce total cost of ownership by 30% through lessened CapEx and OpEx, the firm said. More leniencies in initial purchase or licensing limits the possibility of over- or under-buying required hardware, and the virtualised nature of the hardware means that more can be added or removed quickly, depending on demands.
Easier integration of new services, such as cloud DVR, will also likely benefit those looking to expand their current offerings. The differing demands between broadcast video and unicast-focused video can be supported more easily with a unified and virtualized infrastructure.
"As the industry continues to move more towards things like mobile viewing, short-form video and non-linear video, those who are primarily invested in broadcast and linear hardware will need to be prepared to adapt and pivot to support these new trends, and a unified head-end or virtualized infrastructure solution is a promising way to do so," added Sam Rosen, vice president of consumer services at ABI Research.