FLAME in the FMI ecosystem

In FLAME, we are building a platform for experimentation of advanced media products and services integrating new network paradigms, such as SDN, NFV and MEC scenarios. A key innovation lies in the flexible management and tight integration of media services with not only the compute and storage resources where they run, but also with the network elements.

For instance, the platform allows an intelligent placement of media services ‘in-network’, closer to edge or access network nodes or intermediate metro-datacenter nodes bringing new advantages such as faster response, improved routing for the efficient exploitation of immersive media and virtual/augmented reality scenarios.

FLAME is focused on the FMI (Future Media Internet) emerging market, with the aim of offering a complete value proposition for the variety of stakeholders of this market, including foundation media services, technology, an experimentation environment and analytics.

The FMI ecosystem includes a huge variety of different stakeholders, from the content production, agile distribution to the consumption of digital services at any kind of user devices and gadgets. Thus FMI involves many roles and actors, such as the creative industries (media production, gaming, fashion, advertising, etc.), content processing and media distribution platforms, content aggregators and telecom operators. All these stakeholders can take advantage of the FLAME offerings. On the other hand, the FMI ecosystem is characterised by new trends, such as companies that play new roles (e.g., user device manufacturers that become content aggregators) and the arrival of new actors (e.g., web superplatforms that become media providers).

Indeed, new breakthroughs in the media content production and delivery field, as well as the widespread adoption of new forms of multimedia content (360 degree, immersive media, mixed reality, etc.) are rapidly changing the way the general public can consume media content. The collective experiences of people consuming and sharing multimedia content are closely interconnected through social networks. The way we watch and experience the performance of our favourite football teams, tennis players, Hollywood actors, pop-rock stars, public figures, and the actions of our societies’ heroes, is becoming more personal through interactive participative experiences, creating new potential markets and commercial opportunities.  

The weekly share of time spent watching TV and video on mobile devices has grown by 85% from 2010 to 2016. On fixed screens, consumption has decreased 14% over the same period [1]. Although the consumption of linear TV is still the preferred by the viewers, the behaviour depends strongly on the generation. This situation is impacting advertisers, who have traditionally sustained a large part of the media market. The rise of on-demand content is challenging the traditional advertising model, pushing advertisers to explore other avenues for promoting their products [2].

From the FMI market actors perspective, FLAME provides three key offerings: i) a real experimentation environment with the infrastructure of two cities (Barcelona and Bristol). The experimentation as a service (EaaS) capabilities is cornerstone in the FLAME proposition and we also target to replicate the underlying technological environment to other cities (the project has reserved certain funds for this objective to be assigned throughout an open-call EC mechanism). ii) Technology itself, the building blocks of the advanced media delivery platform, such as NFV-aware service orchestrator, as well as underlying SDN with innovations in routing and service end-point management, to enable improved media services. iii) Knowledge base & analytics, in line with the EaaS approach. This refers to management and process of experimentation data from various layers of the overall system. Such data and the derived knowledge is a crucial asset and therefore at the heart of the FLAME offering. An important goal is to allow service providers to test, optimise and learnt how to offer new media services and maximise Quality of Experience (QoE) of users.

Finally, we need to highlight that FLAME faces multiple challenges to develop its offerings inside this emerging FMI ecosystem. The most evident one is the trade-off between the integration and deployment of non-totally mature technologies and to operate such infrastructure and let external media service provider to access and test new services in the infrastructures. Keep tuned to our developments!

Post from Josep Martrat and Carlos Alberto Martin, Atos Spain

[1] Daniel Brackins, Matt Stanton, Jess Clifton, Alyssa Esker, Tobi Kulukjian, Adam Hirsch, Andrew Ryder, Joe Kingsbury, Phil Gomes, Edelman Digital’s 2017 Trends Report. Edelman Digital. 2017. 

[2] Deloitte Development LLC. 2017 Media and Entertainment Industry Outlook. 2016.