Digital TV Meets Portal Technology
April 24, 2006 Dan Burger
Voice Over IP got a lot of play at the COMMON conference last month in Minneapolis, but broadband networks are also factoring into the future of digital TV services, so all you future-thinkers should keep an eye on developments such as IP-TV.
In the current issue of the IBM WebSphere Technical Journal, you’ll find out how portal technology is bringing IP-TV to the desktop. Somewhere somebody is saying “Great! Just what the workplace needs is more distractions.” Well, not so fast. Let’s look at the potential for good in this.
Written by two IBM digital media pros, “Creating a Portal for IP-TV Using WebSphere Portal” is a glimpse of future possibilities, not because we all want to watch TV while at work, but because it opens new and exciting ways to create information centers. (And maybe somebody will want to watch commercial TV, too.)
Although the article was written for portal designers and developers, a Master’s degree in Geek is not necessary to take away some ideas that might fit right into your developing portal plans. And if you don’t get anything else out of this, you should check out the IP-TV portal demo.
But so as not to get caught up in the novelty of it all, remember that portals are the key to making IP-TV useful because it’s the portal that creates the interface for accessing a variety of products and technologies. For instance, a portal provides the connection point for business partners and customers to interact with your organization. A portal also provides access to applications, Web-based content, host and data systems, plus content management and workflow systems.
If you are looking for a few of the advantages offered by IP-TV, try these: the capability to package telephony, data, and video, the capability for two-way communication, which allows feedback from the viewer, and the capability for point-to-point distribution, which allows individual broadcasts to individual viewers.
According to the authors’ research, there are more than 50 software vendors providing IP-TV portal-like interfaces. And because of the expanding services proposed by telco operators, it follows that the independent software vendors will need to move their architecture to a Web portal infrastructure in order to ensure a single, convenient experience for their TV users.” It should come as no surprise that IBM has targeted those ISVs as potential WebSphere Portal customers.
Even though this article is a showcase for WebSphere Portal, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t dream this dream with the portal of your choice. And that portal could be accessing data from a System i as well as streaming video courtesy of IP-TV.