Author Archives: Basant Baruah

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Basant Baruah is our Senior Marketing Communications Executive who brings the best of both worlds: flair for content writing and skills in the technical aspects of content marketing. He has crafted content in both B2B and B2C domains. He loves a discussion on Technology, Marketing, and Football - in no particular order.
Airline Digital Transformation UX/UI

New Technologies Enhancing UX in Airlines Industry

UX design has been a critical aspect of aviation for a long time, from the creation of cockpit systems to the development of cabin design and passenger experience. With the introduction of more refined UI and new technologies like AI/AR, and Biometrics, airlines are continuously looking at ways to enhance UX in Aviation. These exciting new technological advancements in the aviation industry are being enabled by robust new user experiences.

From the past, airlines have already been making significant efforts in improving the passenger experience from varied seating choices to chef-designed meals. Aircrafts are now also able to access real-time data directly from the ground, improving situational awareness and increasing control capabilities. Mobile devices will also gain access to wider navigation information and improved passenger services, ensuring that users of their devices will better understand why they’re using it.

However, improving customer experience is a never ending process and even now passengers tend to report that they are left looking for more in terms of improved UX. In a world where customer is king, it falls on the aviation industry as a whole to tackle its UX challenges and find CX improvement areas. Only then it may be able to appeal to the next-generation of customers.

Some UX Challenges and CX Improvement Areas in the Aviation Industry

According to McKinsey, the overall traveler satisfaction level hasn’t seen any kind of decline post pandemic. In fact, many have found the travel experience to be better than it was before the pandemic.

Flight and hotel experiences comparison post pandemic

Source: McKinsey

But these surprising numbers in customer satisfaction are mostly derived from leisure travelers who maybe just feeling happy to be on the road again. There are still major UX challenges and improvement areas like flight cancellations, delays, rebooking hassle, compensation merry-go-round, loss of time and money among others.

These are just a few examples of the vast majority of UX challenges generally faced by customers while traveling via air. Some major challenges and improvement areas in customer experience journey are:

#1 Non-uniform travel experiences

Till now aviation companies were looking to continuously improve only the in-flight passenger experiences while somewhat disregarding the other touchpoints for passengers. But now there is a need to improve the customer journey in all aspects of their travel by working towards an omnichannel experience. This will provide a seamless end-to-end customer experience by airlines from booking tickets to arriving at their destination.

In our previous article, we have talked about designing a deeper, more intimate airport experience for travelers. It breaks down the whole flying experience to seven stages and provides valuable UX recommendations for each.

#2 Adequate pre and post flight information

The new generation of customers are driven by seamless smartphone experiences and seek for the same everywhere. A big step to achieve this is by providing important notifications via normal text or via app notification. Airlines are now expected to be able to provide pre- and post-flight information, timely updates and assistance to customers.

#3 Longer processing time

Earlier, the check-in experience was already a tedious task, now add new norms after the pandemic and you got a steep challenge to keep your wits end together. The new health check regulations have undeniably added more minutes to the long waiting time of passengers patiently waiting for their turn to check-in.

#4 Undeniable influence of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

While OTA websites drive most of the traffic, the actual purchase is generally made on the airlines’ own website/app. Still, when it comes to easy website navigation and other UI/UX features, airline websites lose the battle. Even in today’s time many travelers find booking a ticket very stressful and confusing from airlines’ own website.

#5 Increase in CX while maintaining operational costs

FSC or LCC carriers used to cater to very different class of passengers who were either driven by flight experience or price. As it is becoming a challenge for aircraft carriers to attract new set of passengers, they are looking for ways to attract both these set of customers without compromising much on customer experience.

In our article on digitalization effects on leisure and travel industries, we pitched a Right Price Model for airline business which tackles the important CX initiatives while maintaining operational costs.

How New Technologies are Boosting UX for Airlines [with examples]

One of the main enablers for improved UX is the emergence of newer technologies and their applications in aviation industry. These technologies are digitally transforming the aviation industry and paving the way for a customer centric airline industry.

Some of these technologies and their real life examples are listed below –

#1 Blockchain Technology

Using blockchain technology helps airlines to securely maintain user data and privacy across multiple touchpoints via a digital ledger. The technology can find its use in identity management & record keeping, cross integrations for seamless travel experience, building robust data security systems and airline maintenance.

Air France deployed blockchain technologies to create a COVID-19 test verification system via a mobile app during the pandemic. Singapore Airlines uses blockchain technology for their frequent flyer loyalty program using KrisPay. It also offers promotions to customers along with the program.

#2 Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR & VR)

AR and VR technology when used correctly can not only enhance the UX but also help in improving the customer experience of navigating through the airport or aircraft. The obvious uses of AR and VR technologies can be seen in airports. For e.g. AR/VR can show the passengers cabin experience on VR headsets, provide a digital tour guide, show fastest route through airport, etc.

The Gatwick airport uses AR to help passengers navigate the complex layout of the airport, and London City Airport has installed AR tech to help air traffic controllers with the vital job of keeping planes safe.

#3 Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI integrated with machine learning, and predictive analytics can help immensely in providing a connected and customized experience to the flyers. Further, AI also has the potential to ease out various operational processes of airlines like revenue management, managing ticket pricing, etc.

Shenzhen airport in China uses AI for AI airbridge allocation as well as for AI turnaround times. Air France implemented the specialized AI platform called Sky Breath that collects data from the flight, performs in-depth analytics, and helps identify fuel-saving opportunities and increase efficiency.

#4 Biometrics

Biometrics is not new to aviation. All the major and minor airports started implementing it since 9/11 to improve their security details. But over the years it has found use in improving passenger experience as well by improving the time and speed of check-in and other operations. In fact, use of facial recognition has been proposed for airports to cut down on flight delays by 80 percent.

Fraport in conjunction with Zwipe have agreed to trial their biometric solutions to boost security at Frankfurt airport. Miami International Airport and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started rolling out biometric technology with a few airlines back in 2019. MIA is now seeking a huge biometric push by 2023 that will serve multiple purposes.

#5 Internet of Things (IoT)

The airline industry is using IoT to build a integrated ecosystem combining the organizational functions to increase efficiencies and provide a seamless experience to their customers.

Virgin Airlines have implemented IoT in its Boeing 787. Every single element on the plane is attached to a wireless airplane network, providing real-time IoT data on elements like performance, maintenance, etc. EasyJet’s Mobile Host at London’s Gatwick Airport combines the traveler flight details with live data from the airport’s Google indoor maps. This allows the airline to deliver updated check-in reminders, gate updates, and even personalized directions.

#6 Mobile Solutions

Airlines are using the mobile platform to connect with their customers throughout the passenger journey starting from booking a flight to deplaning it. Airlines can send real time alerts and notification on and off the airport.

Almost all airline carriers nowadays send real-time flight notifications from post booking to deplaning. These include self check-in, flight delay notifications, feedback, etc.

#7 Hearable, wearable & Voice Technologies

These technologies have increasingly found various usage in aviation from internal communication between flight attendants, voice searches, voice bookings to voice check-ins. These are also used in conjunction with in-flight connectivity which provide a real opportunity to drive conversion, upsell items on flight.

#8 Advanced Data Analytics and Big Data

Aviation companies collect traces of customer data from each stage of their travel journey, be it planning, research, reservation, stay, or post-travel review of their experiences. They can use insights from this data and advance analytics to provide a high degree of personalization to the travel experience which in turn could help in building customer loyalty.

These technologies have the potential to revolutionize air travel as we know it. The airline industry is on the precipice of a breakthrough, and most of the credit goes to the wave of digital transformation across the industry with CX as center.

Technology in each step of airline customer journey

As you can see how much of a bigger role technology plays in designing the UX of travelers. Let us further break down the whole customer journey into 5 different stages and discuss how technology plays a vital role in each step.

1. Pre-booking – Airlines can offer a digital tour guide powered by a personalization engine to show destination highlights based on individual customer preferences. Airlines use data analytics telemetry based pattern identification to drive loyalty management programs and offer dynamic rewards while booking.

2. Booking and Check-in – Airline companies can use geolocation based service and marketing apps to offer transportation services, bot assisted agent or self service changes. Geolocation also allows display of local language and currency on website for familiarity and convenience while booking and payment.

3. Airport Experience – Use of IoT baggage tags providing real-time tracking, self-tagging and activation. Biometric enabled check-in and security check. A combination of AR/VR enabled mobile computing, AI, robotics, Big Friendly Data (BFD), Intuitive UX, and wearable technology to help users in self-service check-in to intimate boarding experiences.

4. In-flight experience – Taking help of big data and hearable, wearable & voice technologies to enhance in-flight experiences with traveler loyalty services, communications, and purchases.

5. Post-travel – Mobile solutions to assist in un-boarding and baggage claims. Also, sending customer satisfaction surveys post travel for better personalization in upcoming travel plans.

How Airlines are Ensuring a Highly Personalized Experience for Customers

Introduced in 2012 by IATA, the NDC airline standard is now helping airlines break away from over-reliance on GDS intermediaries. Airlines can now offer more differentiation, push new offers right away on their website, and provide high class personalization to their customers.

The NDC standard ensures each ticket seller stays up to date with each airlines’ newest offers and products. Other benefits of NDC includes:

i) Direct access to upgrades, exclusive packages, or limited-time offers even when customer is booking from a third-party.

ii) High personalization according to individual preferences across customer journey.

iii) Advance level of comparisons for all airline options, including their different services, products, promotions and of course, prices.

iv) Speed to market while distributing products widely across third-party agents or sites.

v) Same content across airline website and travel agent sites.

In short, NDC allows airlines to take control of their purchase and distribution when dealing with customers. This ensures a high level of customer experience from the airlines.

Possibilities for Airline Industry

As new technologies find ways to integrate themselves across various industries, customer expectations are growing higher and higher. Technology is now playing a major role in UX design for the whole airport and airline experience for customers. Today, what looks mind boggling due to technology may become standard norms in near future.

It is very important for the aviation industry to keep evolving with the growing trends in CX and UX. In times to come the airline travel experiences are set to become more personalized, valuable, and memorable for the flyers.

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Digital Transformation

How Digital Transformation is Enabling a Swift Strategic M&A in Automotive Industry

If anything history has taught us, it is the brave, innovative, believers, and risk-takers who emerge the strongest after a catastrophe. The pandemic brought such an unprecedented event to people, businesses, and industries in general.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought additional challenges to the automotive industry which deeply impacted manufacturing quantity and quality, supply chains, chip shortages, and already shrinking global demand for vehicles. The pandemic, economic downturn due to the Russia-Ukraine war, etc. has leveled the playing field for auto manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers or OEMs globally. The field is set for proactive players to leverage this opportunity to the fullest.

We are already witnessing an increase in M&A and disposal activities as companies are focusing on rapid strategy execution. Using M&A, companies are now capturing and accelerating new capabilities, improving delivery time, and even improving their position in the market.

Automotive mergers and acquisitions since 2021

Mergers & Acquisition activities in the news


Mergers and Acquisitions in automobile industry since 2019

Source: Crunchbase

Auto manufacturers and OEMs are now finding that sweet spot of incorporating technology not only into their production but in mergers and acquisitions as well.

Disruptions due to digital transformation in the automotive industry

There was a time when legacy organizations held steadfast to their age-old beliefs and showed great aversion to any kind of change including technology.

But as we witness day after day, digital transformation is simplifying the lives of millions worldwide, and legacy organizations have started taking note. They are now becoming the beacons of change and leading the digital transformation revolution across industries.

The automotive industry is a highly competitive industry that is now continuously evolving by rapidly digitizing its operations. Digital transformation positively influences the entire value chain and impacts all stakeholders alike – consumers, suppliers, dealerships, manufacturers, and financial institutions.

New customer experience trends are now driving the digital transformation in the automotive industry. Customers are now seeking connected vehicles that offer a personalized driving experience. This rise in demand has come at such a crucial juncture where automotive manufacturers are short on supplies and going into losses.

Automotive majors took this opportunity to become more technology-centric organizations by adopting various tools such as big data analytics, cloud computing, and body/road sensors. The influence of technology could also be seen in establishing an efficient supply chain management system and enhancing vehicle performance through remote diagnostics.

Current Trends and Key Challenges for OEMs facing an Uncertain Future due to Changes in the Industry

Original equipment manufacturers face several challenges in today’s automotive industry from supply chain disruptions to shortage of semiconductor chips and skilled labor. This is why we will see companies increasing M&A activities in near future to acquire the capabilities they need to produce existing products as well as develop future ones.

#1 Surge in demand for Electric Vehicles or EVs

Since the introduction and favorable government norms, there has been an exponential increase in demand for EVs.

Electric Vehicles market in 2030s


We are now witnessing various M&A related to EVs and autonomous vehicles (AV) between auto manufacturers, OEMs, and technology companies. It could well be a continuation of the trend from 2021 of SPAC mergers with early-stage automotive companies in the EV and AV space.

The increased demands for EVs mean key players will shift their R&D and production capacities to electrification, digital transformation deals (software, connectivity, customized chips), EV battery and fuel cell technologies, and charging infrastructure.

#2 Major disruptions from changed market behavior and expectations

The demand for new and costly features by customers with higher-tech means more pressure on OEMs to deliver quality in a shorter time frame. Adding to this, there are challenges with regulators rightfully demanding the strictest adherence to environmental and safety standards.

The impact of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric) megatrends also could be denied by OEMs to further increase the pressure on them. The disruption caused by these trends is restructuring the market with the future automotive industry likely to look substantially different from that of today.

Thus, OEMs are likely to enter into joint ventures sharing their R&D expenses and gaining access to scarce components such as semiconductors. Further, there will be alignment challenges with the governments to create the necessary charging infrastructure for EVs.

#3 Minimal differentiating factors

Earlier, manufacturers differentiated themselves on economies of scale, standardization, and product differentiation. Now with a seismic shift in the auto industry with advanced digital technologies, the differentiation factors have also changed.

Incorporating analytics, automation, and AI to improve efficiency across supply chain management to product development and customer relationship management is a must for almost any organization now. If businesses can’t keep up with the digital transformation, their businesses start bearing negative results.

In extreme cases, some traditional automotive suppliers must build exit strategies amid technological disruption across the sector. The financially and technologically weakest companies could be easy identifiers for turnarounds or restructuring by larger and technologically adept players.

#4 Change in organizational goals

The time is ripe for up-and-coming players in the auto industry to reconsider their vision for the future. They must now identify likely changing areas of profitability using scenario planning over the course of the next 10-15 years. Aligning your goals with changing times could prove to be vital as coming years declare a stark warning to those OEMs who are standing still.

Opportunities in Strategic M&A of Auto Manufacturers and OEMs

#1 New product line and business models

The first movers among the OEM and auto manufacturers are investing heavily in digital transformation to gain a competitive advantage. They are also competing with tech companies to enter into new businesses such as autonomous driving, connected services, etc. The strategic M&A with digital companies is also opening up new avenues for OEMs to establish communication channels with customers for selling vehicles, accessories, and services directly.

#2 Flexibility in choosing available strategic options

OEMs and their partners currently have three options to tackle the change and disruption in the industry – build, buy, or partner.

buy build partner for OEMs


Small to mid-size automotive companies continuing their own production are bearing double expenses. There are two primary reasons for this –
(i) Continue manufacturing their existing products with upgraded features
and (ii) Developing hybrid and electric vehicles autonomously

Despite the heavy cost, the main advantage of adopting a build strategy by OEMs is preserving the rights to the intellectual property associated with the capability or technology they have built.


Companies can supplement in-house development with strategic M&A that helps fill the gaps and get instant access to required technologies. However, the increased costs of these assets act as a barrier to this method for most.

Moreover, the pandemic and lack of resources have made sought-after assets such as electric powertrain or connected car assets highly desirable and relatively rare. Also, there is a scarcity of assets associated with future technologies with appropriate scale.

However, there is an influx of capital toward tech-enabled companies that use intangible assets to serve customers. These companies are using newer business models with revised goals and letting technology play a far greater role than ever. Investors are betting big on these tech-enabled companies to provide important CASE capabilities to incumbent players in the auto industry.


Various analysis of the auto industry indicates a continuity in partnerships between automotive businesses as joint ventures or strategic partnerships. The main objective behind these partnerships is to share the burden of product and capability development.

Recent years have shown various automakers and OEMs to get involved in next-generation technology-related partnerships. We can expect full mergers between an auto manufacturer and a technology partner to create larger companies with larger balance sheets and larger capital spending capabilities.

Whichever strategic direction a business may choose to go, they must regroup first and ask important questions to themselves about their long-term and short-term plans. They must be open and honest to themselves about what new capabilities they need to bring into their organization, what are the gaps, and which strategy among build/buy/partner will be beneficial for them to fulfill those gaps.

Impact of Digitization on M&A of Automotive Manufacturers and OEMs

Improved efficiency: As automotive manufacturers and OEMs are gearing up toward the next generation of mobility, they are increasingly leveraging digital transformation to improve development time to market, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Value addition for customers: While buying a company with an established working model, having a strong clientele base, talented workforce and technical know-how give automotive companies a head-start in achieving their business goals – acquiring digital assets enables them to not just accelerate but also add value to their existing operations which in return adds value to the customers.

New innovation and development: Automotive companies have also been looking at mergers and acquisitions as a way to innovate and develop new technologies for emerging mobility products such as e-vehicles, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, etc., which needs quick access to a talent pool with new capabilities.

Harmonious integrations: Digital transformation has opened up opportunities for automotive firms to integrate platforms from different industries that weren’t even previously considered part of vehicular services. For example – A car rental app can be integrated into an autonomous vehicle so that users can call upon them through voice commands on demand.

Digitization enables a quick M&A in the automotive industry

Some of the factors that play a role in the industry-wide changes could be found among the following:

  • Governments impose stringent emission norms for passenger cars due to environmental regulations. These strict norms reduce profitability for OEMs who relied on cheaper but environmentally harmful emission parts for vehicles. Now every manufacturer has to consider environmental friendliness while manufacturing parts
  • The economic downturn and the pandemic along with digital transformation have acted in conjunction to let smaller car manufacturers enter the market rather easily. The bigger players now not only have to reduce cost, increase profitability, and introduce digital, but also take care of competition from small players
  • The lack of resources and skilled labor has significantly increased product development costs. Companies are now in a conundrum to carve out non-profit making bodies and sell for capital while making sure they don’t look desperate to maintain their stock price

With all these factors pressing down on them, many auto manufacturers and OEMs are left wondering how they can survive the digital transformation in this sector.

Introducing digitization in any M&A significantly speeds up the process which proves to be beneficial for both parties involved.

A swift merger & acquisition between two parties can be done with the help of the right technology partner.

What is the importance of choosing the right digital partner?

Digital transformation brings a fundamental change to the companies by helping them embed required technologies across functions.

When done properly, digital transformation increases efficiency, develops greater business agility, and ultimately unlocks new values for employees, customers, and shareholders.

This is why it becomes critical for companies to seek help only from experts and specialists with a proven track record. The right technology partner can keep your company on track and guide you throughout the process of M&A.


Customer experience is becoming an important factor in driving digital transformation across the automotive industry. OEMs and dealers too must be in tune with the changing behavior of consumers or they risk falling behind.

Since it is not entirely a new thing, changing trends will call for more quick mergers between auto manufacturers and OEMs. Both parties should look for a quicker turnaround time for the merger. A swift action ensures profitability and scalability measures are taken as quickly as possible post-merger.

This trend will only gain more momentum as the introduction of electric vehicles is now bringing a whole new shift in the dynamics of the automotive industry. The future looks equally scary and exciting for auto manufacturers and OEMs depending on how brave and innovative they are and fast they can act and adapt.

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Media & Entertainment Technology

What has 5G in store for OTT services

It is an understatement that streaming services are dependent on broadband cellular networks.

The late 2000s saw the introduction of Web2.0 along with the first iPhone and analog TVs switching over to digital, and 3G on the rise. The combination of these phenomena pushed a sense of omnipresence for streaming media as people could watch whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and wherever they wanted. Then came 4G/LTE which made a big impact on consumers’ ability to reliably stream their favorite programs from almost anywhere. However, it too had its limitations with patchy reception, signal degradation, and loss of uplink capability in some unfavorable conditions.

5G brings a promise of bringing the cloud computing infrastructure vital to delivering stable, high-quality OTT services closer to end-users. It will achieve this with real-time processing and minimal latency. This could prove to be a huge boost for real-time data delivery and live streaming via OTT networks.

Active 5G-powered experiences: Live streaming to immersive virtual reality

The introduction of 5G does make it easier for network providers and streaming platforms to be able to handle a large amount of streaming demand efficiently. Almost 80% of US households are now CTV-plugged, while the OTT consumers are spending about 4 billion hours combined per week to watch content. The volume of video content consumption has drastically skyrocketed in the past few years and 5G is designed to support and maintain such an upward trend.

But the future of streaming is not only about handling streaming demands. It is about the new digital experiences that 5G makes possible. OTT providers and broadcasters now have the chance to offer their viewers a wide range of services from live sports in 4K and beyond to 360° videos, headcam footage, virtual reality, and other immersive experiences.

future of ott streaming services

CTV/OTT entertainment and advertising are the principal beneficiaries of 5G implementation.

5 ways how the advent of 5G technology will boost OTT adoption rate

Bridging OTT and broadcasting gaps: The 5G network made by local “macro” towers implanted at strategic locations will bring processing closer to the users. This will overcome the constraints of distant servers or the individual device’s computing power to deliver a perfect user experience.

The combination of cloud computing and the 5G network could prove to be the ideal setup for the delivery of real-time data and live streaming via OTT networks. In fact, Amazon Web Services and Verizon have already started exploring the possibility of live streaming NFL games using 5G, which is now installed in 25 NFL stadiums. This will only encourage current OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime – broadcasting NFL games and Premier League soccer matches, to move towards a seamless, real-time delivery of data. Thus consumers now have a choice to watch live events either on broadcasting TV or OTT platforms.

Decline of satellite broadcasting media demand: Any new variation of the network comes with a promise of enhanced performance, stability, and reliability; 5G is no different in this regard. Thus the arrival of 5G will encourage users to access content in a plethora of varying formats, genres, and types at their convenience. The 5G network allows users to enjoy HD and 4K video streaming seamlessly without disruptions. Therefore, there is a likelihood of OTT services rising in demand and satellite broadcasting media witnessing a decline.

Switchover to connected TV: One of the first things the new-age generation looks for while setting up their new home is connectivity across their devices. Smart TV or Connected TV proves to be the perfect device to have seamless connectivity and functionality for all their media needs. The fact that it has in-built internet and other integrated web features are why it proves to be the perfect conduit to stream digital content using the 5G network. Thus, the introduction of 5G will only increase the OTT platform subscriptions as more and more users switch over to smart TV.

Enhanced real-time advertising: The introduction of 5G brings good news to the advertisers as well. They can ensure real-time data movement with the help of 5G networks. This would enable the advertisers to serve targeted ads instantly and directly to the consumers by leveraging the popularity of OTT platforms. This would also enable advertisers to serve highly localized ads without incurring any extra charges for data storage or transmission. As a causality, this would benefit users as AVOD content on the OTT platforms would increase.

Collaborations and partnerships: OTT providers are already collaborating with telecom partners to ensure content streaming increases and retain customers. However, the customers often complain of quality issues over the 4G network whenever there is a content demand surge. The introduction of 5G would enable OTT services to collaborate with 5G providers and easily meet these demand surges.

Technology triggers to enhance customer’s OTT experience with the introduction of 5G

Content Delivery Network (CDN) Growth

The unprecedented growth in OTT was driven not just by the COVID-19 pandemic but also by the intersection of key technological and societal developments. The pandemic more or less acted as a catalyst to accelerate trends already on the rise, whether in terms of consumption, production, or distribution.

On the consumption side, the lack of public cinema made way for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ as popular alternatives with growing amounts of binge-watching. On the distribution side, continuous improvement in streaming quality over mobile networks especially, even with 4G, has encouraged OTT viewing on the move. Now, with the introduction of 5G, viewing OTT on the move is going to be even more encouraged.

Apart from the impact of mobile and 5G, the ongoing evolution of CDNs is proving to be one of the biggest factors involved in the advancement of OTT. CDNs combine connectivity with cached storage to optimize content delivery and minimize latency. According to Cisco, globally, Internet video traffic will be 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2022, up from 73% in 2017. Thus, it is increasing the growth of CDNs purely backed by the increase in video consumption. This is further solidified by a forecast report by Markets and Markets. According to this report, the CDN market size is expected to grow from USD 14.4 billion in 2020 to USD 27.9 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 14.1%.

At the same time, CDNs have diversified into different versions suited to specific requirements. The role of CDNs naturally varies between on-demand and live content. For the former, CDNs use caching closer to subscribers to minimize consumption of a wide area of bandwidth. CDNs increase scalability and improve the customer experience by storing cached copies of data at strategic locations and delivering smoother reduced start-up lag.

WebRTC-for content delivery

WebRTC or Web Real-time Transfer Control protocol is a streaming protocol for web communication allowing users to connect in real-time without connecting to an additional server. It is basically a peer-to-peer open source communication project first invented by Global IP Solutions (GIPS) in Sweden and later taken over by Google in 2011. Over time, WebRTC proved to be an efficient way of content distribution as well. With the advent of 5G, WebRTC supported devices will usher in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem which is a next-generation service ecosystem to handle communications processes such as telecommunications, broadcast media, intelligent building management systems, audiovisual processing and transmission systems, and network-based control and monitoring functions.

WebRTC working mechanism

WebRTC working mechanism

WebRTC theoretically works with a 4 step process to establish peer to peer communication – signaling, connecting, securing, and communication.

WebRTC gives a lot of value to OTT developers due to its extremely useful benefits. WebRTC has ultra-low/real-time latency which makes it perfect for live streaming, it is open source which allows developers to experiment, it is ultra-compatible with a large range of devices, it is secure, adaptive, and delivers a high-quality video output.

WebRTC will be the RTC platform of choice with the introduction of 5G and the expansion of OTT offerings. It makes every component of OTT available to anyone at ridiculous costs.

Challenges to 5G rollout

For several years 5G has been highly anticipated to be the next generation of mobile communications technology, but it is still at the early stage of network deployment and market development.

Some challenges may delay 5G rollout across the globe and hence a slower impact on the OTT industry than expected.

  • Possible high costs will lead to uncertainty over customers’ willingness to pay. According to a McKinsey survey, two-thirds of customers are unwilling to pay more than five euros per month for ten-times-higher speed. At the same time, 49 percent of customers expect consistently high speed, and 43 percent expect new applications and services.
  • Affecting industries reliant on wireless communication in the same bandwidth (e.g., airline industry). Read more about this issue here.
  • Installation of base antennas and technology ineptitude of the majority of countries. Since a majority of countries are still developing and barely have extra budgets allocated for faster adoption of newer technology, 5G rollout there is not possible in the near future.

What to expect in the future?

The rollout of 5G has already started with many successful events witnessed such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But we still need to wait for the full deployment of its connectivity before we understand its full potential. But whatever the case, this next-gen connectivity would most likely encourage viewers to stream more often, on the go, and go live. 5G will make it possible for video to be the primary method of digital content consumption. With its improved reliability, data streaming speed, and video delivery capabilities, we should all brace ourselves for this upcoming revolutionary digital solution called 5G network connectivity.

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Media & Entertainment Opinion

How OTT providers can shape engaging content experiences for the empowered consumer

Over-the-top (OTT) is a medium where customer is king and content rules. The pandemic served as a catalyst for greater OTT adoption, driving home this truth stronger than ever. OTT channels exploded, providing many hours of entertainment at home, and on any device. As the global pandemic took hold in 2020, 36% of consumers say it was a direct driver of them taking out a new OTT subscription.

Propelled by the widespread distribution enabled by OTT, companies are in a race, pursuing content in various ways – generating their own content or turning aggregators, working with small creative houses to produce short films, increasing localization of content, or crowdsourcing.

However, today, to develop a platform and enable OTT is only completing the first lap. The market is crowded with players, big and small, jostling for a toehold. Today’s empowered consumers crave engagement, which means, providers need to build targeted content that will reel in customers and keep them hooked over time. To be a marathoner, the OTT provider needs to be able to both engage and retain.

Building sustained customer experiences led by content

The empowered consumer is spoilt for choice – avoiding both app fatigue and subscription fatigue will be important. This approach is backed by a 2020 Deloitte survey of US consumers – their reason for choosing a particular brand of service seemed to indicate a preference for both a broad range of shows & movies, and content not available elsewhere.

Deloitte OTT streaming video subscribers survey

OTT providers can look to win the war for viewers through a number of ways including:

  • Top of the mind recall: optimizing AI-based tools and segmentation will be essential for targeted content consumption. For instance, huge success of Korean TV series “The Squid Games” has shot up the demand for similar drama TV series in local languages. Thus, enabling AI to push localized content to a wider audience and providing them with new content areas to explore.
  • The right positioning: carving out a unique selling point through a niche segment or a curated experience targeting a hobby or lifestyle preferences will be key. Discovery+ for its unscripted content targeting lifelong learners, Disney+ Hotstar for family entertainment and sports viewing, Netflix for premium or affluent audience, BritBox for British TV shows, Hayu for reality TV shows could be examples.
  • New content forms: as more physical events and activities move online – learning, exhibitions, business consulting etc. – podcasts, edutainment, gaming will augment the experience and bring it closer to reality.
  • Socially relevant content: With more consumers moving away from traditional platforms, content that integrates the social elements will be in demand.
  • Tough going for smaller companies: with their content limitations, they face reduced DAUs, flattening out of subscriptions, and reduced or stagnating advertisement revenues. One way out could be to form alliances to provide variety and choice to viewers or get acquired by larger players.
  • Loyalty/Gamification: It will play a role in keeping users engaged. In fact, Netflix has already started to offer exclusive gaming options varying from simple card games to theme based games based on popular TV series like “The Stranger Things” to their subscribed users.
  • E-commerce website for entertainment a no-no: over time, intake of users, consumption, revenues, ad revenue are bound to fall and wave of subscribers will flatten or taper.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): Protection of licenses and prevention of unauthorized distribution of their proprietary content are major concerns for OTT providers that can be addressed through investing in the right DRM solution.
  • Super Apps: Super Apps mostly need business collaborations and partnerships to offer various services. Thus, the rise is largely driven by large conglomerates and huge e-Commerce companies to have a sophisticated app addressing all the basic needs of a consumer. Amazon Prime Video launched Prime Video Channels in India in collaboration with 8 OTT partners to showcase premium content from them and make all content available inside the Prime Video App. These partners include Discovery+, Lionsgate Play, Docubay, Eros Now, MUBI, Hoichoi, Manorama Max, and Shorts TV.

Prime Video Channels super app

Irrespective of the specific genre or direction, the OTT provider chooses to follow, the mandate is clear – shape engaging content experiences for the consumer. The provider can’t become complacent but needs to be ready with a roadmap for retention as well. By investing in technology to build content, engage and elevate consumer experiences, they stand a better chance to gain the elusive competitive edge.

Enabling the X-factor with right experience

The instant global success of OTT as a medium, and is a turning point and milestone in the history of entertainment and broadcasting technologies. There is no other medium that allows a wider potential reach, yet puts the audience in charge. With digital re-shaping the way we interact with each other and how we entertain ourselves, the success of OTT is only the beginning for this medium. From training to gaming to keeping in touch with family, the potential is limited only by imagination.

CX/UX/Personalization: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence power up algorithms and predictive analytics to identify consumer behavior, viewing patterns, preferences etc. and tailor the user/customer experience down to the individual consumer. These technologies are already helping the biggest in the business, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, offer unique experiences through product or content recommendations that are most relevant to that individual.

Becoming more ‘immersive’ with 5G: As 5G becomes mainstream, increased bandwidth will support more immersive streaming services such as 4K video and Virtual Reality (VR). Newer applications supporting collaboration – beyond Web conferencing – will emerge as a result. By combining 5G with OTT services, the provider can ensure less buffering and faster streaming, and therefore, venture into 360°live streaming of events etc.

Online gaming: The increase in Smart TV viewing means that passive consumption needs to be supplemented by gamification engines, interactive live television, real-time polls and more – these can be implemented with the help of 5G that promises up to 10Gbps speed and faster response times. With near-zero lag, better connectivity and data speeds, the gaming experience can be truly enhanced.

Shared OTT experiences: consumers realized the importance of spending time with family/friends during the pandemic. This led to the success of events such as Netflix’s Teleparty and Amazon Prime’s Watch Party. Powered by high-speed internet technologies, such services – consumers staying apart, watch movies together on the same video chat, or stream simultaneously within their social networks – could soon become the norm.

Multi-device, multi-platform experience: Consumers can enjoy immersive experiences on different mobile platforms, switching between devices seamlessly – including iOS & Android mobile phones, iPad and Android tablet, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Roku or any Android-based smart TV.

Building a multiexperience OTT

Implementing analytics and monetization strategies

The current monetization models of OTT are nascent, and as young as the medium and technology itself. Still stemming from traditional broadcasting roots advertising and subscription have been the existing models of revenue.

Advertising monetization vs subscription monetization: both models have their unique advantages. The nature/format of the content and the kind of technology investment can be deciding factors in the model that the provider chooses eventually.

Learn more about OTT monetization models in detail

The advertising monetization model enables free content with ads to consumers across multiple platforms such as connected TV, desktop, and mobile ecosystems. Here, finding new users is easier as it has in-built technology to targeting opportunities using more accurate data on user preferences. Providers can leverage predictive and prescriptive analytics using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

In contrast, providers might choose the subscription model if they are looking to gain long-term value by delivering consistent quality content such as those in the business of entertainment, health, eLearning etc. Investing in the right technology will help them implement security and encryption integrations that are necessary for this model.
With new applications such as gaming, television commerce, learning, event streaming and personal video conferencing, successful experiments in revenue models will spell the next level in maturity for the OTT industry.

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Employee spotlight

Getting to know Sudhindra Bhat, Test Lead

At Robosoft, our mission is to Simplify Lives. Our talented team of product strategists, designers, software engineers work towards driving this mission.

In this interview-based series, we chat with our behind-the-scenes experts – to know more about their values and inspirations. We also try to understand what drives them to create digital solutions that touch the lives of millions and drive business results.

In this interview, let’s get to know Sudhindra Bhat, Test Lead. He has been with us for over a decade working on several projects in the financial services sector. Joining us as a Trainee Quality Control Engineer he has contributed to the success of several digital experiences over the years. In this conversation, Sudhindra talks about his journey with Robosoft, his inspiration, his advice for freshers, and more.

Q: Tell us briefly about yourself and your interests?

I am from Koteshwara, a small town in Kundapura taluk, Udupi district. My family had an agricultural background and our house was situated near the sea. This gave me immense pleasure to connect with nature and enjoy its beauty.

I believe that being simple, happy and healthy are great assets to have. I love to read magazines, explore testing tools & technologies and listen to fusion music. I also like to travel to lush green places and spend my time with family and friends. My day starts with yoga and the best part – it ends with playing with my 3.5 year-old daughter and listening to her stories.

Q: What was the trigger for you to join Robosoft? Tell us more about your role here.
During my engineering days, I heard about Robosoft for its quality of software development and technical skills. I joined as a Trainee Quality Control Engineer. The device driver project for HP on the Mac platform was my first project. I was blessed to have a supportive team and I started developing small scripts for software testing using Apple script and Shell script.

I worked as a backend developer for two years which gave me good insight into API design and development. My seniors guided me to learn and explore technologies by myself.

I have been working at Robosoft for the past 10 years in the BFSI segment. Robosoft, which evolved from a small city like Udupi, gives ample opportunity to learn emerging technologies and gain experience in various business domains. Today, Robosoft works with many global brands by providing Digital Strategy, Design, Development, and other services.

I worked on many challenging projects on Mac, Android, iOS and Windows phone in the BFSI segment. Along with manual testing, Robosoft gave me the opportunity to work on performance testing and automation using Selenium.

Q: What have been the key experiences of the recent quarantine phase?
Pandemic and lockdown taught us the need for an adaptive mind and the importance of human relationships. Many sectors suffered from job loss and uncertainties. At Robosoft work-from-home was implemented early and all our requirements were arranged.

During the initial phase of the lockdown, staying at home and balancing work and personal things was quite challenging. However, a disciplined way of scheduling time for professional and personal work helped me to balance things out. I had some challenges like frequent power cuts and poor internet connectivity and had to extend my work till late at night. Gradually, me and my family got adjusted and now everything is going smoothly. My daughter is surprised to know that a laptop can receive phone calls too – referring to the Skype calls which are now common. 😀

An advantage of the WFH scenario is that we can save time on travel. I took advantage of the situation and practiced Yoga. This helped me lose some weight and have an optimistic mindset during the lockdown. This also aided me to improve my professional productivity.

My advice to peers is that, as the familiar saying goes – change is the only constant and we need to adapt all the time. Give importance to both your professional and personal life – plan work at a granular level and keep a time limit for each task. Work honestly and happily for the day and end your day with the satisfaction of having justified your efforts. Last but not the least, as I mentioned earlier, the mantra of ‘Simple, Happy and Healthy’ always works!

Q: Your advice to students & freshers exploring opportunities in this field?
Today, technologies play a key role in our day-to-day lives. If you want to contribute and grow in this field, the only prerequisite is an attitude of perpetual learning. We need to stay curious about emerging technologies, trends and how they can be applied to make the common people’s lives better. Make use of online tutorials and practice regularly. Use apps from different domains and identify how they are helping end users to achieve their goals.

Concentrate on basic concepts and learn to find alternative workarounds if there are any technical constraints. Start with small snippets of code, then optimize and fine tune it. Build an architecture flexible enough to cascade and de-cascade other frameworks and plugins easily. Learn frontend or backend technology that you love. But remember specialization is important – don’t become the jack of all trades and master of none.

Q: In your view, what is the scope of this industry in the years to come?
As I am from a testing background, I see a tremendous amount of opportunity in the software testing industry. ‘Testing As A Service’ is in demand especially in the financial services segment -as all transactions should be safe, secure and error-free. Software testing is becoming more challenging with apps being integrated with many other services like payment gateways, real-time payment systems such as UPI in India and others.

We have a wide variety of testing opportunities like API testing, database testing, Big Data testing, performance testing, security testing, accessibility testing etc. Automation is common in this industry with tools such as Selenium, Appium, Rest Assured and a growing community of testers.

The performance of the application plays a major role in customer delight. No digital experience would be successful without good performance irrespective of an eye catching UI/UX. This opens up a broader avenue of business opportunity in the field of performance testing. Irrespective of the domain, security is a must and hence the security testing domain is rapidly growing and it requires technically skilled test engineers. Most of the testing tools are driven by programming languages like Java, Javascript, Python, Groovy etc.

As our lives are driven increasingly by apps, the field of software testing is an ocean of opportunities. I am very excited for its future and hope more software engineers choose this field to make a mark.

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Media & Entertainment

OTT Monetization: The Ultimate Guide to Select The Best Revenue Model

The OTT industry has observed a major increase in the number of OTT players in recent years. It resulted in the majority of them competing for the same set of customers with very little to separate each other. While content quality on offer is always going to be the ultimate decider, having convenient OTT monetization models for different sets of targeted customers is always a plus point.

OTT monetization mostly revolves around video-on-demand (VOD) models. Here users pay for a pre-recorded and uploaded or live stream content on an OTT platform.

The first quarter of 2021 has seen a 47% increase in OTT subscriptions in the US compared to the first quarter of 2020. The index is now at 1.03, which means the number of OTT subscriptions is more than the number of people in the United States. The American population will be approximately 330 million people in 2020, and the number of SVOD subscriptions is around 340 million. The global OTT market size was valued at $121.61 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $1,039.03 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 29.4% from 2020 to 2027.

Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime) became the largest OTT revenue source in 2016 by overtaking ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) services (i.e. Pluto TV). SVOD’s share of total revenue is expected to increase from 47% in 2017 to 53% in 2023 and AVOD will see a revenue share of 36%.

Modern content consumers are rapidly moving away from time, place and device dependent content sources like traditional cable or Linear television. There is still a tug of war going on between OTT and traditional TV in countries like India. But, over the years thanks to portable smart devices, SmartTVs and streaming players such as Roku or Chromecast, video content consumption has seen an uptake.

Content producers are finding innovative ways to include advertisements or monetize their content to generate revenue. In a path breaking event in the OTT monetization space, Transmit, a next generation streaming media ad platform, introduced OTT’s first fully automated ad break and content monetization for live sports and entertainment.

In this guide, let’s talk about OTT revenue models, OTT advertising benefits, when and why you should apply a certain OTT monetization model for your OTT platform.

What are OTT Revenue Models

There are thousands of OTT broadcasters currently serving their unique content or an aggregation of the most popular content to their customers. All the successful brands are using a multiexperience OTT platform with the right monetization model to generate revenue. But if we were to categorize these OTT revenue models, the number of ways thousands of OTT brands generate revenue comes down to single digits.

There are primarily 4 OTT monetization models available for professional broadcasters. These are:

i) Monetizing with Advertisements

The Ad-based Video on Demand or AVOD model generates revenue with ads. The content aggregator or the content search platform provides the content to users for free. But there is a catch as the content is served with ads to the users.

The broadcasters make money by charging a fee to advertisers in exchange for a place in the content platform to play commercials. The ads are generally played as video ads, sponsor screens, sponsored content and more. A recent survey by Deloitte shows 55% of the US residents use an ad-supported video streaming service.

US consumer subscription survey by Deloitte

Examples of AVOD businesses: Pluto TV, Tubi, Xumo, YouTube (non-premium).

ii) VOD Subscription based

Subscription-based Video on Demand or SVOD businesses charge a recurring fee weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly for full access to their video platform. The SVOD model was first made popular by Netflix and it still continues to dominate popular OTT businesses today.

Examples of SVOD businesses: Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO, YouTube Premium, Voot.

iii) Transactional based content

Transactional Video on Demand or TVOD is the most straightforward OTT revenue model of all. It works on a one time give and take system like buying or renting an item from a nearby shop. Customers buy or rent videos one at a time based on their needs. This OTT model is sometimes also known as pay per view (PPV) or pay per download (PPD).

Examples of TVOD businesses: iTunes, UFC, Sky Box Office, CinemaNow.

iv) Hybrid (SVOD+TVOD+AVOD)

Truth be told, a hybrid business model isn’t a single established business model. Many companies are putting their own spin to already established monetization models to come up with a hybrid model that works for them.

Some businesses like Disney+ are blending SVOD with TVOD as they are offering access to new films on a transactional basis apart from the subscription. Discovery+ categorized their customers on two levels to mix AVOD with SVOD. The lower fee subscribing customers are served their content with some ads, while higher fee subscribers get the same content with zero ads.

OTT Platforms that use VOD monetization

OTT vs VOD: What is the difference

There is one major difference between OTT and VOD. Apart from that the line gets blurrier the more you try to understand the difference.

OTT software solutions

Typically, OTT umbrella contains three types of content delivery platforms and content.
These are:

  • Streaming video on websites or apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, DAZN, Sky Sports, etc.
  • Internet-connected devices like TVs (smart TVs) or devices like the Amazon Fire TV stick, Google Chromecast, or the insanely popular Roku streaming device.
  • Watching live TV using internet streaming: Popular examples are DirecTV, Sling TV, Hotstar (in India), and the list goes on.

On the contrary, VOD is restricted to content that is not live streamed and can be consumed at any place, any time.

In simple terms, OTT describes “how the content is delivered” while VOD describes “how the content is consumed”.

What are different types of VOD

VOD or Video On Demand enables people to watch their desired videos – anytime, anywhere, and on any video playing device.

Video on demand (VOD) is a promising technology with top-notch and lucrative opportunities in the new cord-cutting status quo. By 2023, Cisco System predicts the number of internet-connected devices to be more than triple of the global population.

OTT has fundamentally changed the content production and distribution approaches when it comes to video consumption. Streaming Media reports that video-on-demand viewing time has grown up to 155% year-over-year, comprising 17 minutes per session on average.

This rapid rise in demand for video content provides endless opportunities to OTT brands to generate revenue using different advertising and subscription models.

Let’s talk about these OTT business models in detail.


AVOD is one of the common OTT platform revenue models, where you offer free content to your audience. AVOD businesses generate revenue with ads inserted into the video to monetize it. These can be commercials, pop-ups, or any other type of sponsored content.

Under AVOD, you may choose to run ads at the beginning (pre-roll), in between video plays (mid-roll), or at the end of the video (post-rolls).

Advantages of AVOD monetization model

  • AVOD enables businesses to serve free content with ads to their customers across several inventory platforms such as connected TV, desktop, and mobile ecosystems.
  • The biggest advantage of AVOD is the possibility of finding new viewers without much effort. With little or no barrier to entry, viewers can get hooked on your content without hitting any hurdles. If you serve a niche demographic or interest group, you may be able to charge higher rates from advertisers enabling you to offer discounted prices to your customers.
  • AVOD provides very refined targeting opportunities with more precise data about audience interests than mere age and geo data.

Advantages of AVOD monetization

AVOD isn’t as popular among premium content owners and streaming giants mainly because this model generates less revenue compared to SVOD. You may need to gain a substantial audience before you turn a profit.

When is the AVOD monetization model suitable?

If you are serving generic content, how-to and comedy videos, you may use AVOD platforms. These content types usually generate huge viewership, especially the younger audience who are less likely to subscribe or remain loyal to regular entertainment sources. The AVOD model also required you to choose the right ad network to maximize revenue benefits.


As mentioned earlier, subscription based video on demand model allows watching as-free video content available on the platform at a flat rate, with a monthly or annual subscription.

With easy-to-unsubscribe policies, SVOD is one of the most lucrative revenue models and makes up the largest segment of the OTT industry.

Advantages of SVOD monetization model

  • The SVOD model used by Netflix is extremely popular and hence familiar among households. In fact, a 2019 report finds up to 75% of US households have a SVOD subscription.
  • It’s a very efficient model that creates steady income from every customer. SVOD is also associated with high revenue. Because consumers can pay an affordable fee to access the entire content library, many prefer these platforms.
  • It provides multiple subscription options to the user to pay weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually at their convenience.

Advantages of SVOD monetization

The SVOD model has a higher entry barrier as big players like Netflix, HBO, Apple TV, Hulu, etc. cover almost 3/4th of the consumer market. This makes it hard to find new customers and harder to retain them. Any change in content, price or the economy causes people to end their subscriptions or switch to another OTT provider. Also, the cost of producing quality content compels businesses to set higher subscription pricing to enable bigger profit margins.

When is the SVOD monetization model suitable?

The SVOD model is perfect for businesses seeking a long-term value by serving constant quality content in the form of movies, TV shows, originals, etc. It is primarily the right choice for businesses focusing on entertainment, health, fitness, eLearning, and other content.

SVOD OTT streaming solutions require extra effort and resources to correctly position your platform in the right target audience. Also, there is the small matter of adopting the best security and encryption integrations to meet the user’s needs.


TVOD or Transactional Video On Demand is a rental-based VOD monetization business model where the user rents the content or has access to the service for a short period of time by paying a fee.

TVOD is also sometimes known as pay-per-view (PPV) or pay-per-download (PPD). The model usually involves Download-to-own (DTO) or Electronic sell-through (EST) systems. Another option is renting videos for particular periods.

Advantages of TVOD monetization model

  • TVOD is a straightforward and simple model great for serving one-off video content. The power of choice given to consumers lets the businesses charge or offer discounts on the content piece accordingly. Consumers are more willing to pay for high quality content they intend to watch.
  • The most attractive reason why TVOD is a great choice is its immediacy. Consumers get access to desired content by renting or buying even sooner than after the general release of specific media content.
  • TVOD services enable businesses to retain customers with seasonal content. This strategy suits tutorials, lessons, sports, or other seasonal events. Sky Sports Box Office is a good example of TVOD platforms.

Advantages of TVOD monetization

Two of the biggest problems in the TVOD monetization model is getting consistent revenue and gaining consumer confidence. More people are becoming comfortable using services consistently than earlier. Plus having to pay for each additional program can be a frustrating experience.

When is the TVOD monetization model suitable?

Most TVOD businesses work with exclusive content deals and close release windows to drive customers for purchases. TVOD also works best for live streaming services like entertainment events and sports events that are seasonal. The best way to use a TVOD model is to combine it with another VOD monetization strategy for a consistent revenue stream.


Premium video on demand or PVOD is more like a special case of TVOD where the user can pay to get access to content sooner than other SVOD or TVOD customers would! For example, premium movies are released on PVOD first and then the subscribers get access via SVOD or TVOD.

Disney’s Mulan was a prime example of a PVOD release. It got its first release as a PVOD as it had to skip the theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hybrid VOD

Many OTT platforms are now adopting a hybrid approach when it comes to monetizing their content. AVOD, SVOD, and TVOD hybrid models are a proven approach to profitable advertising in the CTV and OTT ecosystem.

Hybrid VOD monetization model could prove to be the best option in a highly competitive OTT landscape. It offers the best of both worlds to the consumers from TVOD, AVOD, and SVOD. Usually, one of these revenue models is selected as primary, and the others are used for exclusive deals.

Advantages of Hybrid VOD monetization

Advantages of Hybrid VOD monetization model

The one big advantage Hybrid VOD has over other VOD models is that it provides the best of each monetization model. It also provides flexibility as you can combine selected benefits from each model to create your own hybrid monetization model.

A wisely combined hybrid model can suit nearly any OTT business.

When is the Hybrid VOD monetization model suitable?

Hybrid VOD monetization model works best for businesses who are targeting a vast set of audiences. The second important thing is for your platform to have a vast library of content to cater to each audience type. Therefore, by leveraging the different monetization models, you can meet the needs of various users.

What is OTT Advertising and its benefits

OTT advertising is serving personalized content to different viewers’ devices while they watch the same TV show or movies. Personalized user experience based on AI-powered recommendation engines is one of the most important key factors in designing a successful OTT app. Thus, we can say, OTT advertising is a targeted ad delivery on Internet-CTV sets enabled by programmatic OTT technology.

Due to the widespread adoption of OTT platforms, advertisers can now expand their audience reach that was previously available only on traditional TV. Many consumers in the US are now ‘cutting the cord’ but a report from the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) says advertising is still essential to the ecosystem.

5 benefits of OTT advertising

OTT advertising is a win-win situation for everybody involved in it. Advertisers love it as they get access to behavioral and personal choice data of consumers they didn’t have access to earlier. Also, they love it for the massive revenue and brand potential such targeted ads can garner. Consumers love it because they get far better options in OTT in terms of content and convenience over regular TV.

Recent advancements in OTT technology made it possible to bring alive both the product and in-store experience of retail brands onto the OTT device. Gree, the world’s largest air conditioner maker, sold 44 million USD worth of merchandise on Kuaishou, China’s leading short-video and live-streaming social platform.

In addition to this OTT advertising also offers:

#1 Sticky ads: If you are an advertiser, you would love a sticky ad where the user can’t fast forward or skip the ad. OTT platforms provide a visible 90 seconds or 2 minutes countdown window to the advertisers to display their ad content. Since the consumers are invested in the OTT content, they let the whole ad play out while resuming the video content afterwards.

#2 Advanced targeting: The OTT registration details of the user cover all the basic demographic data for the advertisers. And after a while, OTT platforms can provide a heap of data about the kind of content a user watches and his behavior. Advertisers can target people based on their unique viewing habits thanks to a comprehensive portrait rendered in numbers.

#3 Advanced reach: OTT advertising provides a unique opportunity to reach the ever-elusive group of ‘cord-cutters’ and ‘cord-nevers’. Broadly speaking, OTT platforms are a boon to advertisers who could formerly only hope to make contact with a blanket TV ad strategy. With the advance reach and advanced targeting capabilities, sky’s the limit.

#4 Advanced attribution: Gone are the days of hoping and wondering for advertisers. OTT advertising can provide attribution in a way that broadcast and linear TV never could. OTT advertisers can now use pixel-based tracking from multiple devices to determine website or product page visits by a potential customer. You can also gauge the time spent on the website, any other clicks made, etc. to gather more actionable data.

#5 First look rights: OTT platforms have the option to provide first look rights to an advertiser. This allows an advertiser to circumvent the targeting restrictions that inherently come with programmatic ad buying and brings several advantages. Now not only do the advertisers get access to top quality content, they can also strategically distribute ads to particular platforms and publishers. This way advertisers don’t have to see a large portion of an advertising campaign go to a single outlet in order to complete an impression campaign.

Which type of VOD is faring well in the current OTT market

SVOD and AVOD are the two most common OTT subscription models found currently with their own place on the market. Advertising is the prevalent revenue model. However, that is going to change as of 2021, 54% of OTT brands plan to change their business models to appeal to a wider range of viewers, with an additional 22 % considering it. Two-thirds of OTT brands are now transitioning to a hybrid monetization approach.

Thus, the best model any publisher can go for is the Hybrid VOD monetization model. It brings the best of both SVOD & AVOD and more.

AVOD expenditure for TV episodes and movies will climb by 144% between 2020 and 2026 to reach $66 billion across 138 countries. AVOD has the highest revenue share of the OTT market of all monetization models. But this revenue fluctuates from season to season and proves to be worse for overall user experience. However, the

AVOD monetization model has a lower barrier of entry and is easier to set up and isn’t dependent on audience size like SVOD.

The SVOD monetization model is excellent for those publishers who are looking for consistent revenue streams. If you have exclusive and premium content for users who are willing to pay for that content, then it becomes a win-win for all parties involved. However, SVOD has a very high entry barrier and is more challenging to set up. It might deter many who’d rather watch free content.

Read about the recent OTT trends and opportunities for current and new brands

Overall, publishers should test all the methods available and see what works for them since the better choice greatly depends on your content type and audience.

Best practices for OTT subscription billing

A good OTT subscription billing experience must deliver:

Time-to-market speed: OTT billing can also work as a medium for content promotion. However, publishers must create, test, and refine promotions rapidly without much IT intervention every time. This accelerates and improves the customer acquisition process.

Dynamic retention: OTT platforms have the leeway to manage entitlements of the customers to keep them connected to the content even in the event of temporary issues. This works well for a superior user experience rather than reducing retention from rigid entitlements.

Support for multiple currencies, languages, and payment options: Consumers love personalization. And what more they would love than seeing their language being used for transactions for their preferred payment method.

Scale and reliability: If you provide quality content and gain a large user base, you must always be prepared to handle large demands with quick turnarounds. A slow or difficult initial transaction drives customers away.

Robust finance, tax, and anti-fraud support: Consumers trust their credit and debit card details with you to provide them a seamless experience. Hence it becomes paramount that your billing solution should proactively screen for fraud along with providing a defined revenue and tax format.

Intelligence for continuous improvement: Have a proactive billing team who are always on the lookout for updated best practices for billing. This way you can benchmark yourself against other OTT providers and stay on top.

How OTT providers are implementing hybrid VOD monetization model

The first step towards implementing a hybrid monetization model is to identify the VOD monetization models that you want to combine. The next step is to identify your primary VOD monetization model and strategize how you are going to introduce the remaining models.

The final step, of course, is to build a multi-device, multi-platform OTT streaming solution that captivates your audience.

Some businesses like Disney+ are blending SVOD with TVOD. Disney+ costs about $X/month, but offers TVOD access to new films like Mulan. Another prominent example, Hulu blends AVOD and SVOD. Low-level subscribers pay a small fee to watch their programs with ad interruptions. High-level subscribers pay more, but get to watch with 0 ads. In this hybrid model, you can make some portion of the content library free-to-view with ads inserted, and lock the rest of the library for paying subscribers.

Discovery plus OTT platform

Looking at Hulu or Apple TV, for instance, both services offer a subscription (SVOD) model. However, you can watch videos with ads for free on Hulu, as an AVOD model. As for Apple TV, the service gives you an alternative to buy or rent movies and shows (TVOD).

Read: How to design an experience-based subscription model for your business

What are other content monetization opportunities available

Apart from the traditional OTT monetization models discussed earlier, content providers can find their own way of monetizing their content. Let’s discuss some of these opportunities below:

Live stream content pre-order

Content providers can put up live stream content for pre-order as soon as the feed is available at their end. This takes care of your marketing, audio & video monetization, and other crucial aspects in one go.

World renowned musician Kanye West hosted a listening event at a stadium in Atlanta for his much awaited music album, Donda. The event was attended by 42,000 fans who paid between $25-$100 per ticket. Not only that, the listening party was live streamed by Apple Music and watched by 3.3 million viewers – a record breaking number. Another such listening party for an updated version of the album recorded a whopping 5.4 million views and $4M in ticket sales. To top it off, the event recorded $7M in merchandise sales at the venue alone.

Crowdfunding & Donation

Some content becomes an instant hit among the people and they just keep coming asking for more. An independent movie or a short TV show, or a short video, it can be anything. You can use the popularity for your benefit by letting your end consumers donate for the next production budget.

Theater and OTT collaboration

Theaters were one of the worst affected businesses in the media industry during the pandemic. But this misfortune created a new opportunity for both theater and OTT players. Towards the end of the pandemic, a group of theater owners have begun to form a consortium and digitally broadcast content in theaters. Thereby theaters have now become experiential spaces for OTT consumption.

Content aggregation

Many up and coming OTT players like Aha TV, Hoichoi use content aggregation to provide off the shelf OTT content to their subscribers. They prepare a combined EPG for all channels and make revenue off the subscriptions for content that is not their own.

End-user wallet

Create a digital wallet for your end users where they can store credit points based on purchases. These users can buy, store, manage and spend their store credits to watch their favorite content anytime they want.

Restricted subscription access

Get restriction access certificates for certain geographically restricted globally popular content. Once you get them, you can allow the streaming of such content for an excess charge in the restricted geographies.

Content creation processes

It is not only the final product that earns money in OTT services. There are multiple monetization opportunities in content creation, content transformation (people use different cameras, aspect ratios etc. during shooting. They need to be synergized into a common format), content processing (adding subtitles, language overlay), content storage and retrieval.

What is new in OTT?

OTT primarily refers to sending content over-the-top or over the internet. OTT monetization models primarily refer to videos (SVOD, AVOD, TVOD). But increasingly there are new content formats gaining much prominence such as text and audio OTT.

Text OTT or OTT messaging refers to the phenomenon where OTT apps use the internet as a method to connect phone calls and send MMS and SMS messages. For example, iMessage, WhatsApp, and others allow users to send messages whenever the device is connected to the internet.

Audio OTT platforms deliver content over the internet to the consumer by procuring content from publishers/music labels/other distributors. The content is usually accessed through an independently hosted application. For example, Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes, internet radio stations and podcasts.

Monetization of all these current content formats can be coined under new terms – SCOD, ACOD, TCOD – where C stands for Content.


As we are seeing a huge tectonic shift in consumption habits of global consumers, it presents an opportunity to every OTT provider, irrespective of their budget, size and industry. SVOD, AVOD, TVOD monetization models will likely continue changing and

weaving, so we can expect more new approaches to the rapidly developing OTT and CTV market.

The OTT market is inclusive of all publishers as long as they have a sufficient budget. Even if you are a small publisher, you should have no trouble getting a few advertising deals (e.g., with SpotX or Google ADX) to start monetizing and building your revenue stream. The only real hurdle to entering the market will be whether you have a large enough team to handle your development needs.

As the saying goes, a long journey begins with a small step; content providers must start with one monetization model that meets business needs and then gradually integrate other models. It enables you to keep a check on important things like customer experience and opens up multiple lucrative opportunities for audience engagement.

So many businesses have put their own unique spin on the OTT industry. We’re excited to see what combinations are dreamed up next.

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Employee spotlight

Getting to know Suhas Narasimha Shetty, Technical Leader

At Robosoft, our mission is to Simplify Lives. Our talented team of product strategists, designers, software engineers work towards driving this mission.

In this interview-based series, we chat with our behind-the-scenes experts – to know more about their values and inspirations. We also try to understand what drives them to create digital solutions that touch the lives of millions and drive business results.

In this interview, let’s get to know Suhas Narasimha Shetty, Technical Leader. Suhas joined our team as a fresher in 2014. In the past 7 years, he has worked on multiple cutting-edge projects and technologies for our global clients across domains. In this conversation, Suhas talks about his journey with Robosoft, his inspiration, his advice for freshers, and more.

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you do, your hobbies, and more?

Born and brought up in Mangalore, I am a true-blue Mangalorean. I love everything about it – its amazing beaches, rich culture, and delicious cuisines. As a person, I believe in being curious. I am a keen learner of everything related to technology – be it the latest trends, emerging technologies, or a new coding language or framework. Besides technology, I am also interested in the world of automobiles.

I am a sports buff and ardently follow MotoGP and Football. Music is my get-away after a hectic day of work. I like listening to different genres of music. My favorites are – Rock, Blues, and Jazz.

Q: What inspired you to choose Robosoft Technologies & what is it that inspires you?

I studied engineering in Computer Science from P.A. College of Engineering, Mangalore. Robosoft was one of the companies all of us aspired to join. The ‘Robosoft Interview’ was considered to be one of the toughest ones to crack. Very few students were able to pass that interview, only the ones with really strong basics were able to do it. Students who were able to get through the interview were considered to be among the most intelligent ones. It was a dream come true when I joined the league of students who got through the Robosoft interview and got an opportunity to join a team of truly talented engineers and amazing teammates.

At Robosoft, every day I learn something new. Every day we are solving technical challenges for global brands across domains. From the day I have joined till today, I have worked on multiple cutting-edge projects and that has helped me grow as an engineer. The opportunity to learn here is immense and this is what keeps me inspired.

Q: How has the work from home phase been? What is it like to manage home and work responsibilities and your advice to peers alike?

Robosoft was among the few companies that took appropriate measures and gave us WFH at the very beginning of the pandemic. The company kept employee well-being and safety as a priority and continues to do so, as almost all of us are still working from home. I am extremely proud to be a part of such an organization. Robosoft’s HQ is in Udupi and before the pandemic, I used to travel from Mangalore every day. With WFH, I was able to save travel time, which helped me in increasing my productivity. I could also spend more time with my family. The client that I am working with is in a different time zone. WFH allowed me the flexibility to manage my work according to the client’s time zone and hence build a better relationship with them.

WFH has its perks, but I miss the in-person interactions with my friends and colleagues. I have made some amazing friends at Robosoft and I certainly miss meeting them.

WFH can be a boon or a bane depending on how you manage. We know when to start and stop working when we are at the office. At home, if we do not follow a schedule of logging in and logging out of work, it can take a toll on our health. Initially, I did the mistake of not having a schedule and that affected my health. It is important to set the objectives for the day, finish them on time and do something that helps you rejuvenate. Yes, we might have to stretch once in a while, but if you manage a proper routine most of the days you will be able to cope up with stressful situations better.

Q: Your advice to students & freshers exploring opportunities in this field?

These days freshers are worried about the best technology or platform that they should choose to sustain in this industry. The truth is, you will not be able to sustain yourself if you rely on learning one or two most trending technologies or frameworks. The tech world is ever-evolving and it is important to keep pace. That said, there is no alternative to having a strong understanding of the core concepts of software engineering or programming. If your basic concepts are strong, you will be able to learn and excel in any new technology. Another important thing will be to have the flexibility and the mindset to experiment and explore a variety of technologies. This will help you stay relevant to the industry.

Q: In your view, what is the scope of this industry in the years to come?

The tech industry is always evolving, there is so much to explore. In my opinion, we are yet to witness the full potential of emerging technologies. The scope of the industry we are in is huge, and we will see groundbreaking inventions in the future. The pre-requisite to be a software engineer keeps upgrading every year. Companies are now focusing on training talent and upgrading their technical skills so that they are future-ready. Upskilling employees has become a crucial aspect for organizations like ours to partner with a wide variety of customers in their digital transformation journey.

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Employee spotlight

Getting to know Vidyalaxmi V. Shenoy M, Senior Software Engineer

At Robosoft, our mission is to Simplify Lives. Our talented team of product strategists, designers, software engineers work towards driving this mission.

In this interview-based series, we chat with our behind the scenes experts – to know more about their values and inspirations. We also try to understand what drives them to create digital solutions that touch the lives of millions and drive business results.

Today, let us get to know Vidyalaxmi V. Shenoy M. – Senior Software Engineer at Robosoft. Vidyalaxmi joined Robosoft right after her college in 2013 and has been an integral part of our family for over 7.5 years now. She joined us as a Trainee Engineer after her campus placement. Over the next 7 years she not only grew her career but also helped Robosoft create many delightful digital experiences for its clients.

Vidyalaxmi V Shenoy M Robosoft Technologies

Let’s learn more about Vidyalaxmi from our conversations below.

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you do, your hobbies and more?

I was born and brought up in Mangalore. My dad loved traveling and he would take us on spontaneous road trips when I was younger. I guess that’s how I got my love for traveling. I like to explore new places and try the local cuisines and wish to be a travel and food blogger someday.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know all about my love for exploring new places and restaurants. Apart from that, I’m interested in sports like throw ball, basketball, and badminton. I have also participated in state-level basketball matches during my school days.

Q: What inspired you to choose Robosoft Technologies & what is it that inspires you?

I got into Robosoft through my campus interview. I was one of the 2 selected candidates among 100s of others who sat for the placement in Robosoft. I heard a lot of positive things about Robosoft and was excited to join as it was close to my hometown. This decision helped me stay close to my parents as I didn’t have to leave my city.

As a trainee engineer at Robosoft who was passionate about coding, I got a lot of support from my seniors, mentors, and my managers. They helped me improve my coding standards and master the art of coding to some extent. I know we cannot master coding completely as it is a never-ending journey of learning new things every day, which keeps me inspired.

Robosoft has helped in my professional growth by providing me with a variety of opportunities. iOS development is my main forte. I also got to explore and learn Kotlin for Android development and React Native. Currently, I’m working on a macOS project but my newfound love is programming in Python and am fascinated to learn about AI and ML.

Q: How has the work from home phase been? What is it like to manage home and work responsibilities and your advice to peers alike?

I developed a passion for cooking in the WFH phase and love trying out new recipes with my husband. Apart from that, I have also started taking some time out to exercise daily and adapted a lifestyle of healthy and clean eating.

Apart from some initial readjustment period, I didn’t face many challenges working from home. Although, I miss face to face interactions with the team members daily. I can consider myself lucky to have got a wonderful and supportive team. We plan our tasks very well and communicate everything in a clear and concise manner.

My advice to peers would be to keep oneself calm and dedicated in these unprecedented times. Remaining connected in this isolation has been possible through the virtual world. Stay connected with your team and avoid unnecessary distractions during work. Social media is a big distraction. For some unknown reason, we tend to check it every 10 minutes to see if we’re not missing out on something. This absolutely kills your productivity.

Also, dedicate some time to yourself. Do something that helps you calm your mind like meditation, yoga, or exercising. Understand and appreciate the role we play as individuals and as a team, and work towards a common goal. This is the mantra to move all the spokes of the wheel in seamless coordination.

Q: Your advice to students & freshers exploring opportunities in this field?

“The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying.”

This is true especially in the tech world where things change at a rapid pace. Always stay hungry for knowledge and be open to new ideas and opportunities. Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.

You can try your hands on as many technologies as you wish, but make sure to master at least one technology. Be passionate about what you do and stay up to date with the latest and trending topics in your field of work.

Be open to inputs and suggestions from people around you, be it your mentor, senior, or even a peer. Pick the right tools and never hesitate to play around and find out what’s working best for you.

Q: In your view, what is the scope of this industry in the years to come?

The most alluring part of the IT field is that it is limitless. One can keep innovating in a sector that is expanding by a quantum fold.

Digitization has given a big boost to the IT industry and changed the way customers view businesses. Almost every kind of business is backed by IT. Creating digital solutions using emerging technologies like AI, Machine learning will be the main catalyst to create a smarter world and will lead the way in the future.

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Blockchain Healthcare

How blockchain technology is transforming the healthcare industry

In 2017, there was a nationwide crackdown in the U.S. on healthcare fraud, in which around 412 healthcare professionals were arrested for doing fraudulent transactions worth $1.3 billion. According to a global study conducted by IBM and Ponemon Institute, in 2017, the healthcare industry was a major sufferer of such incidents, with the highest toll in terms of the cost of breaches, the cost of breaches in healthcare was 2.5 times the global average when compared to other industries.

These issues have brought the entire world face to face with the glaring need of a secure healthcare infrastructure. While the healthcare industry has made advancements in areas pertaining to research, diagnosis and even efficient cure, it is at the back seat when it comes to creating a secure, unified healthcare system.

Challenges of the healthcare sector that blockchain technology can address of the current challenges that healthcare industry faces are:

  • Prevalent conventional Data collection, lack of a secured infrastructure which can allow a fast interoperability of transactions between various data points
  • Accessibility to PHI (protected health information) sets limit progress in research.
  • Data privacy and Data security

Let’s dig deeper. One of the major setbacks that the healthcare industry faces is the scattered patient data across channels, departments and systems. This prevents from crucial data to be accessible when needed. With multiple players and abrupt processes current healthcare system isn’t unified. Moreover, data security breaches also bring to light the inadequacy of the system in handling the exchange of information securely.

All of this is preventing healthcare organizations from delivering appropriate patient care and high-quality services. Let’s look at some statistics :

  • Nearly half of clinical trials in the US are unreported
  • Up to 40% of healthcare provider data records are filled up with errors or misleading information
  • Healthcare data breaches in organizations are estimated to cost around $380 per record in the current times. 2.5 times the global average when compared to other industries.

Outdated systems for keeping patient records is a major issue. These systems hold local records of the patient data at multiple touch points. This scattered availability of abrupt data can make the diagnosis difficult and time-consuming for the doctors, and tedious for patients. A lot of new-age technologies are helping the industry in dealing with and minimizing these challenges and blockchain is one of the promising ones amongst them.

As stated by BCG, healthcare experts are looking to blockchain as a possible solution for some of these critical issues that the healthcare industry in facing. They predict :

  • Blockchain can pave way for powerful new capabilities and a potentially massive disruption of current approaches to services, care, and accountability.
  • Blockchain has the potential to speed up and improve R&D, care delivery, and care management, and to reduce costs.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology, is a distributed ledger based system where the information is stored in a distributed ledgers and can be accessed with a key, which makes the data immutable. The cryptographic and multi-participant validation system of blockchain makes it one of the technologies that various industries look forward to in terms of data security.

While the major use cases of blockchain technology has been talked about in the financial services other industries are also exploring the possibility of deploying blockchain to increase efficiency and security, and healthcare could soon be reaping the benefits of this technology in full scale.

The three basic principles on which blockchain technology is based on can help in overcoming the above-mentioned challenges. These three principles are:

Private key cryptography — Use of a secure and private key is as a variable along with an algorithm to encrypt and decrypt the code. While the algorithm is open the key is not revealed and is secret. Creating a reference of the secure digital identity, while the transactions are on the open network.

Distributed ledgers — A distributed ledger is referred to as a network of shared records. This ledger is updated in real time and the authority is decentralized, where network of participants keep the ledger updated. Any changes made in the ledgers reflects in the network in almost real time.

Authentication — In a Blockchain, all the transactions are authenticated before getting added to the chain. The algorithms used in blockchain validate and verify all the transactions. After the encryption, this information is digitally signed and stored post which its authenticity is sealed.

Applications of blockchain in healthcare

Here is how blockchain technology can reshape various aspects of the healthcare ecosystem to create a more secure and efficient system.

1. Solving for interoperability in healthcare ecosystem for EMR, EHR, and PHR data

Blockchain can help healthcare providers in creating the next-generation system coupling health data with decentralized, distributed, and immutable qualities. According to IDC, Blockchain’s interoperability could underpin data exchange, serving as an alternative to today’s health information exchanges (HIEs); essentially, it would act as a network for transmitting secure, real-time patient data for healthcare providers, including the pharmacies, insurance enterprises and clinical researchers.

Booz Allen recently helped the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Translational Sciences to develop and implement blockchain technology based data sharing solutions. It eased the process of identifying safety signals in FDA and non-FDA safety report databases for the FDA.

LA based start-up Gem uses blockchain technology to address the trade-off between personalized care and operational costs by connecting the healthcare ecosystem to universal infrastructure. They create global identifiers to link together data belonging to a person or asset. It eliminates time consuming reconciliation, providing real-time transparency, reducing risk and creating better outcomes.

Gem health blockchain model

2. Securing supply chain

Blockchain technology can be used to reshape the supply chains across the healthcare sector. Transactions on blockchain are recorded in a chronological, unalterable, validated ledger through which blockchain can help supply chain vendors in healthcare like pharma and medtech enterprises track the journey of raw materials, compounds, or components at individual step of the supply chain, from the source to company facilities to the consumer or patient.

As the supplier logs in information into a blockchain ledger, the data can be accessed by the stakeholders, where they can validate and identify counterfeit materials, malfunctions, or environmental breakdowns thus confirming a tamper-free cold chain.

The MediLedger Project, backed by pharma giants like Genentech and Pfizer, has piloted a program using blockchain tools provided by Chronicled, a US-based startup, to track medicines. combines sensors and blockchain technology to monitor products requiring cold-chain handling to improve pharma supply-chain efficiency. BlockVerify tracks QR codes on packaging on a blockchain (for pharmaceuticals, precious stones, electronics, and luxury items), to authenticate products.

3. Giving patients control of their data

Blockchain technology can enable patients to take control of their data. Technology has made it possible to record nearly all the medical data of a patient. Each of the transactions can be maintained on a blockchain record, which could enable patients to maintain a complete audit trail of every doctor, provider, payer, medical device, health information exchange (HIE), or any person or entity that has had access to their data.

This access will also give patients diagnosis and treatment related benefits. It will also help in maintaining data security in case patients inadvertently share, or companies gain access to, more data than is desired or intended.

Some enterprises are already working in this direction. For e.g. Google’s DeepMind, is working with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) on developing a blockchain distributed within a closed network of participants to create robust audit trails that track exactly what happens to personal data. The objective is to enable the NHS and also patients to track personal data access and use in real time.

MIT Media Lab has developed MedRec, which is a decentralized record management system for EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) that uses blockchain technology to manage authentication, confidentiality, accountability, and data sharing. MedRec is the combination of a social need with a technological enabler: a system that prioritizes patient agency, giving a transparent and accessible view of medical history.

4. Point-of-care genomics management

Point-of-care tests are defined as “medical diagnostic tests”, performed at or near the site of patient care. These tests support clinical decision making by delivering results in real time (usually in less than 90 minutes). Most available POC genomic devices provide limited results indicating the presence or absence of a certain pathogen or antimicrobial resistance gene. NorthShore University HealthSystem has built a digital platform called Flype that delivers genomic data to providers at the point of care. It is an informatics platform that allows the organization to securely accept data from multiple sources, send orders to a variety of destinations, and perform secondary analysis and annotation of genomic data.

During the pandemic, the platform has been able to translate data as well as lab and diagnostic tests across systems – including COVID-19 test results.

Nebula, a Miami based organization, uses Blockchain technology to offer users permanent ownership of their genomic data on a publicly-readable ledger.

5. GDPR and HIPAA compliance

FDA states for electronic data exchange -’ 21 CFR Part 1’1 needs to be followed. It is mandatory for healthcare enterprises to be HIPAA compliant in the U.S. and GDPR compliant when it comes to dealing with patients based out of Europe.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security rule, establish national standards for the protection of certain health information. HIPAA Security Rule, are national set of security standards, that protect certain health information held or transferred in electronic form. The Security Rule operationalizes the protections contained in the Privacy Rule by addressing the technical and non-technical safeguards.

According to GDPR – the definition of of personal data covers any information associated with an “identified or identifiable natural person,” including computer IP addresses, photos, credit card data and the like. Further, GDPR gives the patient the right to erasure, which implies that a patient can choose to have their data erased from the records of the enterprise.

Both HIPAA and GDPR strengthen the security requirements to ensure protection of patient’s data by implementing pseudonymization and redundancy, along with routine pen testing and intrusion detection measures. And, under both the rules, organizations will need a continuous process to evaluate its security measures. Blockchain allows a creation of immutable environment which is auditable and security friendly.

6. Smart contracts and automation of manual processes

As stated earlier in the article, one of the major issues that the healthcare sector faces is interoperability, and the outdated healthcare repositories is a critical aspect of that. Blockchain technology can be a solution for this issue by the means of ‘smart contracts’ – scripts that self-execute based on predetermined rules.

For instance, once a patient fills out paperwork at a physician’s clinic then, a few months later, say he goes to a different physician or a specialist, a smart contract could automate the transfer of patient data based on pre-set rules that the patient could control.

According to Mutaz Shegewi, IDC’s research director for provider IT transformation strategies,

“One big pain point for providers and payers is preauthorization and availability checks – running processes to ensure a patient is eligible for a care option or treatment or intervention”.

Blockchain enabled smart contracts can with predetermined rules can help in automating the process, make it error free and efficient. Further, these smart contracts can also help in fastening the payment process and reduce any point of contention between patients, healthcare provider and insurance agencies due to a single source and standardization of the transaction data between the three parties.

7. Accelerating R&D

Research and development is one of the major disciplines in healthcare. With not just healthcare enterprises but technology giants also entering this area, investments in R&D has seen an upward trend in the past few years and the sector is poised to become largest R&D-spending industry by 2020. Blockchain technology can help in streamlining the R&D processes, make it more cost effective and boost innovation. Here is how it can help achieving all of this –

  • Blockchain technology can automate the validation, coordination and maintenance of adherence to trial protocols by pharma and medtech companies.
  • It can ease the process of recruitment where patients or volunteers can self-identify and enroll for trials and the system can automatically assess and verify their eligibility.
  • Data gathering process of researchers can be made easy and error free. Since blockchain technology can help store all data in a consistent, accessible infrastructure in which patients grant access to others by sharing public and private keys; the clinical data gathered will be reliable and verified.

All of the above can enable faster and cost-efficient completion of trials through more efficient patient recruitment and data sharing across multiple sites, decreased preprocessing of data, and faster regulatory approvals. Academic institutions across the globe pharmaceutical enterprises are exploring ways to realize this potential. For example, researchers at MIT are developing the OPAL/Enigma platform, which enables parties to jointly store and analyze data with complete privacy.

Some blockchain companies reviving healthcare industry capabilities

#1 Akiri: Akiri operates on a network-as-a-service model specifically for the healthcare industry. It helps protect patient health data when transporting it. Akiri ensures that healthcare data remain secured and shareable only with authorized parties.

#2 Guardtime: Guardtime is helping healthcare companies and governments implement blockchain into their cybersecurity methods. It has recently partnered with Verizon Enterprise Solutions to deploy several platforms based on Guardtime’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) Blockchain.

#3 Avaneer: Avaneer uses blockchain technology to improve healthcare efficiency by utilizing a public ledger to support better claims processing, secure healthcare data exchanges, and keep provider directories maintained and up-to-date.

#4 Robomed: Robomed provides a combination of AI and blockchain to offer patients a single point of care. It uses chatbots, wearable diagnostic tools and telemedicine sessions to collect patient information and share it with the patient’s medical team.

#5 Embleema: Embleema is a virtual trial and regulatory analytics platform that uses blockchain to fast track drug development. It stores secure, untampered data of users in Embleema’s blockchain and then analyzes the data.

A blockchain enabled future of healthcare

According to a recent article by IDC, investments in blockchain remain stable in Europe even a year after the pandemic. From a technology perspective, IT services and business services (combined) will account for more than 65% of all blockchain spending in 2021, increasing their share throughout the forecast.

However, there is still a massive 80% who won’t be leveraging the technology. The prima facie reason for this is that the technology in itself is at a nascent stage and its potential has been seen only in the BFSI sector thus far. Other industries, will take some time to warm up to the technology. Like any other new technology blockchain also comes with its fair share of challenges which will impede its deployment. According to a PwC research, some of these are:

  • Lack of trust and uncertainty about the technology – 47% of healthcare of companies say lack of trust a barrier to implementing blockchain and 39% feel regulatory uncertainty is limiting its adoption.
  • 61% of blockchain projects challenged by lack of blockchain expertise.
  • 31% of healthcare companies say cost of deployment is also a major roadblock to adoption of blockchain technology.

While there are obvious challenges while it comes to leveraging blockchain in healthcare, now. The Industry does realises the potential it has in reshaping and changing the redundant and outdated processes. For the very same reason, it is expected that by 2025, blockchain in healthcare will grow over $5.61 billion and researchers project that 55 percent of healthcare applications will have adopted blockchain for commercial deployment.

For the healthcare industry, while the perfect application of blockchain seems futuristic, conversation around its potential and deployment at certain primary levels like creating smart contracts, should happen now to reap the benefits of blockchain in the near future.

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