EXCLUSIVE | Neelesh Dalvi, Skandha: Cloud solutions key to revolutionizing content consumption

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In an exclusive interaction, Neelesh Dalvi, Head-Digital Operations, Skandha Media Services, speaks about how growing OTT content consumption is challenging OTT platforms to evolve their technology infrastructure, how Skandha is helping address these challenges, and why it chose oracle as its preferred cloud infrastructure provider. He also discusses the tech trends that will shape the Indian OTT space and Skandha’s innovation roadmap for the next 12 months.

Neelesh has more than 16 years of experience in IT and Data & Video Networking. He specializes in handling Digital TV Projects with expertise in IPTV, VOD, Mobile applications, and OTT operations.

Give us an overview of Skandha Media Services and its offerings?

We are a leading provider of cloud video platforms for digital television and pay television operators. We enable service providers (cable/broadband and content owners) to extend and capitalise on their Video services by offering their services across multi-device platforms such as PCs, Tablets, Smart Phones, HybridSTBs & SmartTV’s.

And, as a partner, we offer our managed and optimized video delivery platform that combines the power of over-the-top video with the highest quality of user experience, content protection, scalability, and reliability.

In collaboration with our partners, we offer the best video platform solution, which is implemented and managed by some of the best talents in the business.

What differentiates Skandha from its competitors when it comes to technology delivery?

We are helping OTT players cope with the demands with the help of evolving technology infrastructure and platforms. We consistently push the envelope to find solutions that can’t be found anywhere else, winning and retaining the trust of our customers. Our level of expertise and in-depth understanding of the industry sets us apart from the other solution providers.

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What are the challenges that most OTT platforms i.e., your customers face w.r.t. keeping up with the changing consumption behaviour among Indian viewers? How is Skandha helping them address these challenges?

With the onset of the pandemic and people mostly remaining indoors, our clients were experiencing several operational and performance issues because of the increased volume and consumption of OTT content.

This was impacting their broadcasting efficiency and at times even reduced their operational performance. We stepped up to the challenge and helped OTT content providers to scale their operations at a low cost, while still maintaining high-quality content and streaming quality.

We are also building innovative workflow, optimizing solutions with on-demand scaling, while continuing to drive down costs for our customers. Our infrastructure and platforms further enable OTT players to capitalise on new opportunities, improve user experience, and remain relevant in this dynamic space.

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Why did Skandha choose Oracle as its preferred cloud infrastructure provider?

In the case of managed services, we had to bear the impact, particularly when content volume increased or there were sudden spikes in the Delta cost escalation. Like I mentioned before, we also had to better manage broadcasting efficiency and sustain operational performance levels.

Therefore, we decided to weigh options and solutions available in the market. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure(OCI) scored the most highly on all the parameters and was best aligned to our business needs. For example, the pricing approach offered by OCI was very predictable, transparent and highly competitive.

It also benefited our business from the step change to the next price point based on volume. Also, OCI offered us the best pricing, especially for outbound data transfer costs. In addition to advanced security, OCI is providing the best-in-class support model. As a result, our turnaround time for resource allocation and management is substantially reduced.

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What are the business benefits you have achieved by using OCI?

We’ve seen a 40% increase in application and operational efficiencies with OCI. We’ve been able to get the team up and running in just two weeks, saving us 30% on time. All of this has been accomplished without any disruption to our service quality to our customers.

What are Skandha’s plans for expansion and growth? What is its innovation roadmap for the next 12 months?

Innovation is in our DNA. We want to invest in cloud technology migration, which will allow our clients to scale up as and when needed. We also intend to use OCI to migrate Broadcast Production workflows to the cloud.

What are some of the tech trends that will shape the OTT space in India?

India is a fairly young market for OTT content providers, so there are tremendous opportunities for growth. This is a very dynamic space, with both India-born as well as MNC content providers vying for attention. Amidst all this, the end consumer/viewer is benefiting the most, with plenty of choices.

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To enable and dynamically scale content distribution to millions of concurrent users across India, technology solution providers like us are helping OTT players cope with the unprecedented demand and helping them evolving technology infrastructure and platforms.

Today, the cloud is playing an important role, as it allows rapid deployment of servers, seamless scaling of storage requirements, and the near-real-time processing of terabytes of data. In addition to the cloud, the deployment of AI and machine learning are also constantly improving customer experience.

Additionally, with 5G expected to be made widely available sooner rather than later in India, OTT players will get a further fillip to enhance streaming quality and deliver richer content.