Viewers want to watch what they like, when they want, and find their favorite programs with just a press of a button. They want seamless integration of their cable, satellite, terrestrial and even IPTV services. They want to be able to watch TV wherever they are, whether it’s on the TV in the living room, the PC in the office or their mobile phone on the train.
SeaChange International (EMEA) is market leader in metadata solutions for linear broadcasting and video on demand. Customers that are using their products are typically broadcasters, cable companies such as UPC, Inea, Casema, BBC and RTL. Hightech ICT was requested to design and implement a Business Intelligence system, initially for cable provider UPC but later also for other providers like Ziggo or KDG, all customers of SeaChange International. A Business Intelligence system is a solution that collects and analyses data from sessions, purchases, video servers, etc. The result can be used by several departments in an organization like engineering or marketing. It allows a company to optimize operational processes, gain insight in performance and usage, determine the success of marketing campaigns and develop new ones.
Business Intelligence System
After some research we decided to use the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) platform and SQL Server 2008 R2 as database platform. The Microsoft BI platform consists of three different parts:
- SQL Server Integration Services for building enterprise-level data integration and data transformations solutions
- SQL Server Analysis Services which delivers both online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining functionality for Business Intelligence applications
- SQL Server Reporting Services which provides a full range of ready-to-use tools and services to create, deploy, and manage reports
We used all parts to build a solid solution for cable providers to have access to data that’s interesting for them (e.g. session setups or session failures for UPC). SeaChange International is now capable to provide all necessary information to his customers. For now, all information is available in reports created by SQL Server Reporting Services (image on the left). At the moment we are working to provide all data also in a friendly manner to other interfaces like Excel. In the future cable providers can collect their own necessary information and build their own dashboards (image on the right). We started the project one year ago and are now in the final testing phase.
Until now it was not possible to read, create or edit schedules in a user-friendly way. I was asked to design and develop an application that includes this functionality as well the importing and exporting of schedules to several other systems of SeaChange International. I decided to use Window Presentation Foundation to build the application. WPF offers much functionality for building Rich User Interfaces and coupling data to this User Interface. I used the Model-View-ViewModel pattern to provide a clear separation between the view and the business logic. In this way the business logic can be tested easily. Programming language was C#, the schedules are in XML format. The result of the project was the Schedule Composer application that includes all necessary functionality and is used all around the world now. The image below shows a screenshot of the Schedule Composer. On this tab you can add events to a schedule. The application was developed and tested within half a year.