The merger of DTH operators Dish TV India and Videocon d2h finally concluded, after going through several approval processes, in March 2018. For VK Gupta, CTO, Dish TV India, however, it was the start of one of the longest and most challenging technology projects.
The merger between the two companies created a behemoth with close to 24 million subscribers and, in the process, made Dish TV India’s largest DTH player.
Immediately after the merger came the daunting task of seamlessly integrating the technology infrastructure of the two entities. After the merger, DishTV ended up having two different satellites and two different broadcast stations. It had three different CAS systems with a total of five different variations, and different models of set-top box models.
“In the DTH industry, there are a few technology pillars on which the whole platform is built– satellite, broadcast station, Conditional Access System (CAS), and Subscriber Management System (SMS). All of a sudden, disparate solutions made things complicated for us. So we took one big exercise to unify the whole thing so that it becomes simpler to manage and we could derive economies of scale from it,” VK Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, Dish TV India Limited, said.Driving a Seamless Integration
The first step that Gupta took was to create a unified technology platform at the backend that could manage the dissimilar solutions at the front end.
“While the set-top boxes of both Dish TV and d2h maintained their distinct features and functionalities, they were managed seamlessly on our unified technology platform at the backend. This helped the company to achieve cost synergies. Going forward, whatever technology changes we carried out, they were backend compatible. This meant that no customer ever faced any problem because of the change of any technology,” he said.
The Subscriber Management System (SMS) is the heart and soul of service delivery and subscriber management. The subscriber management system is generally a billing solution but in the DTH industry, it has gone beyond that.
In addition to billing, the system also handles the call centre’s call management, agent management, service ticket management, and finances, and integrates it with various payment gateways. The system also generates various MIS for the company.
With the merger, the company got a second SMS from d2h. It was critical to consolidate the two separate systems into one for better customer management and experience. Being a vast system, the company undertook the consolidation process in phases.
“This process began with the unification of ERPS, which is a top-up system that dealers and distributors use in order to reach customers for top-ups and re-charges. The system that raised service tickets was next to be unified. It helped the field agents as now they don’t have to look at separate systems for scheduling a visit to the customer,” Gupta said.
“Some modules of SMS consolidation have happened and some modules are in the pipeline. Once the consolidation is completed, it will bring a lot of efficiencies in terms of call centre management, customer service delivery, etc,” he said.
The company is also in the process of deploying a unified headend, which would be a single headend servicing both — Dish TV as well as d2h customers.
A unified headend enables the unification of video processing platforms and associated infrastructure needed for separate multiscreen and broadcast video workflows.
“With the unified headend, two separate broadcast stations won’t be needed and this single platform will service two satellites but with a single broadcast station. This particular broadcast stream will be simulcrypted with more than 5 CAS systems,” said Gupta.
Delivering on ‘Customer is King’ through AI
The introduction of the new tariff order (NTO) enabled customers to choose channels or bouquets of their choice. The pricing of channels and the configuration of packs varied among broadcasters. With several permutations and combinations, it became tough for customers to come up with the most cost-effective channel configuration by themselves.
To solve this challenge, Gupta came up with an AI-backed optimizer that automatically picks up the cheapest combination for a customer and applies it on his account. The AI-optimizer was implemented across the company’s websites, IVR and TV sets.
“This is how we were able to extend the maximum benefit of this new tariff order regime to each of our subscribers, keeping in line with the government’s objective that customers should get their choice at the best optimum price,” Gupta averred.
Gupta has implemented BI to analyse huge amounts of customer data. “We leverage SAS. It helps us by predicting which customers are about to churn, and aids us in retaining them,” he said.
Gupta believes that going forward, immersive entertainment and TV-commerce will change the way the industry operates.
“These things will also enable consumers to have an instant choice to fulfil their commercial interests. For instance, if a subscriber wants to purchase a dress worn by an actress in a particular serial, he can do it instantly. TV-commerce will become popular in the near future,” Gupta added.
Article source: https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/strategy-and-management/how-it-infra-of-dish-tv-and-d2h-was-seamlessly-integrated/71065497?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=ETRSS