by Derk Steemers

If Google searches are anything to go by, IPTV is to most people a way to watch regular tv on their laptops. Anything beyond that has an insignificant search volume. Indicating IPTV is generally considered to be a cheaper alternative to cable for a lot of end consumers. This is far too small a picture of IPTV than is necessary or fair. There are a lot more possibilities and opportunities for this technology.

Industries that have offered television services over the last few decades have most to gain from IPTV. Think about the hospitality industry or hospitals. For a long time, both have offered their guests and patients some form of televised entertainment. This creates expectations from their audience. Expectations that grow as technology and consumer electronics advance.

Growing beyond television

There are obvious advantages to IPTV, other than being cheaper or requiring fewer cables and additional hardware. The real advantage lies in something completely different. It is in how it grew beyond just television and can be easily adapted to the growing expectations users have.

As IPTV, and digital signage for that matter, combines old and new media it has a unique position to communicate with its audience. It offers television, Video on Demand, and all the other communication tools we are familiar with from our smartphones and laptops. This added layer of interactivity adds a completely new dimension. Allowing corporations and institutions to truly communicate with their audience for the first time.

IPTV means interactive television

The number of features and opportunities for interactivity has grown faster on the internet than it has for linear TV. Which is why there are so many cord cutters. Funnily enough, television shows are more popular than ever. This could even be called a golden era of tv. It is just that viewers want to decide when they watch what. Gone are the days that broadcasters dictated which shows were viewable at what time. IPTV gives users the power to set their own viewing habits. Certain IPTV software solutions even allow users to connect their own devices and watch Netflix or Hulu on a big screen.

Over the past few years a lot has been written about the phenomena of second screen. Concluding that the majority of viewers interact with something besides the television show at hand. IPTV plays into this trend. It can combine several screens into in one. Users can watch series while elsewhere on the screen the traffic report and weather forecast are shown.

The possibilities to add features and improve the viewing experience are practically endless with the right software.

Adding a completely new dimension

Business opportunities open up as the content on the television screen becomes interactive and third party software is added.

Integrating third party software allows companies and institutions to add services to their offering. Here IPTV breaks away from offering television, media, or content and enters a different domain.

The advantages of these integrations are very sector specific. Think of hotel guests who can order room service while watching a movie and adding the costs instantly to the bill or hospital patients in need of medical history. However, IPTV has the same advantage across all industries: it requires only one implementation to offer every visitor the same services.

Considering the scale these industries operate in, it becomes increasingly difficult to offer this through a ‘bring your own device’ strategy. Especially when taking into consideration all the different operating systems, devices, and applications that are popular around the world. Not to mention that there are those who prefer not to bring a device at all.

IPTV has a large advantage here as users do not have to worry about the hardware or software. Instead, they can just switch on the television and start enjoying themselves.

Creating connections

Digital experiences have the power to connect people, companies, and government institutions. By helping users achieve their goals, it creates a shared experience that turns into a bond. In the past this was achieved by offering simple entertainment options, these days the expectations are far higher.

There are a lot of industries and sectors where communication and care are essential to its mission. Here it is essential to create strong connections with the target audience. Relationships are forged by consistently offering what, and when, it is needed. For hospitals this can mean transparency towards patients, while hotels can make a business trip more comfortable or personal.

Devices are expected to be smart. They should add value and help us in our day-to-day life. IPTV implementations can help industries and government sectors offer that to their audiences. By combining the old with the new, it creates opportunities for communication that fit today’s standards.

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