Irish firm defines future of internet TV


10 Jun 2005

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Shenick, a Dublin-based technology firm that recently raised US$3.5m in venture capital (VC) funding, is positioning itself to be the provider of the testing system of choice for future providers of triple-play broadcasting services and providers of video on demand.

Its system will enable future internet TV players to ensure quality of service (QoS) and defend against the growing risk of security attacks.

Last month siliconrepublic.com reported on how Shenick raised US$3.5m in a funding round led by France Telecom-sponsored firm Innovacom and Trinity VC. It is envisaged Shenick could become a global security player in the expanding triple play and Metro Ethernet broadband fields.

The company claims its technology could ensure the nascent internet TV and triple-play service market can avoid customer churn or return to traditional TV services because of security fears or QoS issues.

“You can think of us as 10,000 TV viewers crammed into a little black box,” says Shenick Network Systems’ co-founder Robert Winters. “Those 10,000 viewers have always been there and we’ve now enhanced DiversifEye so that it can also function as a single viewer’s pair of eyes.”

Shenick’s DiversifEye is a testing tool that ensures the many systems that drive the internet do what they’re supposed to do. Constant quality testing of this infrastructure has always been important and it is even more crucial now, with the emergence of so-called triple-play services: the increasing convergence of voice, video and high-speed internet and the growing risk of security attacks, which comes with it.

Essentially, DiversifEye emulates regular internet user and internet TV viewer traffic and also launches internet-based attacks to test a system’s response to them. By emulating thousands of users, or a single one of them, it can show a system’s manager precisely how well it is working. In industry shorthand, DiverfEye’s basic function is to test performance limitations and measure QoS and quality of experience (QoE).

Shenick sells DiversifEye to the world’s foremost communications equipment manufacturers, network service providers, governments and large enterprises, such as banks and insurance companies. They use DiversifEye to both test their current systems and evaluate systems they’re thinking of buying.

Precise measurement of the user’s QoS and QoE is of paramount importance to triple-play service providers. One of the many key measures of quality here is channel-surf rate. In other words, how long it takes to change a TV channel?

Says Jessy Cavazos, program manager at Frost & Sullivan: “Internet TV services and voice over internet protocol are highly sensitive to QoS issues. TV viewers in particular have zero tolerance of video quality and performance problems, such as unacceptable delays in channel change times.”

Adds Winters: “Delays of only a few seconds could easily drive internet TV customers back to traditional TV service providers.”

By John Kennedy