Advent of Smart Television Viewing and The Need for Efficient Data Collection

  • Manan Taneja, Saiharsha,
  • The Advent of Hybrid STBs and their Utilization for Data Collection

    With the rise in IoT connected devices, it has become of utmost importance to track, collect and utilize the consumer data reliably for offering better services and also targeted products.

    But in the Indian scenario, this data collection by STBs hardly seems to have progressed where other technologies have progressed by leaps and bounds.

    We seek to provide a solution for the above by using Hybrid STBs

    Why use Hybrid STBs?

    Hybrid STBs are already being sold and used by a lot of operators in India including but not limited to Dish TV, Airtel and Tata Sky.

    The main advantage these have over traditional STBs is that they can transfer data 2 ways:

    * The main database to TV

    * From consumer TV back to a database

    Most existing hybrid STBs also have internet connectivity and enough processing power to support the transfer of data, while the same cannot be said about the traditional STBs.

    The Solution

    Profile Management:

    Our solution puts forth a profile section just as the viewer starts to watch his TV show on his hybrid STB. He/she can choose their respective profile which would have their details like gender, age, show preferences, watch time and other details.

    We can now use this to track the exact media a particular user is consuming like what advertisement or show is being watched and by which user.

    A sample image for visualization of profile selection is attached below.

    Infrared Signal Re-mapping:

    Hardware Used: A cheap and small computing device like Arduino with IR sensor

    Future Prospect: This could later be in-built with STB itself (for modern ones) which would not require any further hardware.

    After the user selects his/her profile to watch a show of their preference, we will be to track and decode the IR signal that the existing STB and/or the TV remote sends to switch channels. Every time a channel is switched successfully a timer with timestamp would start which would give us enough data to analyse what channel the user was watching and what content was being displayed from the point he switched to the channel to the time he left it.

    Data Transfer:

    • Use of Serverless Architecture (Functions as a Service) to trigger a remote function that stores the data into a database.
    • Fully Cloud-based solution
    • It is extremely secure, since transferring to cloud is done via HTTPS and authentication is done using an asymmetric key. Real-time data transfer is done because the serverless function can be invoked at any time

    Visualization and Front-End Tech Stack

    • We’ll be building a Dashboard, from which all data can be accessed and many features like graphs, bar charts, scatter plots would be provided.
    • The dashboard would be a Progressive Web App.
    • It would be cross-platform and hosted on the cloud.
    • Use of visualization libraries like d3.js and apexcharts.js to make the User Experience more intuitive.
    • Tech Stack
    • Vue JS -> Front-End
    • ApexCharts.js, d3.js -> Visualization
    • Google Cloud Functions -> Serverless Architecture
    • Firebase Firestore -> Real-time synced database
    • Google Cloud Platform Machine Learning APIs for training and prediction
    • Hardware Modules for capturing the sensor data
    • Various Sensors
  • Data Utilization: DTH Provider, TV Channels and Services, Advertising Agencies, etc that can analyse and target the audience by marketing or tailoring content

    Data Collection: Customers of a DTH Provider that can view and analyse their TV watching habits and can get better recommendations and richer user experience using the correct utilization of data

October 30, 2019

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