On a recent evening, I reached for the remote only to find my UK-based TV service had gone down. A quick check online confirmed it wasn’t just me. By the time I woke up in the morning, the widespread outage was making headlines.
It’s every operator’s worst nightmare.
And it’s the exact scenario that a different UK-based IPTV and broadcast media provider with more than two million subscribers aimed to avoid when they engaged Spirent to automate testing for its complex digital media and broadcast services operation.
Walking the performance balance beam when the new expectation is ‘flawless’
Let’s face it, Netflix and other premium OTT providers have raised the bar in terms of consumer expectations and always available video services, everywhere.
Not an easy feat.
Especially with the complexity that accompanies video operations required to deliver new and legacy offerings.
Our media broadcaster customer knew testing processes had to be streamlined to make ‘flawless’ service delivery a reality. Especially as they planned to continually roll out new features, functionalities, and services to keep pace with ever-fiercer competition.
Automating test to overcome outdated timelines
Back when services didn’t change that often, taking weeks or even months to conduct manual testing was acceptable, albeit inefficient. But when racing a new service to market? Every minute counts.
Understanding this, our video provider customer needed to automate as much of the process as possible to have the capability to conduct continuous, 24/7 unsupervised testing. All while assuring there would be no interruption to services.
Our video provider customer needed to automate as much of the process as possible to have the capability to conduct continuous, 24/7 unsupervised testing. All while assuring there would be no interruption to services.
A major challenge presented was a complex service chain spanning content acquisition, production, post-production, distribution, and audience interaction. Ensuring high-performance and availability during testing would require extensive regression testing of new configurations, devices, firmware, architecture, and services – a process the service provider’s internal testing team conducted manually.
The team recognized this inefficient, time-intensive, and resource-heavy approach would no longer cut it in a market that moved at the speed of digital.
Working with Spirent’s experts, they were able to determine that an automated approach based on a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) workflow delivering continuous testing (CT) would offer much faster regression testing. This translated into a dramatic increase in speed for release of critical services and upgrades.
But first, the solution would have to be proven.
Multiple testing models for ultimate flexibility and acceleration
The video provider’s engineering teams sought a solution where multiple on-demand testing models could be built and deployed quickly.
To meet this need, Spirent’s lab and test automation specialists supported integration and customization of our Velocity and iTest platforms to automate manual test processes in the lab and accelerate development of test environments and models. Test campaign automation was also required. The overall approach was designed to be reusable across a range of network configurations and advanced digital IPTV services.
Picture perfect results
In addition to meeting critical system uptime requirements, the video provider also achieved substantial efficiencies across its test processes.
With, moving from 40 hour per week testing to 24/7, delivered a 320% improvement. What once required 10 weeks of manual testing can now be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes, increasing testing speed by 1,600x through test campaign automation. The engineering teams also used Spirent’s automated test lab environment to create DevOps workflows with continuous testing across multiple testbeds, from new firmware, hardware, and services, all the way through to production deployment. This dramatically improved bug detection rates, service quality and time-to-market. Firmware testing, which previously took three months – can now be completed in just two days.
These efficiencies have driven real results for the video provider’s bottom line. The company has saved 60 percent of CapEx and reduced operating expenses. All thanks to maximizing equipment utilization, increasing agility, reducing testbed setup time which accelerated new releases.
As speed becomes table stakes and flawless is the new bar for performance, we are proud to play an active role helping our customer further secure its market leadership status with advanced testing solutions.
On the night my service went down, I realized how easily I could have switched to another OTT provider. While that one event didn’t cause me to make a change, another might. Especially if there’s content I really don’t want to miss, or if there are new features only available from other services.
Competition is moving fast. What is novel one day may be table stakes just months later.
Find out how test and automation can become a fundamental part of your strategy to keep pace. Dive deeper into our work in the case study,.