Michael Wagenhofer, CEO, ORS Group

Live events such as soccer championships, Formula One races, or unexpected disasters pose a major challenge regarding planning the live content distribution via content delivery networks (CDNs). This is a problem every broadcaster is facing. They not only have to plan for the potential peak load, typically unknown in advance, but also for the total consumption during the live event. Both values, which come with high uncertainty, must be budgeted in advance technologically as well as monetarily.

Since we have been providing our terrestrial and satellite services to the industry for almost 20 years, we asked ourselves whether we could solve this problem with a broadcast technology. The emergence of 5G Broadcast did indeed enable us to develop an innovative way to offload this traffic and solve the planning and cost uncertainty. 5G Broadcast provides a way of using the existing headend for CDN distribution to broadcast live streams via IP over the air and enables the use of the existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) infrastructure.

Merging technologies

With Nakolos, a joint project of ORS Group and Bitstem GmbH, we are utilizing these advantages, offering a system that converges two technologies, 5G Broadcast and broadband. In case many users request the same content from a CDN at the same time, for example during a live event, the channel is automatically set up and transmitted via 5G Broadcast. The Nakolos solution is easily integrated into existing broadcasting apps and enables seamless switching between 5G Broadcast and broadband by synchronizing the CDN and DTT reception on the device without the user noticing.This mechanism allows the broadcaster to offload CDN traffic and therefore reduce its CDN costs.

An additional benefit of 5G Broadcast is that it reduces the mobile data consumption of the user since the reception of 5G Broadcast is free-to-air and does not use the data included in the mobile data plan.

The Nakolos project aims to support 5G Broadcast as an innovative broadcast technology in the UHF spectrum. By promoting the adoption and utilization of 5G Broadcast, we reinforce the significance of DTT and its role in the broadcasting ecosystem.

Shaping the ecosystem

We are not only addressing broadcasters and content providers, but also provide developers, such as the 5G-MAG Reference Tools community, with resources, demos and an open test environment for free trials and demonstrations. This comprehensive approach aims to help all stakeholders in the 5G Broadcast ecosystem to maximize their potential and achieve their goals.

Nakolos presents a breakthrough in the advancement of broadcasting technologies, making streaming content to a large number of people more efficient by enabling the convergence of 5G Broadcast and broadband. With Nakolos leading the way, broadcast technology continues to advance, empowering stakeholders and shaping the future of content distribution.

If you would like to partner with us on a testbed or for further information about Nakolos visit nakolos.com.

The Nakolos project was a runner-up in the EBU Technology & Innovation Award 2023.

This article first appeared in issue 57 of EBU tech-i magazine.

Latest news