S3 Group Lines Up ‘Warning Center’ Trials

S3 Group said 12 pay TV operators are testing StormTest Warning Center, a platform that enables them to monitor and test new apps and services after they go live.

On the advice of operators, S3 developed this new DevOps capability to help “bridge the gap” between the end of initial testing and development in the lab to the actual launch of a new offering, John Maguire, S3’s chief strategy officer, said.

S3 Group announced its Warning Center trial update Thursday in tandem with the company’s second annual StormTest North American User Group in Philadelphia.

The need for a live-network testing system has come about as operators become more software-focused and shift from a test-and-launch to a launch-and-test mentality, while also moving away from monolithic systems and services to a model that supports the introduction of more granular “micro-services” that enhance the overall system. The trick is supporting and testing those without impacting all of the other pieces of the platform.

“They [pay TV operators] needed to continue to roll that testing into the live network,” while backing it with a cloud-based system that can run the analytics, he said. “This is a 24/7 activity…We’ve got a product platform that is particularly suited for this transition to continuous delivery.”

Warning Center and its cloud-based approach, S3 said, can be used to provide automated service validation, and perform remote troubleshooting and testing of elements such as audio or video quality, EPG rendering, channel change times, and VOD access times.

S3 Group isn’t identifying the dozen operators that are testing Warning Center, which was introduced at the IBC show last fall, but it’s a group that represents a range of distribution types, including IPTV, cable and terrestrial.  However, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Mediacom Communications and Canada’s Videotron are among the North American MSOs that are using S3’s StormTest products. Of that group, TWC is using StormTest tools for its TWC TV app.

S3 Group recently set up a new office in Philadelphia to support new and existing business in the region, and to accommodate cable sector growth. S3 is also managing the code base for the Reference Design Kit, the preintegrated software stack for hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-tops and video devices being managed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global.