Not-So-Smart TVs Are Best Left For Consumers, Not Corporates

As the battle of the smart TVs hots up, you have to ask yourself what will happen to the all-important issue of content control and management.

The mash-ups between Google TV and the two Korean giants, LG and Samsung and the so far less-thrilling partnerships with Sony and Logitek promise much to the consumer in terms of choice, mobile harmonisation on Android, even links to home appliances. But where will these leave corporate organisations tempted by the marketing sizzle, who may then come to regret the lack of secure control over their digital media?

At CES at the beginning of the year various TV manufacturers unveiled smart TV’s based on the Google TV Android environment, but none were readily available in the UK, and none had been developed with the business community in mind.

Sure, there will eventually be access to a myriad of channels, not to mention web content, but there is no facility for managing multiple content feeds to hundreds of screens in a building or for controlling the delivery of specific channels to specific screens at specific times, or for restricting access to any outside broadcast content whilst scheduling internal streamed content – control of that kind, the sort that is needed in corporate environments, is absent.

I would be the first to say there are so many areas in which a clever solution in the consumer space has migrated successfully into corporate life. Tablets and smartphones, for example, have become so ubiquitous that hardware manufacturers, including ourselves, are happy to develop app-based controls that can be used on them, knowing that they will be universally accepted, understood and in many cases preferred by the business customer.

However, despite the delectable array of consumer electronics that are traversing into the commercial space, the dangers should be kept very much in mind. One of the most problematic areas for any business is ensuring that data and content is secure. Whilst the content available through a smart TV might appear superficially attractive, this very accessibility is actually a threat.

There is little control over content delivery through a smart TV, and the sheer accessibility of it also allows disruptive, distracting content into an organisation and rides roughshod over the security measures that have been put into place.

Before considering a smart TV in the workplace, it is worth remembering that you might be potentially opening up a Pandora’s Box of trouble for yourself. Smart TVs are best left for consumers to enjoy.

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Mike Cuckow manages the sales and marketing team at Cabletime and has specific responsibility for the Middle East, Asia and the new emerging markets. Cabletime manufactures the MediaStar range of TV over IP and TV over Cat-5/UTPmultimedia delivery products for new and existing infrastructures. Providing solutions for live TV, corporate communications, multicasts, music TV, training and digital signage, Cabletime has over 3,000 installations worldwide.