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T-Home Médiatár (Media Library): The Center of the Digital Home
Magyar Telekom First to Enter the Market with Microsoft Windows Home Server-Based Service
Magyar Telekom chose Microsoft Windows Home Server for its T-Home Médiatár service, a first in the consumer market. The user-friendly, own-branded Microsoft-based solution offers rich functionality and is a first step in expanding the network connected devices portfolio of the telecom, serving also as a platform for future services.
Our objective is to make Magyar Telekom the solution provider for interconnecting IT, communication and consumer electronics devices in the homes of residential customers.
head of innovation and product development, residential division,
Magyar Telekom plc is the largest telecommunication provider in Hungary, offering a full range of telecommunications and ICT services, including fixed-line and mobile phone, data and non-voice services, IT and systems integration consultancy services. Its business is conducted through two divisions. Residential services are provided by the home-oriented T-Home and the mobile communications T-Mobile brands, while services focusing on businesses are covered by the T-Systems brand.
The majority owner of Magyar Telekom, which itself is also a majority owner in the largest telecom provider in Macedonia and Montenegro, is MagyarCom Holding GmbH, fully owned by Deutsche Telekom AG. The Hungarian telecom operator reported revenues of HUF 673.1 billion (EUR 2,678.9 million) for 2008 in its annual report.
The Business Issue
The telecommunication industry is undergoing a significant change all around the world. International trends indicate a convergence of the telecommunication, information, media and entertainment markets, with overlapping and interoperable segments.
In line with that trend, Magyar Telekom significantly restructured its residential service portfolio two years ago, with converged services available on three screens (PC, TV and mobile phones) becoming the focal point of the strategy, to improve the user experience.
Our objective is to make Magyar Telekom the solution provider for interconnecting IT, communication and consumer electronics devices in the homes of residential customers,” said Balázs Birck, head of the innovation and product development department at Magyar Telekom’s consumer division. “With consumer electronics devices becoming network-enabled and the growing penetration of mobile internet access, the ability to centrally store, share or remotely access larger volumes of digital content has become increasingly important also at home. Consequently, the decision was made in 2009 that as the next step in the implementation of our three-screen strategy, we would launch a service with a storage solution connected to the home network, a NAS-based media library. This solution consisting of a storage device and the service providing remote access is T-Home Médiatár (Media Library).”
With the launch of the T-Home Médiatár product, Magyar Telekom makes it possible to create an intelligent home network interconnecting not only consumer electronics devices but also air conditioning and heating or security systems, with the ability of being monitored centrally and remotely.
“This network can be published to the Internet as some kind of a virtual home in which customers can access their music, photos, videos and other documents from anywhere and from different devices,” continued the head of department, “while they can also interact with the digital equipment operated in the house of flat. Even when they are away on holiday, they can make sure that everything is alright at home or they can remotely start playing the movie their child wants to watch on the television at home.”
The Microsoft Windows Home Server-based solution was selected as it offers the most polished user-friendly features we intended to offer to our residential customers in the installation and further use of T-Home Médaitár in the home.
innovation expert, residential division,
In anticipation of the launch of T-Home Médaitár, Magyar Telekom started to explore the hardware and software solutions underlying the service in the middle of 2009.
“We were looking for a hardware and software combination, which can be easily and quickly integrated by customers into their home networks and that they can use intuitively like their other digital devices, and expand with further applications as required, drawing upon their existing skills as users,” explained István Iski, innovation expert for the residential division of Magyar Telekom, project manager for T-Home Médiatár. “Our first and foremost expectation about the device underlying the product was to be user-friendly and become a part of the home network through plug-and-play connectivity.”
The rationale is that Magyar Telekom targets those customers with its T-Home Médiatár product, who do understand the benefits of such a device, want its features but do not have IT skills beyond the typical experience gained by users, required for custom programming of commercially available NAS devices, or do not want to invest time or effort to do so.
“The selection process involved the comparison of storage devices running different operating systems, and the Microsoft Windows Home Server-based solution was selected as it offers the most polished user-friendly features we intended to offer to our consumer customers in the installation and further use of T-Home Médiatár in the home,” said István Iski. “In course of internal product development testing, it turned out that devices running other operating systems are better suited to users with more advanced IT skills. Windows Home Server as a choice was also supported by the fact that our IPTV customers also access the service through a Windows-based set top box. That would also enable the convergence efforts in our strategic objectives.”
Another important aspect of the evaluation was that Microsoft Windows Home Server offers advanced functionality for multi-PC homes and home offices, from automatic backup and recovery, remote access and file sharing to dynamic storage expansion. Windows Home Server is delivered installed on the storage device; the PCs using the home network only require the installation of a client application, which can be carried out by the customers independently or relying on Magyar Telekom’s phone-based assistance.
The inclusion of the Microsoft Windows Home Server-based service in the T-Home portfolio is a great success for us, which also established a platform for the implementation of further services.
innovation expert, residential division,
Achievements and Experiences
Another huge advantage of Microsoft Windows Home Server for Magyar Telekom is that this mature functionality and user-friendly approach is available in a hardware-independent way. This is not the case with NAS devices running other software, where hardware and software are provided by the same vendor and they are closely interrelated.
“Microsoft Windows Home Server can be easily installed on a wide range of hardware devices, resulting in flexibility for us in implementing and developing the service,” explained Balázs Birck. “Consequently, T-Home Médiatár can be configured in line with the market demand from entry level to premium in terms of storage capacity, form factor or design alike. So it is very important from the business point of view that the hardware underlying Microsoft Windows Home Server is interchangeable. On the other hand, the platform is well suited for development; the user interface could be customized to the T-Home brand easily, with relatively small effort. So our customers see a web interface strengthening the brand, with the same look and feel on the different hardware devices and also through the Internet.”
“With Microsoft Windows Home Server, we could apply the brand to a mature solution in line with the Magyar Telekom corporate image, and the lower resource requirement and the shorter cycle meant that we could be the first provider to take this product to market in November 2009 with T-Home Médiatár,” highlighted István Iski. “These benefits would not have been available within such a short timeframe from NAS solutions built for other operating systems.”
Microsoft partners have developed more than 70 add-ons for Windows Home Server by now; some of them are available for free. That means great potential for further expansion of the T-Home Médiatár functionality. Magyar Telekom plans to provide information to customers about such modules in the future, while provider-specific add-ons will be installed on the hardware by default.
The planning of further development for T-Home Médiatár is also facilitated by the fact that Microsoft communicates the schedules and the growth of functionality for Windows Home Server to its clients.
“In this scenario we can decide whether we rely on our own resources in developing some planned functionality, rely on the Microsoft partners’ efforts or expect it to be included in the next version of the software, therefore waiting for the release is wiser for business,” pointed out István Iski. “T-Home Médiatár represents the first step in the practical implementation of the strategy aiming at an extended range of networked entertainment devices. The inclusion of the Microsoft Windows Home Server-based service in the T-Home portfolio is a great success for us, which also established a platform for further products and services.”
To help building brand loyalty the T-Home Mádiatár is available to customers to be paid in installments. This requires a one year subscription loyalty contract for any T-Home broadband internet package.
Magyar Telekom is the largest telecom provider in the country. It offers a full range of telecommunications and ICT services, including fixed-line and mobile phone, data and non-voice services, IT and systems integration consultancy services.
Select a combined hardware and software solution for T-Home Médiatár, a service aimed at the residential market, which can be easily and quickly integrated by customers into their home networks and that they can use intuitively, drawing upon their existing skills as users.
Magyar Telekom chose the Microsoft Windows Home Server-based solution, which turned out to be the most mature in terms of both user-friendliness and functionality in the pre-selection, while offering further benefits for the provider.
- User-friendly, familiar experience
- Hardware-independent solution
- Easy to develop for, the brand can be applied to it with a low resource requirement
- A wide range of add-ons
- Proactive development roadmap
- Platform for future services
Software And Services