Skyflow’s Vision for Diverse Content Delivery in Africa

At Africacom 2023 Richard Smith (EKT), Pierre Hunter (EZDRM), and Alex Beach (ST Engineering iDirect), discussed the groundbreaking Skyflow and their vision for Africa’s digital and more connected future. 

Connectivity is a pivotal factor for the development of the African continent, yet the internet usage gap remains notably significant. According to the figures presented by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the gap persists, with 57 percent of urban population using the Internet in 2023 compared to only 23 percent of people in rural areas.

We have to recognize that the challenges contributing to this “usage” gap go beyond mere connectivity issues. Digital literacy stands out as a significant hurdle, with a substantial portion of the population lacking the necessary skills to effectively navigate and utilize online resources. The absence of relevant content tailored to the specific needs and interests of diverse communities exacerbates the usage gap. 

The importance of fostering partnerships to address these issues cannot be emphasized enough, especially regions where digital inclusion and connectivity play pivotal roles in the communities future. In regions where access to technology has the transformative potential to impact lives significantly, the synergy of private companies results in innovative solutions.

While industry partnerships are frequently discussed, it is great to witness a prime example of companies uniting, leveraging their expertise and unique strengths, providing groundbreaking solutions that serve as game-changers for communities in Africa. One of those examples is Skyflow

Skyflow’s strength lies in its collaborative ecosystem, comprising five key partners, each bringing distinctive expertise to the table. EasyBroadcast delivers a robust Content Management System, while ST Engineering iDirect specializes in Modulation and Transmission. EKT provides cost-effective Set-Top-Box solutions, and Quadrille excels in Encoding and Packaging for diverse content delivery. EZDRM, a DRMaaS pioneer, ensures standardized security for broadcast distribution. Together, these partners synergize to make Skyflow a comprehensive solution, adept at meeting diverse content delivery needs.

At Africacom 2023 Richard Smith (EKT), Pierre Hunter (EZDRM), and Alex Beach (ST Engineering iDirect), discussed the groundbreaking Skyflow and their vision for Africa’s digital and more connected future. 

Skyflow represents a consortium of five like-minded companies united by a shared belief in a groundbreaking technology known as DB NIP.  Skyflow addresses a critical issue in the African market by revolutionizing multicast video technology. Despite its static nature for the past 40-50 years, transitioning from analog to digital, it fails to align with modern viewing trends. Traditional multicast operators, like Direct-to-Home (DTH) providers, struggle to adapt, losing market share. Enter DB NIP: it transforms mobile-viewable unicast channels into a multicast-like format, enabling seamless streaming to diverse devices, revitalizing the viewing experience.

Richard Smith, Managing Director, EKT

What’s truly remarkable, particularly in the context of Africa, is the vast potential for growth, especially in the education sector. Our solution proves invaluable in addressing connectivity challenges, offering a self-contained ecosystem that requires only a small dish, modem, and set-top box. This makes it versatile for deployment in diverse settings, be it a school or a home. The content it delivers extends beyond video to include various formats like PDFs, ebooks, text files, and images. This versatility positions us to tap into significant opportunities in the market, and we’re excited to collaborate with like-minded companies who share our vision. Together, we aim to provide essential services to those in need.

Alex Beach, ST Engineering iDirect

Why do we consistently stress the importance of connectivity and narrowing the usage gap in rural areas? Why should communities grappling with challenges like limited access to water and electricity prioritize and pay attention to connectivity? The answer is clear – the future of these communities is  linked to access to education, health, and essential services.

Providing education to rural and semi-rural communities in Africa faces challenges, including limited internet access, inadequate power supply, geographical barriers, and high connectivity costs, all of which impede the effective integration of online resources and e-learning platforms. Compounding these issues are insufficient mobile network coverage, obsolete technology, and the affordability constraints of data.

However, initiatives like Skyflow are stepping in to address these challenges, presenting opportunities beyond bridging the digital divide. Skyflow aims to make a meaningful impact by enhancing connectivity and delivering essential education and health services to areas where they are most needed.

Prioritizing the acquisition of high-quality content is essential. Subsequently, to effectively monetize this content according to your preferences, it becomes imperative to safeguard against unauthorized distribution. This is where Digital Rights Management (DRM) plays a crucial role. Its primary function is to secure, encrypt, and decrypt content, ensuring its integrity. Additionally, DRM empowers operators to enforce business rules, dictating how, when, and by whom the content can be utilized. Whether operating under a pay-for model or a free-to-air model, DRM provides operators with enhanced control, facilitating a more nuanced management of their content.

Pierre Hunter, EZDRM

Skyflow presents a versatile solution with diverse use cases across multiple industries. It serves as a valuable tool for remote learning, facilitating effective education in areas with limited connectivity. In the realm of traditional Direct-to-Home (DTH) and primary distribution, Skyflow offers efficient content delivery. CDN Streamers benefit from its multicast delivery solutions, while in the realms of ISP/Broadband and Enterprise video, Skyflow enhances content distribution efficiently.

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