OTT Video and Service Management for Horse Racing Fans
Veikkaus is the national betting and lottery agency
Veikkaus is the Finnish government-owned betting agency which holds a monopoly in the country. It was formed in 2017 as a merger of three previously existing betting and gambling agencies of Veikkaus, Fintoto and Finland’s Slot Machine Association.
Veikkaus’s turnover is 12,8 billion euros and is the 21st biggest company in Finland. Veikkaus has the monopoly rights to organize the horse betting service in Finland, based on the Finnish legislation.
Harness racing is Finland’s second-most popular sport in terms of spectator numbers. Annually, around 800,000 spectators attend the race meetings at tracks, while the money spent on toto betting last year amounted to €203,4 million.
Icareus has taken care of online live streaming the horse racing of the Finnish national betting organizations, first for Fintoto and then Veikkaus, since the organizations merged.
This case describes how strategically important online video streaming is for companies, and how Icareus can serve their customers quickly and diversely.
Online video exploded and affected online betting
As online video consumption started to grow exponentially in the 2000s, Fintoto (nowadays a part of Veikkaus) noticed its huge positive impact on betting and has now adopted a strategy where video delivery plays a critical role.
Need for a quick online video solution to collect and distribute
In late 2010s, Fintoto needed a solution and platform to quickly collect live races from horse tracks, and to distribute them to different devices. Additionally, Fintoto had a video archive of thousands of races it their hands, in a Windows Media format that was no longer a valid format for an online video experience. They presented these challenges to Icareus and Digita, who worked together to deliver a future-proof platform that would be able to meet the requirements of a growing audience.
Low latency and robust video delivery is critical to sports betting fans
The additional need for this solution, when talking about betting related online video, was how crucial it was to reach a low latency and robust streaming experience in order to do live betting.
"We have enjoyed working with Icareus due to their flexibility, technical knowledge and ability to quickly react to change."
The platform was launched in only 2 months
Together with Digita, Icareus built a solution to harvest live feeds from tracks to Fintoto’s studios, for processing and recording. The workflow was automated as much as possible by integrating Icareus Suite to Veikkaus/Fintoto’s gaming platform for additional metadata and betting information.
Icareus Suite cloud video service
Our role has been the development and maintenance of the linear channel and VOD management, as well as the online and OTT experience. Digita is responsible for the live video harvesting and streaming. The work continues.
Icareus Suite is used to manage Veikkaus’s TotoTV live streaming and on-demand catalogue for horse racing fans in Finland. Through Toto-TV the fans will get their exciting live racing events from four different countries with the opportunity to bet on harness or flat racing.
Crucial robustness and low latency streaming
To make live betting possible during online streaming, Icareus and Digita carried out a special low latency video delivery, including harnessing the feeds from tracks and transcoding and delivery through CDN, by cutting the normal HSL standard 30-45 second latency to only 5 seconds.
Easy integrations to other solutions
The flexibility of Suite enabled the integration to Veikkaus’s information databases to create an up-to date and versatile horse racing experience for viewers in Finland, Sweden and Russia.
Kiosks, sports bars and brokers served with OTT set-top box
Live TotoTV races can be viewed at 800 locations, from on-site kiosks to sports bars and licensed bet brokers. Icareus delivered a robust OTT set top box with a functional TV-like user interface that is easy to use in the hectic kiosk environment. Using Icareus Suite, the shop owners also have the possibility to run their own in-store video advertising campaign on the same boxes outside of TotoTV programming.
Icareus worked on the delivery project in close co-operation with its partner Digita to meet all of the customer’s needs for the online video service.
As a solution, the customer got the new TotoTV service, including a customized responsive web user interface, 800 OTT set-top boxes with a custom build client, integrations to a 3rd party to receive racing track lists and results, and robust low latency video delivery, including harnessing the feeds from tracks, transcoding, and delivery through CDN in excellent quality all around the world.
Customer can manage all live content, EPG, and set-top box devices, and customize the look&feel of the video clients from Icareus Suite cloud video service.
The delivery project took about 2 months.
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