With the increasing importance of video services for telecommunications companies, two new reports look at the market for IPTV and the opportunities for systems integrators.

The architecture of systems used to deliver IPTV or internet protocol television is complex and various elements must be brought together to deliver an operational service. This has created a market for systems integration and professional services to minimize the time-to-market.

This sector includes manufacturers and software suppliers offering services for a specific part of the value chain and large telecommunications equipment manufacturers and professional services firms offering full end-to-end integration.

A new report from Multimedia Research Group on System Integration & Professional Services in IP TV networks examines the markets for access systems, video networks, middleware and backend software, and profiles the major mid-sized systems integrators, as well as large corporations such as Alcatel, Lucent, Motorola, Nortel and Thales.

Gary Schultz of MRG says that large companies have identified IPTV system integration as a major business opportunity, firstly as a way of increasing the sale of their hardware and software products, and secondly as a significant source of revenue.

One of the biggest challenges for the systems integrators to solve, according to MRG analyst Bob Larribeau, “is to integrate competitors’ products into their end-to-end solutions, while correctly assuming or allocating responsibility for each company’s piece of the service level agreement.”

Another report from ABI Research on Telco TV Infrastructure & Service Integrator Opportunities also looks at the enabling infrastructure and the main vendors in the IPTV space. The report claims to offer a new look at the trends, market value and penetration of the emerging medium of Telco TV.

There is an apparent perception that the main challenges facing telecommunications companies wishing to deliver video services are mainly technological and simply require technical integration of systems.

Yet many of the issues that operators will need to address concern the content domain, the consumer proposition, and an understanding of how to create services that are both compelling and easy to use.

As telcos, vendors and systems integrators rush to deliver video over data networks, perhaps the real question is what new services will this enable and how will these change the medium of television?