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Open innovation: a new boost for TDF Group

Under our strategic plan, open and participatory innovation has taken over from traditional R&D. The Group is therefore in a position to develop solutions reflecting its customers' rapidly evolving markets.

Open innovation is a dynamic approach based on mutually developing ideas focused on customers, suppliers, start-ups and research centres, with whom we join forces ensuring fast, nimble and transparent teamwork.


SmartCast, a joint project

The project SmartCast aims to study and build a long range broadcast system, with potential interactivity where appropriate - thanks to a low-speed wireless return path. Data including audio will be broadcast in a shared stream based on standard DRM 30 (“Digital Radio Mondiale”). The project targets both mass and corporate markets.

Use of medium and short wave bands provides for massive coverage at low cost in inaccessible locations or those at a disadvantage due to lack of infrastructure. This approach offers a credible alternative to existing radio systems, making better use of this part of the spectrum, use of which is declining worldwide. Work underway includes development of services and equipment focused on two markets :

  • Maritime Navigation, with a set of services designated as "NavCAST".
  • International Broadcasting, with a set of services designated as "WideCAST".

The block diagram below is related to the NavCAST configuration of the project. It helps you understand the different subsets of the system, and their locations. In a second step, developments will be adapted to the WideCAST environment.

SmartCAST is a joint project led by TDF and supported by the "Fonds Unique Interministériel" (FUI). All project partners have complementary skills covering the full range of all required studies and developments.

This 24-month project is sponsored by the following businesses and organizations :

Website :


An innovative process


Under TDF's strategy, many joint projects we undertake involve maintaining a constant watch over market developments so that we can take on board the latest technologies and expertise that we need to develop new services.

TDF has joined the Paris Incubator Open Innovation club headed by the Paris region Innovation centre, an innovation agency operating in Ile de France (Paris region).

B2M, an effective and innovative terrestrial broadcasting solution covering all digital content on mobile devices

It is the first time that B2M mobile broadcasting has been tested anywhere in the world. The goal was to broadcast from the Eiffel Tower electronic press, magazines, films, catch-up videos and podcasts, as well as live TV and radio, to mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.



The key innovation of the B2M (Broadcast Multimedia Mobile) project lies in terrestrial broadcasting for rich and varied digital content (e.g. press, catch-up TV and video on demand etc.) under real conditions to mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets etc.


Smart cities: when cities become intelligent

Screens are proliferating around us, interacting among themselves and with their environment, supporting viewers in their everyday lives. TDF, as a developer of content and data via its ATAWADAC (Any Time, Any Where, Any Device, Any Content) connected platforms, allows content publishers, service operators, local authorities and generally all those involved in urban life to show interactively their information, content and services on all screens that we encounter in our daily lives.


TDF is the European number one in linear and non-linear multimedia content and data management, transport and delivery services backed by a commitment to high-quality end-to-end service.


Broadcast Delivery of Digital Content to Mobile Devices brings huge Improvement in End User Experience

Use of a broadcast transmission mode to transmit digital content to mobile terminals is an idea that has taken hold and is being pursued, primarily as a cost cutting measure. But the B2M test conducted by TDF shows that this approach also brings huge benefits for the customer experience; indeed customer satisfaction is more than doubled ! This massive improvement is a direct result of ‘caching’, whereby content is stored in the terminal once received and is not gradually downloaded as and when consumed.

Growth in mobile traffic; control costs through broadcast offloading

Traffic on mobile networks will continue to soar during the next few years; for example, in France it will leap tenfold[i] between 2014 and 2019, to reach 3.068 PB[ii]. This increase is explained by the boom in smartphones and tablets, and ever-growing video consumption[iii] on these devices.


Such very rapid growth raises issues about the development of mobile networks whose capacity needs to be constantly expanded; this means mobile operators have to constantly increase capital and operating expenditure even though their revenues tend to be flat or even shrink. The incremental capital spending required to handle growth in mobile traffic (compared to the current level of €6-7 billion[iv] per year) will be around €50 billion accumulated over 2015 to2019, even supposing a 70% increase in productivity (i.e. production cost per GBof mobile traffic) for the period.


So it seems that simply continuing network growth in parallel with mobile traffic would raise significant issues, so that other approaches are needed.


Among possible new approaches, broadcasting is currently attracting the attention of a large number of mobile players; broadcasting, which has been used for radio and TV since the earliest days, consists of point to multi point transmission; so when a particular content is transmitted, instead of a single terminal receiving it (the unicast approach, in general use over fixed line and mobile telephone networks), all devices in a given coverage area can receive it. If it's live content the terminals can display it (or not) at the moment of transmission; if it's on-demand content, terminals store it until each user chooses, or not, to view it.


This broadcasting approach, applied to the most popular content elements (aka "fat tail"), obviously allows sharp reductions in network traffic, since millions of unicast transmissions can be replaced by a single broadcast transmission.


Based on analysis by TDF and Rise Conseil, offloading popular content via broadcast transmission will enable reductions in unicast network loads of up to 48%; so supposing around 30% of the French population can be covered by a broadcast network for mobile use, some 220 PB less traffic will need to use current mobile networks.


Given the reasonable cost of a broadcast network (estimated at €45 million/year), this offload would provide annual savings of €1 billion by 2019, and around €10 billion in total for 2016-2025.


So a very large cost reduction would result from broadcast offloading; this would be accompanied by further large savings in energy consumption, reduced pressure on frequencies and on relay antenna facilities.


This approach to offloading with pre-stored content has been tested experimentally, but its general adoption would nevertheless require technical and other adaptations.


[i]      Cisco VNI - France - 2019 Forecast Highlights

[ii]    All networks including traffic via wifi on mobile devices.

PB = Petabyte;1 PB =  1 million Gigabytes (GB) vg ; je crois qu’on écrit “B” pour Byte car “b” est bit ( 8 fois plus petit)

[iii]    Based on most studies, video taken in its broadest sense, i.e. including live TV, catch-up TV and video sharing sites, will account for 70 to 80% of traffic on mobile networks.

[iv]    Cumulated annual capital spend by all French operators (source: ARCEP)