XOS Digital Uses the Cloud To Improve SEC Digital Network App

XOS Digital and the Southeastern Conference have joined forces again to bring fans an extensive upgrade of the popular SEC Digital Network mobile app for iPhones, Android devices, and tablets.

Essentially a “super app” for all things SEC sports, this year’s edition boasts the introduction of HD video and audio with quicker and smoother navigation. Video-content offerings include update shows, game previews, postgame shows, and original programming. The app also offers a portal to premium on-demand content purchased through the SEC OnDemand store.

“Last year, there was the SEC Digital Network, there were the mobile apps, and there was the download store,” says Shaun Pope, director, strategic content partnerships, at XOS Digital. “I think the biggest difference was that all of these things didn’t really work together in a unified service. So the biggest advance we’ve made is putting all of these pieces together and now tying them all together.”

One of the biggest technological advances is that this year’s version is a native app, as opposed to last year’s Web-based offering.

“Building the app in the native iOS — versus some encapsulated app that’s using the Web to pull content into a browser-based environment — opens up issues of latency and other things,” says Pope. “Plus, the ability to pull in multiple data sets for rosters, headshots, video, and all that — having it built that way streamlines that process. From a sheer performance standpoint, it’s just better.”

According to Pope, the heart of the content improvements lies in the new SEC OnDemand, which debuted prior to the start of the football season. The cloud-based college-sports video-streaming service is a source for video-on-demand access to a robust collection of SEC full games, historic documentaries, highlight shows, and other original programming.

“SEC fans are highly mobile, especially during football season,” says SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “We want to let them take their content with them wherever they go.”

What makes SEC OnDemand so versatile for fans is the use of “the cloud.” Fans can purchase or rent content and create their own secure SEC library of games and other video that can be accessed by any Web-enabled device with a user name and password.

“So you can see how we’re starting to bring all of these individual apps into a more unified type of service, where they’re acting as access points versus standalone applications,” says Pope.

The product also makes the SEC the first collegiate conference with content accessible through global Smart TV portals available on Samsung, Sony Bravia, and Google TV, keeping it ahead of the curve in the growing “cord-cutting” trend.

The push to Smart TV has also led XOS Digital to revamp its video player, shifting away from a Flash-based player and toward making everything MP4 and supported by HTML5, making video content tablet- and Smart TV-compliant.

The app, which launched on Aug. 31, is free to download, courtesy of a sponsorship deal with Ram Truck.