Optimising mobile video
Optimisation tech could prove key to making bandwidth-hungry mobile apps work
With mobile data expected to grow more than two-fold each year over the next five years, Patrick Lopez, chief marketing officer at Vantrix, tells Nithyasree Trivikram about the benefits of optimisation technologies for telcos offering mobile data, IPTV, video-on-demand and other bandwidth-hungry services.
COMMSMEA: What trends are you seeing in mobile data in the MEA region?
Patrick Lopez: In the Middle East, the growth rate of mobile data is over 120% year on year for the next five years, of which mobile video accounts for about 25% and is to grow rapidly to over 60% by 2014.
As more and more network operators are migrating towards 3G networks, and new smart phones are being introduced into the market, people have started to adopt mobile internet. In some of the markets in Africa, mobiles have become the default access to the internet where fixed lines are still unavailable.
COMMSMEA: Why is there a need for telcos to adopt optimisation solutions for video data?
Patrick Lopez: With an average video on the internet lasting for five minutes for a speed of 1 Mbps on an average, more than 50% of users stop watching the video within the first 60 seconds. This means that if the operator delivers the video within the first minute in which only one minute is watched, then there is about 80% wastage of an operator’s network while delivering a video on a wired network.
COMMSMEA: What does Vantrix’s technology do?
Patrick Lopez: Our bandwidth optimiser solution has a functionality called ‘bit rate throttling’, which provides the ability to adjust the delivery bit rates and transcode the video so that it is delivered in real-time without any wastage of an operator’s network resources. Bit rate throttling offers potential traffic reductions of 80% by not delivering video content that is not watched.
The second functionality of our solution is that it employs transcoding and transrating techniques to save up to 70% of network traffic. For example, an operator with ‘video on the net’ service can take content from a TV channel via the satellite feed and transcode it in real-time to make it available on devices such as handhelds and laptops. Vantrix saves up to 75% bandwidth cost of video delivery to iPhone.
Our solution has a mechanism called ‘smart caching’, which allows us to cache videos on the operator’s network. Here, we reduce the latency and the cost associated with downloading the site. The technology allows us to cache the most visited sites directly on the operator’s network for that particular latency and the costs associated with having dedicated links to Google, Yahoo or Youtube. This functionality enables Vantrix to save up to 20% of bandwidth cost of video delivery on the backbone.
With new mobile devices coming into the market rapidly, we have created a core capability that is able to manage up to 35,000 different media combinations, and a database that has over 14,000 device profiles.
COMMSMEA: What are the applications shaping the web and mobile multimedia services?
Patrick Lopez: Today, we see most of the fast growing applications revolve around video. User generated content plays a huge role here. Youtube accounts for almost half of the content that is being watched on mobile devices. However, in the Middle East, only 35% of the content is coming from Youtube.
User generated content requires the operator to provide sufficient bandwidth to be able to allow users to upload videos on their networks. And, this is possible only in the networks that are at least 3G. Even in 3G networks, it requires a 3G+ or HSPA network to really enable the full capability of uploading multimedia content on a wireless network. This is a transition phase and the Middle East is catching up in this area, but it is lesser than some regions such as Western Europe and North America.
Currently, most of the user generated content and social networks are westernised. The creation of Middle East focused sites will tremendously increase the multimedia traffic in this region.
COMMSMEA: How does your solution help operators reduce their OPEX and CAPEX investments?
Patrick Lopez: Given the growth of video, telecom operators will not be able to double their capacity every year. While there are other ways to deliver such as moving to LTE, or buying more capacity and antenna, these strategies will take minimum three years to enact, and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. We deploy our technology in a matter of months and it will cost only a few million dollars. Considering an average operator today has 5 GB/sec of data, our solution can help them save $295 million over a five year period.
COMMSMEA: What is the future of mobile video services in this region, and how are you finding business in the region?
Patrick Lopez: With increasing mobile video services, most operators in the Middle East are now in the process of evaluating or contemplating optimisation technologies. We see a lot of opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, and in Africa, the sub-Saharan countries such as Nigeria and Ghana show positive mobile video services growth.