Mobile video may be the hottest trend in video today, with evidence of its ascendance seemingly everywhere. As just one data point, last week's Q3 2014 Global Video Index from Ooyala pegged mobile video plays at 30% of all online video plays. That was up from 20% share in Q2 '14, more than double mobile video's 14% share from one year earlier in Q3 '13 and quintuple the 6% share from Q3 '12.
Reliance Jio Infocomm is looking to hire nearly 3,000 people at regional levels to set up its retail and distribution chain as the Reliance Industries unit gears up to launch its much-awaited fourth-generation telecom services next year.
It’s not a streak you want to continue, especially if you are the NFL, Verizon Wireless, or one of the frustrated customers who weren’t able to see live video using Verizon’s NFL Mobile application during Sunday’s season-opening games. But just like last year, when activation servers for a new version of the app got overwhelmed, issues arose again on Sunday, making live video — one of the premium features of NFL Mobile that makes the app and service so attractive — unavailable for most of the day, including the large slate of early games.
Nokia Networks has signed a partnership agreement with Flash Networks to include Flash Networks' Harmony™ Gateway as part of its mobile broadband core network offering. The market leading solution enables operators to optimize video and web traffic for an improved user experience, including faster web browsing and downloads, smoother video viewing, and content control services.
"Partnering is an essential part of our company strategy to enable business growth for all the players in the market. We see an exciting partnering opportunity with Flash Networks to extend the ecosystem and grow beyond our current mobile broadband portfolio," says Thorsten Robrecht, vice president at Nokia Networks. "With the addition of Flash Networks' offerings into our mobile broadband portfolio, we create a significant value-add and enable mobile operators to maintain a competitive edge by providing the fastest network possible while handling the dynamic growth in mobile data."
"We are delighted to team up with Nokia to improve the mobile Internet user experience," says Ran Fridman, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Flash Networks. "Thanks to the partnership we will be able to expand our market reach while helping operators improve their network performance in a cost effective way by better utilizing their existing network capacity."
The Harmony optimization solution from Flash Networks improves average mobile access speeds by 50 percent while keeping video stalling to a minimum and reducing network load by 30 percent. It provides operators with a more cost-effective architecture for 4G and 3G networks by providing them with more bandwidth management flexibility combined with Nokia Networks' planning and optimization expertise in mobile broadband.
With this agreement, which is part of Nokia Networks partnering strategy , the company will continue to strengthen development and innovation efforts for meeting the market demands and delivering the solutions of the future.
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One of the biggest challenges mobile operators face is handling the growing amount of video traffic in their networks. One potential savior is multicast technology LTE broadcast, which delivers content such as TV broadcasts to multiple people at once instead of sending a separate stream to each user. The result is less strain on the network, which is especially good in places such as sports arenas.
Qualcomm's LTE Broadcast SDK has been designed for Snapdragon-based devices.
French TV regulator CSA has extended until March 2015 the authorisation for TDF to trial DTT broadcasts of service B2M (Broadcast Mobile Multimedia) using DVB-T. TDF broadcasts the service from the Eiffel Tower transmitter in Paris.
Huawei launched their innovative IP VIDEO Solution 2.0 at International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2014 in Amsterdam. The new solution uniquely integrates diverse features and new user experience to improve video business platform facilitation from IPTV to Video Everywhere and that innovative platform is part of Huawei video everywhere strategy which enables video@home, video@move and video@enterprise as well. Huawei envisions a video ecosystem, where videos become integral to our lives and work.
In 2014, mobile video is a fact of life. It has taken nearly 5 years for the service to transition from novelty to a growing habit that is quickly becoming an everyday occurrence in mature markets. Nearly a quarter of YouTube and Netflix views nowadays are on a tablet or a smartphone. Of course, users predominantly still stream over wifi, but as LTE slowly progresses across markets, users start to take for granted the network capacity to deliver video.
Already, LTE networks start to show signs of weariness as video threatens the infrastructure and the business model of mobile content delivery. For those who are familiar with my blog, I have been complaining for a while that mobile carriers are not doing enough to make their networks more video capable. You would think that with anywhere between 40 to 70% of the data traffic, video would warrant more interest and effort than what we see today. Many studies show that although video is the dominant and fastest growing application in mobile, its service quality is mediocre. Conviva claims that about 15% of videos in wifi and cellular networks never actually start, while Skyfire shows that close to 50% of consumers experience video problems “often” or “all the time” in the US.
Of course, part of the issue here is that 85% of these videos streamed over mobile networks are from OTT properties. In many cases, network operators and content providers are at odd when it comes to managing the service. Mobile carriers essentially see these services as non-paying passengers on their transport networks and are either looking at encouraging the offloading of this traffic or to at the very least limit the space that they occupy, particularly in congested areas.
Content providers are predominantly designing services for the internet. It just happens that some of its delivery (increasingly) occurs on mobile devices in cellular networks. The technology and economics of their service is based on the internet model, where bandwidth is plentiful and they are already paying for reach (CDNs) and access (transit and peering). Paying wireless carriers for essentially the same services was a no-starter until a significant part of their customer based started accessing their services wirelessly on smartphones and tablets. As multiscreen and mobile becomes an important use case, content providers are downloading a streaming player into your devices when you start playing web video on your browser or are enjoining you to use their apps. These are defensive moves aimed at extending the control of the user experience. The reality today is that there are too many players with diverging controlling interests in the delivery of mobile video to make it a good experience. Soon, one will hope, the actors will recognise that no one can control the mobile delivery service end-to-end, forcing cooperation. We are starting to see signs of this with announcements such as Vodafone UK and Netflix exclusive partnership.
We are now at the crossroads where the penetration of mobile devices, the ubiquitous access to fixed and mobile broadband have redefined how video is produced and watched, but not yet how it is delivered. What would be the attributes of a Video Delivery Network? Well, ideally it would be designed for both mobile and fixed IP delivery. If we look first at the services it will enable and the business models it is likely to foster, such a network will need to be able to accommodate both live linear video, as well as on demand streaming. It will have to be designed to unlock advertising in a contextually relevant manner and provide frictionless compensation and service level agreement (SLA) management between the actors. Furthermore, models such as pay per use, duration passes, service vouchers, gift cards and sponsored usage will also have to be built in. The corollary from these assumptions is that, in essence, a collaborative service management method is necessary between consumers, announcers, networks and content providers. What would this network look like, from a technology standpoint? We have some examples today of partial implementation of these services, in a disjointed, vertical manner. Netflix has transitioned from using commercial CDNs to implementing their Open Connect network. Google Global Cache is extending the content provider’s reach into carrier networks. If we draw this trend to its logical conclusion, a well managed video network will need to have end-to-end managed quality of experience. The only way to achieve this is to integrate player/app/browser/user experience with Radio Access Network (RAN) congestion management, which itself provides explicit data to the Core network for active traffic management that is policy-managed by a negotiated SLA/QoE between content provider, announcer and network. Effectively, this would force network operators to open APIs for announcers and content providers to control the delivery of the content from a quality/speed standpoint. This is the carrier’s contribution to the bargain. The resulting quality of delivery for premium services will be a negotiation in real-time between the demand (content provider and announcer) and the supply (network conditions) at this point in time, for that service, for this user in a specific location. The quality rating at the end or throughout the session should be used as a metric in the calculation of the transfer price of the service. All this can be arbitrated and managed by SLA as it is the case on the internet today.
For freemium, free to air and advertising based services, privacy and regulatory provisions would warrant that each party involved in the ad targeting would retain the use of the data they collect and provide a geographic / demographic / contextual abstraction layer to determine the ad selection. As a result, carriers will need to fundamentally change the way data is collected and analysed, transitioning from operational to marketing view if they wish to monetize the user segmentation. The ad insertion itself should occur as close to the user as possible to enhance contextual and individual granularity. This requirement implies that for encrypted traffic, encryption as well occurs at the point of ad insertion and not before to enable targeting. Technologically, the delivery method should rely on adaptive bit rate DASH to make best use of the network resources, but the encoding should occur in the carrier’s network, with mezzanine files pre-cached and controlled by the content providers. That ad insertion, encoding and encryption location has been a moving target in the past years because it is where the control point is from a content provider’s perspective. They have allowed CDNs in the past to perform these tasks because they had no other choice, they will need to allow carriers to perform the same to unlock this jigsaw. This is the content provider’s contribution to the bargain.
Inevitably, announcers will have to create an inventory of ads that are mobile specific, not only targeted at devices but at contexts of mobility. Measured quality, high engagement rate and hyper targeted segmentation should help raise CPM in that market. At last, at the device and radio level, there is no reason that content that is popular would have to go all the way to the content provider’s origin servers to be delivered. An intelligent video service would be able to detect if the service requested is live and linear and watched by others in the area and switch to a broadcast delivery. If the service is on demand, but the content exists closer to the user’s location that is where it should be served from, being from someone else’s device, a network PVR or a cache in the RAN or the core network. There is where network virtualization will take its full capacity, when virtualized storage and networking function can be pushed down to the device level, peer-to-peer transmission will become possible.
What these trends indicate is that a video delivery network will need to be vertically integrated. The boundaries between devices, radio, core and content provider networks will subside, with automatization, programmability and virtualization enabling the efficient delivery and management of highly reliable and profitable video service. These questions and more are reviewed in details in my latest reports "Video Monetization and Optimization 2014" and "SDN - NFV in Wireless Networks".
Originally published in The Mobile Network in September 2014.
The year 2014 may be remembered as one of the most transformational in the history of the cable business. While the sustained growth of video services has begun to give way to over-the-top distribution, a massive opportunity with unknown dimensions has quietly emerged.
A group of 17 service providers, content companies and tech vendors has formed the Streaming Video Alliance, aimed at formulating industry-wide standards and establishing best practices for high-scale Internet video services.
Notably, Netflix and YouTube — which represent the two biggest sources of Internet bandwidth usage — are not members of the group. Both companies have invested heavily in their own video-distribution infrastructure, which means they wouldn’t be interested in switching gears to adopt a new architecture defined by an external consortium.
For more information check the article from Variety here
Verizon says that it is ready to deliver LTE Multicast and is simply waiting for the compatible devices to become available in volume. Verizon is also working on the revenue models for the 4G video service.
I think [the 4G Mobile TV service] will be a year away," said Verizon WirelessCFO Fran Shammo on the operator's third-quarter earnings call Tuesday morning. Verizon first demonstrated the video capability in New York City around the Super Bowl with the NFL. He expects that devices need to arrive and content providers to see potential customers before the mobile TV service takes off.
Independent video advertising platform BrightRoll has released findings from a first-of-its-kind study – BrightRoll Insights: Mobile Video Advertising Strengthens TV Media Investments – aimed at offering practical advice on how brand marketers and agencies can leverage TV and mobile video to reach consumers cost-effectively where they are consuming media.
LTE Multicast (also known as LTE Broadcast) is getting lots of attention from vendors and mobile operators for its ability to deliver live multimedia to smartphones and tablets being used by concentrated groups of people, such as those attending a sporting event or concert.