You can do amazing things with today’s more advanced mobile phones. But for most users, video is more novelty than necessary. Delivery is typically choppy and picture quality poor.
Ortiva Wireless provides content providers with a hosted solution it claims delivers the smoothest video, clearest audio and richest multimedia experience to mobile users under highly variable conditions, i.e. poor reception. Ortiva monitors the network, user by user, second by second, shaping content around real-time network conditions.
Indicative of the kinds of areas Ortiva technology can work with is the deal it announced last month with Ignition, a leading provider of action sports (surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross and BMX) mobile content . Ignition will use Ortiva’s Mobile Content Delivery Network (M-CDN) to bring smooth video and audio to its customers.
Heading Ortiva Wireless is president and CEO DeWayne Nelon who has over 20 years of telecommunications industry experience. In this interview with internetnews.com, Nelon expounded on video for mobile devices, mobile trends and, of course, gave his thoughts on the forthcoming Apple iPhone.
Q: You joined Ortiva a little over a year ago. What brought you there?
I was recruited away. It took them a while to convince me, but I’m a firm believer mobile is a key part of our everyday data acquisition. It’s not going to replace the PC, but the idea of rich content on mobile has legs. What Ortiva offers intrigued me because we’re able to do it we’re able to do it without a client and leverage assets that are in place rather than have the ecosystem adapt to us.
Q: But you do have competition.
There is competition. Simply speaking the most obvious competitors are existing CDNs (define) like Akamai or Level 3 that look at the mobile device as another Internet terminal. There are a few others in the market like Real Networks.
Q: So what’s Ortiva’s difference? Is it an emphasis on the quality of content delivery?
That’s a big part, but not all of it. Another part is a key fundamental belief I have that you can’t be successful by repurposing Internet toolsets for mobile. The environment is much more hostile than wired environments; the tools won’t work well. You have to look at the problem fundamentally different.
A lot of the solutions out there try to adapt to changes in bandwidth but they do so in a clumsy manner that can take 20 seconds or so [to resolve]. Carriers are excited with our solution, because we deliver a much better experience that’s more predictable with less bandwidth.
Q: So do you see a fairly rapid adoption of video on mobile devices?
Today people are more used to mobile for so many other things. And your mobile device is with you all the time. An interesting stat I’ve seen is that people notice their mobile device is missing far sooner than they’ll notice their wallet is missing. I think mobile phones are a natural extension of how we get video elsewhere.
I use Google Maps on my BlackBerry; two years ago I had to have my secretary print out directions. I think video delivery on mobile will come along as another solution we will take for granted.
Q: For what kinds of things?
The idea that what I do on my PC I’ll do on a mobile device has currency, but it’s not the whole story. What would you do if you could get reliable data delivery to a handset? How can I provide interactive delivery? And how do I target advertising so it relates to what you’re watching when? Ortiva has built mobile tools to help bring these ideas to reality.
Q: Is this technology strictly a consumer play or do you see applications and value for the business customer?
I definitely think we’ll see more interest from business in the long term, but near term it’s for the consumer market. We’re an enabling technology. I don’t expect consumers to know us. We’re a content distribution network built for mobile and that’s far different than the wired Internet. We don’t need as many nodes and we’re not limited by the speed of the connection.
Q: What’s been the reaction of the phone carriers?
We did a demo for a large carrier, and on two separate occasions they wanted to look at the phone because they thought there was an extra chip in it. They couldn’t believe the quality.
We’re fundamentally different under a wide variety of conditions. Showing great performance outside a [transmitting] tower isn’t reality. When you’re in a car, you start a session in one signal and it moves and changes. The elasticity we provide to isolate the user is unmatched. It’s like what shock absorbers do for your car.
Q: Will Europe and much of Asia continue to be at the leading edge in mobile technology adoption ahead of the U.S.?
As people become used to using mobile devices for other things, the gap will close quite quickly. E-mail and Google Maps are a great example of mobile apps that weren’t there a few years ago.
Q: What’s your take on Apple’s iPhone?
I have never seen one, but I think it’s great for the market to have a device that provides a richer experience because I think it will lead people to start to expect more from their phone than they do today.
When they start thinking of the phone as a truly interactive device, and all that implies, that’s good.