Skyfire Heads to Europe as Mobile Video Demand Picks UpVideo optimisation specialist says rapid LTE, smartphone uptake has given U.S. a two-year head-start in mobile multimedia.
November 09, 2012
by Nick Wood
Europe still lags the U.S. when it comes to mobile video viewing, according to data optimisation specialist Skyfire, although there are encouraging signs that usage is picking up.
"The U.S. is a couple of years ahead in some of the trends in terms of multimedia," Jeff Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, explained to Total Telecom.
"The percentage of Americans who watched video on a handset was around 47% in June, compared to around 23% in the U.K.," he claimed.
Glueck was in London this week; U.S.-based Skyfire recently completed a $10 million financing round aimed at funding its global expansion, and he has already found substantial demand for the company's on-the-fly transcoding solutions.
"We have got four trials running with European operators," Glueck said. "The [European] market is very competitive and eventually it will push users towards getting their fix of mobile multimedia."
Glueck identified two trends – broader LTE deployments and aggressive smartphone uptake – that have driven faster growth in the U.S. than in Europe.
"Europe was Symbian country for a long time – they weren't as multimedia-friendly as the handsets coming out in the U.S.," he said.
Growth in Europe is picking up fast, he said, and in a mobile market as competitive as Europe's, the quality of a video-watching experience could have a significant influence on whether a customer will stay loyal, or even pay more to join a network that boasts superior video delivery.
"Every survey we've done shows consumers are impatient," said Glueck, who cited a Harris Interactive survey of 4,000 U.K. mobile users, which revealed that besides price, data coverage was the most frequent reason given for churning.
"A few years ago that wouldn't have been the case," said Glueck.
Mobile data optimisation is nothing new. Rival data optimisation player Mobixell earlier this week announced that with 400 operator deployments worldwide, its various traffic management solutions now cover more than 1 billion mobile connections.
Skyfire focuses specifically on video. Its optimisation solution – called Rocket Optimizer – is deployed in a carrier's data centre. When a router picks up on a large data request it queries it against Rocket Optimizer, which is able to identify