Carriers have coped with the growth of mobile video consumption by introducing various network management strategies. Mobile browser and platform developer Skyfire’s products use video optimization to balance network load and user experience.
The demand for mobile bandwidth is expected to increase 18 times between 2011 and 2016. Video holds a central place in this “mobile warming” trend, and should represent 71 percent of bandwidth in 2016 - which leaves the industry with a serious need to optimize existing infrastructures. Skyfire has developed products that address this issue, and does so in a variety of aspects: a bandwidth optimizer product called Rocket, and the mobile browser extension platform Horizon. As well as products for operators and manufacturers, Skyfire also has developed standalone browsers for Android and iOS. Working with the insight that much of the wireless data draw will be from mobile video, Skyfire’s optimization products prioritize delivering content that balances quality of experience with operator needs.
Saving data through video optimization
At this point, mobile carriers are managing growing bandwidth needs with aversion tools - more data usage is more expensive. Specifically, they have introduced tiered data pricing, Wi-Fi offload and intelligent optimization, but Skyfire uses a different strategy. The Rocket optimizer claims to save an average of 60 percent of data with video optimization, and as much as 75 percent. While other services use caching to assuage the heavy data burden on networks, most video is not limited to just popular content. Over 90 percent of streams are watched less than 10 times, and Skyfire uses newer types of network capacity management, and can deliver up to 4 times the benefit.
Smart-network management powered by the cloud
Skyfire products rely on the cloud, optimizing video with “just-in-time transcoding and transrating, with frame-in to frame-out in under 200 milliseconds.” This creates viewable material with less buffering for consumers, and less intensive for networks. The system senses congestion in specific cell towers and adjusts video consumption according to bandwidth availability. Horizon, the browser extension platform creates an in-browser toolbar that encourages sharing, and also includes cloud-based CMS. The Skyfire browser incorporates all of these features in an app that is available for consumers, giving scope to its vision of bringing bandwidth optimization to as many mobile devices as possible and foiling mobile warming.