MWC – Mobile World Congress was HOT!

At this year’s Mobile World Congress’s Grand Show floor in Barcelona was very grand. In fact, NAB, IBC, CES will be hard pressed to hold a candle to how outstanding the booths were at this show.

All the trinkets, er a phones and mobile devices easily rival all the gadgets at CES and the advances in networking are every bit if not more so than at IBC or NAB. I can’t say whether Siggraph or even E3 in the most recent years can compete, especially with all of the European flare. But there is one thing that is for sure, and that is that this years MWC was filled with hopes, dreams and thousands of individuals chasing theirs. AND that Video is THE compelling offering on whatever platform or device is being used.

- Announcement that went under the radar that’s important:

RealNetwork’s SurePlay. A very interesting and compelling video storage and player that enables automatic transcoding and somewhat simultaneous playback directly from their network which is now being packaged as a cloud and being called the video equivalent of Dropbox. Very slick in the evolution of the video marketplace as it is becoming more and more apparent, video is now the first choice in one-to-one communication,. This new product offering consequently is hoping to provide users with a very clean way to manage and enjoy their videos. In fact, it is becoming more and more apparent that products that make this transition easy, efficient and easily accessible are going to be very valuable.

- Rolling thunder – Ford’s connected cars

Connected Cars are a live and well. Where ever you went the wave of the future had a car attached. Of course the cars were electric, or some hybrid of sort, but what was very apparent where we were going as a culture. Fully connected, entertainment resource management, driving safety, and for that matter fashion centric. Even your sunglasses connected into to the car to assist you. Yes, Tesla was there (to be expected) but to me the car of the future was from Ford.

- Wearables –

Of course just like at CES a whole section of health conscience devices were at the ready. The most impressive booth was Fitbit a san Francisco company. If you went to CES, you can’t fault them for being presenting pretty much the same look since it was just a couple of weeks ago. But, they were out in force and really showing off their new colors and devices.

- The really cool, but not popular product;

SONY’s Xperia Z2 tablet. Really thin and light (6.4mm – 626g – that ‘s lighter than the thinnest iPad) and designed for either WiFi or LTE. Has a really fast microprocessor and fantastic display. The buzz around the SONY booth only was rivaled by NOKIA’s which is always the spot to be seen (especially this year with their really nice low-cost Xphones). Combine this new offering with SONY’s What’s New app which is a fast widget searching all the SONY libraries, it’s very compelling. The talk though was around whether SONY had the marketing moxie to pull it off. Sad.

- The better late than never, or surprise we’re here too offering;

The MobiTV and Jabil HDMI dongle to drive wireless content delivery into the home. Of course there’s a number of these devices out already in the market probably most notably Chromecast and for that matter the DUNE Digital TV stick, MobiTV’s drive to stay active perhaps is the real story. Jabil is a very strong partner in its ability to manufacture and distribute great products, so it will take real sales and BD capabilities to advance. When questioned as to what content, programming, licensing deals anything was brought up the conversation turned to how great the dongle was. This unfortunately makes one wonder what the real offering is. What’s probably the other great point to this is that TV Everywhere is VERY real and the race is on to provide ‘good’ solutions at this time to get a foot print via a low-cost, initial entry into the home.

- TOP Announcement: Really smart offering:

Ericsson’s CDN Plug-in Ecosystem.

What’s always been the best way to advance a category is to be the enabler. Help all ships rise is a time proven path to success. Whether you’re a content provider, a mobile platform, a table, a wall display, a dongle, STB or whatever, the content of choice has to effectively get to you. Let the wars rage in the licensing of the content and the programming metaphors and devices, the war will be settled by having the networks transparently and with stability deliver what you want, when you want it. Ericsson’s identified this and has at the heart of this being a partner with operators in providing a global “plug-in” that will drive a full–on network, multi-device delivery ecosystem.

The Ericsson Media Network Delivery System is designed to facilitate effective, migratable and evolutionary networks infrastructures. This ability will allow an operator to swap in or out components of their networks to stay up to date with the needs of their markets. At the pace of viewer/user needs it is VERY difficult to continually stay current. By having a scaling design that any operator can make fast adjustments is a real benefit and service.

This was the biggest announcement at the show.

Is LTE Broadcast finally the offering we’ve been looking for?

If LTE broadcasting proves right, we may be about ready to see a big shift in mobile video viewing efficiencies, creating what we might want to call the new “mob((ile)” based video excitement?

LTE broadcasting broadcasts a single stream, yes a single stream, allowing an unlimited number of enabled users in IP broadcast areas to receive live and broad-based content, on-demand. It can ensure a high-quality viewer experience while making the most efficient use of spectrum. This is especially true in environments such as stadiums, public venues and for that matter in communities where subscriber densities can reach extremely high levels. As we move forward broadcasting content over IP/wireless could prove to be the best way to deliver a consistent and reliable user experience.

As an example, a recent trial by Telstra in Australia proved that Ericsson’s LTE Broadcast solution worked incredibly well in a contained environment of a stadium. Telstra was able to instead of using around 2GB of data per user to stream “one” content channel of a cricket game, they were able to serve ALL of LTE Broadcast users, with 3 concurrent streams requiring a total of around 6GB for the entire broadcast. All of the users all at the same time all receiving the same content. Virtually enabling mass delivery of live programming. This success clearly shows how efficient this new spectrum is and has great potential to move us forward in delivering new programming models and services in dedicated environments.

What’s fairly amazing is that without LTE Broadcast, each of the users at the cricket match would have needed to receive an individual data stream for the content and the quality would obviously been eroded due to being be dependent on the number of users in the cell area.

So, as the demand for IP delivery of video increase, new OTT services and potentially “mob” based viewing (the old TV model) of new programming is demanded, it will be key that there is better network efficiency.

Congratulations to the team from Telstra and Ericsson! We may be seeing a major shift in how we efficiently deliver on the demand of new broadcast models directly to each person in the audience.