) Video Marketing Manager Martyn Davies recently sat down for an interview with TMC's Marisa Torrieri. She started off by asking him for some idea of the scope of mobile video.
"It's a huge area," Davies said, "covering handset functionality, network capability and over-the-top services." As he explained, in handsets, "you often have the ability to play and record and store video," especially on high-end phones like Nokia and Apple (News
), and sometimes edit video. In 3G networks you have the ability to do video calling, that is, "connecting a video call between two handsets, or handset to a video gateway."
Davies said over-the-top services is where a video stream is sent from some kind of video server over an IP transport, and gets displayed on the handset, normally in a browser using something like Flash or Real Player: "We call that over-the-top because the video data arrives via 3G data or Wi-Fi, and it's outside control of the operator."
Sometimes the operators provide their own over-the-top services, like TV channels, and in the jargon they call this "on-deck," meaning that the service is within the operator's own network and platform.
Torrieri observed that in that case, video applies to standard feature phones as well as smartphones.
"That's right," Davies agreed. "Smartphones and apps get a lot of press coverage, but really this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's reckoned that there are 3.8 billion unique phone users in the world, and probably 4.1 billion handsets, but only about 15 percent of the installed base are smartphones, although the smart percentage is growing."
In other words, Davies noted, "there are quite a few high-profile video apps, using some kind of over-the-top approach connected with the Web. You can understand why start-ups might go for this approach, since it's not dependent on any particular operator, and they don't have to negotiate with Verizon (News
) or Vodafone for permission to do anything."
However, he added, the flip-side is that "you're reaching a relatively small and rich base of users, and you're in a niche."
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri