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January 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 1
Convergence Corner

Mobile Video Leading the Charge into 2010

Erik LinaskI’ve always found the end of the year to be uniquely interesting. The holiday season always comes with a calmness that goes against the very nature of the rapid pace of evolution in our industry, but it offers a chance to look back at some of the trends that have kept us busy all year, and what lies ahead. Of course, it’s that unfaltering change and evolution that makes our space the most interesting to be in, and the innovation we have witnessed over the past decade doesn’t slow down for the changing of the years.

Two of the trends that remained strong all through 2009 – and will undoubtedly be in the spotlight for the foreseeable future in the new decade – are the mobile and video communications segments. In fact, a year ago, at ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2009, the overwhelming notion among the attendees and exhibitors I spoke with was that anyone not exploring one or both of these opportunities is missing a tremendous opportunity.

At TMC (News - Alert), we’ve witnessed firsthand the interest in the video market, through the rapid growth of the new Business Video site on TMCnet (, as well as increased viewership of the TMC newsroom – not to mention the tremendous interest in participation in our video interviews at industry events, both large and small, as well as in our own studio.

Just a few weeks ago, we added a new mobile aspect to our videos, taking the TMC Newsroom “On the Road” to Boston (see the new On the Road section on the TMCnet Videos site (, where Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) and I had a chance to talk to a number of Beantown-area industry insiders… with a gorgeous view of the Charles River.

The one common – and overwhelmingly positive theme – among all the people we spoke with that day was that 2009 was a successful year by all accounts, and 2010 promises to bring even greater successes.

One of the people I spoke with was Jeff Whatcott, senior vice president of marketing at Brightcove, which has a successful online video platform and (with its recent Brightcove 4 release) has made significant strides in enabling mobile video content with its Brightcove iPhone (News - Alert) SDK.

Today’s smartphones are truly changing the computing landscape. As Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire says, the iPhone is “the world’s first true personal computer.” While that may not yet be the prevalent theory among mainstream users given the availability of mobile broadband services, the power of today’s smartphones (not to mention the next generation of devices) and the personalized content delivered to mobile devices, it’s not far from the truth. After all, “mobile” is quickly becoming a requisite element of “personal.”

“I really believe that because it’s a computer you can carry with you everywhere, you can experience all your applications and all you entertainment, right in the palm of your hand,” says Whatcott. “Brightcove iPhone SDK allows people to create persistent applications that can be installed through the iTunes App Store to actually allow users to experience content on the iPhone.”

What it effectively means is that content providers will now be able to stream all the content they have been delivering to the desktop directly to iPhones. Presumably, this capability will also eventually be extended to Blackberry, Android (News - Alert) and other smartphone platforms as well.

The other important development in the mobile video space is Adobe’s work with Flash. Desktop users have been able to experience Flash-based video for years, but the capability has not been able to be delivered to mobile devices. By delivering the full power of Flash video to mobile platforms – and this is something Brightcove has been working closely with Adobe to deliver – any Web site that leverages Flash technology will be able to be rendered on a mobile device with the full Flash capabilities. That means that black box users see now will be replaced by the video content.

Anyone who has experienced mobile video over the years knows that today’s mobile video is a vast improvement over its predecessors. As Whatcott notes, the entire mobile browsing experience, including video, is much better today than a year or two ago, and it will continue to improve as networks evolve from 3G to 4G and as new, more powerful smartphones are developed.

By delivering full-featured mobile video, content providers will be able to provide a high-quality video experience wherever their audience may be, allowing them to develop deeper relationships and loyalty with those users. Of course, the final piece of that puzzle is the bringing that same content to the living room – which is still in the early adopter phase, though Whatcott says he is hearing more and more people cutting ties with their traditional video services providers and moving to an all-Internet service delivery.

Check out all of the content from TMC Newsroom On the Road, and visit the Business Video site for the latest news and content from this exciting segment of our industry. And of course, be sure to bookmark on your mobile device for all the latest communications news. IT

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