Video making second mobile revolution

Smartphones and tablets are driving a mobile revolution, allowing video to take the lead in a business once dominated by voice calls, industry players and experts say.

Video already does or will soon account for the majority of mobile data traffic, according to companies that monitor traffic, and with the proliferation of tablet computers that is likely to increase.

"If you want to put 2011 into a nutshell you can say that for the mobile phone companies their business is changing from an ears business - people speaking and hearing - into an eyes business with people looking at little screens," said Stefan Zehle, CEO of Coleago Consulting.

Cisco chief John Chambers told the mobile industry's annual trade fair in Barcelona this week that the visual medium would soon become ubiquitous in mobile communication.

"It won't be fifty to sixty percent of traffic on networks in five years out that will be visual. It will be eighty to ninety percent. Everything you do will have visual capability."

Currently most of the visual traffic is video streaming, with video-sharing site YouTube the single top application accounting for 17 percent of total mobile data traffic, according to network firm Allot Communications.

However 2011 could be the year that video telephony finally takes off, nearly a half century after it was first invented.

Skype, which pioneered voice calls over the Internet, brought video calls to PCs in 2006 and says 42 percent of its calls are now video.

And now video calling is now moving to mobile handsets.

Skype launched last month video calling for the iPhone, and Apple has its own application, which is so far limited only to WiFi connections.

Another firm, ooVoo, now supports iPhones and smartphones running the Google-backed Android operating system for its free high-definition-capable video calling service.

ooVoo has gone from nine million users in January 2010 to 21 million last month.

"I really see 2010 as having been the tipping point for video calling," the company's chief executive, Philippe Schwartz, told AFP.

Stuck only to PCs, video calling would remain a niche service but "mobile is the enabler to make it mass market," he said.

US-based Syniverse Technologies announced this week at the Mobile World Congress a deal to provide a video calling service for Korea Telecom, the country's top fixed-line and second-largest mobile operator.

The service is highly interoperable as it does not require receiving handsets to have pre-installed software.

Another company, Aylus, announced a similar video calling service for operators which allows users to start conversations as audio calls and then freely switch over to video.

Both ooVoo and Aylus video calls can be made over existing 3G networks, and the video quality in demonstrations matched or exceeded PC video calls on fixed Internet conditions.

Not everyone is convinced video telephony will take off, however.

"I think the value for the end user to actually watch each other while talking is limited," said Magnus Rehle, managing director of Greenwich Consulting.

The consulting firm Deloitte said in a recent report it "believes that in 2011 video calling wil be cheaper, better and more widely available than ever; yet a boom in demand is unlikely."

It said for most calls audio is sufficient for users, and that many remain uncomfortable with video calling as it makes them self-conscious.

However a Skype representative said people don't want to be bound to their PCs and that mobile video calls "give users the opportunity to share personal moments wherever they are and whenever they want."

Smartphone handset makers, as well as tablet manufacturers, would not be equipping them all with front-facing cameras if they thought video calling would remain a niche service, he said.

Skype's success with PC-based video calling showed "that if there is an easy and intuitive application to use to see the other party then there is a big number of people" willing to use it, said Aylus chief executive Mark Edwards.

Syniverse's Tony Holcombe said consumers have been ready for mobile video calling for some time, "but the key to unlocking widespread uptake is full-scale interoperability" so all camera-equipped phones can be called.

With many smartphones now equipped with high definition cameras, they are likely to become increasingly used as camcorders.

A company called muvee expects to start shipping this year on Android phones the first application for users to edit their videos directly on their smartphones.

"Whenever you film you always get a bunch of rubbish that you want to trim and cut out," said muvee founder and chief Terence Swee. "You don't want to go through the hassle of transferring video to a computer to edit, you want to do it on your phone directly and with muvee you can."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Web Developer looking...

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones