Mountain View, California (EastBayDaily) — Today Skyfire, the company famous for its cloud mobile video solutions, is debuting the Skyfire Myth Buster reports, a series of studies revolving around the challenges facing wireless carriers and mobile video. The first report, published today, surveys the top 100 global video websites on their use of Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) – a technology that, if adopted on a wide scale, could dramatically ease the mobile data tsunami in the years to come. Unfortunately, Skyfire’s findings do not bode well: the survey shows only 18 percent of the top 100 global video sites employ ABR tactics.
According to Cisco, video currently takes up 52 percent of all mobile data and will grow to 66 percent by 2013. Operators across the world are struggling to keep up with demand while continuing to offer a high quality video streaming experiences. In order to easy mobile network congestion, commentators have looked to the app and video publisher community to adopt smart bandwidth methods such as ABR. With ABR, each video can be streamed in a variety of quality options, and depending on network conditions and device feedback, the video switches up or down in quality to avoid pauses, hiccups, and video buffering.
Skyfire’s research has found some surprising results related to use of Adaptive Bit Rate: On the iPhone, just 10 percent of mobile publishers have adopted Adaptive Bit Rate streaming, as of November 2011, on iPhone web sites and apps. On desktop/laptop websites (laptops are around half the data load thanks to 3G/4G dongles), 17 percent of top 100 websites with video used ABR formats. 26 percent of iPhone apps for those top 100 digital brands, where available, used ABR with multiple bit rates. Across the board, 17-18 percent of top publishers use ABR.
“The data from our ABR testing shows that the technology is far from being adopted as rapidly as some in the industry had hoped,” said Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck. “The implication here is clear: Operators need to look into all the possible tools, including Wi-Fi offload, metered data pricing, 4G network build outs, and in-network optimization solutions. Every tool will be needed to handle the data tsunami, and ABR is only one small part of that.”
Skyfire conducted a similar study in April 2011 and adoption rates have barely increased since then. For websites, only 11 percent of the publishers used ABR delivery, even though ABR options have been available for years. On Android, none of the publishers used ABR delivery, as no reliable ABR mechanism is yet available on Android. For iPhone apps and websites, 18 percent used the Apple HTTP Live Streaming ABR standard, which is available thanks to the Apple embedded media player.
Cheaper video encoding options like MP4 have come to dominate mobile and desktop video delivery. From Skyfire estimates, over 70 percent of iOS video, and 50 percent of web video bandwidth, runs via MP4—which is a non-adaptive format. While Skyfire believes that ABR use will increase in coming years, these figures should make operators pause before they sit back and rely on the hope that mobile video providers self police. Finally, the rise of HTML5, which currently has no ABR standard, and favors the Progressive Download with the HTML5 video tag, further works against ABR use in coming years.
To read the full report, please visit: http://www.skyfire.com/en/news/blog/112-mythbuster
For more information on Skyfire’s Myth Buster Series, visit the Skyfire blog: http://skyfire.com/en/news/blog
Visit http://www.skyfire.com for up-to-date product information and technical background (such as whitepapers and briefing reports) on its carrier-grade offerings.
Skyfire is dedicated to leveraging the power of cloud computing to improve radically the mobile Internet experience for both Operators and Consumers. Skyfire’s solutions provide game-changing cost savings, better end-user experiences, and compelling incremental revenue opportunities. Skyfire was recently recognized as no. 4 on Light Reading’s 2011 Startups to Watch list; and by OnMobile as a Top 100 Private Company.
Skyfire has honed its technology through a variety of consumer apps, as both a laboratory and showcase for new capabilities. With over 9 million downloads to date, Skyfire’s mobile browser was named the no. 2 Android app of all time by TechCrunch and the no. 3 Android App of all time by Yahoo/Appolicious. Skyfire’s iPhone and iPad browsers each reached the no. 1 selling app rank shortly after launch in 2010 on the Apple App StoreTM as the first way for iOS users to access videos designed for the Adobe® Flash® Player.
Skyfire is based in Mountain View, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, with backing from VCs Matrix Partners, Trinity Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. For more information, visit http://www.skyfire.com, or follow Skyfire on Twitter at twitter.com/skyfire.