EE calls for working group to address mobile video challenges

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Operators need a comprehensive toolkit to help them deliver mobile video and ‘it won’t look pretty’, U.K. operator says.

The industry needs to come together to address the challenges posed by growing volumes of mobile video traffic in order to ensure a decent end-user experience, according to U.K. mobile network operator EE.

″It’s not an operator’s problem to solve, it’s everyone’s problem to solve,″ said Matt Stagg, senior manager of network strategy, architecture and design at EE, referring to well-publicised predictions that 75% of mobile data traffic in Western Europe will be video within the next four years.

″We’re building a video distribution network whether we like it or not,″ he said.

There are more players involved in the delivery of mobile video than there are in other similar markets, he pointed out. For example, BSkyB provides a satellite TV service in which it owns the content rights, delivery mechanism and set-top box, Stagg explained. Meanwhile in a mobile video service there is the content provider, CDN operator, mobile operator, a handset vendor and applications developers.

However, ″people work in isolation″, without taking into account the fact that change in one area can impact on another, he said. For example, people have started doing video encryption, but optimisation is based on unencrypted video, he noted.

″We need to have some kind of working group,″ that that enables all the different technology and commercial players to understand how changes in a specific area affect others, Stagg said.

″We all want the same thing…We want the customer to have a great experience and we want to make money,″ he said, admitting: ″it is difficult to see where the money is coming from,″ at present.

Quality of service ″is where we look at monetisation,″ he added. Right now ″content providers use the network and it works fine,″ but that will change over time.

When it comes to delivering mobile video, operators have a number of tools at their disposal to both boost their capabilities and reduce costs. These include content delivery networks, broadcast technologies such as eMDMS, adaptive bitrate, and edge caching.

But when it comes to what to deploy where, it’s a horses for courses situation.

″There’s no silver bullet,″ said Stagg. ″As an operator we need a comprehensive tool kit…[and] it won’t look pretty.″