iLiveIT has recently partnered with SPB TV to launch a video streaming platform which will enable mobile network operators (MNOs) and corporate customers to deliver video content to multiple devices at low cost.
Riaan Groenewald, iLiveIT COO, says a key element of the service is the platform’s ability to effectively stream video content.
“The ability to stream video consistently from edge data speeds upwards means that the majority of mobile phones in Africa will be able to view content from the platform with a good user experience,” he says.
In terms of devices able to access the streams, Groenewald says consumers will be able to watch on most devices in South Africa, from low end feature phones right through to high-end smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart TVs via browser or an app.
According to Strategy Worx, there are approximately 46.5-million cell phones in South Africa of which 12-million are smartphones. There are around 20-million feature phones, which are capable of connecting to the Internet.
“Another key element of the platform is its ability to dynamically vary the streaming bitrate and auto-detect the device being used. The platform automatically controls the quality of the picture sent to the device in real time based on the data speeds available and the device being used. This will give a quality viewing experience on edge data speeds right through to full HD and 3D movies on HSDPA/LTE,” he says.
iLiveIT’s partner, SPB TV is one of the world’s leading providers of end-to-end OTT TV, IP TV and mobile TV solutions for video content delivery to multi-screen devices. SBP TV currently has over 30-million users globally using their service, with content ranging from news to sport, comedy, movies, music and food.
SBP TV will be one of the content partners which iLiveIT anticipates will use the platform, especially as iLiveIT moves up into Africa.
Kirill Philippov, CEO of SPB TV, says Africa is a significant opportunity given the high penetration of mobile phones on the continent in relation to other technology.
“iLiveIT’s understanding of the mobile context within Africa and their ability to build effective solutions to deliver content in a developing context made them an ideal partner,” he says.
The platform not only allows multiple content providers to stream their content effectively in an African context, but provides a billing mechanism and a powerful analytics tool for advertisers too.
There will be various revenue models for streaming video content ranging from channel subscription services, “freemium” content and direct advertising services.
Groenewald says the various models will involve deploying platform servers at a MNO to stream the video on-net without having to break out onto another network, thereby enabling the MNO to ensure the quality of the service.
“Our financial models will enable our partners to offer the service at an extremely reasonable cost, which will make the service accessible by the majority of people in South Africa,” he says.
iLiveIT is in discussions with major MNOs across Africa and will look to roll out in South Africa first before moving up into Africa where the service will once again be extremely affordable to large portions of people on the continent.
The platform allows for various in-stream interactions. Consumers will be able to interact with the content in ways that only mobile can deliver, like voting solutions via SMS, click to call and coupon offers via MMS.
“The platform also has several interactive advertising options which sit as overlays on top of the video content, enabling people to interact directly with the advertising. Doing so will take them onto a social media platform, browser or allow for interactive usage like voting,” he says.
For example, if a consumer is watching a reality TV talent competition, then the interactive nature of the service allows them to vote from their phone while watching the screen.
The platform will also enable corporates to launch their own channels. This will be similar to the radio model where retailers have launched their own radio stations which are played in-store. But it will also be ideal for large corporates to communicate internally with their staff.
“Corporates in the mining, manufacturing, telecoms and retail sectors have large numbers of staff. The platform will enable corporates to communicate directly with their employees via video streams on their phone,” he says.