Image Delivery to a Babel of Handsets
Image Delivery to a Babel of Handsets

Image Delivery to a Babel of Handsets

Image Delivery to a Babel of Handsets

Mobile image solution developer i-Broadcast appears to have the right profile – over 250 of them in fact. The company’s server engine can recognize the onboard hardware & software profile of specific cell phones and deliver correctly formatted video and image content. On the celly end, a small Java applet displays the content thus avoiding the need for manually creating device-specific files. Why does this matter? Consider that Japan alone boasts over 250 types of mobile phones, and each needs a slightly different version of any given content. Looking to stream video to mobile as 3G takes off in Europe and Asia in 2004? Then you’ll need something like i-Broadcast’s solution.

Tokyo-based i-Broadcast Inc. have developed an image server engine for the company’s “Snapeye” and “Snaprec” solutions to provide on-demand image-file translation and delivery based on the requesting phone’s profile, saving enterprises a stack of money according to President Takuyu Ueda.

“There are many, many kinds of cell phones and also many carriers support many different formats. So Snaprec and Snapeye can recognize which cell phone [is requesting image content] and give the right format and the right size,” he says. “To provide 250 versions of any image content is impossible,” adds Ueda. Using Snapeye/Snaprec, there’s no need to create separate images for each cell phone.

The company sells its server solution as a dedicated box based on an IBM or HP server for 3.6 mn and 3.5 mn yen per year, respectively, including all software patches and upgrades with support costing an additional 300,000 yen. i-Broadcast has already profiled more than 260 phone models and is working furiously on gathering data on models used in other markets.

Interesting for us was to see that Ueda believes his primary market after Japan will be Asia (read: China) first and foremost, and not Europe or the Americas (at least, not anytime soon in the US; Europe already has several UMTS 3G networks online and there’ll be more by end-2004).

A typical customer would include online auction providers like Yahoo or Autobytel, any media company, corporate IR service providers, or any organization wishing to provide image content to its staff or customers via mobile. A related server product, Moply, can stream video to PCs without plugins on the client side; this solution uses a Java applet which will be supported on cellphones in the future.

i-Broadcast, a privately held company, has been around since February 2000 and has received modest coverage in the Japanese tech press. While it’s true the company faces an uphill battle to gather the requisite mobile phone profiles for markets outside Japan, they appear to be on track for the Japan market.

—The Editors

Also see these related WWJ video episodes:

MPEG-4 Mobile Video Evolution
15 April 2004

Java Streaming for the Wireless Web
30 August 2003

Fujitsu/NMS Streaming Live Video Server
18 November 2003

Getting a Handle on the Big & Little Picture
12 August 2002