Advanced Television

Industry majors aim to Deliver ‘High Quality Mobile Experience’ to consumers

February 14, 2011

By Colin Mann

The HQME Steering Committee, a newly-formed group of mobile and content industry leaders that includes SanDisk Corporation, SoftBank Mobile, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Orange, has announced a proposed industry standard aimed at addressing the current and growing challenges of efficiently managing and delivering data from mobile networks to mobile devices.

HQME (High Quality Mobile Experience) is a proposed industry standard that leverages local storage and intelligent content caching to relieve network congestion and accelerate data delivery to the mobile device. HQME aims to create a more enjoyable mobile multimedia experience by more efficiently delivering bandwidth-intensive content and allowing users to consume it while bypassing common data delivery pitfalls and reducing negative impact to the overall network.

The group recognises that consumer demand for mobile content is set to outpace spending and innovation in network capacity for years to come. The resulting bandwidth constraint impacts users’ mobile experience, causing them to stare at loading animations as a video prepares to play, and then again throughout playback as the video pauses to re-buffer. The suboptimal user experience is expected to worsen as mobile devices proliferate and consumers, with a growing expectation to consume bandwidth-intensive data on their mobile devices, increase their demand for more content.

According to Cisco, overall mobile data traffic is expected to grow to 6.3 exabytes per month by 2015, a 26-fold increase over 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 92 percent from 2010 to 2015.1

“This issue affects all members of the mobile ecosystem, including content owners, network operators, device manufacturers, memory providers and app developers,” said Flint Pulskamp, research director, wireless and wired communications semiconductors, IDC. “The proposed solution requires an industry-wide approach so that it is both effective and sustainable.”

Under the proposed IEEE P2200 standard, memory on the mobile device is viewed as the ‘last node on the network’. This calls for compliant applications to download content when the mobile device is connected to AC power and Wi-Fi instead of during peak hours the next day. Pre-emptively downloading content to the device’s local storage allows consumers to access the content they want while circumventing the bottlenecks associated with mobile network congestion during peak hours.

“HQME’s innovation is to align key players in mobile content delivery to minimise the inconveniences associated with acquiring content over capacity-constrained mobile networks,” said Susan Kevorkian, research director, mobile connected devices, IDC. “Intelligently coordinating content delivery in advance to local device storage lets consumers enjoy their video, games, periodicals, books and music when they are ready, and may help mobile operators and service providers to reduce churn by improving the perceived quality of the experience. The importance of this type of industry-standard solution will only grow as adoption of mobile broadband enabled devices proliferates in tandem with mobile entertainment services.”

“Solving the problem takes an industry-wide effort, and that’s the purpose behind the HQME steering committee,” said Robert Khedouri, vice president and general manager, software and solutions, SanDisk. “The HQME initiative and end result will take some time, but progress has already been made by putting our collective heads together to propose a standardised solution aimed at increasing customer satisfaction.”

“In an increasingly mobile and connected world, it’s critical that we work together across industries to find the solutions that will give consumers the quality, reliability and choice they deserve,” said Mitch Singer, CTO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and president of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem.

In addition to its steering committee, HQME has the support of other existing coalitions and key standards bodies, including the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE).

Categories: Articles, Mobile, Portable Media, Regulation, Standards