Video is the New Voice – Bob Logan of Dialogic

Bob Logan and I have been talking about doing an interview about Dialogic’s video work for a while now. As Bob says on the podcast “Video is the new Voice”. So we did an interview together in several forms. Hope you enjoy listening reading and watching.

CF: What is new in Dialogic these days?

RL: One thing that is not new is that Dialogic provides enabling technologies… platforms… etc etc. For a long time, we have specialized in media processing and signaling… especially in the voice world. To answer your question, we think that Video is the New Voice. Applications that have been voice or audio-enabled will be video. More specifically, within the video space, we see lots of opportunities for mobile video… fits with our talents. Etc

Our focus is on mobile video, and our specialty is highest quality with the highest performance.

CF: What types of applications do you see happening today in mobile video?

RL: You know what, Carl? Some of the most popular applications today are actually capitalizing on the fact that not all networks today handle video services. There are some cool applications around call completion – probably a pretty boring topic on its own, but one that has always been a big revenue winner for the carriers.

Lots of applications around entertainment and social media. There is an application in Asia called “love meter” – basically the app has some software that tries to measure the caller’s mood to determine if he or she is compatible with the person on the other end.

There are always applications that kind of catch me by surprise. In Japan, a very popular application is a remote surveillance application that lets you check remotely on the status of your pet.

And finally, we need to acknowledge that adult content has always been on the leading edge of communications technologies and mobile video is no exception.

There are lots of examples (none from the adult industry) on Dialogic’s YouTube channel,

CF: What are some new applications that you see with increased bandwidth – 4G and beyond?

RL: A lot of the high bandwidth mobile applications will be similar to those we have on our computers today – video streaming, music streaming, interactive video telephony.

People are becoming more comfortable with mobile video. The people at Nielsen publish a nice report each quarter – the most recent data are from 3Q10 and it shows 15M people watching video on their mobile phone – up >50% since last year. And naturally, teenagers are the heaviest users. It’s becoming more mainstream and higher bandwidths will just accelerate the trend.

I think that high bandwidth networks make it much easier to monetize mobile video – advertising becomes easier. Combining this with increased information about the user (likes/dislikes), geographic information available in the device, information on the content being viewed… the advertising can get very targeted.

One thing to keep in mind, Carl… the high bandwidth networks will help, but new devices will also help. Look at how the iPhone has revolutionized mobile video.

CF: You’ve given some applications and examples from the consumer market – what about enterprises?

RL: We’re seeing a lot of enterprises adding video to their IVR systems, turning them into IVVR.

Applications like remote filing of insurance claims, enterprises offering video training to consumers (think about video help on how to assemble your kid’s toys on Christmas Eve)

These examples are streaming, but I think the real breakthrough to the enterprise will be from enhanced analysis of the video stream itself.

Detecting whether a video is authentic, whether it has been tampered with, determining if it contains objectionable material, ensuring high quality. These are things that matter a great deal to an enterprise, and these are the areas where Dialogic is spending its research and development investment.

CF: You mentioned video quality. Do you think that really matters in a mobile world?

RL: Yes, Carl, I really do.

For one thing, we need to realize that the mobile operators are looking at the increased levels of traffic that video is bringing onto their networks, and they are getting concerned. There have been discussions about throttling traffic or at least making people aware of how much traffic they are consuming. Carriers are approaching this with a mindset of restriction or punishing consumers. I want to make a prediction – I think that some carrier is going to realize that there is a revenue opportunity here – that they will offer a higher quality of user experience and be able to use that as a way of generating additional revenue for network investment. I think someone will turn this into a carrot instead of a stick.

Do you remember that Nielsen report that I referenced earlier? Well Nielsen has also reported that people who watch video on their laptops typically watch “short form” video – YouTube clips and the like.

But people who watch mobile video are typically watching professionally-produced content. Some of this is because the carriers provide this content as part of their service offering. But I think viewers have a higher expectation of quality when they watch professionally-produced content.

Combine that with larger screen sizes, better display technologies, and networks with higher bandwidth and we believe that quality will be increasingly important for consumers.

Yeah, quality matters.