Gigaom recently had a post about HQME called The Dream of Mobile Content Delivered at HQME. I believe commercially pragmatic innovation occurs in context of ecosystems and the home ecosystem is poised for innovation in a number of ways. Hence, HQME has been on my radar.
Firstly, before we discuss HQME, here is some context ..
The ‘home’ Cloud
In parallel to the much hyped Cloud computing trend, there is another, less vocal movement which I can best describe as ‘keeping content with you, especially in the home’. Cory Doctrow discussed the tradoff between memory and the network and said in : Not every cloud has a silver lining
It’s inconceivable to me that network access will ever overtake CPU or hard-drive for cost, reliability and performance. Today, you can buy a terabyte of storage for £57. Unless you’re recording hundreds of hours’ worth of telly, you’d be hard-pressed to fill such a drive.
In other words, not all content will be in the cloud at all times.
Video and the impact on the network
Network bandwidth issues have been well publicised and LTE is only part of the solution but not the ultimate solution because the network can scale only so much both for cost and for performance
Thus, networks continue to struggle with news that (via CNN) ATT will soon cap its DSL bandwidth at 150G per month, which is bad news for Netflix . As the CNN article says – Nielsen recently estimated the typical customer is streaming around 11 hours of video from Netflix’s website per month. However, Nielsen’s data is based on PC and laptop usage only and doesn’t include any streams accessed via iPads, Roku set-top boxes, Blu-ray players or any of the other 250 devices Netflix’s streaming service is now available on. These devices have arguably been the biggest driver for the company’s online video growth, and they’re likely to also have a significant impact on many people’s bandwidth consumption.
Furthermore, people have an unlimited capability to communicate digitally .. SMS has demonstrated that trend very well. So will video (if you consider ‘social media video content’ i.e. video created by users).
Finally, there is the case of http streaming
Apple has proposed HTTP streaming feature as IETF standard to overcome the limitations of the Real time streaming protocol. Even Adobe, which supported its proprietary RTMP protocol finally seems to be supporting http streaming. Thus, considering the above arguments, we have other parallel trends which are gathering pace for storage of content within the home especially NAS – network attached storage and DLNA in conjunction with NAS. All of the above implies that there will be a parallel move to store and deliver content from the home. With the coming of tablets, this need will increase even more.
Which brings us to HQME
HQME is a standard created by Sandisk, Sony, Softbank, Orange and others to deliver content to handsets via Wi-Fi. While it has always been possible to deliver content to mobile devices via WiFi, HQME adds elements like predictive (intelligent) caching, DRM and others. Ultimately, this is expected to lead to a greater level of experience which could translate to some form of SLA for delivering content over WiFi
So, HQME is interesting because:
- It could provide a greater experience
- Tablets could lead to greater content consumption over WiFi
- Network issues, which have been well publicised
- Overall momentum in the home ecosystem
- The momentum of http streaming
Still early days but interesting to see how this ecosystem develops