INTERVIEW: ANDREAS WESTHOFF ON MOBILE REAL-TIME SPORTS EFFORT IN MANY PERSPECTIVES
Blog 07.06.2018 / A few days before the World Cup starts in Russia, Andreas Westhoff was interviewed by mobilbranche.de. The CEO of Smart Mobile Labs gave insights into the modern possibility of many-to-many real-time transmission in sports events. At the same time, the user can decide at any time which app he wants to follow through an app.
“SINGLE-HANDEDLY AND INDIVIDUALIZED EXPERIENCE IS IN THE FOREGROUND.”
mobilbranche.de: For decades, people around the world have watched the World Cup. Most watch the games on TV or live in the stadium. Does the way we see football still correspond to the (mobile) spirit of the time?
Andreas Westhoff: Technology has changed so many things in our everyday lives. Our ability to facilitate our daily routines and adjust things to our own needs is growing. In addition to everyday things like online shopping, this also applies to the entertainment culture. For example, we’re not just content with a handful of radio stations that fit the mass taste but stream our favorite music to Spotify. We individualize.
This is the case especially on mobile devices, and it is also particularly easy there. This is similar to when watching videos. We are looking for our own clips on YouTube or select series on Netflix. Self-direction and individualized experience are in the foreground. So it’s only logical to think about how to broaden the concept and implement it in sporting events such as the World Cup.
“EVERYONE INDIVIDUALLY DECIDES WHICH ATHLETES HE WANTS TO LOOK AT A GLANCE.”
mobilbranche.de: According to your own statement, your startup is currently the only company worldwide
so-called many-to-many video transmissions. What does that mean exactly? Illustrate it with a few practical examples.
Andreas Westhoff: What makes our technology possible is basically easy to understand. It’s about the secure, dynamic and high-quality distribution of video, audio and data streams over the mobile network. It gets more complex because it works in real-time, with the least possible latency (up to 300 milliseconds) and many-to-many.
This assumes that we can orchestrate the streams of a basically infinite number of senders and receivers. In other words: We ensure in real time that a video from a station also arrives at the right receiver – in top quality.
There are numerous opportunities in which this technology is important – regardless of whether the subject Connected Cars, where the driver with the help of videos through something looks through obstacles, at concerts or even at sports events. You use your own mobile device and jump from one perspective to another. On their own, each user decides which musician or athlete he wants to take a closer look at, for example.
Events usually involve a media production technique on site, which is commissioned by the organizer. Depending on the concept, cameras are positioned and the signals run together centrally. We can either pick up the signals directly from the camera or centrally at the OB truck and feed them into the Edge Video Orchestrator (EVO). The playout then takes place via the multi-view app at the end user.
At the same time, 360-degree cameras can be integrated into the classic camera positions in unusual positions, for example on stage or in a football game next to the coaching bench. These new perspectives create a new, even more, emotional fan experience.
“SMART MOBILE LABS PROVIDES A WHITE LABEL SOLUTION TO ITS B2B CUSTOMERS.”
mobilbranche.de: If the user needs a special app, many-to-many video transmissions
to be able to use?
Andreas Westhoff: If you want to display the multi-streams and switch between the different perspectives, you need a special app. Smart Mobile Labs provides its B2B customers with a white label solution that can be branded. Or the customer uses our SDK to integrate into their own app.
We do not provide a consumer product in our B2B business model. That is, there is no app from Smart Mobile Labs with our branding that could be found in an App Store. How the costs are designed for the end user depends on the B2B customer. Either he offers them to the users free of charge with ROI through ad promotion, as part of an event package for their own branding or he makes the download of the application fee. That’s up to each of our customers.
mobilbranche.de: On which devices is the use possible? Exist certain Minimum requirements in the device performance?
Andreas Westhoff: Our applications and SDKs generally work for Android and IOS devices from different manufacturers. In general, therefore, all devices from the iPhone 5 and iPad Air for Apple and all devices from Android 4.4 and the hardware from Samsung Galaxy 5 or similar supported.
More important than the pure hardware configuration is the mobile data network. It must guarantee a fast transfer so that the real-time performance is also guaranteed. This means that either complete WiFi with high bandwidth must be present or at best 5G can be used. With 4G LTE transmission, the result is already good. But with 5G this theme gets a much bigger dynamic.
mobilbranche.de: Are there any advertising possibilities in connection with such an application that could be interesting for mobile marketers?
Andreas Westhoff: That in turn depends on the B2B customer and his individual business model. On the product side, we deliberately created the integration of graphics – and thus also room for advertising. For this, we work together with system partners. We want to give customers the freedom to decide for themselves how to use the application in the end, and how or if they monetize it.
mobilbranche.de: Are you planning a further development in the future? Are others too areas of application (except sports events) possible?
Andreas Westhoff: The possibilities for other applications are almost unlimited. In particular, if one thinks of 5G, which will inevitably come in the next few years. However, we have focused on the areas of public security and connected cars and are already working on specific projects.
The experience flows into the further development of our products and drives us as a team. We selected the areas because we see the greatest need and the best growth opportunities there. However, the responsibility is enormous: The reliability of the technology decides in case of doubt about human life.
mobilbranche.de: Thank you for the interview.