OASIS platform enables video social networking service

Monday, 03 May, 2010

Liew Kong Nam, Managing Director of Nano Equipment, has an exciting vision for providing mobile video services in the Asia-Pacific region - and a solid strategy for deploying them. “We feel there are many inherent advantages for 3G video calls in our region. Mobile calls are very convenient and access is easier than on a computer because you only need to dial a number and make a quick selection instead of opening a browser. You also get much faster response when switching from one video to another because the video is played back instantly without buffering before play.

“Video call rates, measured in minutes, are much lower in our region than mobile data rates,” continues Liew, “and the cost of video phones is going down here while the number of 3G subscribers is going up. We are convinced that the demand for mobile video services will grow rapidly once customers are made aware of the possibilities, especially in countries where mobile phones are an important source of entertainment.”

When the Asia Video Club, a new 3G video call-based social networking service, was first conceived, Nano’s challenge was finding a way to capitalise on its vision and deliver the new service quickly through mobile carriers. As an experienced system integrator, Nano considered building the complete solution itself, which would include call management and media resources.

“Our clients in Asia-Pacific prefer end-to-end solutions for new services,” explains Liew, “and because we normally build and manage new services for them, hosted services have become an integral part of our business. This strategy allows carriers to experiment with new services such as video without making a major capital investment.”

With its broad experience, Nano had many options. “We considered in-house development,” says Liew, “but we decided that we should focus on the back-end content management module - if we could find an appropriate call control platform with what we needed to deliver the front-end video interaction.”

Nano’s video service plans were ambitious, including video chat and video blogging along with other features designed to create a true feeling of community. While searching the marketplace for the best video media server to fit its needs, Nano consulted Tecnomic, one of Nano’s business partners and a value-added distributor of Dialogic products in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tecnomic suggested the OASIS Platform, which was ready to deliver video services in an end-to-end software solution using Dialogic host media processing software. Nano had already used Dialogic HMP software for video play-record services and video outdialling.

Nano chose the seventh generation of the OASIS platform, a product that has been evolving since 1994 into a standards-based multimedia telephony platform. OASIS also has 17 years of experience with Dialogic products and has been working with Dialogic HMP software since its original Linux beta version in 2004. The OASIS platform was a suitable choice for Nano for several reasons: its flexibility and scalability, its ability to handle both circuit-switched and VoIP environments, its heritage of handling robust interactivity and its use of open standards such as VoiceXML. The OASIS platform is also field proven through wide use in carrier-grade environments running mission-critical applications.

The OASIS Platform is made up of a series of modules and Nano used the multimedia module, which handles the video component, the call control module and the VoiceXML module, extended for video application development.

Once Nano selected the OASIS platform, the entire project was completed in just four months. First, OASIS worked closely with Nano to refine its technical specifications, followed by eight weeks of development and a concentrated period of testing and tweaking, which included feedback from actual users to make sure the interface was attractive and easy to use. Although Nano was the first customer to use the video capabilities of the OASIS platform, work proceeded smoothly with minimal technical challenges because such challenges were addressed in the engineering of the OASIS platform and its incorporation of Dialogic HMP software. “We were very gratified at the lack of technical issues,” commented Jeff Wise, Vice President of Business Development at OASIS. “This allowed us to concentrate almost exclusively on improving the user experience, which is paramount for any new service.”

An additional benefit of using Dialogic HMP Software was the ability to develop with an end-to-end software solution, allowing the new service to be built, configured and tested remotely without the need for OASIS technicians to do on-site installation.

The Asia Video Club, introduced as a new video-enabled mobile social-networking and infotainment hub, was launched at the end of May 2008 in Malaysia and Singapore. By tapping the potential of 3G video calls, the Asia Video Club makes it easy for people to meet, share and socialise. Users dial a local access number to connect to the service and are provided with a personal video portal where they can record their own profile videos and video blogs, which encourages sharing, making friends, exchanging private video chat messages and forming communities.

Nano expects to extend the same service to other countries in the region. “The entire system is designed to be modular,” Liew points out, “so we can increase the lines assigned as soon as business warrants. We also feel that the circuit switched connections we are using can provide consistent video quality.” By deploying local front ends and using IP connectivity at the back end, Nano’s Asia Video Club service can be duplicated quickly for carriers interested in offering the service to their subscribers. The solution supports ‘multitenancy’, allowing each local carrier to provide the service with a distinctive look and feel. Solid planning for growth is important because the larger a connected community becomes, the more appealing the service will be to its users.

Although capacity at launch was comparatively modest for such potentially large markets as Singapore and Malaysia, Nano can add ports quickly as business increases and more services are added. In addition, OASIS Systems’ proven experience with large-scale Dialogic HMP software installations helps ensure that service scalability is not an issue.

With its commitment to video, Nano is ready to extend its expertise to provide a broad range of additional video services for network operators, media companies, publishers, and enterprises who want to deliver innovative value-added 3G and IP video services. These services include marketing and video advertising, telemarketing, video blogging, multiparty videoconferencing and collaboration, video help desk, 3G video portal, 3G online video recording and publishing, 3G video push, remote video monitoring, live 3G-to-TV broadcast, and other interactive video applications.

After working closely with Nano and speaking with many of his other customers, Greg Steer, CEO of OASIS, sees “a growing momentum for interactive media that will reach far beyond 3G. Combining our expertise with enthusiastic, savvy customers such as Nano and innovative technologies from Dialogic, we are poised to move forward quickly into an exciting multimedia future here in the Asia-Pacific region - and very likely throughout the world - as former browser-based video services move to the convenience of the mobile phone.”

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