Incoming Media, a mobile video engagement platform out of NICTA, is one of 16 startups from around the world to receive a slice of $US62 million ($A71 million) worth of funding from Intel Capital, the chipmaker’s venture capital arm.
The startup announced it has closed a $US4.9 million Series A financing round led by Intel Capital and Australian venture capital firm One Ventures.
Incoming Media uses data analytics and intelligent push technology to enable the creation of personalised mobile video experiences that, it says, leads to significantly longer engagement times, more revenue opportunities and new mobile video business models. It increases the quality and decreases the loading time for streaming video on smartphones by preloading videos onto the device itself. The technology can be used on smartphone apps by content providers.
Co-founder David McKeague says the current video streaming experience on smartphones is broken.
“It predicts and looks ahead at what you’re interested in as a person and provides an instant start HD experience,” he says.
“Imagine you’re a consumer, video now is a two second start at 270p, at a time when phone screens are going to 4K. It’s a pretty terrible experience for the content owner.
“The other part is ads, which often aren’t much longer than 15 or 30 seconds, if you have a one or two second start for an ad, that’s not appealing to advertisers.”
Incoming Media’s prototype only preloaded videos when the devices were connected to Wi-Fi, but preloading would be available via mobile phone networks, a decision that’s ultimately up to those content providers who use the software in their apps. While the speeds of those networks have increased over the years – for example, between 3G and 4G – McKeague says Moore’s Law is on Incoming Media’s side.
“Capacity is growing slower than device technology and that will continue,” he says.
“All the device guys are innovating very quickly. Think 4K screens, larger memory. Device organisations are really looking to produce higher quality video experiences to differentiate their devices.
“Where everyone is going is 4K and that’s scary to think about. How do you create a great mobile video experience? If you look at 4K streaming, it’s a real issue.”
Having technology with the potential to solve that problem is what makes Incoming Media an attractive investment.
Intel managing director of new business in the company’s Perceptual Computing Group, Mark Yahiro, says the company’s vision is to enhance natural human perception with affective computing and machine learning capabilities.
“Imagine being able to truly personalise your viewing experience and recommendations from your real interactions.”
One Ventures managing director and CEO, Dr Michelle Deaker, praised Incoming Media as an example of the world class technology startups that can be spun out of NICTA.
“The need to deliver a great mobile experience is growing, with Forrester Research predicting a $32 billion market for mobile engagement providers in 2018,” she says.
“We believe Incoming (Media) has significant potential to be a key provider in this market and we are delighted to support this great team in the next phase of Incoming’s development.”