Novarra's Better Mobile Browsing Experience

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
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Novarra's Better Mobile Browsing Experience

A shift has taken place in internet usage and now more than ever it seems people want web access on the go. A single device in fact - the iPhone shows that if we make it easy to surf on the go, people will not only surf, they will pay for the privilege to do so.

Logically, this means service providers need to find ways to get their customers to not only embrace internet on the go but demand it. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure customers can access the net on virtually any device - not just the state of the art gadgets that can cost a month's salary or more in some parts of the world.

A company called Novarra has tackled the difficult task of internet-enabling devices which are not designed to browse the web in a graphically appealing fashion. The way they do this is with a content transformation gateway. For those with good memories - Net6 had a similar gateway a number of years ago and was later sold to Citrix.

The gateway and client are designed to accelerate the browsing process and make it more like you would experience on a laptop or desktop. In fact, the gateway can actually reduce download times by 2/3 and reduce bandwidth demands by a factor of ten.

Inherent in the system is content conversion to various formats depending on device. For example Flash videos are transformed on the fly to 3GPP, MPEG4 or other formats so they can be displayed on virtually any handset.

If you read between the lines you noticed that this means virtually all devices can now render Flash - even if they aren't designed to do so.

I recently met with part of Novarra's management team, Jayanthi Rangarajan, Roger Decker, Randy Cavaiani and we had a chance to demo the company's systems in real-time. I was impressed with the speed of transformation for pages such as Yahoo Finance and others. A test of TMCnet was an interesting experience because the site has flash graphic news headlines but the flash animation changes every five seconds or so as it scrolls through news stories. The transformation engine did not wait long enough for this particular flash application meaning only one or two news items showed up. It really isn't the fault of the software as it can be configured to deal with such timing issues.

As you might imagine the challenge is to display the Flash file as fast as possible so waiting around for a slow change doesn't make sense for most sites. For a site like YouTube this wouldn't be a problem.

In the past year and a half the company has deployed 15 times with companies like Vodafone, Turkcell, Yahoo and 3 Hong Kong. The company continues to partner with web portal companies and service providers and as you might imagine they also provide a great start page for mobile applications with room for ads.

The ideal mobile browsing device has not been invented and download speeds continue to be a problem when using wireless cellular networks. Until the perfect mobile browsing device is made, service providers and internet companies alike need a solution which makes the mobile browsing experience faster and better. This is Novarra's sweet spot and you should consult with them if any of these solutions can help you.


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