We spoke to Shabir Momin, creator of ZengaTV, a mobile streaming platform that supports streaming even slower 2G networks
Q. What’s unique about Zenga TV?
A. Zenga is unique in the sense that it works on cellular networks that comply with 2.5G and higher standards. We also the biggest bouquet of content, which is free. Besides, you don’t need to download an app in order to enjoy services offered by us. Zenga supports the largest number of handsets, and it also works on Symbian S40 devices as well.
Q. Would Zenga be unique with the advent of 3G for cellular telephony, and users accessing web pages on their devices?
A. Consumption of content will be better with 3G. Since we support streaming on 2G, services will be unaffected. Also, data is far more affordable over 2G networks. We have the largest user base and our unique technology and good content combination being free will continue to be a winner.
Q. What led you to start Zenga TV? Tell us a bit about the business.
A. We believe video is here to stay, and would continue to grow for at least the next 10-15 years. Getting in to video streaming with video clips and considering that other forms of video content weren’t piracy safe, We thought of only getting in to this if we could build a technology which can deliver quality video at very low bandwidth. This is what we achieved and then decided to come to market.
Q. How do you compress videos to level sufficient to stream them over 2G networks?
A. We have our own technology and we have the capability to compress and enhance the video at the same time to be able to stream even at bandwidths as low as 20kbps.
Q. Could you explain the technology at the basic level? and how the various blocks work together?
A. We downlink the live stream and decode it and then encode it with our encoder and then stream it with our streaming server. we do not need an app as we can stream on the browser.
Q. Could you tell us about the infrastructure in place, behind Zenga’s services?
A. We use Cloud compute ( Amazon) and are located on multi location and at the same time have a 100% uptime and extremely scalable. we can scale to 100s of server in seconds and deliver in any part of the world.
Q. At the architecture level, what are the areas you expect to see rapid growth in the next year? Would you consider 3G a failure in India, and rather rely on LTE services for better traction in mobile value added services?
A. Not much of architectural changes expected as we are agnostics to most of the new or old technology. 3G is definitely a failure, LTE is a potential hope but depends how it is played out. Reliance story of how they got the phones to India, if the same can be repeated for LTE will he a huge success.
Q. Have you developed apps for individual platforms on the consumer side, or do you rather prefer a cross platform development tool?
A. We do not have apps, we can stream over the browser and thus have higher handset compatibility. But having said that we have still build simple launchers and basic apps too which are for user convenience but for only Android and iPhone.
Q. What is the fastest growing platform among mobile users? Do you see a trend there?
A. At present it looks like Android, but I see that Windows can emerge as a challenge to them. The cost factor will matter though.
Q. What about tablets? Is video consumption increasing? Are you satisfied with the growth?
A. Yes, tablets are definitely contributing towards the increase in consumption of videos and games. Overall, I am satisfied, but look forward to even more growth in the future.
Q. Do you see newer businesses emerging in this space?
A. Yes this is just the beginning we will see lot of new things and changes and competition in this space. We will also see new revenue streams in time to come and batter and newer ways of monetisation.
Q. What are the exciting opportunities you see for mobile developers in India?
A. Developer will become the direct connect to consumers in time to come and a lot of direct revenue realization for developer will start happening. Lot of large companies will become facilitators for developers in the future.