Written by Jerred Ziegler.
Services like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video are changing the way people around the world consume video content. We expect it to appear instantly and are not willing to wait. For those creating and distributing video, any delay can mean a loss in viewership. Inmobly, a startup company in Columbus, Ohio, is working to solve the problem.
“People only have so much patience and you don’t want to lose them watching your video,” said Ilke Akcasoy, marketing director at Inmobly. “Mobile carriers and content publishers like newspapers and TV programs face this challenge, and our solutions help them overcome it.”
Inmobly has developed a technology that effectively eliminates buffering when watching content on the go. It predicts which videos the user will watch next, and loads them onto the person’s mobile device before they even select their next video. This process bypasses network congestion and allows users to watch videos without delays. The Inmobly technology knows to preload videos when the device is connected to wireless, which economizes on data while helping to prevent overage charges.
“The user experience is effortless and doesn’t require any additional work to watch content smoothly,” said Akcasoy. “Inmobly operates behind-the-scenes and most users aren’t even aware of it. Our target clients are really wireless carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile, content delivery networks and content publishers like ESPN or the New York Times.”
The key differentiator for Inmobly is that the software is constantly learning from the viewer’s watch patterns and preloads videos based on each user’s very specific, individualized preferences. Inmobly’s algorithm has the ability to read through video content and identify certain qualities that may appeal to specific users. The more video content a user watches, the better the predictions. Competing companies merely group people into demographics and base their predictions on the larger group.
Inmobly was founded by CEO Hesham El Gamal in 2011 while he was an electrical engineering professor at The Ohio State University. The company has since grown beyond its Columbus roots with additional offices in Egypt and Silicon Valley, helping the company expand its availability to three continents. They’ve also competed in large national pitch competitions including the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator, where they were named a finalist.
“Rev1 is a great investor and the team there was extremely helpful during our seed funding,” said Akcasoy. “The networking opportunities and people who work there are key. There is so much knowledge in so many different fields, and help is always available.”
Inmobly’s immediate goals are expansion and traction, and Akcasoy credits much of the company’s current success to the resources available in Columbus.
“Being so close to Ohio State and having access to the university is a huge resource. So is being part of Rev1, which is a great incubator,” said Akcasoy. “Statewide resources like Ohio Third Frontier are what keep us here in Columbus. The local community is hungry for economic development, especially in the tech space.”