TMC president Rich Tehrani speaks with Alex Kravchenko, vice president of sales and marketing at SPIRIT DSP
RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives.
AK: SPIRIT is always on the edge of innovation. Today, we believe that the plain old cell phone is going to die. A new, smart, converged communication device with access to lots of value added services is going to take its place. The mix of text messaging options, phone calls, music playback, VoIP calling with video and synthetic video capabilities all on a small, powerful mobile device with a virtual TV-sized screen so it can be a video phone, audio system, and TV — this is our vision on the future of communications.
We provide the technological platform for this development with SPIRIT innovative Voice and Video over IP solutions, bringing high-quality, reliable performance to smartphones, online gaming, STBs, media servers, home gateways, conferencing appliances and more.
SPIRIT is addressing this fast-growing market by offering audio, voice, and video engines for the mobile OEMs and converged device OEMs. During last two years SPIRIT has established itself as a leader in embedded high quality VoIP solutions. Three years ago VoIP was a novelty with Skype, but now VoIP has become a must for mobile OEMs.
We are happy and proud that we can help mobile and fixed-line OEMs to provide subscribers with richer communications and lower costs.
RT: How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?
AK: SPIRIT, and companies like ours, drive IP communications adoption by encapsulating VoIP, making it easy and reliable. We make the dream of everywhere mobility and multi-way video connectivity come true and are setting the global standards.
RT: How has SIP changed communications?
AK: SIP has simplified the connections. The SPIRIT VoIP solution is highly optimized to work with both SIP and H.323, as well as with other proprietary signaling protocols.
Our SPIRIT partner, Radvision, is an industry leading SIP provider.
Together with Radvision, SPIRIT conducted a number of successful implementations of our joint solution for multiparty and multicast sessions, including Internet calling, and multimedia conferencing.
RT: What is the biggest request coming from your customer base?
AK: Many of our customers are mobile device makers and what they badly need is a complete, highly-optimized and pre-integrated solution for multimedia communication over IP. It must have low BOM cost, low MIPS processor for low power consumption and low end-user device costs. They are looking for a ready-to-deploy products that will combine quality voice, video and audio in one framework. IMS is coming to the market, multi-way conferencing becomes the request, and the efficiency and quality of conferencing is the request as well.
RT: How are you answering their demands?
AK: We offer our customers a solution that perfectly matches their demands including the TeamSpirit Voice&Video Engine, and SPIRIT Audio Engine. These products are easy to integrate, saves processor resources, power and costs while streamlining time-to-market. At the same time, the products guarantee all required functionality to secure high quality voice, video and audio over Wi-Fi network. The greatest benefit for our customers is that SPIRIT offers not only a voice solution, but also has integrated voice and video. SPIRIT brings 15 years of expertise in creating and delivering embedded audio, voice and video solutions to the global OEM telecom market.
RT: What do you think the future of the market is?
AK: Nowadays, VoIP communication is increasingly mobile. This trend will continue in the future. Video over IP technologies smoothly adhere to voice. We see the future of the market in compact powerful mobile phones with big screens and set-top-boxes with big screens, as a perfect platform for video-calling — just take a look at recent Intel IP-STB reference design showed at Intel Development Forum in April 2007, running SPIRIT Voice/Video Engine. And we see a great potential in MMOGs, as they are already adding VoIP functionality into the games, and here SPIRIT offers its quality voice conferencing platform for MMOG with unprecedented efficiency (1,200 concurrent connections per single PC server).
RT: What do you think of Google and Apple entering the telecom market?
AK: This is good news for us. It inevitably brings smart-phones to mass markets, makes user interfaces easy, intuitive and simple to use. Both companies have become potential mobile OEM customers. They will definitely need best-in-class solutions to penetrate markets that are new to them, win market share and stay competitive. We believe there are other heavyweight “newcomers” in the mobile industry that might greatly influence or even change the market.
For example, SPIRIT customer HTC is the world’s biggest smart-phone vendor on Windows Mobile platform. SPIRIT customers also include Asia-based mobile OEMs Compal, Quanta, Arima. These companies deliver over 50 percent of all global smart-phone shipments, and SPIRIT software products are inside their designs.
RT: How about Microsoft?
AK: Microsoft has made VoIP and enterprise collaboration a strategic corporate focus and is doing a great job. It is good to see major activities in communication and collaboration by Apple, Google, Cisco, Adobe and Oracle as well. Everyone is in the game now, which is definitely good for SPIRIT as the supplier of the voice, audio, video core technology to them. By the way, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Adobe and Oracle are all current SPIRIT customers. SPIRIT signed a new contract with Oracle in 2007, and Oracle will rollout a new product with SPIRIT media server soon. SPIRIT signed a new agreement with Adobe in 2007 and Adobe is going to release a new exciting product with SPIRIT voice engine soon.
RT: How will wireless technologies change our market?
AK: The worldwide mobility phenomenon puts new quality demands on VoIP due to the nature of the wireless network. The SPIRIT Engine, which is being tested by operators in the WiFi environment, show more than a 20 percent advantage in quality compared to anybody else because it was designed specifically for WiFi. Nowadays customer adoption is held back by reliability issues but as soon as wireless technologies become as reliable as wired, no one will be able to prevent their triumph. We believe in the future of WiFi and WiMAX, both technologies that have already started rivaling 3G & 4G. However, SPIRIT products support both competing standards.
RT: What sorts of things will we be hearing about during your presentation at ITEXPO?
AK: We will be focusing on the most challenging issues encountered in mobile VoIP applications and ways to overcome them. We will outline our vision of the SPIRIT mobile interactive IP multimedia platform as a basis for development and deployment of revenue-bringing value added services. And of course, we will share our vision on the market future with the audience.
RT: What do you want the industry to know about your company?
AK: SPIRIT voice, audio and video is number one today in the global Mobile smart-phone OEM segment. We are the only vendor in the world who offers both PC and mobile voice and video engines with outstanding quality.
SPIRIT is the global de-facto VoIP standard for 2008, taking into account our contracts with the global leaders who have already signed. Old standards are not going to survive for too long.
RT: Please make one surprising prediction we will see in five years.
AK: Multi-way and visual communication is natural for humans. The old habit to talk on phone “one-to-one” form is passe. The whole communication culture is changing now and one has to look no further than MySpace and Web2.0 — it is now “many-to-many” communications.
SPIRIT DSP (www.spiritDSP.com) is the world’s leading provider of carrier-grade voice & video software engines since 1996. SPIRIT communication software is used in over 80 countries and powers more than 100 million voice channels. SPIRIT counts among its direct customers Adobe, ARM, AT&T, Blizzard, BT, China Mobile, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, HTC, Huawei, Korea Telecom, Kyocera, LG, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Polycom, Radvision, Samsung, Siemens, Skype, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, ZTE, and 200+ other telcos, OEMs and software vendors. SPIRIT smart-phone OEM customers’ shipments jointly exceed 60% share of the global market.