In 2001, with only five employees, IneoQuest endeavored to become a dominant video quality and service assurance provider and quickly plied its wares to several of the top 25 service providers in North America. As the firm enters its second decade of business, and with 142 employees, this Mansfield, Massachusetts, company rides a dramatic rise in the demand for video monitoring, reporting increased sales revenue of 400% in the last 5 years.
This summer, the company celebrated its ten year anniversary by inviting Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to its headquarters, where he toured the manufacturing facilities with president and CEO of IneoQuest, Marc Todd. Gov. Patrick showed keen interest as he observed the company’s operations, asking how the products work and what value they deliver to customers.
“The face of telecommunications is changing,” Todd said during the tour. “And the thing that drives it is video.”
Even as the cake was cut and a toast raised, congratulations were kept modest and focus quickly returned to the business of IP video monitoring and how IneoQuest’s products will continue to meet the demand for reliable video delivery across the Mobile Internet. According to a forecast put out by Cisco titled “Cisco Visual Networking Index,” Internet video is now 40% of consumer Internet traffic, and will reach 62% by the end of 2015. In the same forecast it is predicted that wired devices will account for 46% of IP traffic in 2015, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 54%.
IneoQuest’s Chief Operating Officer, Calvin Harrison, recently spoke with Telecom Engine, sharing his impressions of the governor’s visit, characterizing the challenges of keeping pace with IP video’s surge, and assessing opportunities in the future.
Telecom Engine: IneoQuest’s revenue grew more than 400% in the last five years. To what do you attribute this growth?
Calvin Harrison: A couple things: urgency, innovation, and always looking ahead for the new technology and the new markets. We were the first ones to take a bet that video was going to be all digital ten years ago, and there were some people that said, no way, that’s not going to happen, and obviously it has. It kind of goes back to the Andy Grove’s theory, “only the paranoid survive.” We are always looking at what’s happening and what’s changing, and making sure we have solutions in those spaces. Growth has helped to build awareness in the market for the need for video network intelligence.
TE: A major new initiative for IQ will focus business development efforts in China. Can you describe a road map or share some of your expectations for your business there?
CH: It started out definitely as an investment that we want to leverage to do more development and growth. We have actually been supporting China. We have revenue there and have been working with partners such as ZTE, Cisco and others, to partner and sell our products in that space. What we are now doing by opening up an office is further enhancing that growth. By building awareness in the Chinese market it shows that we are serious about their market and their problems, and we want to help provide video solutions for them. China is definitely about relationships.
TE: IP video is streamed by an array of customers, including traditional TV broadcast networks, Satellite carriers, Internet Service Providers, and Mobile Cellular operators. While some commonalities exist across these delivery channels, standards are not universal. How do you see this evolving in light of IP video’s rising adoption?
CH: In North America, the SCTE has officially announced SCTE 168, and we actually sit on those committees in the SCTE 168 helping to do that. One of the things they stress in SCTE is something called program availability, which is a program view of your network. It looks at what percent of time in a 24 hours period it was being delivered without any problems and gets that as a metric. We went back 8 or 9 years and had one of the very first measurements called the MDI, for the Media Delivery Index, that’s been propagated across many different vendors for years, and we have created a new one for the adaptive streaming market called VeriStream.
TE: Are we seeing a trend toward common infrastructures driven by consumer demand?
CH: I believe it is the common infrastructures that are being hammered out, this new concept of adaptive streaming we see taking hold rapidly worldwide. Now people need to deliver the key built systems for TV sets to a set-top box and build something different for a mobile phone, and build something different for your PC. The fact that people now watch video on all three, there needs to be a more unified way, a single way of delivering that video that can go to those multiple devices. And that happens to be this adaptive streaming approach that many people are starting to deploy, and they are leveraging or building their own Content Delivery Networks, or CDNs, that are distributing this video.
TE: Analysts have recognized IneoQuest’s strength in IP video monitoring, and industry data shows a leading position for you. Where does that leave room to improve?
CH: You never rest when you are a market leader, so we continue to build on the current leadership we have in this area called linear broadcasting. We have continued to build solutions for new markets like video conferencing. Video conferencing is really an untapped market that we now have a solution for. You’ve got new, next generation and video delivery to TVs everywhere; to the PC, to the mobile, etc. using technology called adaptive streaming. We are flooded with requests right now from companies all over the world asking if we have anything in that space. It turns out we actually do. We have products in the beta right now with some key customers and we are building up a large demand for this new technology and its solutions.
TE: Innovation appears as a central theme for IneoQuest. What does this term mean to the company? What are some of the other keywords or business concepts that drive the products forward?
CH: Innovation is about developing and delivering products that solve cutting edge problems, and providing current next generation solutions. We have been approached by companies that had no way to monitor problems that were happening. We were approached by a major broadcaster who was one of the very first ones to put their application on an iPhone. They started broadcasting live TV and were having problems with no way of solving them. We helped them build an application that ran on the app so they could start troubleshooting what was happening. Another keyword in the area I think is trusted advisor. One of our key concepts is to meet with our customers.
TE: The Governor’s visit must have been a proud moment, especially since it marked ten years in business. What aspects of the Governor’s visit resonate with your team?
CH: It was a very proud moment, and it was nice to have the opportunity to build the awareness in the state of Massachusetts and locally about our company. One of the things we are striving for is to build some more awareness. We are doing these great things and not a lot of people actually know about it. When the governor came and validated who we are and the success we are having, that we are a Massachusetts success, it made everybody feel good and proud that they got the opportunity to show all their hard work.