3D Messaging Comes to China
Personalized multimedia solutions are sparking a great deal of interest in the mobile market worldwide. Vendors figure that offering applications tailored as much as possible to individual tastes will help differentiate their products and spark interest, while carriers view personalization as an opportunity to build incremental revenue and extend network use.
Vidiator, a multimedia content provider based near Seattle, works with carriers worldwide to deliver live and on-demand TV, music, and 3G services and content to mobile devices. Using its platform, mobile customers in Hong Kong, Italy, Austria, Sweden and the US can toggle between live and on-demand TV and music channels on their mobile handsets. The company has distributed its products, which operate over CDMA, GPRS and UMTS networks, in more than 20 countries on four continents.
In June Vidiator struck a deal with 3G.CN, China's largest mobile WAP portal, to bring Vidiator's patented Xend 3D Avatar hosted services to that country. 3G.CN is delivering 3D avatar-based cards, messaging, advertisements and newscasts to wireless customers. 3G.CN also gained access to the company's Xend casting product, which enables "infotainment" messages in a broadcast format, including message-of-the-day content (such as jokes and horoscopes) and news/weather/sports updates. 3G.CN also can offer the Xend enterprise product, which leverages Vidiator's 3D avatar-based messaging technology to extend enterprise support, advance unified messaging services and communications to customers and employees.
With 3G licensing on the horizon in China, 3G.CN hopes that its services will be well-positioned when 3G comes to the largest mobile market in the world. Some officials also believe that 3D messaging, which allows users to select from a menu of 3D characters and add personalized messages to the 3D content they create on their mobile devices, could emerge as the next popular wave of the instant messaging business.
CHINA FOCUS Vidiator CEO Connie Wong notes the deal marks the first deployment of 3D messaging in China and opens Vidiator's Xend user-generated 3D avatar services to more than 450 million subscribers, 130 million of whom access the mobile Internet. "Operators are very interested in providing user-generated platforms," Wong said.
3G.Net CEO Deng Yu Qiang says Vidiator's end-to-end content management, subscription and hosting services enable nationwide publishing and distribution of its 3D mobile content. "We are eager to see what happens next," he noted.
Xend cards are usually humorous pre-recorded animated messages celebrating special occasions. Users can purchase Xend cards using both WAP-based and web-based services and have the greetings delivered to the mobile phones or email addresses of family and friends. Wong said mobile multimedia is most compelling when it is both useful and fun. "Offering 3D personalized content capabilities including Xend messaging and cards certainly fulfills that," she said.
Wong added that Vidiator has existing relationships for its music and mobile TV services with several Asian carriers including PCCW and Hutchison's 3. In June the company extended its deployments to AT&T, Sprint and Boost Media in the US.