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Only 18% Using Adaptive Streaming, Says Skyfire Report
Adaptive bit rate streaming holds promise to ease mobile congestion, yet few are using it.

Mobile cloud computing specialist Skyfire has released a report today finding that out of the top 100 global video websites, only 18 percent currently use adaptive bit rate (ABR) technologies for streaming.

If adaptive bit rate streaming is adopted on a wide scale, notes Skyfire, it could dramatically lessen the amount of video traffic delivered for years to come. Skyfire quotes a Cisco finding that video is currently 52 percent of all mobile data, and will reach 66 percent by 2013. Adaptive bit rate can ease congestion by switching down in quality depending on network conditions and device feedback. Scaling down also lets the viewer avoid pauses or buffering in the video.

The report is the first in a line of Skyfire Myth Buster reports. Skyfire says the reports will look at challenges facing wireless carriers and mobile video.

Skyfire's report also finds that only 10 percent of iPhone sites and apps use adaptive bit rate streaming. For iPhone apps from top 100 digital brands, that number grows to 26 percent.

"The data from our ABR testing shows that the technology is far from being adopted as rapidly as some in the industry had hoped," says Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck. "The implication here is clear: Operators need to look into all the possible tools, including Wi-Fi offload, metered data pricing, 4G network build outs, and in-network optimization solutions. Every tool will be needed to handle the data tsunami, and ABR is only one small part of that."

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