Mozark Improves QoE by Tightening App Performance
With OTT use surging and the VOD landscape intensifying, it has never been more critical to master the art of content delivery. Yet the consistency of user experience in different markets varies wildly, according to Mozark, an Indo-French developer of a digital experience platform.
Mozark claims to have a unique means of determining the user experience by measuring performance across applications, networks, and devices.
"Monitoring the user experience and pinpointing where issues of latency or buffering lie could spell the difference between success or failure," says co-founder Kartik Raja. "Yet rather than optimizing both the responsiveness and streaming performance of their app, OTTs are making a trade-off. Our mechanism works globally for any streaming media and measures performance and response metrics per country or city. Nobody else can address this."
Mozark is a five-year old company with designs on the U.S market. It started out measuring network performance for national regulators and now works directly with media companies and OTT players.
"We came from a regulator and telco market focussed on network metrics like coverage, network quality, and speed and we moved the dial to encompass the quality of experience such as app loads, speed of transactions, video load time, and buffering stalls during playback," says Raja.
"Most of the original big players were very high-tech companies," he explains. "YouTube or Netflix have their own SDK, servers, data centres, their own fibre, compression stacks, and ad engines. In our analysis, the only OTTs that came close to achieving a consistent experience across the responsiveness of the app and the streaming performance were Netflix, Youtube, and Hotstar/Disney+."
Smaller OTTs, however, may not be able to make the same levels of investment in technology and tend to integrate with a lot of third-party software, multiple third-party CDNs, and different SDKs.
Mozark co-founder Chandrasekar Ramamoorthy says, "When you have a service relying on 80% to 90% of integrations from third parties it makes it very difficult for the app owner to understand what is causing issues of QoE. It could be the CDN in some cases, a marketing SDK not loading quickly enough, or authentication SDK not authenticating fast enough. These elements are outside the direct control of the app owner."
The company says that for every 100MB of data that is sent by a typical video app, only 10MB is exchanged with its own backend. Other third-party integrations include an OVP, DRM, a media management platform, marketing analytics cloud, or an advertising cloud. Understanding the impact that such integrations have on the end-user customer journey performance is deemed critical.
"OTTs with greater control over third-party infrastructure perform better," says Raja.
Mozark's testing platform is able to pinpoint which element is causing a problem. It then works with those third-party providers to improve performance so that the overall user journey is improved. It applies a proprietary measure of user experience measure called Application Quality Index (AQI) to streaming performance and responsive of apps on mobile devices as well as DTV boxes and smart TVs. Its platform is non-intrusive, meaning it does'’t require code changes or security check removals from the app.
Mozark client clients include regulators and telcos in Europe and Asia along with Sony and Indian e-gaming company MPL. It also worked with Hotstar prior to its acquisition by Disney.
"Often, the blame for poor experience is put on network service providers, but with the introduction of new technology like 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and Edge CDNs, the onus of QoE is going to be as much on the first and middle mile as in last mile components," explains Raja. "Combine this with the complexity of various device and OS combinations and delivering consistent user experience becomes a challenging task."
Mozark is also able to monitor CDN performance so that app owners can make a more informed decision around which CDN to use in which geography.
"Using the most effective CDN, depending on the geographical distribution of the customer base, is vital," Raja says. "A CDN that performs well in India may not necessarily give the same performance in UAE. Even within the country, we have seen vast differences in the performance of a CDN between various regions based perhaps on a strong or less strong POP presence. For global apps it is very important to know which CDN best serves the app."
Adds Ramamoorthy, "The QoE will also change from country to country based on different integrations with third party services, different content licensing laws or variations in device. Some countries may have a 40% install base of iPhones. In other places this may be 3% with lots of other lower end devices.
"We provide a very accurate analysis of data consumption as the customer is progressing through the app. If we see a high spike it's likely that the network cannot handle the traffic resulting in buffering or a lag so we can recommend our customers pre-cache some content so the traffic curve is smoothed out."
The company is based out of Singapore and has offices in Paris, Mumbai, and Manilla. It is "actively working toward" hiring a team to expand in the U.S.
Mozark is also expanding into Japan and Australia, two APAC markets where it doesn't yet have clients.
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Nice People at Work's Marc Maycas discusses how data and personalization can help OTT providers meet their users' QoE expectations in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media West.