After 4G deal with Reliance, Russia’s SPIRIT bullish on India

Andrei Sviridenko, the owner of Moscow-based software firm Spirit DSP. Source: Kommersant

Andrei Sviridenko, the owner of Moscow-based software firm Spirit DSP. Source: Kommersant

SPIRIT DSP Chairman Andrei Sviridenko talks to RIR about the company’s deal with Reliance Industries to provide voice services on the Indian giant’s 4G network and its future plans in the promising market.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has recently got “the green light” from the Indian Telecom Commission to offer voice services over its long-term evolution (LTE) network, commonly known as 4G. As we know, your technology will be used in this deployment. Please elaborate on your recent deal with RIL.

SPIRIT licenses communication software products, including voice and video engines and video conferencing for carriers and service providers. Reliance licensed TeamSpiritTM Voice&Video Engine Mobile.

SPIRIT’s engine will be used by RIL in its RCS-compatible video softphone for transmitting voice and video calls in its LTE network being developed by Infotel, RIL’s subsidiary. Reliance is planning to invest in its LTE network up to $10 billion without waiting for global handset makers who are very slow to launch handsets that can support both voice and video over LTE network commonly known as 4G.

The lack of mobile devices supporting voice over LTE network (VoLTE) drove RIL to go for a software-only solution. SPIRIT engine plays the key role in providing HD voice and video quality as a part of IMS/RCS service infrastructure on popular Android and iOS smartphones and tablet PCs, as well as PCs with Mac OS or Windows.

What was the licensing policy for RIL?

SPIRIT uses different licensing schemes for different markets and vendors. In case of RIL we signed a license deal for using Team Spirit Voice & Video Engine mobile software for 5 years in RIL RCS (Rich Communication Services)-compatible video softphone. 

You often mention that SPIRIT engine enables superior HD voice and video communications on Android OS, iOS, Mac OSx and Windows. What about Symbian and Blackberry, which are so popular in India?

SPIRIT makes software following user demand trends and popularity of different platforms. Supporting Blackberry platform by our voice and video engine was not on RIL’s requirements list. Regarding Symbian, Nokia has stopped supporting it so there is no point to support this OS going forward. 

Can you estimate the size of the deal with RIL?

Millions of dollars.

Your cooperation with RIL will be limited by this deal or you consider offering them other products, technologies?

Licensing of TeamSpirit Voice & Video Engine is our first experience with RIL. However, considering aggressive plans of this company to develop telecommunications in India, I believe, SPIRIT will get an opportunity to offer RIL other software products for transferring voice and video over IP. SPIRIT video conferencing software VideoMost allows carriers expand their opportunities of monetizing traffic by offering their corporate and government clients an effective way of internal and external communications that allows to unite different groups of employees, better communicate with customers, suppliers and partners remotely.

In the times of globalisation and vanishing of the borders between national markets, VideoMost becomes an outstanding tool for everyday professional communication of millions of people worldwide. We provide national carriers and ISPs the fast way to start providing HD videoconferencing services in their regions.

India is not the first Asian country in your portfolio. Where else in the continent are SPIRIT products powering the telecom industry? 

SPIRIT products have been in high demand in Asia for past 15 years. TeamSpirit Voice & Video Engine Mobile is being used by carriers and handset makers in Singapore, Japan, China, including Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

How do you see the prospects for 4G in India? What are the difficulties and obstacles this technology will face? 

The potential of 4G in India is great. 4G allows transferring voice, and obviously data, of completely new level of quality and speed. In India, one obstacle is low income of the majority of the population. However, seeing how RIL develops LTE from zero in all of India, I’m sure these are truly justified investments in the telecommunication of the future.

What is the difference in implementation of 4G in Russia and in India?

Carriers in Russia face the same problem; lack of VoLTE supported mobile phones, similar to India. In Russia, carriers established LTE infrastructure in 2012 but still can’t use it effectively, offering VoLTE. The difference is, in India, as you know, you have about 20 carriers while in Russia you could count them on the fingers of one hand. It’s possible that due to the high competition RIL became a company that could figure out the best way in current market situation with lack of smartphones supporting VoLTE.

Do you have any other partners or customers in India? Are you planning to work with any other carriers or smartphone makers, for example, Indian Micromax? 

We consider any carrier as our potential client. The last few years we saw growing interest from national carriers, implementing VOIP-services aimed to retain the existing traffic that started dropping down and leaking to VOIP providers. That’s why we consider cooperation with carriers, in India too, as SPIRIT’s strategic business. Today direct SPIRIT clients produce more that 60 percent of smartphones in the world. Most of them are located in Asia. We are not planning to stop at was has been accomplished. We are open to cooperation with new handset makers, including Micromax.

Apart from SPIRIT’s Voice&Video engine, what other products or technology you would be interested to promote in India?

Today SPIRIT promotes 2 products lines both having great potential in India. The first is TeamSpirit Voice&Video Engine. With TeamSpirit, developers can focus on their own innovative applications and quickly bring new products to market that include the best IP calling experience possible, thus allowing telecom operators to compete with OTT (Over-the-Top) mobile service providers like Skype, Viber, MAAII. By the way, all three have also licensed SPIRIT products. 

TeamSpirit Voice&Video Engine is being used in our product VideoMost, a multi-point, web-based videoconferencing software that supports Windows PCs, Mac and iPad. VideoMost delivers HD-quality (up to 30 fps and 720p) calling for each participant in a conference while requiring only 512 kbps of bandwidth. VideoMost allows bringing down travelling costs and time, saving on long distance call costs and roaming, entering new markets, increasing effectiveness remote communication between employees, clients, partners and suppliers. Built for corporate usage, VideoMost works on client-managed servers, ensuing easy administration and information security. It also has functionality for conference moderating and recording along with integrated collaboration features (document and desktop sharing and editing, text chat, etc.) that increases efficiency of group work.

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