Facebook moves to optimise mobile video with QuickFire purchase

Facebook has moved to acquire video optimisation specialist, QuickFire Networks, in a bid to upgrade its mobile video hosting capabilities. The San Diego-based startup utilises bandwidth compression technology to reduce the amount of capacity required to host video online.

The internet giant recently revealed that video growth on its website grew by more than 50% between May and June of 2014, and that more than 1 billion video views occur on its website every day.  The website now reports more than 65% of all video views it experiences are on mobile.

QuickFire’s CEO, Craig Lee, left an outgoing statement in which he detailed the company’s progress, and how it will be integrated into Facebook.

“QuickFire Networks was founded on the premise that the current network infrastructure is not sufficient to support the massive consumption of video that’s happening online without compromising on video quality,” he said. “QuickFire Networks solves this capacity problem via proprietary technology that dramatically reduces the bandwidth needed to view video online without degrading video quality. Facebook has more than one billion video views on average every day and we’re thrilled to help deliver high quality video experiences to all the people who consume video on Facebook. As part of this, some key members of our team will be joining Facebook and we will wind down our business operations.”

With such huge growth in data-heavy video files, the acquisition adds to Facebook’s intent to update its content delivery infrastructure. Speaking to in September, Facebook’s manager of software infrastructure engineering, Omar Baldonado, detailed some of the company’s work in upgrading to a software defined infrastructure, using SDN.

Facebook is the party responsible for founding the Open Compute Project (OCP), a collaborative industry effort to commoditise hardware in the compute, storage and networking areas of the service provider network. The project is aimed at commoditising hardware and making it more programmable through software, re-calibrating network switches in the same way a data centre server can be.

“The real benefit (of SDN) is the agility, through software, to really give differentiated and specialised services to users,” he said. “It’s all possible through software, and a lot of the processes that have been built up at service providers has been focussed on managing appliances, taking care of hardware and depreciating that hardware over time. Really, I think a lot of the value for them is in the software. Certainly for an over-the-top provider, like us, we do a lot on top of the provider network, and we expect them to be able to do the same thing.”

At the time of writing, the official terms of the QuickFire deal have not been released by Facebook. However, the investment being made by the firm in network management and video optimisation, in terms of finances, time and expertise, is indicative of the industry’s current state of mobile video growth. Cisco recently released some statistics, forecasting global IP traffic to grow threefold at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21%, and on the consumer side, 79% of all internet traffic will be down to video by 2018.

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