Putting Technology to the Test


Putting Technology to the Test

Heading up high-profile MVNO Mobile ESPN was quite a learning experience for Manish Jha, formerly the senior vice president and general manager of the firm, which shut its doors in September 2006. Jha, who is now the CEO of Vantrix, a multimedia software firm that sells its technology to carriers, content players and service delivery platform makers, says one of the most important lessons he gleaned from his tenure at the MVNO was that consumers like multimedia content but they are very price conscious. "Instead of trying to make a lot of money from a few people, we spent time analyzing how to make a little money from a lot of people," Jha said. "Being able to scale in this business from a content perspective is complicated."

Jha believes his firm has found a solution to growing the mobile content ecosystem and driving consumer adoption and it is putting its technology to test in front of a very critical audience: the attendees at next week's CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference in San Francisco.

Vantrix, which teamed with CTIA, will be offering conference-goers access to an exclusive video featuring Edge, the lead guitarist from the rock group U2. Attendees will just have to enter a short code and Vantrix's software will be able to determine whether they have a video-enabled phone. If so, they will receive a copy of the video with an exclusive track that can be saved as a ringtone or sent to a friend. When I spoke with CTIA Vice President of Operations Rob Mesirow late last week, he was on his way to Los Angeles to work with Edge on the video, which he expects to be a huge hit at the show. "If we can get 10,000 people to view this, it will be the most-watched mobile video in history," Mesirow said.

The CTIA executive doesn't think that number will be difficult to surpass given the nature of the CTIA crowd. "If 50 percent of all mobile devices can watch this, I anticipate more than 90 percent will be able to watch it at the show," Mesirow said, adding that the San Francisco confab will likely attract more than 20,000 attendees.  

Mesirow wouldn't say for sure if Edge would be a surprise guest at next week's conference but he did say that there will be lots of big announcements. I'm expecting next week's show to keep the Fierce reporters very busy. I'll be attending the conference, along with my colleagues Jason Ankeny, Brian Dolan, Mehan Jayasuriya and Mike Dolan. Be sure to say hello if you see us at the panel sessions, on the exhibit floor or at one of the many after-hours parties.

Speaking of parties, be sure to attend FierceWireless' party at the Mezzanine in San Francisco on Oct. 24. It's the best networking event at the show and always attracts a stellar crowd. RSVP here: http://www.fiercewireless.com/events/unionaffair  -Sue

P.S. Count on Fierce to bring you all the news and scoop from San Francisco. We are the official online show daily for CTIA I.T. Wireless & Entertainment 2007 and we'll deliver everything you need to know in our regular newsletters and at a custom micro-site titled "CTIA Live!" Click here to check out the website.