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HP: 91 billion dollars and still innovating, now in the mobile video space

I met with Hewlett-Packard this evening in Pimlico to talk mobile video.

I was quite surprised to get an invitation from HP as they aren’t necessarily the first company that comes to mind when I hear the phrase ‘mobile video’.

Roger Fawcett, Director, Business Development for HP’s Communications, Media & Entertainment EMEA section, hosted a dinner for bloggers specifically interested in mobile video (Dean Bubley and Simon Judge as well as me representing SMS Text News).

Also from HP: Gavin Duckett (Industry Consultant Communications, Media and Entertainment) and Jean-Marie Bulte (Solutions Architect Opencall Media Solutions).

By way of introduction Roger began a rough breakdown of HP’s annual revenue: $91 billion. I think this was from 2006, I’ll need to check. Very roughly speaking, the revenue breakdown is thus:

– 40% hardware (servers, printers, devices)
– 40% services (business support, professional services)
– 20% software

Out of this 91 billion pie, roughly 8.5 billion comes from the CME division – that is, Communications, Media & Entertainment.

Factor that down again and HP’s CME Europe activities are about $4 billion.

Look closer and a significant amount of that $4 billion comes from just 11 European based companies. Think Vodafone, Deutsche Telecom, British Telecom.

Now consider that 70% of text messages around the world are going through HP servers (via the likes of messaging giants, Acision or via operators themselves) and one quickly recognises that HP have a direct interest in the mobile industry. That’s before you think about their device division making the uber popular (yet, I think, a bit tooooo fat looking) iPAQ Windows Mobile devices.

did you know that every 911 emergency service for CDMA carriers in North America run on HP? Or that more than 220 million people at 35 mobile operators on five continents depend on HP mobility management solutions? Or that 100 million+ subscribers depend on HP’s mobile prepaid wireless solutions? Not me. I had an inkling.

So this evening was all about Roger and his colleagues introducing what they’ve been cooking up there at HP. And I’m pleased they did. I had no idea. No idea at all.

Did you know, for example, that HP have created a wickedly smart mobile video social media service that was tested by BBC Sport last year? The concept: Make a video call to the BBC, record your Football-related-rant and bish, bash, bosh, the resulting mobile video is whacked straight over to the gallery producers for broadcast. Direct from your mobile. Yes, this, from HP. The people who make printers!

No whilst I’ve seen similar technology implemented before (I’m thinking betting-by-mobile-TV and the likes of Springdoo’s Video Blogging Service), some of the services that Roger and his colleagues demonstrated would, I reckon, be eaten up by many of the startups and social media companies around the world.

Jean-Marie, the nominated Demo Chap for the evening, showed off a platform that allowed you to make a video call to a shortcode, record a video and then publish it in seconds to Youtube. I mean seconds. No arsing around. No delays. I had to sit back and think, ‘HP? Mobile video? Gosh’.

This, from the people who put the ‘grade’ in Carrier Grade.

Jean-Marie then got out three video capable handsets and handed one to each of us.

“Call that number on the slide,” he instructed. Sitting next to Simon, we called in. Within moments we were in a four-way SIP-enabled video call, Dean, Simon and I — with Jean-Marie officiating via a laptop video conferencing system. Nice. Moments later Jean-Marie was demonstrating a real time video RSS service that, when you video-call in to record a video, updates near instantly with your latest content. The commercial possibilities of these sorts of services: Massive if pitched right.

Not entirely new services per se. But the big issue here, however, is scale. Can a developer who’s just knocked up a video call recording service confidently assert that his service will scale from 20 users to 20 million? Hmm. Talk to HP. What’s fascinating is I really didn’t know HP did this sort of thing.

If you’re Youtube and you’re thinking of enabling millions of people to be able to contribute video content live and directly via their video-calling-capable handset, who do you talk to? Or if you’re micro-video-blogging service Hictu hunting for a high capacity, reliable service priced at ‘growing startup rates’? I’m sure HP would be flexible.

Ostensibly the services HP were demonstrating are aimed at mobile operators who would do well to look closely at HP’s offerings although you can effectively pop over to HP in Bracknell with your order forms right now if you’re hunting for scalable mobile video services.

For those interested, I’m going to see if I can get hold of the slides from this evening and publish them. HP definitely aren’t just printers!

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