Remember Real Player? I do. I remember when it started life as Real Audio Player in 1995, and was even more excited when it gained video capabilities, first in postage stamp-sized video!
This was the beginning of incredible progress in video streaming, so much so that we can enjoy 4K Netflix streaming in Australia today, or at least, for those with a super fast NBN connection.
Well, three of the people behind major parts of Real Player are still active today, 20 years later, and in my video interview, I described them as the equivalent of tech royalty, given the seminal importance of the Real Player product, which even included a component you could install in Windows 98!
That said, I’m talking about Real Player to put just a small slice of the achievements of the creators of Syntonic into context – the great minds that helped shape Real Player as one of the Internet’s historically most influential media players moved long ago into other tech areas, and now into what is the next frontier of mobile access via sponsored content, and the way they’re doing it is incredible, noteworthy and seemingly without any major competitors.
The fact that Syntonic delivers sponsored content access solutions to consumers AND businesses is also impressive, with its Connected Services Platform supporting two technologies, ‘Freeway by Syntonic’ and ‘Syntonic DataFlex,’ with a lot more detail on how it works for both sets of users explained in the video interview embedded a little further below.
Those are presumably reasons why Syntonic’s very recent listening on the ASX successfully raised $2.2 million under its public offer – and it even has a Pokémon Go connection!
Now, in the video, you will see and hear from Gary Greenbaum and Rahul Agarwal, co-founders of Syntonic who are chief executive and chief technology officer, respectively.
Before we get to the video, and more detail in text format after that, including a synopsis of my questions, here’s a little extra detail on Syntonic’s executive team.
The company was co-founded by Gary S. Greenbaum, who has a Ph.D. in High Energy Particle Physics, and also spent 20 years as a "thought leader and technology pioneer" in digital media and mobile computing. He serves as Syntonic’s chief executive and also played a major role in Real Video.
Agarwal spent seven years at RealNetworks as director of client engineering, responsible for managing the entire client platform team and engineering, among other impressive features.
There is also Ben Rotholtz, the chief marketing officer, who has a "track record of success during periods of high growth at PopCap Games, Rhapsody, RealNetworks, Adobe Systems and Aldus Corporation".
More bio info on Gary Rahul and Ben at the end of this article, but finally here’s the video interview! The article continues thereafter, please read on!
In the video, I introduced Greenbaum and Agarwal, and asked them to tell us a bit about their history, and then explain what Syntonic does.
We had video demonstrations on how the consumer and business aspects of Syntonic’s products work.
We discussed why US companies are listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.
We talked about Pokémon Go, and the need for a product such as Syntonic’s for consumers and businesses was discussed with other types of apps that would be popular – both for people using the apps and the companies sponsoring usage of those apps.
We looked at the future, great advice both gentlemen shared and their final messages for iTWire viewers and readers, and for Syntonic’s current and future customers.
More below, please read on!
Now for some more information from Syntonic’s media release.
The company notes how it is working with AT&T in the US to offered sponsored Pokémon Go data via Freeway by Syntonic, which the Syntonic says validates "market demand for sponsored data".
The company has launched a "Freeway pilot in Malaysia to be followed by deployments in other geographies in Southeast Asia and Latin America where over 80% of users ration their mobile data".
Greenbaum said: "Pokémon GO is a global phenomenon that has engaged millions of users around the world and it's a perfect use case for sponsored data.
“The game is more compelling outside of physically limited Wi-Fi networks, providing a great experience over cellular networks as part of its geographic discovery, which bridges the real world with a virtual world, but can also quickly eat away at a user's monthly mobile data limits.
“By delivering access through sponsored data with Freeway by Syntonic, users can freely engage with the game without impacting data usage."
Commenting on Syntonic’s admission to the ASX, Greenbaum noted Syntonic’s inclusion “marks a significant milestone for Syntonic, and we are delighted by the strong interest received from investors. We welcome our new shareholders and look forward with confidence to the next phase of our growth and development as a listed company".
He continued, stating: “Our mission is to transform the mobile industry with an entirely new way of capitalising the value of mobile apps, content, and network traffic and we will do this with our market leading mobile technologies. We are going to aggressively expand our Syntonic DataFlex solution in the US and our Freeway by Syntonic solution in Southeast Asia and Latin America.
“We believe 2016 is the year of sponsored data, and Southeast Asia and Latin America are emerging as the world’s largest and most active pre-paid data markets, where consumers have demonstrated an enormous appetite for accessing mobile content and apps.
“Freeway by Syntonic is the most complete content services platform, and we plan to lead the charge in revolutionising how mobile content is discovered, consumed, and monetised.”
More on ‘Freeway by Syntonic’ powering free access to Pokémon GO in the US:
The company states it has "enabled sponsored access to the massively successful mobile game, Pokémon GO, for Android users through its sponsored data app, Freeway by Syntonic".
"Since the initial release of Freeway by Syntonic in July 2014, Syntonic has launched a variety of sponsored data initiatives in North America, such as providing free mobile data access to CES 2016 content and free access to on-the-go travel site, Expedia.com.
"This latest Syntonic promotion, running now through 15 August, provides the first 10,000 Android users with 1GB of free mobile data that can be used to access Pokémon GO anywhere in the United States on the AT&T network. The special offer grows Syntonic’s awareness worldwide with operators and content providers who are seeking a sponsored data solution."
In addition, "Freeway by Syntonic allows consumers the ability to connect to the mobile Internet free of charge on their mobile phone. Brands, application developers, content providers, and advertisers are the ones paying for consumers’ mobile data usage to increase consumer awareness, acquire new users, enhance engagement, and monetise their products".
The company says its Freeway by Syntonic platform "targets the 3.7 billion consumers that don’t have the financial means to connect to the Internet, and the two billion pre-paid mobile subscribers that ration their data usage. In post-paid markets, such as the US, where data is relatively inexpensive, the demand for video and music still outstrips the limits of consumer data plans and creates an additional market opportunity for Freeway by Syntonic".
There are 4.3 billion consumers (60% of the world) who don’t have the financial means to access the Internet and two billion who ration their data usage; (don’t look at developed countries but think 57% of Asia-Pacific and 60% of Latin America).
Syntonic has also launched its sponsored data service in Southeast Asia (by launching Clash of Clans, WhatsApp, BBM, WeChat, and Twitter) and made a big agreement with Tata Communications.
To back it all up, Syntonic explains that "the market for sponsored data is estimated to grow to nearly US$23 billion by 2019, fueled by major carriers and brands exploring new engagement models paired with the ever-increasing consumer demand for mobile content".
So, following Freeway’s commercial launch in the US, "a pilot was recently deployed in Malaysia and will be followed by expansion to other geographies in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where over 80% of users ration their mobile data".
What about the business usage aspect?
Syntonic says its DataFlex platform "provides a cost-effective mobile split billing solution to separate personal from business use on employee smartphones".
The company proudly boasts that "Syntonic DataFlex can save employers up to 50% of their BYOD expenses and increase workforce productivity by 10%".
Syntonic states that it "recently commissioned a research study from Information Solutions Group (“ISG”) on employee smartphone trends within small and medium businesses and large enterprises in the US. The full results of this study, which validates the Syntonic DataFlex market opportunity, will be published later this year".
"The research indicates that employers are overspending on BYOD reimbursements by over US$275/year per employee. The research also notes that 81% of companies are supporting BYOD programmes today or are planning to support them within the next 12 months. This represents an addressable US market for Syntonic DataFlex of more than 100,000 companies representing over 76M employees."
Here’s more detail on Syntonic’s executive team:
Gary S. Greenbaum, Ph.D.
Gary Greenbaum has been a thought leader and technology pioneer in two of the most significant technology revolutions of the past 20 years: digital media and mobile computing. Gary’s unique balance of business acumen and technical expertise has enabled him to make seminal contributions at every stage in his professional career from co-founding a highly successful Silicon Valley start-up to leading an international team of engineers at a large multinational corporation. Gary received his Ph.D. in High Energy Particle Physics from the University of California while participating as a visiting scholar at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre.
Rahul Agarwal has over 20 years of software experience and is a recognized expert in instituting development and quality processes, architecting large-scale multi-platform client-server solutions and managing technical teams. Rahul has been instrumental in helping guide teams build cutting edge media streaming and mobile and web solutions for Fortune 100, mid-size companies as well as startups over the last nine years at Adroit. Prior to founding Adroit, Rahul spent seven years at RealNetworks as Director of Client Engineering responsible for managing the entire client platform team and architecting the company’s second-generation, highly scalable and extensible cross-platform industrial strength media delivery platform.
Ben Rotholtz is a B2C and B2B marketing team leader with more than 20 years of experience in consumer and enterprise software. He has launched and sustained over 100 commercial products and services across more than 20 business units and industry verticals. He has leadership experience in gaming, music, video, digital media delivery, security, graphic arts, and publishing. Ben has concentrated his expertise in mobile marketing, brand building, product and corporate positioning, market expansion and competitive analysis. He has a track record of success during periods of high growth at PopCap Games, Rhapsody, RealNetworks, Adobe Systems and Aldus Corporation.