With Mobile Computing Vendors
- BlueKite -
Interview with BlueKite – a Wireless Network Bandwidth
is a young company (started in late 1997) based in Silicon Valley of
California. BlueKite offers a unique spectrum and bandwidth optimization software
platform that allows network operators to achieve greater speed and capacity
from existing second generation wireless networks. In a sense, BlueKite utilizes
the bandwidth of a wireless network more efficiently by using proprietary
techniques like compression, and caching applied at the content, protocol and transport levels. Since wireless network speed and capacity
is a serious problem with today’s networks, BlueKite offers an interim solution
to this problem. More importantly, BlueKite technology is network
agnostic. Therefore, it has the potential
of helping network operators with 2.5 G and 3G networks as well, in future.
To explore the potential of this technology
further, MobileInfo.Com interviewed BlueKite during January 2001 to get an insight into this technology.
Q1. - Can you briefly describe technology that BlueKite offers?
Answer: BlueKite’s technology platform is a client/server software
solution that enables the delivery of high-performance and cost-effective
mobile access to critical data such as corporate Intranets, the World Wide
Web, and Web-compatible e-mail systems. The foundation of BlueKite’s
platform is its Data Reduxion™ technology. Software solutions from
BlueKite fill a fundamental technology gap previously facing network
operators, ISPs, and ASPs that wish to provide robust and affordable
Web-based data services over wireless networks. Much as companies like Inkotami
and Akamai have successfully applied bandwidth-management
technologies to help remove bottlenecks in the Internet backbone, BlueKite’s
proprietary technology addresses many "last mile" constraints
traditionally associated with wireless Web access.
Q2. - What is the value proposition that your product offers to your
BlueKite’s technology platform enables enhanced performance and greater
ease of use for end users, as well as expanded capacity and reduced
operating costs for service providers. BlueKite’s solution enhances
wireless Web browsing speeds by an average of 5x, and bandwidth efficiency
(for services utilizing packet-switched data networks) by an average of
8x. Service offerings enabled by BlueKite deliver performance on
wireless networks equivalent to or better than 56 kbps fixed line
Q3 - Where does it fall in place in the overall mobile computing
Between the end user device and wireless ISP? Bluekite maintains its
servers on the Internet. BlueKite sells its software to service providers
looking to deploy wireless data services.
Q4 - How can an enterprise use this in the Intranet context?
BlueKite is an excellent solution for corporate IT departments that wish
to provide mobile Web access to their central Exchange server(s). BlueKite’s
software makes Outlook Web Access, the standard HTML interface included with
Microsoft Exchange, significantly faster and more efficient for use by
remote and mobile workers.
Additionally, the BlueKite solution can optimize web-based enterprise
applications (sales force automation, customer relationship management,
etc.), making the services quick and easy to use for mobile employees. For
example, a person on an offsite sales call could check product availability
by using a BlueKite-enhanced wireless web service and tapping into a
web-based SFA application.
Q5 - What does the customer get? Is there any customization?
The end-user receives enhanced wireless web speed. The full Internet
becomes an actual usable service when enhanced by BlueKite’s product.
Q6 - You say it is network agnostic - yet you must be doing something
differently in each of the networks? At which layer of OSI do you
operate? Do you look at the actual application content - HTML tags, and
The core of BlueKite is the Data Reduxion™ technology, which is
agnostic to different network types, but is adaptive to the specific IP
behaviors of real-time network conditions. The Data Reduxion
technology removes overhead, latency, redundancy, and excess information
from web-based transactions. The technology is built upon a library of
encoding algorithms, compression, and caching applied at the content,
protocol, and transport levels. The algorithms do process actual
application content including tags, directives, and content within HTTP as
well as within the transported content types.
BlueKite also provides a Session Management feature that is network
specific. The feature automatically configures, establishes, manages,
and monitors wireless connections. Session Management is most valuable
in complex GSM networks that have multiple data bearer services such as GSM,
HSCSD, and GPRS.
Q7 – In one of the press descriptions, the reporter said that you do
not compress images - why not?
BlueKite does optimize images.
Q8. How do you license your software to carriers? Do you charge a
server-based fee, communications channel-based fee or a user-based fee?
BlueKite licenses its software on a per user seat basis.
Q9 - Who is your competition?
Fourelle, Net2Wireless, Flash Networks
Q10 - If a user was paying on a packet basis (e.g., Bell South Mobitex,
CDPD or Motient’s Network), would you see a significant reduction in
Yes. BlueKite’s software enhances bandwidth efficiency for services
utilizing packet-based networks by an average of 8x.
Special thanks to Mr. Brendan
Farnell of BlueKite for this
interview. For a fact sheet on BlueKite, click
MobileInfo Advisory and Comments: Wireless
bandwidth will continue to be in short supply for the foreseeable future, even
after 3G networks get installed around the world. Demand for wireless
bandwidth at right and affordable prices will always be greater than
its supply, until at least 2010 (beyond that, we can not forecast). First, there are natural laws of radio physics and then
there is a finite amount of available spectrum for commercial exploitation.
This means that you can not manufacture spectrum in a factory or lay it
across the sky as you can do with fixed networks. These factors will dictate
the need for efficient use of network capacity - hence, the need for
optimization of limited bandwidth in wireless networks. This is a
most wireless network public relations folks neither understand nor have a
motivation to relate to the user community.
Also, naive venture capitalists do not understand the need for optimization (it is
too technical for their simple minds) and get taken in by business plans of
infrastructure vendors for more 2.5G and 3G networks. This does not suggest that there isn't a need
for 2.5G and 3G networks.
Therefore, MobileInfo.Com strongly recommends to the
network 'bigwigs and VC's' to attack this problem from several ends.
the bandwidth by going up the frequency spectrum curve i.e. (3G
approach). Second, devise
more efficient coding schemes i.e. (WCDMA, ArrayComm and Mitsubishi approach).
Third, of course, optimize the bandwidth of existing and future networks. In
this context, we strongly encourage vendors like BlueKite, Fourelle and Flash
Networks to put their expertise, know how and hard work to creating software
for bandwidth optimization. This, in our opinion, when fully utilized by
network operators, will create the biggest bang for VC buck. Unfortunately,
it runs against the immediate interests of infrastructure suppliers (like
Motorola, Ericsson, Nortel and Lucent) who are interested in selling newer
network technology more than optimizing bandwidth utilization of existing networks.
May we suggest to the business development folks at these companies that
bandwidth optimization will lead to more meaningful user experience in the
short run, get them hooked to wireless applications, expand the market and
therefore, will wet users' appetite for 3G and 4G.
We believe that BlueKite is among a handful of vendors (others being
Fourelle, Flash Networks) who hold an
important key for alleviating (if not solving) this problem of wireless
network speed and bandwidth efficiency. However, we would caution users, VCs
and network operators, not to buy BlueKite's efficiency claims in wholesale
fashion. Our understanding of mathematics of this complex problem tells us
that 5x and 8x improvement is the best case scenario. More realistic and
sustained improvements may be much less impressive than that. Nonetheless,
even a 2x or 3x improvement, is worth a lot.