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Ohio State spinoff Inmobly aims to ease network congestion

Professor Hesham El GamalMobile video viewing is a broken process, says Hesham El Gamal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at The Ohio State University, one that his new Ohio State spinoff  company, inmobly, aims to fix. By launching a series of apps, starting with the recently launched free Android app, PAUL, inmobly aims to tackle network congestion and deliver a better user experience. The app is currently available for free on the Google Play store.

Inmobly's Predictive Automated User-Centric Loading (PAUL) technology overcomes the bandwidth crunch by preloading videos from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, CNN and ESPN Scorecenter for on-demand viewing. When a phone or tablet is connected to WiFi, PAUL caches videos, which people can view at their convenience in the apps themselves or through PAUL. To aggregate content from these six initial sources, and to give users what they want when they want it, PAUL’s algorithm monitors user behavior to learn content preferences and to determine the best times to schedule downloads.

“People love watching videos on their phones and tablets, but we all hate slow buffering that stems from overly congested networks. By changing when videos are downloaded – and shifting some of the activity to off-peak hours – inmobly is setting out to make video viewing faster and easier,” explained Hesham El Gamal, co-founder and president of inmobly. “PAUL is the first step in that process.”

The PAUL platform is based upon technology developed during El Gamal’s research with his students at Ohio State and is licensed from Ohio State’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer.  

“The next phase of mobile content must create a personalized multimedia experience for users rather than the user needing to create it for themselves,” said El Gamal. “The recommendation algorithm in PAUL will guide users to multimedia content they will enjoy. The scheduling algorithm can even enable users to consume more high-bandwidth multimedia without significantly increasing their data costs. Our platform will also make micro-targeting possible for multimedia advertising and cross-promotions.”

Inmobly’s future plans include collaborating with content providers and other companies to extend the app’s reach.

"We are looking into opportunities for partnering with content providers, mobile network operators, mobile virtual network operators, or even handset manufacturers to incorporate the technology on a broader scale and address the bandwidth crunch problem,” said Liza Reed, inmobly’s director of product development. Reed is an Ohio State alumna with a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical and computer engineering.

Founded in 2011 by El Gamal and Nayer Wanas, inmobly has already raised $650,000 towards future product development, including $500,000 from TechColumbus’ Pre-Seed Funds. Paul isn’t inmobly’s first venture into the world of apps, the company also developed the award-winning Arab News app, and was recognized as a front runner in the 2012 Silicon Valley Global Tech Symposium.

Inmobly is always looking for feedback, users may contact Liza Reed directly at liza@inmobly.com to discuss their experience with the app.