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BSNL Launches Video SMS, Live Share & Dial-A-Video; Our Take

State owned telco, BSNL, has introduced Video SMS, Live Share and Dial-A-Video services on its network. The services essentially focus on circuit switched video streaming and are best suited for 3G networks, however, these can be also used on slow 2G networks, according to BSNL. It has partnered with VAS technology provider Cervello for Video SMS and Live Share, and Percept Knorigin Online for the Dial-A-Video service.

During the VAS India conference, KK Yadav, who heads VAS at BSNL, had said that their strategy is to focus on Circuit switched video, since, it was simple for the customer to use and did not involve accessing the phone’s web browser, remembering and typing URLs and data transfer charges.

Video SMS

The Video SMS service is a circuit switched 3G video service that lets users make a video call, record video and send it to any other subscriber.  The subscriber needs to make a video call to 58877, select the option to send a Video SMS, enter the receiving party’s number and record the video message. The receiving party gets a web link to view the video recording, which makes the service compatible with other operators. The BSNL website does not mention the pricing.

Nikhil adds: This is similar to the Voice SMS service, wherein a user has to dial a number to leave a voice message, but the service, as far as we’ve heard, hasn’t quite taken off despite a continuous push from telecom operators. One of the key issues with both Video SMS and Voice SMS is interoperability, and if telecom operators want to drive usage among customers, they need to make it telecom operator-agnostic, and host the messages on the cloud.

Live Share

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The Live-Share service is mainly an application which enables video sharing via social networks like Twitter and Facebook, in addition to YouTube and SMS. Although sharing will work on 2G networks, since it doesn’t involve video calling, streaming would require 3G. To stream live video, users can start recording through the app and the app creates an instant web link for viewing the stream, which can be shared with other users through SMS or social networks. A completed video recording can be shared in the same manner.

The app download link can be received by sending an SMS with the keyword ‘LIVE’ to short-code 58877 and it is a free download. We believe the app only works with Symbian phones since the download link (on the BSNL website) offers a file with a .sis extension. The Live-Share capability appears to be powered by Flixwagon Technologies‘ video sharing platform.

In any case, this is video uploading, and not quite live video streaming, of the type that Qik offers

Dial A Video

Dial a Video is video portal, featuring content across music, videos, news, live TV and others. The service can be accessed by making a video call to 51010. It is charged at Rs2 per minute. Since its a circuit based service, videos can not be downloaded and there are no additional charges for data transfer.

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