RealTime IT News

helloNetwork.com to Challenge Mainstream Streaming Media

Don't let the fact that helloNetwork.com has been laying low in Las Vegas for the last few months fool you.

The firm, whose goal is to jettison plug-ins and media player installations in favor of entirely Web-based, Java apps, is gearing up to attack the traditional means of bringing real-time streams to the market.

And it has reshuffled its management team to do it, bringing in a slew of business people with experience in working with the enterprise space.

helloNetwork.com will install new President and Chief Operations Officer Lance Horn Monday as the centerpiece to what is already a different line-up than it was a month ago. Horn comes from Yahoo!'s Broadcast.com, where he took charge of broadcast services for Yahoo! Europe, which included rich media advertising, content acquisition and corporate services.

He'll assume the same duties at helloNetwork, but his chief objective is to get the company's product line, which features advertising and corporate video, to name a few, out to the masses via cell phones and PDAs. But really, its for any appliance that will support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s ubiquitous Java technology.

Horn told InternetNews.com Thursday that, judging on his experience working for Yahoo! Broadcast.com in London, that the U.S. is ready for a streaming media explosion -- but not so much on the player-to-PC side of things as it will for the enterprise market.

"helloNetwork is developing great technology and the right place to exploit that technology is the enterprise market," Horn began. "Everybody is writing customary business rules. The most recent Gartner and Jupiter reports say that 45 and 55 percent of the audio players for connected PCs is owned by [RealNetworks'] RealPlayer and [Microsoft's] Windows Media Player. You split that and each format holds 25 percent of the market."

Horn's point is that if you take a Java-enabled device that powers the browser, you're catching 98.5 percent of the market as opposed to the quarter niches that the two main players currently hold.

Looking past helloNetwork, Horn said: "Look what's going on with PDAs and set-top boxes -- we're going to be able to take advantage of 995 million Java-enabled wireless devices by 2005."

Horn said to accommodate the evolving streaming and wireless markets, businesses need to make sure they don't separate the user from the content. Don't get Horn wrong, he is not predicting that Java-enabled streaming solutions will entirely replace downloads, installations and plug-ins on people's home computers.

But he is saying that streaming media can replace such tools for computers across the enterprise if businesses have the mind to do it.

As for the methodologies for helloNetwork.com, Horn said the next few weeks will be crucial in getting deeper in the game. Horn, couldn't be specific, but he did say his new firm is headed for a number of significant licensing deals, in addition to adding a new chief technology officer and wireless officer to the mix.

helloNetwork.com will also relaunch, Horn said, to look "less B2C and more enterprise-targeted."

A helloNetwork.com board member since last September, Horn is a director of the not-so-free-anymore Phonefree.com and is a venture partner with Gerard Klauer Mattison Venture Partners.