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30 March 2017

Intertrust inches into emerging markets with Kiora buy

Intertrust’s DRM technologies have something of a track record in the Far East and Asia, and are also becoming a dominant force in the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) space. This week, the US security company has acquired the assets of one of its partners, Indian content distribution platform Kiora Media, to boost its presence in both of these areas – providing it with a system for securely delivering studio quality material from a hotspot without using 3G or 4G bandwidth.

This is both a difficult process to secure, as well as being tough to achieve at all. Kiora Media uses a micro cloud architecture to convert a telco’s WiFi zone into a content zone, a CDN of sorts, where users can access content without eating into their data plans – a service which is ideal for areas where cellular coverage is poor.

Faultline Online Reporter swung by the Intertrust booth at TV Connect in London this week, where we were told that Kiora Media’s technology works like a mini CDN – consisting of a WiFi AP and a hard disk, which is simply loaded up with content. The example at the stand was a 1TB piece of hardware, no bigger than a portable disk drive, but we were told there a variety of device types. The key selling point here is that it completely removes any need for expensive CDN services.

This issue then becomes whether or not anyone will walk away with your content saved on their phone, so some form of downloadable content protection has to be put in place.

Intertrust told us that the micro cloud resides on the Kiora appliance and synchronizes whenever the appliance is online, and the micro cloud is a smaller version of a DataCenter cloud. The appliance uses whiteCryption CodeProtect for software hardening to ensure that critical aspects of the micro cloud remain secure even if the appliance happens to be offline (sometimes in environments with no supervision). Therefore, the content is protected at all times using Intertrust’s DRM technologies.

The Intertrust-owned security firm whiteCryption says its software-based products protect apps, stops reverse engineering, and keeps cryptographic keys and data private – which are upgraded regularly.

The Kiora WiFi system is primarily aimed at the Asian and African markets where connectivity is poor. Intertrust revealed to us that there is a public WiFi hotspot deployment in Nigera, and also that certain military services are looking at using Kiora’s services in submarines. Intertrust reassured us that a submarine deployment would only be for delivering video content for entertainment purposes, not for confidential military material.

Operators, service providers and systems integrators can deploy a network anywhere, where a company would then pay for the privilege. It says it can also support SVoD and TVoD payment models, but did not explain how online payments would be processed without being connected to the internet.

Kiora products primarily address content delivered to a passenger’s personal devices (BYOD, or bring your own device models) in low bandwidth networks, where the best delivery mechanism of choice is WiFi. The micro cloud architecture can be extended to delivering over a telco network, where the cloud resides in the telco data center and offers the same offloading mechanisms.

Intertrust told Faultline Online Reporter that it sees a growing market for Kiora’s securely hardened appliance in emerging markets. Intertrust’s growing presence in these markets, especially on consumer electronics devices, is something that we have privately put down to it offering very low prices per device.

In previous endeavors, Intertrust has put its Marlin DRM into Kiora Media’s IVE content distribution platform in China, where it delivered a wireless ad-supported VoD in-flight entertainment system from Chinese IFE provider Donica Aviation. This delivers content via WiFi around the plane to passengers’ own devices, without connectivity to the internet.

The potential savings for airlines are huge – doing away with heavy cables and screens embedded into seats, resulting in significant fuel savings over multiple journeys.

Intertrust CEO, Talal Shamoon, said: “Kiora’s technology is an outstanding force extender for our media products suite. By using Kiora-based products, our customers can blanket the entire planet with exciting media offerings regardless of internet coverage in a given location.”