Enabling Phantom Games

26 April 2002

Phantom Fiber Inc., one of the top developers of software applications for mobile solutions in the gaming industry, has launched a new platform especially for hand-held devices, smart phones and PDAs.

Smart Streaming, the latest addition to the company's gaming portfolio, is a proprietary data transmission technique intended to deliver unprecedented client-side performance and intuitively adapt to handset properties, according to Phantom's vice president of sales and marketing, Bill Keating.

The main difference between Smart Streaming and other platforms for mobile devices is the way Smart Streaming optimizes bandwidth.

The new platform will enable Internet casino software developers, operators and land-based casinos to seamlessly deploy high-performance interactive games to mobile devices. Keating said the product will also free gamers to securely play their favorite casino, sports-book, poker, and interactive game live, anytime, anywhere and on any device.

The main difference between Smart Streaming and other platforms for mobile devices, according to Keating, is the way Smart Streaming optimizes bandwidth.

"This is one of the key pieces of proprietary technology that separates Phantom Fiber from the crowd," he said. "Rather then wait for the promises of 3G we have created a data-streaming technology that finally provides clients with an exciting presentation experience that doesn't come at the price of performance."

The company's "first game no cost solution" approach, which reduces the front-end risk usually associated with the initial deployment of a mobile solution, has really created a buzz within the industry, and Phantom hopes to have at least 12 unique customers by the end of this year.

And unlike most developers of wireless platforms, Phantom has one focus: the gaming sector. Keating feels having just one marketplace to put its resources in has given his company an edge.

"There are no outside distractions," he said. "We have a creative a flexible development team who cut their teeth developing secure banking and broker applications for leading financial institutions. Now we are taking that experience and merging with the unique demands of the gaming industry."

Phantom Fiber's core piece of technology manages and optimizes online chat, commercial transaction content and e-mail in "an extremely dynamic environment."

Phantom Fiber's core piece of technology manages and optimizes online chat, commercial transaction content and e-mail in what Keating called "an extremely dynamic environment."

"This core piece of technology has been our most advanced differentiator," he said. "It manages the efficient flow of all types of information between handheld device and system server."

Keating said company officials realized the chief purpose of wireless transaction ennoblement was the ability to securely conduct transactions or information exchanges while in a mobile state. It was also important, he added, to be able to receive messages and alerts as well as send messages. Phantom realized through applications in the entertainment vertical that the ability to open a channel and enable the user to "chat" with an online party would be an unprecedented advancement and a recognizable benefit.

Keating pointed out, however, that having the idea and trying to put it into practice are two very different things, especially when developing mobile platforms.

"Remembering that bandwidth was the single biggest and most ongoing hurdle to overcome, our engineers were faced with the technical dilemma of maintaining three communication channel types over a single pipe that could barely support any one of these channels," he explained.

Phantom's developers began by creating a proprietary binary streaming protocol that was so condensed it eliminated the need for compression/decompression and pushed the XML parsing layer down to the server side. Once it was pushed down to the server side, memory and computing power were not a concern. The move vastly increased performance and data transfer rates. But if a high-priority event occurred in the middle of a low-level priority event, a casino gaming operator had to send a real-time message while a player was transmitting a news article or e-mail, a direct channel had to be opened and the chat or transaction information moved to the top of the queue for immediate attention. The Smart Streaming technology makes it possible for the switch to occur.

The filter, Keating said, was the key to unlocking the rest of the system.

"By creating a priority filter on both ends, the transmission packets are prioritized to always ensure real-time information is received immediately," he said. "More passive information packets are exchanged when the device is in a low activity or dormant state."

The system, he added, brings a secure wireless solution that's both fast and exciting to smart phones and PDAs.

But even with the multiple devices that can be tapped into for gaming, Keating feels the major advancement for the industry is the multiple functions that can be conducted.

"We can add live chat functionality into the wireless gaming framework," he said. "Players can seamlessly talk to each other independent of the wireless hand held device they are using."

Keating added that the system delivers crystal clear presentation screens with unparallel responsiveness and animation. Its interactive client side interfaces are designed from the ground up, marrying casino graphics with device-sensitive presentation-enhancement tools resulting in a superior audiovisual user experience that is setting the industry standard. Information is securely encased and delivered with complete end-to-end 128-bit encryption using today's most advanced security techniques.

A recent Datamonitor report projects that revenue from the total mobile gaming markets in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific will grow from an estimated $950 million in 2001 to $17.5 billion in 2006. By 2006, Datamonitor predicted, Europe will have more than 150 million wireless gamers, while the wireless gaming market in the United States is expected to reach 124 million users. Phantom Fiber is eagerly awaiting to serve them and appears ready to do so.

Nobody knows where Kevin Smith came from. He simply showed up one day and started writing articles for IGN. We liked him, so we decided to keep him. We think you'll like him too. Kevin can be reached at kevin@igamingnews.com.