How Twin Prime prevents apps from becoming 'hostages' to the latency of wireless networks

1st Apr 2016
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Making its way into almost every pocket globally, smartphones can be considered to be the first universal tech product, according to mobile analyst Benedict Evans. It is estimated that users on average spend more than three hours a day on their smartphones, with 86 percent of that time spent using apps.

Because of the multiple variables involved, apps can be 3x slower than websites accessed through PCs. This poor mobile performance impacts user engagement, retention and revenues for organisations. Every one-second delay decreases user satisfaction by 16 percent and e-commerce companies are estimated to lose one percent of revenue for every 100 milliseconds of delay.

About 70-90 percent of latency occurs in the last mile, the connection between the call tower and the device. Twin Prime, an innovator in mobile data delivery optimisation space, is trying to solve this by empowering app developers speed up mobile content up to 300 percent by eliminating mobile latency.

The ‘aha!’ moment

YourStory-Satish-Rahunath-Twin-Prime
Satish Raghunath

Kartik Chandrayana and Satish Raghunath founded Twin Prime in 2013. The startup helps resolve the inherent volatility and diversity among devices and networks to enable companies increase their user engagement and build brand affinity on apps.

Kartik, Satish and their team were initially building a product for the telecom sector but didn’t find the necessary traction. To clear their heads, they decided to build a photo app for iPhones which would allow users to search for photos on their Facebook network. They wanted it to be a fast app and provide an engaging user experience.

But they found the performance of their app to be slow and sluggish in different conditions and locations. They also noted that this was not a solitary issue and affected other apps too- New York Times, WSJ, YouTube, even Facebook behaved the same way. So the duo took performance measurements, packet traces from popular apps and saw a trend: almost all apps were making the same networking decisions irrespective of the context in which the app was being used. Kartik said,

Why should your app make the same choices when downloading images on a 3G network with 1Mbps bandwidth and on a Wi-Fi network with 10Mbps bandwidth per subscriber? The network requirements are vastly different.

This propelled the duo to start Twin Prime to build infrastructure that solves mobile performance by paying attention to the context in which the app was being used and making data-driven networking decisions.

Kartik and Satish are IIT graduates and hold PhDs in Computer & Systems Engineering and Computer Networking respectively from USA. With 15 years of work experience each in their respective fields, Kartik leads the company’s strategic direction and business execution as the CEO, while Satish leads Twin Prime’s product strategy and roadmap as the CTO.

How Twine Prime works

Kartik Chandrayana
Kartik Chandrayana

Twin Prime’s mobile app acceleration solution uses machine learning to deliver network data content up to 300 percent faster at any location to mobile devices on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Their GLAS technology utilises an automated hypothesis testing infrastructure to mitigate imperfections and variability in the wireless last mile by customising the content delivery strategy every time a mobile app is launched.

With GLAS, Twin Prime is able to predict the network conditions and helps apps react to them accordingly. Kartik explained

In a high bandwidth network, the app might be instructed to use parallel connections, while in a low bandwidth to do multiplexing. The impact on performance can be staggering. We are currently looking at 100-percent latency cut across our entire traffic.

He confirmed that these optimisations are content-agnostic and don't rely on caching, compression or content modification, and work even over secure (HTTPS) protocols.

Bootstrapping for two years

The team
The team

In March 2015, Twin Prime received $9.5-million Series A funding from venture firms including DFJ, True Ventures, Milliways Ventures and Moment Ventures. Based out of Silicon Valley, the startup currently consists of a team of 25 from diverse backgrounds like networking, search, big data, mobile, analytics.

Twin Prime bootstrapped for two years before raising outside capital. The organisation's current focus is on providing solutions for fast growing enterprises in the m-commerce, travel/ticketing, hotel, food delivery and consumer services space in USA, India, and other countries. It currently works with around 10 apps, including Quest, Jack Threads, Redbus and GoIbibo.

With smartphone users booking tickets on the go, Redbus found that not all their customers were having good experiences, and needed to solve the last-mile connectivity issue.

Phaneesh Gururaj, Director of Engineering at Redbus claims in a report that Twin Prime was able to slash latencies on all of Redbus’s app traffic by up to two seconds and increase optimal performance from 55 to 87 percent.

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Image credit

Sector overview

Kartik estimated that the mobile optimisation and acceleration sector is a multi-billion dollar industry globally, growing at over 40-percent CAGR. He said,

India already represents a significant portion of this total, and the growth rates are well in excess of the 40 percent average global growth rate.

Indian mobile Internet user base is expected to cross 371 million by June 2016, while China is estimated to have over 600 million mobile Internet users. Twin Prime considers India and China to be its key markets.

Future plans

Twin Prime recently launched an ‘analytics dashboard’ for mobile product managers to get an overview of the mobile content that needs to be accelerated, besides delivering mobile app performance metrics. The startup works on a subscription model based on monthly active devices. Kartik added that they currently have around 20 more companies which are in trial at various stages.

Recently, Twin Prime joined Facebook’s FbStart initiative as the only Mobile App Acceleration Partner. It also joined the Amazon Partner Network (APN) to provide mobile app acceleration services to companies using Amazon's cloud services, including Amazon CloudFront (CloudFront).

Going forward, Twin Prime aims to grow both financially and geographically. The startup claims it currently accelerates traffic from over 150 countries worldwide and the number is growing.

Website: Twin Prime

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