Innovation, talent and infrastructure: Q&A with Reston-based ScientiaMobile marketing VP Ken Jones

Based in Reston, ScientiaMobile provides accurate mobile device intelligence and image optimization solutions that improve the mobile experience and make web pages load faster. Formed in 2011, ScientiaMobile’s device detection helps drive more than 83 percent of the Internet’s device analytics. In 2015, ScientiaMobile launched ImageEngine, a smart-image content delivery network that accelerates websites by 60 percent, according to the company.

Ken Jones, vice president of marketing at ImageEngine by ScientiaMobile, talked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority about the company, its technology, and why Fairfax County is the best place for it to be located. Hints: access to talent and the technology infrastructure here. As Jones notes below, the tech-savvy founders could have put down roots anywhere, and they started the company here.

FCEDA: Please describe what your company does.

Ken Jones: ImageEngine makes the Internet faster for companies that have websites. Whether you’re an e-commerce company, or a large corporate entity, web performance is very important for you, and that means you need to have the fastest, most mobile-friendly site possible. It impacts how Google finds you and ranks you on searches, it impacts your users experience, and it impacts your bottom line: how many conversions and how many purchases you’re getting on your website. What ImageEngine does is takes the images on your website, optimizes them to the requesting devices and reduces the image payload so that your website will load faster. And we deliver these through a content delivery network that is located at points all around the world. So no matter where you are, your users will get a great experience.

FCEDA: What is the main business focus of your Fairfax County office?

Jones: ImageEngine by ScientiaMobile has offices in Reston, and in those offices we have our headquarters, but we also have our development team, our I.T. professionals and our marketing professionals. And we found that Fairfax County is a great place to have your headquarters because there’s a great pool of talent there that spans both website development and business professionals.

FCEDA: What also makes Fairfax County a great location for your company?

Jones: Fairfax County is a great place to have our business for a number of reasons, especially a company that is a startup like us. We have access to some of the best pools of talent in the world in Fairfax County, whether you are pulling from a number of the major universities that are in the area, or people we have moved to the area to work for some of the great companies here, we have access to wonderful and very talented workers.

And one of the things that we need to operate a company like ImageEngine is access to great infrastructure for technology. And with the data centers that are available in Fairfax County, we can operate and distribute all the images that we optimize throughout the world quickly and efficiently and a good price.

FCEDA: What’s innovative about your company or what new innovative products or services are you offering?

Jones: In terms of innovation, what we have done with ImageEngine by ScientiaMobile is we’ve built upon our core competency of device detection. For years ScientiaMobile, the parent company, has operated as the leader in device detection for companies like Google, Amazon and Akima. They all use ScientiaMobile device detection to help them optimize their websites or applications. What we have done is built upon that in an innovative way. We have said: what’s the biggest thing that slows down websites? Sixty percent of every website is made up of images and that is the payload that slows down the user experience. What we have done is by identifying the devices that are visiting your website, we can optimize and tailor those images specifically for the requesting devices, therefore reducing the payload and accelerating the user experience.

FCEDA: How does that image optimization work?

Jones: Image optimization is really made up of three things. It is made up of device detection where we identify the internet request coming in and the device that is making it. We identify some of the salient issues related to that device, whether it is the screen size, the browser that they’re using, or the operating system. And we can feed that into the second phase, what image optimization is required to make that image smaller but it is still the same quality. So with that second step, we reduce the images down. And then finally there’s a third step where we take those images that are already optimized and push them out onto a global content delivery network that gets distributed throughout the world. And the next time a similar device comes and requests images from your website, it will be there and even faster for delivery.

FCEDA: Who are your primary customers?

Jones: Our primary customers are e-commerce sites. For e-commerce sites every second that a customer waits means that either they might abandon the site or they might not have as good an experience and purchase. So by accelerating the e-commerce experience using a product like ImageEngine, companies can see increases in revenue, improvements in how they are ranked by Google search engine, and better user experience and satisfaction with the website.

FCEDA: What sets you apart from your competitors?

Jones: ImageEngine works to optimize images, and what our competitors lack is the core competency of identifying the devices that they need to optimize the images for, they use various techniques. But being the leader in device detection, we can further optimize images by almost 20 percent more than what our competitors do. And that means a faster webpage loading and a smaller image payload that’s delivered to users.

FCEDA: How long has your company been in business?

Jones: ScientiaMobile was founded in 2011. The founders of ScientiaMobile, Luca Passani (CTO), Krishna Guda (CEO) and Steve Kamerman (COO), all came from different places and they had to make a decision about where they wanted to incorporate this company. And they had several options around the world. And what they did is they decided on Fairfax County because of the talent and the business environment here.

FCEDA: How many employees do you have invested in and do you have expansion plans for that office?

Jones: In the Reston headquarters for ImageEngine, we have about 35 employees and we do have plans to expand. We find that there’s a good pool of talent in the Fairfax County area and we would like to grow that headquarters staff going forward.

May 27, 2021