4G World - Innovative
Enterprise Applications Panel
October 20, 2010
With the proliferation of mobile workers, enterprises are becoming more reliant on enterprise mobility applications. The panelists discuss innovative and valuable applications that are emerging in the enterprise space.
Vice President and General Manager,
Mobile Access, Routing and Services Business Unit
Dr. Hung Song
Vice President, Global Marketing Group
Riding the Mobile Internet Wave
By Denise Deveau
Some call it an evolution, others a revolution. Whatever descriptor one wants to use for the mobile Internet, it is undeniable that it is changing fast. From the infrastructure that supports it to the operators that deliver it to the user community itself, the mobile Internet is radically transforming the communications landscape. The question remains, however: Is the world ready for it?
Not quite, but soon, seems to be the consensus. While people may think the mobile Internet is well entrenched in our daily lives, experts say it is still very much in its early days. It will take time and a significant adjustment in attitudes and business processes for it to reach its true potential. Nevertheless, forecasts indicate that that time is approaching rapidly.
In his book Harnessing the Mobile Internet, Eliot Weinman, president of Yankee Group’s event and media division and conference chair of 4G World, explains that we are “now in the early stages of a mobile Internet tsunami, the impact of which will be felt in all corners of the globe.” He believes that mobile Internet service delivery and user experience will undergo massive changes over the next 12 to 18 months and beyond.
The Cisco Visual Networking Index(VNI): Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2009-2014, reports that by 2014, data traffic over the mobile Internet will increase 39 times over today’s numbers, with two-thirds of that traffic being video. “The trajectory of mobile communications is increasing dramatically,” says Ash Dahod, Cisco Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Internet Technology Group. “Data usage is exploding. As a result, we are starting to see a variety of sophisticated mobile devices capable of delivering a compelling multimedia experience over a wider array of broadband networks.”
He adds that the world will see 5 billion existing and new mobile Internet consumers by 2014, according to Cisco’s VNI forecast. “The mobile Internet is growing at a much faster rate than the fixed Internet and will become the dominant form by which most people will connect at broadband speeds. Within 12 to 18 months, it is estimated that there will be more smartphones than PCs in the world.”
Yankee Group forecasts that by 2015, global operator revenues from mobile Internet services will be $66 billion, not including revenues generated by content providers, device manufacturers, chip makers and other members of the mobile Internet ecosystem. It estimates that within the same time frame, mobile entertainment will represent 15% of all global mobile Internet operator service revenues, and nearly 15% of all Americans with a bank account will use their mobile devices for online banking.
That Was Then...
The recent past has proven disappointing in terms of the mobile Internet delivering on the promise of reliable, ubiquitous access to feature-rich applications and services. This is in large part because the cost of powerful mobile devices capable of handling multimedia content has been prohibitive for the average user. Subscriber fees have also been out of range, hampering widespread usage.
Funding of all the elements that will create the all-encompassing mobile Internet experience has also been a contentious issue. Multimedia service delivery requires significant investment on the part of the members within the mobile Internet ecosystem. Different players, from service providers and infrastructure vendors to content developers and device manufacturers, continue to debate who can and will manage the economics of it all. No one entity is positioned or willing to absorb the full brunt of these added costs. Somehow the resources and/or strategies have to be found to pay for the infrastructure, systems and processes that will complete the mobile Internet picture.
Mobile broadband coverage is not as ubiquitous as it needs to be: 3G is expanding at a rapid pace and has made significant inroads, while 4G mobile networks such as WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) are being deployed to further broadband capabilities and fill coverage gaps. Yet, as Dahod points out, “Currently demand is manageable, but in 12 to 18 months demand will be exponentially higher. The networks and delivery strategies have to be in place to manage the end-to-end capture and distribution of video to meet those levels.”
...This Is Now
The environment is shifting from both a technical and business perspective, which will determine both the near- and long-term future direction of the mobile Internet. “The competitive landscape is changing, and operators and other players must adapt their business models to optimize and monetize the mobile Internet experience,” Dahod says. “Data services will become the biggest revenue generator of the future, which represents a significant monetization opportunity. To that end, new partnerships must be forged between service providers, content developers, infrastructure vendors and other members to bring new rich media content to the masses.”
From a technical perspective, mobile is ready to make the leap from early-generation mobile broadband to “true” broadband, he adds, with the advent of 4G networks playing a significant role in creating a richer user experience. “We are also witnessing a transition from circuit-based to packet-based IP networks, which is driving a dramatic shift in how services can and will be delivered.”
Handheld devices now have the capacity and user-friendly interfaces to deliver a consistent and powerful multimedia end-user experience. The iPhone proved to be an important game changer in turning the smartphone from a basic business and social tool to a future-ready, interactive, media-rich social networking device. Having seen it in action, today’s users now expect more visual and personalized social experiences, while business users are anticipating videoconferencing and other collaboration tools that will be at hand regardless of the user’s location or device.
Service delivery also needs to get smarter and more targeted to individual or enterprise consumption patterns. Otherwise, financial sustainability will be compromised.
“Since data traffic increases will potentially outpace revenue gains for operators, the only way to redress the balance is to optimize and monetize that traffic through more efficient delivery and more flexible pricing models,” Dahod says.
The next-generation mobile Internet will require more intelligence. Whether that resides in the network, in business intelligence tools that monitor and analyze traffic patterns to the nth degree, or within the devices that present the applications to the end user, strategic intelligence will be the key to driving profitability and delivery.
Network intelligence can help determine where data is going and what protocols are being used, and can intuitively understand how to handle different data streams in the most effective way. Business intelligence can help operators and marketers gain insight into what kinds of users are employing what type of device and applications in what locations. Intelligent devices should be able to transition from region to region and automatically select the most cost effective and/or highest speed, based on the specific user or application.
All that intelligence provides a means to differentiate and monetize the mobile Internet moving forward. Rather than relying on a direct revenue stream between the operator and the subscriber, data service providers can now look to content providers and other entities to add value and generate new revenue streams; for example, charging nominal download fees for each high-definition movie feed.
“Intelligence will be both the differentiator and the opportunity for the mobile Internet community,” Dahod says. “As we move through the new mobile Internet environment, access will not vary dramatically between networks, and interaction with services will be seamless.”
Right now there may be more debates than answers regarding the mobile Internet. But given the breakneck speed at which the mobile Internet is traveling, the answers will undoubtedly come very soon.
Mobile Broadband to get on the Express Train
Woonsub Kim EVP and Head of Telecommunication Systems Business at Samsung Electronics
The worldwide proliferation of smartphones is driving the expansion of the mobile Internet, posing challenges for networks and operators. The potential of the mobile Internet can only be realized if networks can provide fast browsing, video streaming, data services and upload capabilities for people on the move. So what is the telecommunications industry doing to address this issue?
4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, are reshaping the way we communicate, breaking traditional boundaries and increasing global access to the limitless potential of the Internet.
The era of the “truly mobile” Internet has arrived. The number of mobile broadband subscribers surpassed DSL subscribers for the first time in 2009 and is forecasted to reach 1.5 billion worldwide in 2014, according to Infonetics Research.
This is a fundamental change in how consumers are experiencing the Internet. Smartphones and other mobile broadband solutions are taking the Internet out of the home and removing barriers to access. This trend presents operators with new challenges and opens doors for new opportunities.
A recent snapshot of mobile data traffic in three countries reveals the extent of these challenges. In the U.S., AT&T saw an 18-fold increase in total annual data traffic in two years. In Japan, NTT DOCOMO saw growth of data usage per subscriber increase by 80% in 2009. During the same year in Korea, KT’s average monthly data traffic increased 24 times.
The challenge for stakeholders is that the best device is only as good as the network it connects to. This is why Samsung has invested itself in the development of 4G mobile broadband solutions.
Samsung leads the way in 4G technology competitiveness, with its end-to-end solutions—which range from devices to network systems—and the standards for next-generation mobile broadband.
To see what is on the horizon, we need look no further than what’s happening right now in some Asian countries, where high-bandwidth video and sophisticated data-oriented services are a reality. Consumers, businesses and the public sector already benefit from the enhanced network capabilities that 4G offers, and this is just the beginning.
For example, in Korea, a service called U-Health enables real-time communication between paramedics and doctors while transporting a patient to a hospital, allowing for fast diagnosis and treatment. Also, without visiting a hospital, patients can consult their doctors and receive treatment using smartphones, IP phones and IPTV.
At the same time, U-Education is allowing students to register for courses, participate in online lectures wherever they may be and stream high-quality video relating to their studies.
As mobile broadband proliferates, we will see many exciting examples of next-generation video and data services spring up. The possibilities that 4G networks offer are only limited by the imagination.
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