One of those cliches that we ought to live by! Especially in the mobile space. You can never go wrong aligning your business strategy on the side of the mobile consumer. That is why Cisco spends copious amount of time, money, and effort in understanding the customer experience even though a lot of our revenue comes from selling infrastructure.
Consumers have taught us how they consume applications. Anytime, anywhere, on any device, with any service. So much so that they don’t even think whether the access network is from their provider or not, or in many instances whether the network is wired or wireless.Then why does the industry get hung up on whether it is HSPA or LTE or WiMAX or Wi-Fi? 3G or 4G? Let us embrace all these technologies as it is more about the apps and the experience; YouTube, Hulu, Flickr, social networking apps, WebEx, you name it. Cisco is projecting a 66 fold increase in mobile data traffic through 2013.
And of course it is about money! Infrastructure vendors, application developers, and service providers need to diligently work to scale the networks while managing CAPEX and OPEX so that consumers can do what they do best and drive competitive, innovative markets. Interestingly enough, most of these apps run “over the top” in that the service providers don’t necessarily know all the details of the traffic. However, the service providers need to make decent margins so that they continue to build out broadband services and accelerate the innovation cycle.
What does it take? Service providers need to become savvy about IP applications and personalize their services. Keep the customers happy so that they come back for more. The industry value chain is massively being disrupted. Many service providers have outsourced a lot of the “traditional” tasks to concentrate more on customer acquisition and marketing new services. What happened to control plane functions where the provider knew everything happening on the network? With the web as a platform, it has turned that concept on its head. IP Multimedia System (IMS), albeit had all the virtues in the architecture, but has fallen significantly short in supporting all the new apps. Service providers have no choice but to support all kinds of apps, IMS or not.
Like one of our customers said “There is no stopping this application train.” Does that mean service providers are marginalized to becoming mere bit pipes? It’s too easy to jump to that conclusion, but not true. I will take this up in another blog. What do you think?