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The Mobile Paradox

Today’s world is characterized by what I call the “mobile explosion”—an environment defined by mobile cloud becoming a platform for delivering everything. It is a world of heterogeneous networks, licensed macro small cell networks, and unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi for example), all seamlessly combined. In this world, however, I believe we are facing a mobile paradox: on the one hand, there is a staggering demand for data from our smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices; on the other hand, the telecommunications industry is grappling with business and monetization challenges around profitability, how to build up these networks fast enough, and competition from over-the-top (OTT) operators.  But, operators are struggling with building the business case and understanding how to make Wi-Fi pay.

The much quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. In parallel, the use of unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi) for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never saw any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.

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In the “Business Models and Monetization Video” in Big Thinkers in Small Cells, my colleagues and I discuss revenue opportunities and challenges mobile operators face today with small cells, both licensed and unlicensed. Mobile operators Read More »

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: A Brighter Tomorrow

In my last blog, I discussed the benefits of Smart City cloud management capabilities. An intelligent IP-enabled network unites multiple services onto one infrastructure, allowing for tight operations management and lower expenses. Operating this network remotely, through the cloud, further enhances the capability for sustainable, effective city management.

As Smart City visions emerge in various projects in local government, we will see a combination of new ways of thinking, designing, planning, executing, and managing. Busan, South Korea has already discovered the powerful benefits of cloud infrastructure to create Smart+Connected Communities solutions. The government partnered with companies to create a Mobile Application Center to utilize city assets and the connected network. (You can also watch a video series, “Cities of the Future,” on Songdo, South Korea and how this new connected Smart City was designed, planned, and built.)

There are some important steps that other cities and governments can take to harness the power of the cloud to become more connected, efficient, and sustainable. A process on how to answer the Smart City call to action is further outlined in Cisco’s POV paper, “Smart City Framework,” and video.

1.     Use one intelligent, multiservice IP network.

This is the overarching mantra of a Smart City—connect systems and services to improve city livability. While it can seem daunting, it’s important to remember the long-term benefits of a connected city, especially using cloud management. Some of the most promising Smart City projects have shown that it’s possible to use the network to achieve some major goals of state and local government, including efficient city management and economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Savvy government leaders are recognizing the untapped power of the network and incorporating its potential into the early stages of planning and development. Many cities have experimented with including information and communications technology (ICT) solutions through small-scale “proof of concept” projects. Since budgets are so limited, it can be difficult to adopt a purely centralized approach, which means trying new techniques and learning from the enterprise sector.

2.     Build a foundation for public-private partnerships.

Read More »

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Realizing the Benefits of Internet of Everything for Customer Experience: Part 1 #IoE

We’re entering the age of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which is about connecting the Internet to the physical world (people, process, data, and things). We’re early in the process, with approximately 10 billion devices already connected. By 2020, Cisco projects that this number will reach 50 billion “things.” One of the key areas of impact identified in the Cisco Internet of Everything Economy report, “Embracing the Internet of Everything To Capture Your Share of $14.4 Trillion,” is customer experience. The report estimates that IoE-driven customer experience advances — based on increasing customer lifetime value and growing market share by adding more customers — will drive $3.7 trillion of the estimated $14.4 trillion of IoE Value at Stake globally over the next decade.
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IoE is enabling organizations to engage with their customers in whole new ways and to create new business models. IoE is all about making new connections possible: interactions among people, and between people and devices. It’s also about the ability of devices to communicate with each other, with applications, and with digital services, and then empowering those technologies to take action based on these communications.

When more of the world is connected, expect the delivery of your customer experience to shift beyond the boundaries of your current web and mobile sites, and past the walls of your offices and stores. New technologies connected to the Internet — including things like Google Glasses, IP-enabled lightbulbs, new gesture technologies, and sensors — will form the foundation of IoE. However, it is the data stream produced by all of these new connections that will have the greatest impact on your relationship with your customers.

With IoE, you will be better able to build customer loyalty and delight — creating emotional brand connections, personalizing the experience, and targeting offerings based on the data generated by IoE. Just think about what the IoE-powered future might look like across your customer journey.

  • Transform the process of building awareness and encouraging purchases,by bringing together data from various sources, including sensors that pick up signals to help anticipate customer needs. Target these customers in real time based on history, location, and activity.
    • Apps move from performing cross-brand product comparisons to enabling customers to determine where to find items based on criteria they set, including best price, product ratings, and the most convenient retail location to shop (automatically taking traffic and wait times into consideration).
    • Connected vending machines, digital signage, and other surfaces will recognize customers and deliver customized content at the point of need.
    • Items will be ordered on — and delivered to — a customer’s mobile phone, wherever it is located.
  • Post-sale, connect with the personal side of customers’ lives to help them achieve their goals. This will enable you to add post-sale value to create new revenue streams and drive new insights for innovation. Look for ways to be proactive, anticipate and prevent issues before they happen, or make suggestions that will improve a customer’s life.
    • Mobile devices or sensors react to the environment and are set to receive personalized messages placed by you or your customers’ social circles.
    • Sensors on clothing monitor customers’ health, enabling them to analyze and collect information about themselves, optimize their personal behaviors, and alert caregivers when there is an issue.
    • Connected cars move beyond monitoring an automobile’s performance to collecting data about customers’ driving habits, providing instant insurance quotes, and communicating with things along a route

These capabilities can be offered as services, and the great thing is they can be updated and improved over time. Companies like Nike are already way ahead with products like Nike Fuel. Nike has secured a role in my life around my fitness goals, and given all the history it has collected about me, I am not likely to switch to a competitor anytime soon.

If you want to be in a position to tap in to the potential of IoE, it’s time to get thinking about the role your brand will play in this new world. One of the first steps in designing your customer experience is good information about the needs and trends of your customers. Cisco is helping through primary research such as the Connected Customer Experience Report for Health Care, with more industries to come.  Please also follow us on the new Cisco Customer Experience Facebook page and Twitter for updated information.

In Part 2 of this blog series, I’ll provide specific details on how to get started in realizing the benefits of IoE for improving customer experience. In the meantime, I’d love your thoughts on how IoE will redefine customer experience as we know it.

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Welcome to the Next Generation of the Internet

No one could have imagined the fundamental impact the Internet would have on both society and the economy—changing our lives forever. The Internet has already transformed the way we work, live, play, and learn. And, this is only the beginning.

The extraordinary growth and transformation of the Internet is unprecedented, but what does the future of technology hold, and where is the Internet heading? Business executives, technologists, and policymakers are not only asking these questions—they also are looking for a map of the future that will help them assess changes in the Internet, and possible out-comes and implications of those changes for business, national policy, and regulation.

Recent research by Cisco IBSG has identified 10 major technology trends that we believe are shaping the direction of the Internet today and, most certainly, will change its direction in the future.

  1. A World Gone Mobile Read More »

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The Future of Media: Four Key Drivers Altering an Industry

Until recently, the global media industry had been relatively stable, with a robust value chain and well-defined business models.

Today, multiple factors are tearing at the fabric of those finely tuned business models: new players such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple offer consumers new ways of accessing professional video content; technology standards are in flux; and regulatory and macroeconomic factors undermine consumer and investor confidence.

Last week, more than 90,000 media and entertainment officials from 150 countries descended on Las Vegas for NAB Show, the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference. I attended to share some of predictions for the industry that we have developed in the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). In particular, I spoke at a breakfast briefing for CxO-level executives about the impactful yet uncertain effects of four key drivers—consumer behavior, regulatory changes, technology, and macroeconomics—in an effort to better define their media-industry disruptions: Read More »

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