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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2014

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. More than 75,000 people were estimated to have attended this year’s MWC, and its fabulous new conference facilities proved a great place to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments and catch a glimpse of its potential future.  Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2013.  However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile?

The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show, based on my conversations with operators, customer meetings, analysts, and colleagues, as well as from simply walking the show floor: Read More »

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Wi-Fi Value-Added Services Improve the Retail Bottom-line

Retailing has always been a tough business.  But, the move to online shopping, the challenging economy and changes in shopper’s behavior has placed even more pressure on traditional retail margins.  Retailers are constantly looking for ways to get more people in to their store and to spend more.  Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics.  Online retailers know such valuable information as: how frequently customers return, how long they spend on the site, what they looked at but didn’t buy and where they went before and after coming to the site.  With this information, online retailers are able to rapidly adjust prices, promote certain items, and re-configure the layout of the site in almost real-time in order to increase the probability and value of a sale.  None of these data and insights has been available to bricks-and-mortar retailers -- until now.  The increasing availability of Wi-Fi in retail locations is changing all of that.

Shopping malls and retailers are increasingly offering Wi-Fi to their customers as a service to connect their mobile devices to the Internet.  Hidden in this Read More »

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Creating a Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle

In the decade or so that Wi-Fi has existed, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  Now mobile operators around the world are asking how they can effectively use Wi-Fi to help them cope with the huge surge in mobile data traffic and to meet customer needs and expectations.  In addition, they are all eager to understand how they can make money from Wi-Fi and to make the business case to justify investments in deploying Wi-Fi networks.

As many leading SPs are now discovering building a Wi-Fi network creates not only significant business value, but creates a virtuous circle that leads to ever-increasing sources of new Wi-Fi value. As the Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle outlined below shows, the reinforcing network and scale effects of Wi-Fi investments not only deliver unique business benefits at each of the levels, but also establish a valuable platform to exploit additional monetization opportunities at the next level.

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How Are You Weathering Industry Storms? Five Ways To Help SPs Turn Disruption into Transformation

Service providers (SPs) have been wracked by wave after wave of disruption, creating new winners and losers on every front. Traditional carriers continue to look for ways to make up for lost voice revenues; over-the-top (OTT) players have redefined the ways video is delivered and consumed; exponential growth in mobile data traffic devours network capacity without creating comparable revenue; and new cloud services are transforming IT consumption and challenging old operating models. The industry is changing with whiplash speed—leaving service providers scrambling to get ahead of the next wave.

For years, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group has engaged with global and regional service providers to help them navigate and seize the opportunities afforded by industry disruptions. Now, as part of Cisco Consulting Services (CCS), we have identified key industry areas where SPs have transformative opportunities for new services, operations, and business models.

Five Areas of Opportunity for SP Growth and Transformation

Based on Cisco’s own market sensing of trends, tracking of customer behaviors and industry inflection points, and strategy engagements with leading SPs around the world, Cisco Consulting Services has developed unique expertise to help SPs address their challenges and capitalize on opportunities. We are specifically focused on transformative engagements with SPs in five key areas—helping them identify and address the strategic questions they need to answer to be successful: Read More »

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Unlocking the Business Value in Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi networks seem to now be everywhere.  Once primarily confined to the home or office, we now expect Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, hotels, airports, stores and even in sport stadiums.  Not only are these Wi-Fi networks providing valuable Internet access to appreciative mobile users, they are collecting massive amounts of useful information.  Innovative businesses and operators are now learning how to unlock this valuable information to turn Wi-Fi networks into key enablers of business value.  We have identified eight technical characteristics of Wi-Fi networks that can help to deliver real value to the bottom-line:

 1.     Recognizes All Wi-Fi Enabled Devices

Recent research by Cisco IBSG shows that consumers have an average of 2.6 mobile devices, most of which are now Wi-Fi enabled.  These devices are constantly signaling of their existence to Wi-Fi networks.  As a result, Wi-Fi access points are constantly collecting information on these devices and the movements of their owners without users having to authenticate on the network.  This means that venues are collecting information on a large number of people at an – effectively anyone who enters with a Wi-Fi activated mobile device in his pocket.  However, this does not raise personal privacy issues because only the MAC address of the device is collected and the information is aggregated across all users.

2.     Hyper-Sensitive Location Read More »

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