This past week, I attended the grand opening celebration of Verizon Wireless’ Innovation Center in Waltham, MA. The center, which brings together companies and entrepreneurs alike, is designed to provide a collaborative, hands-on workspace to rapidly develop innovative products and services that leverage 4G LTE technology.
The grand opening was an exciting event and the center was filled with innovative demos and technology tours featuring all types of LTE connected innovations -- from the connected home, connected car, gaming, digital juke box, video and even future innovations such as a connected bike and an LTE-connected robot.
Cisco is a Premier Participant and we have been involved since day one. We are pleased to have provided many man-hours of expert resources to deploy Cisco Mobile Internet solutions to help Verizon Wireless establish this unique center of excellence for all things LTE.
At the center, we have many demonstrations and technologies on display including Cisco Mobile Videoscape, the Cisco Cius enterprise tablet supporting 3G and 4G LTE, Cisco TelePresense, LTE-Connected Enterprise Branch, LTE-enabled Digital Media Signage and Cisco RAN Backhaul and LTE Evolved Packet Core solutions. We’re pleased to also provide the Evolved Packet Core for the 4G LTE Innovation Center lab network - identical to the commercial network - for use by the ecosystem of technology developers accessing the center’s technical and business development resources.
The occasion was the launch of the Next Generation Hotspot trials. These trials will set the stage for the future of Wi-Fi, establishing it as a robust, secure technology that will augment and complement 3G and 4G networks for years to come.
Next Generation Hotspot is based on the concept that Wi-Fi networks should be as safe and easy to access as cellular networks. Some of the base specifications for network discovery (IEEE 802.11u), authentication (IEEE 802.1x), and security (IEEE 802.11i) were well underway. The cellular example of using SIM cards for user identification and using roaming hubs for inter-carrier negotiation and billing were then applied and the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) specification for Hotspot 2.0 was a result.
The trials also represent a historic cooperation between the WBA, WFA, and GSMA. The WFA will hold a series of test events that will allow vendors to test and certify against the specification, and the WBA will carry out the trials in operator networks. Twenty-seven operators, vendors and roaming hubs have signed up for the trials. The trial results will be provided to the GSMA for harmonization with 3GPP standards.
According to the Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index (VNI), mobile data traffic grew 2.6 fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row. Growing mobile data demand caused by the huge growth of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices is continuing to drive the evolution of mobile networks worldwide.
However, if not properly managed and monetized, this growth in traffic will outpace growth in revenues. Intelligence, scalability, reliability, and service enablement are all key factors in helping mobile operators not only control this huge wave of mobile data, but also launch new, revenue-generating services.
Mobile Policy and Charging Control (PCC) is one of the main tools used to manage and monetize mobile traffic. This is pushing the policy market into hyper-growth mode. According to Infonetics Research Analyst Shira Levine, policy management revenues were up 48% last year, and will quadruple by 2015.
“The policy engine is the brains of how you want the network to treat different things at different times. It’s essential.” Tony Melone, CTO of Verizon Communications, Fierce Wireless, March 16, 2011
Another CTIA has come and gone. Despite being tempted to sit by the pool all day (it was 85 degrees compared with the typical 40 degrees in Boston), CTIA surprised us all by being very busy in spite of “being too close to MWC” and “Orlando not being a great location.” The show was all a buzz on the recent AT&T and T-Mobile announcement. It seems like every show needs a big announcement like that to set the stage.
We were able to continue the momentum we set at MWC to talk to our customers and the media about our M.O.VE. strategic framework. Everyone agrees that monetization, optimization, and video are the hot topics, and are the main challenges that operators are working to address. It’s always exciting to talk about the tie-in between our recent customer announcements at Reliance and MegaFon and our M.O.VE solution.
At Mobile World Congress last month we introduced our M.O.VE strategic framework and we’re already seeing the message take off. We recently announced our relationships with major mobile operators, MegaFon in Russia and Reliance Communications in India. Both of these operators are taking advantage of solutions within the M.O.VE strategic framework.
M.O.VE, with its targeted approach to helping operators monetize and optimize their mobile networks while enhancing the video experience, appears to be the right framework at the right time, and speaks to operators’ technical, financial, and business needs in a comprehensive and tangible way.