It’s that time of year again, and though this will be my 5th Mobile World Congress, I’m very excited to be returning to Barcelona. I think this show will be the biggest in the GSMA’s history, and I know, from Cisco’s perspective, this will not only be our biggest, but also our best MWC.
For those of you who will also be attending MWC, I want to take a few moments to let you know what you’ll find at the Cisco booth. And for those of you not attending, I want to give you some information and links to help you feel like you’re right there with us.
First, we have a full line-up of impressive speakers, including our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers.
Contributed by Ash Dahod, Cisco SVP/GM of the Mobile Internet Technology Group
Mobile communications are expanding rapidly, and this is changing the way we all work, live and entertain. We are now truly able to stay connected virtually anywhere, anytime. The market and its associated technological advancements are moving very quickly and this was even more apparent as I met with customers, partners and colleagues at 4G World in Chicago.
We are all aware of the Mobile Internet tidal wave that is upon us and a lot of the talk at the show was how we can prepare for this next wave of technical advancements. Additionally, what was on most of our minds was how we can do this profitably.
I had the opportunity to speak at the conference and shared some thoughts on how the right network with the right combination of performance and intelligence will drive mobile operator profitability.
In the simplest form, we have to change the way we are looking at the market from a technical and business point of view.
We need to look at profitability and the ways we will address revenue and expense. Intelligence will be central to our new business models, new revenue streams and the efficiency of the network. From this perspective, we see that we need to increase the investment in network intelligence.
As is often discussed, mobile data and demand for high-bandwidth mobile applications is exploding. Additionally, the business and technical landscape is changing dramatically -- expanding competition, shift in revenue streams, next gen broadband technology deployments, move to all-IP architecture. These forces require mobile operators to build networks in new, “smarter” ways in order to address profitability.
This topic was addressed by Ash Dahod, Cisco SVP/GM of the Mobile Internet Technology Group, at 4G World -- check out this video.
The rapid proliferation of smartphones and the growing popularity of advanced mobile applications is well documented and often discussed and debated. Central to this is how mobile service providers are responding to this change in service types and addressing the rising expectations of mobile users.
Our daily interaction with the internet and its ability to inform and entertain has colored our expectations. Now as we “go mobile” with the internet, we bring along our fixed line expectations. We expect high throughput, high reliability, and high quality, no matter the application, no matter the access, no matter the location. Considering we’re now talking about high-bandwidth applications like music streaming, video, and web conferencing, as opposed to voice calls and text messaging, this is no small challenge for a mobile operator.
In order to provide these types of services quickly and reliably across a widely dispersed geography, operators like Telenor Norway are evolving their networks to 4G IP infrastructures. Cisco, as the recognized leader in IP, provides a comprehensive IP next-generation mobile network architecture that enables operators to build a high performance, highly intelligent 4G network with end-to-end security, reliability and tremendous flexibility.
Such a network enables today’s smartphones and advanced applications and allows operators to personalize the customer experience, deliver high-quality multimedia applications, explore new business models and develop innovative new mobile services.
At the heart of this network is the Cisco ASR 5000 mobile multimedia core. The ASR 5000 is a purpose-built platform featuring a distributed architecture, high-performance, high capacity, and high availability, combined with subscriber and network intelligence. Read More »
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology and solutions are helping to create an “internet of things” that will drive productivity and improve lives - for consumers and businesses. At the heart of this internet of things is an intelligent IP network that enables harmonious collaboration of devices in ways that appear seamless to the user.
Mobile operators in particular are looking at the explosively growing M2M market as a major source of new services revenue. ABI research predicts that the mobile M2M market is set for explosive growth, from approximately 71 million connections in 2009 to 225 million connections globally by 2014. This growth in mobile connectivity to machines ranging from vending machines to automobiles is being driven by a number of factors including, according to ABI research:
Telematics (i.e., convergence of telecommunications and information processing) and telemetry (i.e., remote measurement and reporting of information) are seen increasingly across many vertical industries as sources of greater operational efficiency and increased incremental revenue.
M2M applications are benefiting from the R&D and the scale of the mobile handset industry
Technical advances in air interface standards are enabling new 3G M2M market segments.
Government mandates are increasingly requiring the use of telematics and telemetry functionality
Mobile network operators (MNOs) are seeking to expand their data service offerings into M2M
Challenges for Mobile Operators
The M2M Market presents some unique technical and business requirements for Mobile Operators. The most obvious technical challenge is being able to provide connectivity to potentially many millions of virtually any kind of device. Additionally, while many M2M end devices transmit only limited traffic and thus do not require high throughput or a 3G connection, other devices have the potential to scale up bandwidth requirements significantly, for example, streaming of video from surveillance devices upon detection of a security event. The looming shortage of public IPv4 addresses is also a potential constraint, with some operators postponing commercial M2M service launches because they need to preserve their IP address allocations to satisfy the continued high growth in the number of mobile broadband subscribers.
Operators also need to adopt aggressive new business models to exploit the M2M opportunity. Average Revenue per User (ARPU) for connected M2M devices is much lower compared to mobile broadband subscribers. This can be problematic for operators where an industry indicator of overall financial health is the growth or decline in overall ARPUs. Of course, the number of potentially connected M2M devices is expected to dwarf the number of mobile broadband subscribers. M2M also brings with it specific customer support requirements, often including expertise that operators may not have in key M2M applications such as automatic telematics, transportation fleet management, security and public safety, remote healthcare monitoring, and remote automation for energy and utilities. Lastly, M2M brings with it transnational competitors operators, all seeking to service their enterprise customers with an integrated, global connectivity solution.