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5 Predictions for the Future of Wi-Fi and Mobile

Wi-Fi has truly come of age as a viable means to connect mobile devices to the Internet. The past four blogs in this series have highlighted some of the key findings of a recent survey of U.S. mobile users by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). Our survey uncovered some startling revelations about what consumers are doing on their mobile devices, how and where they are using them, and how they are connecting them to the Internet.

The majority of devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and the fastest-growing category is “nomadic” devices such as tablets and eReaders. We now need to speak of the “mobile home,” as the home is by far the most popular location for consumers to use their mobile devices. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi is the network connection of choice for most consumers for all of their devices, but they would like to see Wi-Fi more seamlessly integrated with mobile networks. When they are not at home, mobile users are increasingly expecting public hotspots to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to these devices. While service providers are beginning to realize that they need to deploy Wi-Fi networks, our research clearly shows that there are viable monetization opportunities in mobile data off-load, customer retention, and new and innovative business models.

While it is never easy to foresee the future, here are five predictions for key changes in the mobile industry over the next two years as an outcome of the Cisco IBSG research: Read More »

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India: A report on Internet usage and growth opportunities

Guest post from:

Arvind Mathur, Corporate Consulting Engineer, Research & Advanced Development

Internet is at an inflection point in India and the market is well-positioned for massive adoption as efforts of various stakeholders start to converge and gather momentum: Government (Spectrum, Policies, Mandates, National Broadband Network, Regulation), Industry (3G and 4G networks, fiber access, Public Private Partnerships, content/application development, new business models); Consumers (fueled by strong uptake of social networking and entertainment services, adoption of Smart Devices), and Enterprises (internet-based business services, collaboration, cloud services). The convergence of technologies and convergence of users is setting up the stage for India’s Internet horizon.

India has massive potential for Internet growth, but in an environment that is challenged by limited infrastructure, affordability issues and accessibility in terms of India-centric content and applications delivered in local languages.  The total wireless subscriber base is now close to 900 million in the country.

This hyper-growth in the mobility sector underscores

a)     the latent subscriber demand that was previously un-met by wireline access,

b)    the importance of wireless technologies for vast coverage across varied terrain profiles that is deployed in dramatically shortened timelines,

c)     that India is very sensitive to cost and affordability of telecom services – and that as a market it can support massive uptake in growth – provided service providers have the right services at the right price-points, and

d)    that innovation in business models across the value-chain is key to market sustainability and profitability. Clearly, India has developed into a ‘mobile-first economy’. The challenge and opportunity for India is thus: how do we now replicate the unparalleled success of mobility for the Internet?

Internet usage in India

The latest Internet subscriber count now stands at 23 million*1. However, importantly the ‘mobility revolution’ of recent times has had a very positive impact on the growth of ‘wireless data’ subscribers and estimates put the number of wireless data subscribers at about 432 million subscribers.

This wireless data adoption is an important indicator – a precursor – for the growth of wireless internet and broadband growth in India as 3G and 4G networks are deployed and broadband services over these networks becomes available and get absorbed to the yet un-served bandwidth/application-hungry community of subscribers. Besides the pre-dominant DSL access for Broadband Internet (85%), Cable Modem Technology (5%) and Ethernet LAN (5%) are other competing technologies in the internet access space.

Internet growth opportunities and market potential

India is served by approximately 190 ISP’s, and about 155 Broadband Service Providers*2 – although only 28 of these providers share 99% of the total broadband subscriber base – this skew exemplifies the lack of affordable broadband infrastructure across India on one hand, and also the lack of subscriber uptake (affordability, content) on the other. The total revenue reported by the Internet Service providers (for the quarter ending December 2011) was approximately US$ 600 million. Innovative VAS are an important dimension to Internet growth in India, which include ‘verticalized’ services in the health and education segments amongst others which are strongly funded through multiple Government programs.

It is apparent, and logical, that wireless technologies will continue to play an important role for Internet access in India; supported by the recent regulatory steps for the digitalization of the CATV network that mandates CATV operators to migrate to digital modems in the wireline access network.

The business opportunity in the India Internet space is accessible primarily via the following avenues:

1.       Working with SPs, CATV providers, mobility service providers (especially as 3G and 4G networks emerge, and CATV regulatory mandates become effective) and ISPs (they own significant spectrum and infrastructure on the ground and customers in both consumer and enterprise segments)

2.       Accessing the largely untapped rural broadband market (95% of broadband subscribers are in Urban areas). The Bharat Broadband Network floated by the Government of India will play a crucial role in delivering affordable bandwidth access to all types of service providers (local- regional- national telcos, ISP’s CATV providers, content service providers  etc) over a common fiber network in the core and aggregation network that will be agnostic to the deployment of a range of wireline and wireless technologies in the access network.

3.       Working with India-centric content and applications developers that can provide local language support.

*References

1.       ‘The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators, October-December 2011’. Published by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India., New Delhi (April 13, 2012)

2.       ‘Convergence & Broadband in the Digital Era’  by Rajkumar Upadhyay, Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (April 2012)

 

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Can BYOD Be Simple, Affordable, and Secure for the Medium-Business?

Do you have an iPhone,  Android, Samsung , or any other mobile phone? Not surprising since there will be 15 billion networked devices by 20151. With employees (yes, even IT themselves) bringing their mobile phones to work, businesses are seeing at least a doubling of mobile devices per employee; from laptop-only to laptop + mobile phone (+ tablet)2.

The IT department is faced with an increased burden on their existing wireless network, while securing email access from any platform and simultaneously ensuring an optimal, reliable user mobile experience. Offering a reliable, consistent user mobile experience used to be a luxury ask; today, it impacts employee productivity. Mobile employee productivity can range from wireless laptop access from conference rooms to roaming the within the building accessing corporate email from any mobile device. This is true for me (working at a large enterprise) and my husband (working at a medium-sized business).

Read More »

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There’s Money in Wi-Fi

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. As my previous blogs discussed, the use of 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. Service providers (SPs) now realize Wi-Fi must be an important part of their strategy to manage growing data loads on their networks and meet increased customer expectations. While operators are learning to accept the role of Wi-Fi, they still struggle with ways to turn a “cost of doing business” into profitable business models. The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading SPs from around the world about new, innovative Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI), as outlined in our paper, “Profiting From the Rise of Wi-Fi.”

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and to test their response to the new Wi-Fi business models, Cisco IBSG recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to monetization of Wi-Fi: Read More »

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Three Ways a Free WebEx Basic Account Can Help Kids Learn

The new WebEx Meetings is here and with it comes a free basic account that anyone can get and use. We invite educators to get their own account and start using it in the classroom. Here are three ideas to get things started – and we have more here. We’d also love to hear your ideas. Please comment on this blog!

Interview an Expert

Use WebEx to bring an “expert” into your classroom. Distance or location is no longer a barrier. Use the video conference capabilities of WebEx to take your students into studios, laboratories or even into the field! All the other person needs is an Internet connection and a webcam to broadcast from wherever they are. They could even engage with you via their iPad or iPhone or Android. Anyone can get the mobile application at no cost.

Classroom Connect

Share your classroom with another classroom! You can aim your webcam at your students and have your partner aim the camera at his or her classroom and away you go. This is a great way to demonstrate to the students that they are similar and different from students in another location. You can also use desktop sharing Read More »

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