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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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How Service Providers Can Capture Seven Times Their Mobile Investment

By Henky Agusleo, Vertical Manager, and Neeraj Arora, Director, IBSG Service Provider

With nearly a billion smartphones and tablets in use today, the time is ripe for service providers (SPs) to invest in cloud-based Connected Life services for mobile devices. The Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) projects a direct mobile cloud service opportunity of more than $60 billion worldwide by 2016. So far, the first-mover advantage has gone to over-the-top (OTT) players such as Google, and device makers such as Apple. However, service providers (SPs) are well positioned to capture significant revenue in the growing market for cloud-based mobile services. With the right investment and implementation strategies, they can more fully realize this crucial avenue for growth and cost savings.

Cisco IBSG sees consumers demanding mobile-cloud services that fall into four key categories:

  1. Learn and Play: Gaming, video, information, productivity-enhancing services
  2. Communicate: Video calls, social networking
  3. Shop and Pay: Payments, healthcare, travel, location, context-based ads, mobile retail
  4. Monitor and Control: Home automation, surveillance

Sevenfold Revenue Return on Investment

Despite the $60 billion opportunity, mobile operators have been slow to make the investment necessary to develop these cloud-based services. One reason for this lag could be concern about profit margins, which tend to be significantly lower than for traditional mobile services. A number of factors could explain the lower profit margins, including: Read More »

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The Path to Wi-Fi Profitability

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data and placing a crushing burden on networks. One barometer is the recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), which predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. The study also predicted that two-thirds of all mobile traffic will be video by 2015, and an additional 20 percent of this traffic will be devoted to both the mobile web and mobile data.

In parallel, we are witnessing a “perfect storm” in both Wi-Fi availability and customer acceptance that is resulting in a worldwide rise in the popularity of Wi-Fi. Consumers can now readily use their numerous Wi-Fi enabled devices in their homes, offices and increasingly in many of the other places where they spend their lives. Mobile users are actively searching out Wi-Fi connectivity as a cost-effective and adequate substitute or complement to mobile access to the Internet.

Based on this Wi-Fi “perfect storm” and the explosion of mobile data traffic traversing their networks, Service Providers realize that they now need to pay attention to Wi-Fi. In our conversations with SPs around the world they now recognize that that Wi-Fi is more than just data-off load and needs to be Read More »

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Mobile Data Traffic Is Exploding—but Who Is Profiting? How Mobile Service Providers Can Monetize Mobile Data

By Marc Latouche, Vertical Manager, IBSG Service Provider

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update projects a 13-fold increase in global mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2017 — two thirds of it video. To move all that data traffic with speed and quality, mobile network connection speeds will increase sevenfold by 2017. Clearly, mobile data services are becoming increasingly important. The question is, who will capture the revenue associated with all this activity? While mobile service providers (SPs) invest in building and maintaining the infrastructure to carry this burgeoning mobile traffic, over-the-top (OTT) content providers are benefiting from that new capacity, enabled and financed by mobile SPs.

Where are the revenue growth opportunities for service providers in this fast-changing mobile data landscape? Are there opportunities for mobile network operators to partner with OTTs, or to provide services that can extract greater value from the network? Read More »

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Preparing for an Uncertain Media Future: Even Challenging Scenarios Offer Ways To Grow

In the midst of tremendous disruption, it is impossible to tell where the global media industry is ultimately heading. But a recent analysis from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) explores four possible future scenarios for the media industry. While they do not “predict” the future, the scenarios help build our understanding of possible outcomes — and how various industry players could be affected.

The Shape of Things To Come: Four Scenarios

We explored the ways certain industry developments could swing future outcomes. Combining these drivers into logical groupings (consumer behavior, regulatory requirements, technology, and macroeconomic conditions), we were able to define the following four scenarios, as shown in Figure 1. These scenarios are differentiated by consumer demand, industry structure, and content supply:

  • Dark Ages — low demand, consolidated industry, and relatively low content supply
  • Survival of the Fittest — low demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply
  • Golden Age of Content — high demand, consolidated industry, and controlled content supply
  • Wonderland — high demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply

Obviously, each of the scenarios will have different winners and losers. The financial impact and the implications for players across the industry value chain will substantially change by scenario. And in each scenario, distributors and infrastructure providers will need to consider different types of investments. Consequently, each type of player will need to adapt its competitive responses to the future scenario taking shape.

Figure 1.   Four Future Scenarios Are Based on Various Groupings of Industry Drivers.

 cisco-ibsg-four-future-scenarios-based-on-industry-driversSource: Cisco IBSG, 2013

Following are examples of how two future scenarios could play out: Read More »

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