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Mobile Business Users Embrace Wi-Fi

Once the exclusive domain of senior executives, mobile devices are now indispensable to most employees for conducting both their business and personal lives. The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. In parallel, 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. Once shunned by corporate IT departments, Wi-Fi increasingly has made its way into most businesses.

Business users are the most valuable customer segment for mobile operators. Changes in mobile behavior and usage, particularly with regard to Wi-Fi, could have a significant impact on service providers’ (SPs) bottom line. However, there is little research on how mobile business users are actually using Wi-Fi, how they want to employ it in the future, and, more specifically, what is driving them to connect their devices to the Internet using Wi-Fi.

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From Coverage and Capacity to Monetizing New Services for Service Providers

Last week, the annual 4G World show was hosted in everyone’s favorite windy city—Chicago!  This year, I was lucky enough to be a keynote speaker for the event.  It’s always an honor to speak at an event on behalf of Cisco and the countless folks that have made our SP Mobility a success.  As the show progressed, I was reminded at how far the world of mobility has come in such a short amount of time.  Moreover, I was amazed at the vast amount of new opportunities that have emerged as a result this rapidly evolving market.  I am extremely excited about what the next year will bring!

Aside from the keynote event, I spent the vast majority of my time in meetings with new and existing service provider customers.  The conversations were Read More »

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Making Money from Wi-Fi

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. The much-quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold from 2011 to 2016, reaching 10.8 exabytes per month.   In tandem, 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. Until recently most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never considered a role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business.  The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that.  Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and should, play a significant role in reducing clogged networks and the number of unhappy customers.

Mobile operators understand that off-loading data traffic to cheaper Wi-Fi defers significant capital expenditures for further build-out of the licensed network.  Operators around the world however, are asking if there is more to Wi-Fi than just data offload? Can they actually make money from Wi-Fi by turning the cost of doing business into profitable business models?  Read More »

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Expanding Universe of Mobile Video Opens a World of Opportunities

Mobile video is exploding at a rate unimagined only a few short years ago. Whereas the quick YouTube clip had been a satisfying enough diversion, consumers armed with next-generation devices now demand the latest bandwidth-busting, 2-gigabyte Hollywood opus. The end user wants it on his iPad, and he wants it now.

For the industry at large, this creates no shortage of challenges. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, by 2016, 71 percent of global mobile data traffic will be video, placing a heavy burden on the network. But along this next frontier of mobile video there are also unprecedented and exciting opportunities.

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A Data Deluge, Driven by Tablets and Mobile Video, Is Disrupting Mobile Carriers

Only a few years ago, the challenges facing mobile providers seemed well within the realm of their traditional expertise. Their vast and complex infrastructures, built around towers, antennas, core networks, and the like, focused on providing the bandwidth and signal quality necessary for providing clear voice signals. Early mobile Internet applications were limited to services like weather, news, and stock quotes. As video entered the picture, it was mostly limited to a quick, manageable snack here and there on YouTube. After all, on a tiny, phone-sized screen, the prospects for a sumptuous two-hour movie feast were limited.

The situation, however, is being radically transformed. And at this years’ Mobile World Congress, which I attended last week in Barcelona, a clear focus was on a prime disruptor: the tablet and vast, media-rich applications. For with the sudden and phenomenal growth of the iPad—along with its Android-based counterparts—end users who had been limited to quick bites on YouTube are ready to indulge in long-form video buffets, anytime and anywhere. And while those game-changing tablets don’t quite provide an IMAX experience, their larger screens nevertheless offer the perfect mix of visual quality, mobility, and convenience.

For mobile service carriers, however, this has created a certain amount of havoc. Read More »

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