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What is a Mobile Device Anymore?

It used to be easy—mobile devices were brick-like devices that we carried with us to make phone calls.  Not anymore. Now we have smartphones, tablets, eReaders, and other devices that we bring everywhere and can’t seem to live without. No longer are we using them just for phone calls. In fact, they are now mobile computers, books, entertainment stations, game consoles, and social tools, in addition to our communications hubs. And, because Wi-Fi has become a prevalent way for many of these devices to connect to the Internet, they’re no longer strictly “mobile,” from a network perspective.

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and how and where they are using them, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to mobile devices: Read More »

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Profiting from the Rise of Wi-Fi

By Bill Gerhardt, Director, IBSG Service Provider

As you’ve probably noticed, mobile computing is exploding. My home has close to 10 mobile devices, and my kids want even more! According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, this insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices will double globally in 2012 and increase another 78 percent by 2014.

At the same time, Cisco IBSG is seeing a similar rise in the worldwide popularity of Wi-Fi. In fact, according to In-Stat, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7 million, with usage growing 200 percent, by 2014.

Given this, how can service providers—who must bear the burden of increased traffic—actually Read More »

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Video and Telepresence Integral to Supporting a Mobile Workforce

March 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm PST

Whether you work for a government agency, a hospital, or a school (or you attend school as a student) the verdict is in--you needn’t spend all day in your office, classroom, or examination room to productively do your job or complete your assignments.

Consider these examples: In San Antonio, Texas, detectives obtain search warrants via in-vehicle laptop telepresence connections to judges; doctors in a California hospital use tablets to videoconference with their colleagues; and, thanks to a telepresence-equipped mobile robot, Lyndon Baty, a 16-year old with kidney disease who cannot attend regular high school, interacts from home with his teachers and peers and participates in lessons as if he were sitting in the classroom.

Read More »

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The Case for Cable in the Tablet Era

By Roland Klemann, Director of Service Provider Practice, Western Europe, Internet Business Solutions Group

Although the coaxial cable may have been born in 1929, predictions of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

While traditional models for consuming television are indeed under siege—from time-shift TV, over-the-top video, and an ever-expanding array of new devices—cable remains highly relevant, even in an age of exploding data traffic. In fact, with savvy deployment of Wi-Fi services, cable providers can seize an opportunity—not in spite of the mobile data deluge, but because of it.

After all, that sleek new iPad—introduced last week while I was attending the Cable Congress in Brussels—boasts dazzling video resolution. But for network operators, it only adds to a growing problem. They are already reeling under the burden of a massive upsurge in traffic, from tablets and IP-enabled devices of all kinds. What’s worse, they are still at the low end of an ongoing mobile data explosion. Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index predicts an eighteen-fold increase in mobile traffic from 2011 to 2016.

As a result, two things are breaking down: 1) the physical capacity of the networks, and 2) their economics. Theoretically, mobile carriers can build enough macro cells to carry all the traffic in the world, but in reality, that gets prohibitively expensive—fast. No wonder some are feeling an encroaching sense of doom.

Read More »

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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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