Cisco Blogs

The Mobile Consumer Is Always Right!

April 28, 2009 - 2 Comments

One of those cliches that we ought to live by! Especially in the mobile space. You can never go wrong aligning your business strategy on the side of the mobile consumer. That is why Cisco spends copious amount of time, money, and effort in understanding the customer experience even though a lot of our revenue comes from selling infrastructure.

Consumers have taught us how they consume applications. Anytime, anywhere, on any device, with any service. So much so that they don’t even think whether the access network is from their provider or not, or in many instances whether the network is wired or wireless.Then why does the industry get hung up on whether it is HSPA or LTE or WiMAX or Wi-Fi? 3G or 4G? Let us embrace all these technologies as it is more about the apps and the experience; YouTube, Hulu, Flickr, social networking apps, WebEx, you name it. Cisco is projecting a 66 fold increase in mobile data traffic through 2013.

And of course it is about money! Infrastructure vendors, application developers, and service providers need to diligently work to scale the networks while managing CAPEX and OPEX so that consumers can do what they do best and drive competitive, innovative markets. Interestingly enough, most of these apps run “over the top” in that the service providers don’t necessarily know all the details of the traffic. However, the service providers need to make decent margins so that they continue to build out broadband services and accelerate the innovation cycle.

What does it take? Service providers need to become savvy about IP applications and personalize their services. Keep the customers happy so that they come back for more. The industry value chain is massively being disrupted. Many service providers have outsourced a lot of the “traditional” tasks to concentrate more on customer acquisition and marketing new services. What happened to control plane functions where the provider knew everything happening on the network? With the web as a platform, it has turned that concept on its head. IP Multimedia System (IMS), albeit had all the virtues in the architecture, but has fallen significantly short in supporting all the new apps. Service providers have no choice but to support all kinds of apps, IMS or not.

Like one of our customers said “There is no stopping this application train.” Does that mean service providers are marginalized to becoming mere bit pipes? It’s too easy to jump to that conclusion, but not true. I will take this up in another blog. What do you think?

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  1. This is great! Will share my personal thoughtswill talk as a consumer. I see no point in advancing innovations at this speed and also focusing on those that are actually not resulting in dramatic reduction in communication costs.The developer world seems to think that consumers should be flooded with features and features. Much as the developing is reveling in their world of innovation, my experience is, the consumer constantly is watching how much money is drained from his pocket and how much more he can get for less money. For instance, I am not sure why Mobile Technology is still not exploiting VoIP to keep costs low unlike the wired circuits. I still see we pay so much for Text Messaging when in several parts of the world, this has now become a standard feature in the talk time.Additionally, we also pay for features we will never use. Ex: There is only a minuscule of mass who use the Video messaging feature in phones. Aren’t we just bullish in pushing features? On the other hand, if we innovate to reduce costs and add features that are software programmable at the user end in real time, hardware can remain stable for reasonable time until software exploits and allows users to maximize their investments. Na, hardware wants to retire no sooner the software is taking birth or hardware has to catch up with the software to retire soon no sooner the hardware is born! This is known to the consumer. But, we are helpless. That has been always the philosophy this far in the race between Hardware Technology, Software and Service Enablement through these two vehicles.The other thing is, we are not exploiting the satellite bandwidth too. This will open plethora of opportunities for Mobile Users. Not sure if I am speaking with ignorance. But, as a consumer, I am still yet to see more of what I want to see.Happy to hear your views.

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