As wireline and wireless services blur and converge, countless consumer and enterprise customers are evaluating the impact. Traditional cable companies are losing subscribers in droves with cord cutting in lieu of mobile consumption flexibility. The result is a fundamental shift in economics and consolidation across multiple industries including content / media, cable and wireless service providers that were once siloed.
(Source: Will Townsend, Moor Insights & Strategy)
As a Generation Xer, I vividly remember watching “Video Killed the Radio Star”, the first music video that debuted on MTV August 1st, 1981. I recently watched it again and was surprised by the first refrain of the song: “I heard you on the wireless back in fifty-two”. I find those opening lyrics ironic, as I’ve recently pondered the impacts of telco convergence and the resulting increase of video consumption on wireless networks.
Dumb pipes are dead
As defined by Wikipedia, “dumb pipes” refer to a network that is simply used to transfer bytes of data between a customer’s device and the internet while being completely neutral to the services and applications a customer utilizes. Access is rapidly becoming a commodity with all you can eat data plans on the rise, competitive pricing and network coverage / performance parity. Subsequently, original and syndicated content delivery as well as a “no buffer” video experience is expected as the new normal on tablets and smartphones connected to mobile broadband networks.
If I’m the CEO of a carrier solution provider, OTT quality of service would keep me up at night. I recently spoke to Cisco Systems and learned about its “Mobile First” framework that is focused on proactive data provisioning based on specific devices on the network. Cisco’s technology also employs big data analytics to plan for both anticipated and spike demand. By using predictive analytics, virtualization techniques and deploying compute at the edge of a network, bandwidth can be intelligently allocated and not wasted. The result is a proactive improvement in network performance vs what is often deployed reactively when performance wanes. Cisco believes that mobile video traffic will grow to 75% of total global mobile data traffic by 2020, and I wholeheartedly agree with that prediction. Given that statistic, it’s encouraging to see a proactive approach to improving the video consumption experience.