Tag Archives: Mobile

Is 2016 Half Empty or Half Full?

11 Aug

With 2016 crossing the half way point, let’s take a look at some technology trends thus far.

Breaches: Well, many databases are half empty due to the continued rash of intrusions while the crooks are half full with our personal information. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there have been 522 breaches thus far in 2016 exposing almost 13,000,000 records. Many are health care providers as our medical information is becoming the gold mine of stolen info. Not really surprising since the health care wearable market is set to explode in the coming years. Many of those wearables will be transmitting our health data back to providers. There were also a bunch of very recognizable names getting blasted in the media: IRS, Snapchat, Wendy’s and LinkedIn. And the best advice we got? Don’t use the same password across multiple sites. Updating passwords is a huge trend in 2016.

Cloud Computing: According to IDC, public cloud IaaS revenues are on pace to more than triple by 2020. From $12.6 billion in 2015 to $43.6 billion in 2020. The public cloud IaaS market grew 51% in 2015 but will slightly slow after 2017 as enterprises get past the wonder and move more towards cloud optimization rather than simply testing the waters. IDC also noted that four out of five IT organizations will be committed to hybrid architectures by 2018. While hybrid is the new normalremember, The Cloud is Still just a Datacenter Somewhere. Cloud seems to be more than half full and this comes at a time when ISO compliance in the cloud is becoming even more important.

DNS: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, DNS is one of the most important components of a functioning internet. With that, it presents unique challenges to organizations. Recently, Infoblox released its Q1 2016 Security Assessment Report and off the bat said, ‘In the first quarter of 2016, 519 files capturing DNS traffic were uploaded by 235 customers and prospects for security assessments by Infoblox. The results: 83% of all files uploaded showed evidence of suspicious activity (429 files).’ They list the specific threats from botnets to protocol anomalies to Zeus and DDoS. A 2014 vulnerability, Heartbleed, still appears around 11% of the time. DevOps is even in the DNS game. In half full news,VeriSign filed two patent applications describing the use of various DNS components to manage IoT devices. One is for systems and methods for establishing ownership and delegation of IoT devices using DNS services and the other is for systems and methods for registering, managing, and communicating with IoT devices using DNS processes. Find that half full smart mug…by name!

IoT: What can I say? The cup runneth over. Wearables are expected to close in on 215 million units shipped by 2020 with 102 million this year alone. I think that number is conservative with smart eyewear, watches and clothing grabbing consumer’s attention. Then there’s the whole realm of industrial solutions like smart tractors, HVAC systems and other sensors tied to smart offices, factories and cities. In fact, utilities are among the largest IoT spenders and will be the third-largest industry by expenditure in IoT products and services. Over $69 billion has already been spent worldwide, according to the IDC Energy Insights/Ericsson report. And we haven’t even touched on all the smart appliances, robots and media devices finding spots our homes. Get ready for Big Data regulations as more of our personal (and bodily) data gets pushed to the cloud. And we’re talking a lot of data.

Mobile: We are mobile, our devices are mobile and the applications we access are mobile. Mobility, in all its iterations, is a huge enabler and concern for enterprises and it’ll only get worse as we start wearing our connected clothing to the office. The Digital Dress Code has emerged. With 5G on the way, mobile is certainly half full and there is no empting it now.
Of course, F5 has solutions to address many of these challenges whether you’re boiling over or bone dry. Oursecurity solutions, including Silverline, can protect against malicious attacks; no matter the cloud –  private, public or hybrid – our Cloud solutions can get you there and back;BIG-IP DNS, particularly DNS Express, can handle the incredible name request boom as more ‘things’ get connected; and speaking of things, your data center will need to be agile enough to handle all the nouns requesting access; and check out how TCP Fast Open can optimize your mobile communications.

That’s what I got so far and I’m sure 2016’s second half will bring more amazement, questions and wonders. We’ll do our year-end reviews and predictions for 2017 as we all lament, where did the Year of the Monkey go?

There’s that old notion that if you see a glass half full, you’re an optimist and if you see it half empty you are a pessimist. I think you need to understand what state the glass itself was before the question. Was it empty and filled half way or was it full and poured out? There’s your answer!

Source: http://wireless.sys-con.com/node/3877543

Advertisements

The Internet’s Nightmare Scenario Could Be Playing Out on Your Smartphone

5 Aug
 There is no shortage of scaremongers who believe that the future of the Internet — and by some extension, humanity — relies on keeping the Internet an even, open and neutral platform for the flow of information.It can be tough to tell whether the concern is legitimate. After all, the grim picture of an Internet that more closely resembles cable TV is a far-off notion compared to the open platform enjoyed today.

Or maybe not. A look at the wireless industry now makes the doomsayers look more like soothsayers.

Mobile carriers have begun to give the world a picture of what a net neutrality-free Internet could look like. Wireless companies have slowly but surely begun to roll out plans that favor certain content providers or entirely limit access to particular sites and apps.

Regulation of this activity is tricky. It is an area that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said is under supervision but “should not be prohibited out of hand.” Wheeler has not been shy about going after companies for limiting consumers’ access, but has little legal basis for going after the deals made between companies. (The FCC declined to comment for this story.)

Here’s a rundown of what T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint have been up to:

  • T-Mobile and music: The “un-carrier” has looked for ways to attract younger consumers that tend to do data-intensive smartphone activities. Streaming music from the likes of Spotify tends to take a toll, so T-Mobile decided to stop counting it against data plans.

  • AT&T and sponsored data: Sponsored data is the term that usually refers to companies paying providers to give consumers preferential access to certain websites and content, often by not counting the activity against consumer data plans.This type of plan has been in the works for some time, but finally launched in early 2014. Re/code reported that it has some smaller customers, but no big names as of yet.

  • Sprint and its Facebook/Twitter plan: This might be the most disconcerting plan of them all. With this deal, customers don’t have access to the Internet; they have access to channels. Customers can choose to have access to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram (or all four for an additional charge).Sprint bills the deal as a way for customers to have more choice while also serving to provide access for lower income customers.

  • As these deals pile up, a less-than-rosy picture of the future of mobile Internet begins to emerge. Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist, recently took to his blog to discuss how these plans can seem advantageous. He focused on “zero rating,” in which companies pay providers so that their content does not count against data plans.

    “The pernicious thing about zero rating is that it is marketed as a consumer-friendly offering by the mobile carrier — ‘we are not charging you for data when you are on Spotify,'” he wrote in a post.

    “But what all of this zero rating activity is setting up is a mobile internet that looks a lot more like cable TV than our wide open Internet,” he wrote. “Soon, a startup will have to negotiate a zero rating plan before launching because mobile app customers will be trained to only use apps that are zero rated on their network.”

     

    It’s not that wireless Internet might end up becoming tiered for everyone, but freedom could become an expensive feature of smartphone plans.

    It’s not that wireless Internet might end up becoming tiered for everyone, but freedom could become an expensive feature of smartphone plans.

    Mobile broadband is regarded by the FCC differently from “fixed” broadband, which is Internet service used by devices at certain endpoints, usually computers. The most important distinction comes from the 2010 Open Internet Order, which detailed that mobile had to abide by transparency requirements but not other rules that helped ensure net neutrality for fixed broadband.

    The order meant that wireless companies like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint could strike deals with companies that would prioritize certain content.

    This might not have seemed as big of a deal in 2010, as mobile data usage remained a fraction of the larger Internet. That changed as smartphones matured, networks grew faster and more companies tailored content for the mobile experience.

     

    Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.21.54 PM

     

    To capitalize on this growth, mobile broadband providers have rolled out new data plans that put caps on usage and charge for overages. Many plans once offered limited voice minutes and text messages with unlimited data. That has now flipped, with data capped and voice and text an unlimited afterthought.

    Data caps are not unique to wireless companies, and are on their way to a broader landline market. Comcast has been testing such plans and its chief executive has already said “usage-based billing” is on its way.

    The combination of data caps and sponsored content deals suddenly make the dystopian Internet future more believable. With Internet consumption pushing more into mobile, the lack of rules ensuring equal access is providing some idea of what might happen if the FCC is unable to enforce net neutrality rules.

    The result, unfortunately enough, looks a lot like a nightmare dreamt up by the most paranoid net neutrality advocates.

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

    Source: http://mashable.com/2014/08/04/wireless-dystopian-future-of-the-internet/

    Making a business case for Contactless / NFC payments

    15 May

    Image

    Since the time I posted an article regarding NFC payments  back in October 2013, I had a dozen of interesting discussions featuring the future of Contactless / NFC payments. Oddly enough, the most reoccurring question touched the point on when NFC payments will finally take off and do the magic. Well, the good news is – Contactless / NFC payments already took off, bad news is – Contactless / NFC payments are not suitable for every business.

    Like every other initiative or project, introducing Contactless / NFC payments need a strong business case. Creating a business case is always a bit tricky and involves some magic, but luckily for NFC, we can use facts and figures to see whether Contactless / NFC payments will work for one’s business or not.

    The basic fact is that Contactless / NFC payments do have quantitative limits. Those limits are put in place by card issuers like VISA or MASTERCARD and are quite simple:

    Rule one: a single NFC purchase may not exceed 20 EUR

    Rule two: a cumulative of all NFC purchases may not exceed 60 EUR

    Any purchase failing rule one or rule two will be forced to be processed on-line (connection between the POS and the bank will be established) and will require card holder authorization (PIN or signature).

    So back to the business case. Let’s go through simple steps.

    ImageStep one: Can you sell your goods for a price under 20 EUR? If you can’t, then you can happily forget about Contactless / NFC as your purchases will violate rule number one. Here you need to determine the average value of purchases in your stores or the value of articles most commonly sold. If, for example, the average purchase from your business is around 15 EUR, you’re safe and can proceed to step two.

    ImageStep two: Doing local research. For any Contactless / NFC payments project to be successful, you need your customer to actually have Contactless / NFC payments ready devices. Those include – bank issued cards, Contactless stickers, NFC sim cards or NFC capable smartphones. What is the penetration ratio of Contactless / NFC payments capable devices on those markets you operate? No idea? … you can find out more from local banks, bank associations, government financial authorities or from card issuers like VISA/MC/AMEX/DISCOVERER.

    ImageStep three: Doing the math. Here we need to calculate total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation. Those may include but are not limited to: eventual purchase of new POS terminals including roll out costs, adjustments to POS software, adjustments to in-house payments processing software, testing and certifying the whole HW/SW solution by given authority (acquiring bank, VISA/MC, any government offices), solution testing in-house or externally, training of your IT staff, training of your sell guys, marketing costs (advertisement, printed posters and stickers in your stores, promotions), eventual incentives to customers using Contactless / NFC payments (even if for a limited time). There you go, now you have your total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation bill.

    ImageStep four – allocating financial resources. Should you have enough money ready to play for the whole total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation bill – then you’re safe and proceed further. Should you be short of funding, you can consider contacting other bodies that will benefit from your Contactless / NFC payments implementation. Those are banks and card issuers. Their profit is clear – more card transactions means more transaction fees for them. Try to negotiate some sort of support from your acquiring bank, try to contact other banks and ask whether they can support your project. Go and ask your local VISA/MC/AMEX/DISCOVERER office for marketing or incentive support. Depending on the quality of your project, the size of your business or actual situation in your market … you might be able to receive significant bonuses.

    ImageStep five – blending all information into a business case. Now you know whether you can actually sell your goods for NFC-friendly prices, know the penetration ratio or Contactless / NFC devices in your markets and have completed a basic balance sheet. Now just add your expectations from a successful  Contactless / NFC payments project and ready you go … your business case is ready.

    Having a business case for Contactless / NFC payments is just the very first step and there are many more to do before your business will start accepting Contactless / NFC payments and generate extra revenue / profit, but every journey begins with the first step.

    Source: http://miroslavjasso.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/making-a-business-case-for-contactless-nfc-payments/

    Steve Perlman Thinks He Can Completely Change How Cellphone Service Is Delivered

    20 Feb

    It has been taken for granted that cell service faces inevitable slowdowns as more users look to grab more data from ever-more-crowded cell towers using a limited amount of wireless spectrum.

    It’s why even ultra-fast LTE service starts to bog down in dense urban areas as more and more people adopt data-hungry smartphones and tablets. To avoid interference, each device essentially takes turns grabbing the information it needs, meaning that as more users try to connect, the speeds get further away from the theoretical maximum.

    The only answers served up so far have been to adopt faster network standards, use so-called “small cells” to boost coverage or add spectrum.

    But tech industry veteran Steve Perlman says the industry has gotten it wrong.

    His 12-person startup, Artemis Networks, proposes carriers use an entirely different kind of radio technology that the company says can deliver the full potential speed of the network simultaneously to each device, regardless of how many are accessing the network. The technology creates a tiny “pCell” right around the device seeking to access the network and sends the right signals through the air (via licensed or unlicensed spectrum) to give each of the tiny cells the information it needs.

    Think of a pCell as a tiny bubble of wireless coverage that follows each device, bringing it the full speed of the network but only in that little area. The signals are sent through inexpensive pWave radios and, because Artemis technology doesn’t have to avoid interference, the radios can be placed with far more freedom than cell towers or small cells. It also means that, in theory, the technology would be able to bring high-speed cellular service even in densely packed settings like stadiums — locations that have proven especially thorny for traditional cellular networks.

    Artemis plans to demonstrate the technology publicly Wednesday at Columbia University. In demos, Artemis has been able to show — in only 10MHz of spectrum — two Macs simultaneously streaming 4K video while nearby mobile devices stream 1080p content, a feat that Perlman says would not be possible with even the best conventional mobile networks. The company has been testing the network in San Francisco, and Perlman says that by late this year the company could have a broader test network here up and running.

    The plus is that, while the system requires a new kind of radio technology for carriers, it is designed to use existing LTE-capable phones, such as the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S4. The pCell technology can also be deployed in conjunction with traditional cellular networks, so phones could use Artemis technology where available and then fall back to cellular in other areas.

    That said, while the infrastructure is potentially cheaper than traditional cellular gear, Artemis faces the task of convincing carriers to invest in a radical new technology coming from a tiny startup.

    Perlman is no stranger to big ideas, but he has also struggled to get mainstream adoption for those technology breakthroughs.

    After achieving fame and success selling WebTV to Microsoft, Perlman aimed to change the pay-TV industry with Moxi but found that most of the large cable and satellite providers were not eager for such disruptive technology. Moxi was eventually sold to Paul Allen’s Digeo and the combined company’s assets eventually sold to Arris in 2009.

    With OnLive, Perlman proposed using the cloud to deliver high-end video games streamed to users on a range of devices, a technology it showed off at the D8 conference in 2010.

    Despite cool technology, though, Perlman’s venture struggled and abruptly laid off staff in August 2012. The business as it had been initially founded closed, though its assets did get sold to an investor who is still trying to make a go of things under the OnLive banner.

    Perlman insists he has learned from the obstacles that kept him from making those past visions into market realities.

    “The challenges are always when you have reliance or dependencies on other entities, particularly incumbents,” Perlman said.

    That, in part, is why Artemis took its technology approach and made it work with traditional LTE devices. Perlman said he knew getting the Apples and Samsungs of the world to support it was a nonstarter.

    So how will he convince the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world? Perlman said a key part there was to wait to launch until the need for the technology was clear.

    “We’ll wait until they get congested and people start screaming,” Perlman said.

    Artemis is so far funded by Perlman’s Rearden incubator, though Perlman has met with VCs, even briefly setting up a demo network on Sand Hill Road to show off the technology.

    Richard Doherty, an analyst with Envisioneering Group, says Artemis’ pCell technology seems like the real deal.

    “[The] pCell is the most significant advance in radio wave optimization since Tesla’s 1930s experiments and the birth of analog cellular in the early 1980s,” Doherty said in an email interview. “I do not use the word ‘breakthrough’ often. This one deserves it.”

    As to whether and when cellular carriers bite, Doherty acknowledged that is the $64 billion question.

    “If one bites, none can likely be without it,” he said. If none do, he said Artemis can use pCell in conjunction with Wi-Fi to demonstrate the promise and challenge operators. “My bet is a handful will run trials within the next year.”

    Here’s a video of Perlman demonstrating the technology.

    Source: http://recode.net/2014/02/18/steve-perlman-thinks-he-can-completely-change-how-cell-phone-service-is-delivered/

    NFC Payments – chance for the roadblock to be cleared

    20 Feb

    What Is Isis Mobile Payment?

    Using your mobile phone to pay for things at a point of sale has long been an unfulfilled desire.  I and many people I know would like to be able to use our phones to pay,  start an app, select the card/account you want to use,  and then authorise payment.

    The first part, is not that hard, indeed there have been many proof of concepts over the years, (indeed I was involved some 7 or 7 years ago now!) none achieving success.
    The reason is that the banks and the mobile operators would both like to be the owner of the wallet and payment mechanism,  as there are lots of revenue and profit to be had.  So each keep to a situation that blocks the other.
    On the one hand the mobile operators defend access to the most secure parts of the device making it very hard for an app to have acceptable security on the device side.
    On the other hand the banks and credit card suppliers keep data protection rules and standard operating procedures that effectively make it impossible for an operator to use the customer’s existing banks/credit cards.

    All very frustrating for those of us wanting to carry less, and be able to pay with ease.

    Now however there is a possible, and we’ll come to why it is only possible, break to this impasse,  as there is a standard that lets you store the most secure parts of the payment card in “the cloud” bypassing the requirement to access the phone’s secure element, and there are reports today that this is being supported by Visa and Mastercard.  If this comes about then one side of the impasse is unblocked, and progress can be made.
    Ok so the standard is called Host Card Emulation (HCE) and here is a google article, and a list of HCE news from NFC world, and the important thing is,  once the credit card companies lend support then there is a chance that your standard debit or credit card can be made to work,  and that’s when this really gets interesting.

    However, one of the reasons why this might yet another of a series of false dawns, is that for this to work, it would appear to rely on having a working, effective connection over the internet to the cloud platform.  notwithstanding the role out of 4G and the supposedly improved indoor coverage (I’m yet to see it, with my Vodafone 4G device) the connectivity in shops can be very poor indeed.  In particular the large out of town stores.  So either the stores put in femto/pico cells for each carrier in each store, the operators provide better coverage, or stores have a frictionless wifi process.
    Otherwise the payment would be unreliable, or not available,  and that will kill this dead.  We consumers demand perfection from our payment mechanisms.

    I deliberately did not tie the payment mechanism to NFC because the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) connections (you might know these through the Apple term iBeacons) could replace the need for NFC.  Good for not having to physically get your phone within 4cm of the point of sale reader, but potentially bad as all devices in a, up to, 30 meter range of a beacon could connect.  This would allow Apple devices to work (they have no plans for NFC support).
    Given that BTLE is upto 11okb/s it may be possible to have the link to the payment servers, e over BTLE, as I presume that the request would be a few relatively small request / response pairs, so obviating the need for wifi or mobile data. hmm liking that idea.

    Source: http://themobileinternet.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/nfc-payments-chance-for-the-roadblock-to-be-cleared/

    Eight technologies making waves in 2014

    9 Jan

    During 2014, eight major areas of technology will make waves, increasing their capacity to change how business operates, creates value and responds to customers. Governments too will need to learn to play by new rules. The list is by no means exhaustive, and we would gladly hear your suggestions. Their impacts will play out over many years, but we see 2014 as a time for critical growth.

    What is changing?

    1. Variable cloud forecast- The cloud will continue to evolve and transform and enable mobile and tablet-based services. Companies will need to incorporate enhanced digital experiences and services into their customer offers and internal processes. Cities will be able to create responsive, intelligence-based strategies and reduce IT costs.
    2. The Internet of Things (IoT) gets personal- Connectivity and embedded intelligence are beginning to hit critical mass as ever more equipment, from watches to cars, is connected. As a result, our surroundings will begin to ‘look after us’, our homes and cars will do more and more for us, services such as healthcare will migrate to the home, the sharing economy will challenge more sectors.
    3. M-Payment, a logical next step- As consumers reach ever more for their smartphones to research options and make purchases, so their use of their smartphone to pay is increasing. Retailers, restaurants, and services need to be ready, or miss out on these hyper-connected consumers.
    4. Wearable technologies grabbing the headlines- Momentum is building and capabilities are rising as wearable technologies begin to get into their stride, and bring a host of new interfaces with gesture, voice, BCI (Brain Computer Interface) and haptics all playing a role. Health and medical applications are growing, along with others. Watch out for our forthcoming report on Wearable technologies.
    5. 3D printing delivers on new fronts- Several patents end this year and 3D printer prices are falling to under $500, which may liberate a wave of experimentation. Bio-printing may see a major breakthrough with the first liver being 3D printed. NASA is preparing to take 3D printing into space. But, criminals will also explore its potential for counterfeiting and weaponry.
    6. Big data going extreme- A direct knock on effect of the growth of the IoT will be ever more data streams coming on line; big data will become even bigger. Competition to provide devices, tools and techniques which can simplify and make sense of it will increase. New approaches to medical research may reveal significant new insights. Consumers may become more aware of the value of their data.
    7. Gaming playing hard and fast- Gaming is leading the charge on many new technologies- enhancing player interaction, creating more immersive experiences, developing new graphics and displays. It is also migrating to mobiles, colonising our living rooms and integrating entertainment. Gaming will continue to disrupt not just leisure, but learning, retailing, and marketing as its capabilities migrate.
    8. Machines get very, very clever- New chips will bring self-learning machines that can ‘tolerate’ errors, process automation that requires little or no programming, robots and other forms of AI (Artificial Intelligence) that are able to see, hear and navigate ever more like humans.

    Implications

    These eight technology areas – collectively and in some cases individually – have the capability to transform processes and industries, create new opportunities and new competition, to transform business models and drive innovation, generate new jobs and annihilate others, and to provide companies, governments and consumers with ever more power at their fingertips. Organisations will need to take a systems view of their potential and impacts in order to develop strategic responses to ride the technology waves not drown in them.

    Over the coming year we will continue to scan for developments in these and the many other areas of change that will affect us all, and discuss the impacts and implications in more detail.

    If you would like to explore the impacts of these and other areas of technology for your business, please contact us to discuss how we might help you develop technology roadmaps, impact and risk assessments, and assess strategic options.

    Source: http://shapingtomorrowblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/eight-technologies-making-waves-in-2014/

    The Rise of SON in LTE Deployments

    8 Oct

    4G Americas Report Details SON Enhancements in 3GPP Release 11

     

    4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, including LTE, today announced that it has published a white paper titled Self-Optimizing Networks in 3GPP Release 11: The Benefits of SON in LTE, which outlines the enhancements of Self Organizing Network (SON) features in 3GPP Release 11 (Rel-11) and addresses the multi-vendor aspects of SON and its deployment challenges and opportunities. The SON standards provide network intelligence, automation and network management features in order to automate the configuration and optimization of wireless networks to adapt to varying radio channel conditions. With these features, SON increases efficiencies and improves network capacity, quality, performance and flexibility.

    “SON has been available within the standards for quite some time, yet with the new techniques and capabilities available from vendors, it has an opportunity to be even more important to wireless carriers’ overall network strategy in the years ahead,” remarked Kamakshi Sridhar of Alcatel-Lucent and co-project leader of the 4G Americas technical group that authored the white paper.

    LTE is being rapidly deployed throughout the world, with 209 commercial networks today and 250 commercial LTE networks anticipated by the end of the year. The density of wireless networks is increasing rapidly to cope with the exponential growth of user traffic, mostly driven by smartphones, tablets, connected applications and video streaming. LTE and small cells enable Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) architecture, mixing macro cells and small cells for extended coverage and capacity. However, this can increase the complexity of network operation activities in an industry working to improve and streamline efficiencies. To tackle this challenge, most, if not all, major mobile operators worldwide have or are planning to deploy SON features.

    Co-project leader Pantelis Monogioudis, also from Alcatel-Lucent commented, “The densification of various cell layers in carrier networks will lead to thousands of additional small cells that will need the latest SON enhancements for operators to efficiently deploy and manage the network.”

    SON is a promising feature defined by 3GPP to help operators automate several recurring tasks required for activities such as cell deployment and performance optimization for LTE, as well as a solution to manage network complexity while reducing operational expenses (OPEX).

    SON focuses on three main areas:

    • Self-Configuration functions: the ability for the network to reconfigure itself automatically when nodes are added, deleted or modified, such as Automatic Neighbor Relation (ANR)
    • Self-Optimizing functions: a recurring and automated process for the dynamic tuning of network parameters for optimal performance in changing conditions, such as handling traffic density migration due to periodicity
    • Self-Healing functions: automatic compensation to restore service where it has been degraded, for example, in the case of base station outage, by dynamic reconfiguration to adjacent healthy cells

    A key goal of 3GPP standardization has been the ability to support SON features in multi-vendor network environments. Therefore, a significant part of the SON standardization has been devoted to defining the appropriate interfaces to allow the exchange of common information which can then be used by each SON algorithm. The SON specifications have been built over the existing 3GPP network management architecture defined over Releases 8, 9, 10 and 11. These management interfaces are being defined in a generic manner to leave room for innovation on different vendor implementations. In addition to specifying the interfaces, 3GPP has defined a set of LTE SON use cases and associated SON functions. The standardized SON features effectively track the expected LTE network evolution stages as a function of time, following expected commercial network maturity. In Release 8, SON functionality focused on procedures associated with initial equipment installation and integration to support the commercial deployment of the first LTE networks, and in each subsequent Release, the standards are evolved to benefit the more complex network architectures.

    The 4G Americas’ white paper published in 2011, Self-Optimizing Networks: The Benefits of SON in LTE, addressed the rationale for SON and the description of SON features in 3GPP Releases 8, 9 and 10. Building upon that information, the newly updated paper based on Rel-11 standards focuses on SON use cases, which play an important role in the operation of multi-vendor Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) comprised of macro and metro cells and various architecture options and tradeoffs for implementation.

    Key SON enhancements described in this report are:

    • Automatic Neighbor Relations
    • Load Balancing Optimization
    • Handover Optimization
    • Coverage and Capacity Optimization
    • Energy Savings
    • Coordination between various SON Functions
    • Minimization of Drive Tests

    “SON is an important enhancement that affords operators the benefit of increasing their overall network performance,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. “With a scarcity of spectrum in the Americas, and in many countries worldwide, 3GPP continues to evolve the standards for network technology to serve customers’ ever growing appetite for mobile broadband data.”

    Pearson added, “Although SON improves network performance and capacity issues, it is not a substitute for the wireless industry’s important need for more spectrum to meet the challenge of the impending capacity crunch.”

    The white paper, Self-Optimizing Networks in 3GPP Release 11: The Benefits of SON in LTE, was written collaboratively by members of 4G Americas and is available for free downloadat: www.4gamericas.org.

     

    Source: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/the-rise-of-son-in-lte-deployments-1838517.htm

    No Mobile Device is Really Secure – Cell SMS Text Messages Can Be Read by Others

    24 Sep

    Need to know how kids, employees or spouses are using their phones? New software programs capture and archive SMS text messages, track mobile phone GPS location, sent and received smartphone call logs information and transmit it to a web personal account.

     How To Spy On A Phone

    Phone Surveillance Software Tools can collect SMS text messages, mobile phone GPS location, incoming and outgoing cell phone call logs information and transmits the information to an online secure account where users can log in and review it, and also search records for keywords and data strings such as telephone numbers.

    In addition to being a great system for people to keep in touch, text messages can be a sensible means for software programs to exchange simple messages, and even settings commands, to and from smartphones.

    SMS text messages doesn’t require a direct connection between mobile phones; the communications infrastructure for the system is already in place, and it works across most cellular networks.

    The popular solutions empower you to quite simply convert the latest mobile phones into a remote listening device by transmitting SMS messages to remotely control the phone microphone, turn it on, and monitor the mobile phone environment or Intercept Calls and surreptitiously tap into cell phone calls and listen to conversations. The biggest issue isn’t technical, it’s legal. Unless you have authorization you are breaking the law to use it. Cell phone tracking software programs are becoming very widespread and often do a lot more than track the location of cellphones.

    If you agree that is amazing, think about the fact that you can turn the cell phone into a remote listening device by sending messages to remotely control its microphone, turn it on, and monitor the mobile phone surroundings. Think that is shocking or mind-boggling think about the fact that you can also Intercept Calls and surreptitiously tap into mobile phone calls and listen to conversations.

    Mobile phone usage among kids has reached unprecedented levels of use. Cellphones unquestionably are a fundamental element of children’s lives. Roughly 22 % of young kids own a mobile phone (ages 6-9), sixty % of tweens (ages 10-14), and 84 percent of teenagers (ages 15-18). In addition mobile phone vendors now are advertising to younger children with colorful kid-friendly mobile phones and easy-to-use features. Approximately 54 percent of 8 to12 year olds could have cellular phones within the next three years.

    Smartphones are the mobile phones with computer-like capabilities. Brandnames such as BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android, Nokia Symbian all have spyphone software available. Spy Call and Call Intercept mobile phone tapping needs the target phone uses a GSM network. About 3 million smartphones a month are sold in North America, and they’re reaching almost 150 million sold per year around the world.

    The Case for VoLTE

    9 Sep

    Despite the introduction of LTE with its heavy focus on improved mobile broadband speeds, mobile operators still rely on voice and SMS services for a large part of their revenues (roughly 70% globally). In previous generations of mobile technology these services were explicitly supported as part of the mobile network stack, with voice bearers supported in the radio access network and SMS making use of the voice signalling mechanisms. Indeed in 2G mobile standards data was originally only supported by sending data over a nailed up voice channel (high-speed circuit switched data or HSCSD) with the native data transport mechanisms of the general packet radio service (GPRS) introduced later as part of the so called 2.5G standards and in enhanced form as EDGE with 2.75G.

    With the advent of 3G mobile standards (such as UMTS) voice and data were catered for on an equal footing, with distinct voice and data air interfaces being defined, each optimised for their respective payload. The lu-CS interface, used for voice, uses circuit switching to provide deterministic, guaranteed capacity for in-progress voice calls. In contrast, the lu-PS interface, used for data, uses packet switching on a shared data carrier to maximise the efficiency of data transport.

    Compared to 2G, the 4G LTE standard turns the situation on its head and is optimised for data services without any specific native support (i.e. circuit switched) for voice transport. The rational for this is that broadband traffic is now the predominant use of mobile bandwidth and it is better to optimise the network for data transport and carry voice as an application over data using voice over IP. This is possible in an LTE network due to the substantial enhancements in the data plane, which compared to 3G has significantly reduced latency and has the quality of service mechanisms required to support a good quality voice service.

    Although LTE was, from the outset, designed to support voice service via voice over IP (VoIP), the call flows, their associated signalling and media encoding where not defined or standardised. So although all the “hooks” where in place to support voice their was no voice standard that an operator could deploy and indeed there were many options, a number of which were debated at length by equipment vendors and network operators as part of the standards process.

    Given the importance of voice (and SMS) this lack of standardised support for voice could be regarded as a serious omission. To mitigate this a mechanism called circuit switched fall-back (CSFB) has been introduced which entails the phone switching to 3G operation when a voice call is to be made or received.

    As indicated above, there has been much debate about the standard approach for supporting voice (and SMS) over LTE. One approach, called VoLGA, which was proposed was to utilise existing UMA mechanisms such as those supported on some mobile phones (notably Blackberries) to tunnel voice across WiFi. Whilst this would have leveraged existing voice switching networks it had the disadvantage of being quite backward looking and not providing a future path to full multi-media communications. Instead the approach using native VoIP with SIP signalling and an IMS (IP multi-media subsystem) core found favour as the approach for voice over LTE (VoLTE) with circuit switched fall-back being used as a transitionary step.

    As of today (September 2013) VoLTE standardisation is more or less complete and both handsets and network equipment are available. Nevertheless, there are very few deployments of VoLTE – to this author’s understanding one in the US (MetroPCS) and three in South Korea (SK Telekom, KT and LG U+). Whilst it is clear that operators will eventually embrace VoLTE what is not clear is how rapidly operators will move to do so.

    On the one hand aggressively introducing VoLTE could enable network operators to refresh their voice product set, so as not to be left behind by the over the top (OTT) voice and messaging service providers such as Skype and WhatsApp. On the other hand, existing voice and SMS revenues are not yet necessarily under threat and it may be better to take a slow and steady approach. This paper sets out the different approaches network operators could take and the rational for preferring one approach to another.

    Broadly speaking network operators have three approaches they may take for introducing VoLTE (with various shades of grey in between). They may:

    • Stick with the existing solution of circuit switched fall-back (CSFB) for the foreseeable future,
    • Gradually introduce VoLTE over a period of time thus operating CSFB and VoLTE in parallel, or
    • Aggressively migrate to VoLTE to obtain the benefits of improved service and network rationalisation sooner rather than later.

    Circuit Switched Fall-Back (CSFB)

    For an operator with an established 3G network and customer base, continuing to use CSFB (circuit switched fall-back) can make a lot of business sense, as it continues to exploit an existing asset that often will already have sufficient call carrying capacity. In this case, for those customers with LTE handsets, the downside of CSFB is slightly impacted voice service performance:

    • There is an increased call set-up time of several seconds as the phone connects to the 3G network, and
    • Data connections will likely be dropped as the phone reconnects to the network and is likely allocated a different IP address.

    Whilst these issues do impact the service they are unlikely to be sufficiently troublesome to the customer to underpin a business case for the substantial investment required to enable VoLTE.

    Introducing VoLTE into a network is not straightforward. It requires a new mobile voice core (IMS) and represents a substantial change in the way voice service is provided. This change from circuit switched to end-to-end VoIP as required by VoLTE means that new skill sets are required within the organisation and there is much to be learnt with respect to how to optimise the network to get the best voice performance. Putting aside business case considerations, these factors alone would suggest that an operator should approach the introduction of VoLTE cautiously.

    OTT Service Competition

    Whilst operators should approach the introduction of new technology cautiously, operators may also wish to seize the opportunity presented by the introduction of an IMS core as a enabler to more generally reinvigorate voice service, linking the launch of VoLTE service to wider reaching service improvements:

    • Introduction of a better quality voice service, with wide-band CODECs and faster call set-up time,
    • Linking to the introduction of RCS (rich communication services), often marketed as “joyn”, incorporating presence, instant messaging, group calling and video sharing,
    • Enabling service to be accessed more generally, for example, enabling calls to or from the mobile phone number to be made from a PC client, tablet or fixed line.

    Nevertheless, it can be argued and often is, that these services will not attract additional revenue but instead just protect current revenues, giving customers additional value for their money, making them less inclined to use alternative services. In this view, customers will not pay more for voice services and consequently other revenues sources must be sought – of which the most likely candidate is video. For example a video sharing service called “See what I can see” is a service that we can all identify with. Additional revenues associated with such new services, however, are unlikely to pay for the cost of introducing an IMS core to support VoLTE and the rich communications services (RCS) server.

    In the opinion of this author, much of the analysis presented in the previous paragraph is in all likelihood correct but the conclusion that there is little value in investing in voice services is questionable. If voice services are genuinely under threat from competition, especially from over the top (OTT) providers and device manufacturers such as Skype, WhatsApp, Google, Apple and even FaceBook then there is financial value in defending existing revenues. It should not be forgotten that much of the competition from OTT providers has heretofore impacted fixed voice revenues. However, with the increasing performance of mobile broadband networks, especially after the wide spread introduction of LTE (and in the future LTE-A) there will be little to stop OTT providers encroaching on traditional mobile operators’ revenue streams.

    Compared to fixed operators, mobile operators are typically at an advantage as mobile calling is normally part of a bundle and if a subscriber makes fewer calls within the bundle it actually saves the operator money. This is fine in the short term, but customers will sooner or later perceive that when they are making few traditional voice calls, and not sending so many SMSs that they are getting poor value for money and migrate to operators who are selling “value based” mobile packages with a focus on charging just for data. In this world, operators will then fall into one of two categories:

    • Those that effectively compete with OTT providers and retain voice and messaging revenues, or
    • Those that accept that they cannot compete with OTT providers and focus on providing a mobile broadband pipe in the most cost effective manner.

    Currently most operators see themselves as being in the first category but are doing very little to make this a reality. Much more could be written on this topic, and this will indeed be the topic for a future paper.

    The problem for operators faced with producing a business case for VoLTE and by implication IMS is that there is much uncertainty to the extent of the risk from competition from OTT services and equally there is uncertainty into how well defensive measures against the threat may work. In most organisations it is difficult to get financial approval for such uncertain business cases. Indeed matters can be worse than this, for example, a strategy to replace SMS by an operator’s own equivalent of WhatsApp could well be perceived to undermine existing SMS revenue and consequently be unpalatable.

    It is seen in industries again and again that the market leaders are unwilling to risk undermining existing revenue streams and investing in uncertain innovation. This is left to entrepreneurs who thrive on risk and are willing to take a chance, “having a go” at the established market players. Few typically succeed, but the ones that do reap rich rewards, whilst the original market leaders fade into insignificance. One only has to look at the computing industry where DEC and Sun are no more, and the situation in the mobile industry where Nokia and Blackberry have fallen from their positions of pre-eminence.

    In summary, a small proportion of operators will believe that it is their strategic interest to deploy IMS and VoLTE and will find ways to make the business case work. However, most operators will not take this leap of faith and will take a much tougher view of revenue threats and opportunities, effectively only considering in the bottom line of the business case those factors that they can be definitive about.

    Operator Benefits

    Looking beyond the direct customer benefits, from an infrastructure perspective, VoLTE presents a number of opportunities to network operators:

    • Over time it will let them simplify their network as the old circuit switched voice infrastructure is closed down.
    • It will no longer be necessary for the operator to continue operating 3G service in all LTE coverage areas (as would be required by CSFB). This means that the 3G spectrum can potentially be re-farmed, for example to increase the available LTE spectrum.
    • The complexity of handsets may be reduced. At the present time, for example, there are not chipsets that support both LTE and CDMA. In this case dropping support for CDMA would reduce the cost of the handset – but would of course require the voice to be transported natively over LTE (via VoLTE). This is less of a driver for 3G UMTS operators as there are chipsets that support both this and LTE.

    It will be clear that most of these benefits come from being able to turn circuit switched voice infrastructure off and re-farm 3G (or 2G) spectrum as LTE. The most significant barrier to this is likely to be the existing customer base and their handsets. Whilst the traditional upgrade cycle for mobile phones is quite rapid it is still in most markets too early too expect everyone to upgrade to the latest LTE SmartPhone that supports VoLTE. Moreover most operators will have a sizeable rump of low usage customers who change their handset infrequently, and whilst these will not be the highest paying users an operator will still be reluctant to loose these subscribers.

    Roaming

    Another challenge at the present time with VoLTE is the support for roaming. Whilst the technical (3GPP) and interconnect (GSMA) standards are being progressed, even when they are complete, for the initial network deployments of VoLTE there will be few other networks to connect to that do have VoLTE – so for roaming users, even if VoLTE is present in the home network, circuit switched fall-back will have to be relied on for a substantial period yet. This means that handsets for users who expect to roam will have to support 3G with circuit switched fall-back for voice.

    Example 1: MetroPCS

    One of the few network operators to have launched VoLTE is MetroPCS in the US. What the author understands of their case, based on publically available information and assumptions is the following:

    • They are a pre-pay operator focused on specific markets in the US.
    • They have limited spectrum and are keen to re-farm existing 3G spectrum as LTE.
    • Their existing 3G network is CDMA requiring dual chipset in the handset to support both it and LTE.

    MetroPCS’s public statements make it clear that they are aggressively launching VoLTE in their different markets with a view to:

    • Simplifying / reducing the cost of the handset as just including an LTE radio means that a CDMA chipset is not required.
    • Enhancing the service via the introduction of RCS based services.
    • Plan to shift investment to LTE infrastructure only with a view to re-farming CDMA spectrum as LTE when possible.

    Given MetroPCS’s heavy promotion of the benefits of an LTE only handset with VoLTE. It must be assumed that the majority of its customers have limited need for coverage outside of their specific market area (though this will improve as MetroPCS rolls out LTE to more of its markets) and limited, if any roaming requirements. This may well be true for their target market segment – low cost, pre-pay users. It is assumed that users requiring great coverage flexibility will continue to use at least dual band LTE / CDMA handsets.

    To enable it to cap investment in CDMA and eventually re-farm CDMA spectrum as LTE MetroPCS will need to rapidly shift its customers to LTE / VoLTE capable handsets. It is assumed that given the nature of the pre-pay market, there is a high degree of customer churn which could facilitate this. Nevertheless, to achieve it, MetroPCS will require an attractive range of LTE/VoLTE handsets, something which is still somewhat of a challenge.

    Note that as of May 2013 MetroPCS has been acquired by T-Mobile. This may well change their approach to the aggressive introduction of VoLTE as it offers them a number of options to use T-Mobile’s existing coverage and extensive handset range. Nevertheless, MetroPCS has acted as a proving ground for VoLTE and this may well also lead to a change in T-Mobile’s approach.

    Example 2: EE

    Following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK to form EE, EE are now the largest mobile operator in the UK. They were the first operator to launch LTE in the UK using their existing 1800MHz spectrum prior to the auction of the “official” LTE spectrum.

    EE’s public position is that whilst they will to continue to invest heavily in LTE to improve data rates they are not aggressively developing VoLTE. They state:

    We found circuit-switched fallback [CSFB] for voice very stable from the beginning by putting deliberate aspects in for it with our core network vendors. We find that fallback is very reliable, and delays are minimal. It’s efficient as a solution, so we haven’t seen a need to rush to VoLTE. It will bring some additional benefits, but CSFB solution is good enough as a service.

    It would be a fair guess to make that EE are actively investigating VoLTE and ensuring that new SIMs and handsets will be compatible with it wherever possible. It is also fair to say is that they do not see a business case for deploying VoLTE in the near future. This makes sense for EE:

    • They have more than sufficient spectrum holdings to operate 3G and LTE,
    • They have an existing voice network with sufficient capacity for their needs,
    • They are focussed on promoting mobile broadband as their “hero” product, exploiting the market lead they have over the other UK mobile network operators,
    • They believe the voice service provided by circuit switched fall-back is good enough for the time being.

    Conclusions

    It is clear that over a period of time most if not all operators will deploy VoLTE and migrate customers to it. What is less clear is how rapidly they will do so.  Clearly MetroPCS have proceeded rapidly in the US whereas EE in the UK are proceeding cautiously and are quite happy at present with circuit switched fall-back. These two examples could be viewed as extremes of network operators’ positions. That being said, the author would not be surprised if, in light of their merger with T-Mobile, MetroPCS rollout less aggressively, and no doubt behind the scenes EE are working on their approach to VoLTE. In reality most operators are likely to fall somewhere in between.

    For an operator considering VoLTE the benefits will fall into two categories:

    • Voice product enhancements potentially also including multi-media and RCS based services, and
    • Network rationalisation opportunities, whereby 3G equipment and spectrum can eventually be retired.

    Operators in general prefer concrete business cases with clear cost benefits. The financial benefits associated with product enhancements are notoriously difficult to quantify whereas those associated with network rationalisation more straightforward. In an ideal world an operator would justify the cost of VoLTE deployment based on the network rationalisation savings and consider the benefits gained from product enhancements as “up-side”. For most operators, a business case of this nature is unlikely to show a return.

    For substantial savings to come from 3G infrastructure rationalisation, network operators will need to shift a significant majority of customers to LTE and VoLTE capable handsets. This includes not only consumers but also business customers who may have large deployments of 3G (or even 2G) devices. Whilst the upgrade cycle for mobile phones is often quite rapid there will nonetheless be a sizeable rump of customers that will continue to have 3G phones for a considerable period. This inevitably will limit the speed at which operators can force a migration to LTE and undermine business cases based on network savings.

    Clearly, given that one of the major barriers to migration to VoLTE is the entrenched base of customer handsets, operators should be planning now to ensure that any as many of the new handsets and SIMs deployed over the next few years are LTE and VoLTE capable. Even this though will just be the SmartPhone customer base. Whilst SmartPhone penetration is growing rapidly it is not clear if and when SmartPhones will entirely replace more basic phones and at what point a basic, low cost LTE/VoLTE phone might be manufactured as an alternative to todays basic 2G/3G phones.

    Considering now the potential of product enhancements: VoLTE requires the introduction of an entirely new IMS voice core and major changes in the way the network is designed and operated. Business case aside, for any operator, this is no small undertaking. As has been indicated the benefits from product enhancement will be difficult to quantify and may be considered as a way to protect existing revenue from OTT competition rather than as a way to gain new revenues. Therefore, for most operators there is going to be a marked reluctance to move rapidly to VoLTE.

    Most large operators are naturally conservative in nature and would view the case of moving to VoLTE as having questionable financial benefits and significant technical risk. That is not to say that sticking with circuit switched fall-back is not without risk. Indeed the voice product offered by mobile and fixed voice operators has changed very little over the last 15 years. Although handsets and the features they provide have been transformed the basic service provided by network operators remains the same. In the long run, this is not a sustainable position – operators will either need to improve their products or see customers move to OTT voice and messaging providers.

    VoLTE actually offers an opportunity to operators to break from the legacy voice and messaging services and innovate. True, it is not yet clear what will be successful in the market, and to what extent it will generate new revenue. Nevertheless, operators need to start planning for IMS and VoLTE, it is to their advantage at the moment that they can start small, substantially reducing the risk for something they will inevitably have to do. In the view of this author, the prudent approach for most mobile operators with respect to VoLTE is the following:

    • Push SmartPhones and make sure they are LTE and VoLTE capable. Ensure that all SIMs are IMS compatible.
    • Build a small IMS core with associated systems and experiment – both technically and product-wise. Do not just limit service to mobile devices, but allow users to access their phone service from any device.
    • Get IMS based VoLTE services in to the hands of a number of trial customers who are enthusiastic to try different services.
    • Start making plans and building the key network and IT building blocks that will be required in the future for communication services. Which services will be successful is not necessarily clear, but the building blocks of future services are easier to define.

    This is not to say that operators should proceed in undue haste, but they need to spend the time learning how to deploy voice over IP based VoLTE services, the service opportunities this presents and the challenges to their current systems and practices of offering something other than a basic voice service.

    It may well pay operators to wait for VoLTE to be more mature, for IMS systems to have further developed and come down in cost, and for IT systems to have developed to support a rich fixed-mobile product set. What will be true, however, is that the knowledge they can gain now by experimenting and trialling will pay them back handsomely when the time does come to put together a robust business case for VoLTE, define system architectures, select vendors and move to deployment.

    The message of this paper is that for most operators the case for aggressively implementing VoLTE is likely to appear weak. Nevertheless it is very important that VoLTE should not be ignored. It is for good reason that vendors and operators chose an IMS based approach for voice over LTE – they saw this as the best way to evolve voice service, to enable them to incrementally enhance their product. The alternative is for an operator to focus on delivering mobile broadband in the most efficient manner, at the lowest possible cost and accepting that voice and messaging revenues will eventually drift elsewhere.

    The question of what strategy an operator should adopt for VoLTE forces them to consider the broader strategic question of the nature of their core business. Should they continue to remain a vertically integrated company offering all communications services or focus on operating a low-cost bit-pipe network that other service providers can overlay services upon. This is a hard question to answer; most operators will say they want to adopt the former position but then do nothing about it. A well-considered project to trial and implement (albeit at small scale) VoLTE actually offers them the opportunity to jump-start this process: understanding the challenges of launching more complex communications services, the impacts on network and IT systems, and the likely customer interest in such services.

    Operators that ignore this risk falling between two stools:

    • Not being ready to launch VoLTE and other VoIP based communications services and seeing increasing revenue erosion to other operators or OTT service providers.
    • Not aggressively simplifying and cutting cost to make the network as cost effective as possible for basic bit-pipe based services and struggling to meet the price point set by other more efficient operators.

    If past history is anything to go by, many operators will struggle to adapt rapidly enough to the changing market. Quite how this will play-out is yet to be seen – unlike other high technology industries network operators have the entrenched asset of their deployed network. Whilst this will protect them somewhat, networks are increasingly capital intensive and an operator will need strong revenues to continue to fund developments such as LTE, VoLTE and the next generation of LTE (LTE-A).

    Source: http://pscomms.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/the-case-for-volte/

    Mobile Fourth Wave: The Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars

    2 Sep
    2001
    Smartphone image copyright Nik Merkulov 

    We are entering the golden age of mobile. Mobile has become the most critical tool to enhance productivity and drive human ingenuity and technological growth. And the global mobile market will reach $1.65 trillion in revenue this year. Over the next decade, that revenue number will more than double. If we segment the sources of this revenue, there will be a drastic shift over the course of the next 10 years. During the last decade, voice accounted for over 55 percent of the total revenue, data access 17 percent, and the over-the-top and digital services a mere three percent. Over the next decade, we expect mobile digital services to be the leading revenue-generating category for the industry, with approximately 30 percent of the total revenue. Voice will represent less than 21 percent.

    There is already a significant shift in revenue structures for many players. The traditional revenue curves of voice and messaging are declining in most markets. Mobile data access, while still in its infancy in many markets, is starting to face significant margin pressure. As such, the industry has to invest in building a healthy ecosystem on the back of the fourth wave — the OTT and digital services. The revenue generated on the fourth wave is going to be massive, but much more distributed than the previous curves. It will end up being a multi-trillion-dollar market in a matter of a decade — growing much faster and scaling to much greater heights than previous revenue curves.

    Vodafone, one of the biggest mobile operators in the world, recently reported that in each of its 21 markets, voice and messaging declined (YOY). In some markets, like Italy, even the data access segment suffered negative growth. However, what was more disturbing was that the increase in access revenue didn’t negate the decline in voice and messaging revenue in any market. The net revenue declined in every single market, no matter which geography it belonged to. The net effect was that the overall revenue declined by nine percent, despite data access revenue growing by eight percent, because the overall voice and messaging revenue streams suffered double-digit losses. Once the access revenue started to decline (and it is already happening to some of the operators), these companies will have to take some drastic measures to attain growth. The investment and a clear strategy on the fourth wave will become even more urgent. They will have to find a way to become Digital Lifestyle Solution Providers.

    revgrowthcurve

    So, what is the mobile fourth wave, and who are the dominant players today? The fourth wave is not a single entity or a functional block like voice, messaging or data access, but is made up of dozens of new application areas, some of which have not even been dreamt up yet. As such, this portfolio of services requires a different skill set for both development and monetization. Another key difference in the competitive landscape is that the biggest competitors for these services (depending on the region) might not be another operator but the Internet players who are well funded, nimble and very ambitious. The services range from horizontal offerings such as mobile cloud; commerce and payments; security; analytics; and risk management to mobile being tightly integrated with the vertical industries such as retail, health, education, auto, home, energy and media. Mobile will change every vertical from the ground up, and that’s what will define the mobile fourth wave.

    In the past, the Top 10 players by revenue were always mobile operators. If we take a look at the Top 10 players by revenue on the fourth wave, there are only five operators on the list. The Internet players like Apple, Google, Amazon, Starbucks and eBay are generating more revenue on this curve than some of the incumbent players. However, some of the operators like AT&T, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica and Verizon have been investing steadily on the fourth curve for some time. The two Japanese operators on the list have even started to report the digital revenue in their financials.

    Just as data represents 50 percent or more of their overall revenue, we expect that, for some of these operators, digital will represent more than 50 percent of their data revenue within five years. Relatively smaller operators like Sprint, Turkcell, SingTel and Telstra are also investing in new service areas that will change how operators see their opportunities, competition and revenue streams.

    topplayers

    This shift to digital has larger implications, as well. Countries with archaic labor laws that don’t afford companies the flexibility needed to be digital players are going to be at a disadvantage. It is one thing to have figured out the strategy and the areas to invest in, and it is completely another to execute with the focus and tenacity of an upstart. If companies are not able to assemble the right talents to pursue the virgin markets, someone else will. Such players will see decline in their revenues and become targets for M&A. Some of this is already evident in the European markets, which are also plagued by economic woes. Regulators will have a tough task ahead of them in evaluating some unconventional M&As in the coming years.

    The shift to digital will also have an impact on the rest of the ecosystem. The infrastructure providers will have to develop expertise in services that can be sold in partnership with the operators. Device OEMs without a credible digital-services portfolio will find it hard to compete just on product or on price. The Internet players will have to form alliances to find distribution and scale. The emergence of the fourth wave is good news for startups. Instead of just looking toward Google or Apple, the exit route now includes the operator landscape, as well. In fact, some of the operators have been making strategic acquisitions in specific segments over the last few years — Telefonica acquired AxisMed, Brazil’s largest chronic-care management company; Verizon acquired Hughes Telematics; and SingTel acquired Amobee.

    For any telecom operator looking to enter the digital realm, the strategic options and road map are fairly clear. First, it has to solidify and protect its core business and assets. A great broadband network is the table stakes to be considered a player in the digital ecosystem. Depending on the financial condition of the operator, the non-core assets should be slowly spun off or sold to potential buyers so that the company can squarely focus on preserving the core and on launching the digital business with full force. The digital business requires a portfolio management approach that requires a completely different mindset and skillset to navigate the competitive landscape.

    The first three revenue growth curves have served the industry well, but now it is time for the industry to refocus its energies on the fourth curve that will completely redefine the mobile industry, its players and the revenue opportunities. Several new players will start to emerge that will create new revenue from applications and services that transform every industry vertical that contributes significantly to the global GDP. As players like Apple and Google continue to lead, mobile operators will have to regroup, collaborate and refocus to become digital players.

    There will be hardly any vertical that is not transformed by the confluence of mobile broadband, cloud services and applications. In fact, the very notion of computing has changed drastically. The use of tablets and smartphones instead of PCs has altered the computing ecosystem. Players and enterprises who aren’t gearing up for this enormous opportunity will get assimilated.

    The future of mobile is not just about the platform, but about what’s built on the platform. It is very clear that the winners will be defined by how they react to the fourth wave that will shape mobile industry’s next trillion dollars.

    Source: http://allthingsd.com/20130826/mobile-fourth-wave-the-evolution-of-the-next-trillion-dollars/?mod=atd_homepage_carousel&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Mobile+Insights&utm_campaign=Post+Blast+%28sai%29%3A+Where+Will+The+Next+%241+Trillion+In+Mobile+Come+From%3F

    %d bloggers like this: