Data traffic is expected to continue to increase exponentially in the next five to 10 years. The growth of data traffic will put a tremendous strain on the communications providers’ network and information management systems. This growth will be accompanied by the explosion of user-rich information that can be leveraged by communication service providers to create new sticky services.
With increasing commoditization of traditional network services, creative business models built around the use of data and information are expected to become more important. Currently, service providers (SPs) are struggling to keep up with data growth; many SPs have already rolled out Long-term Evolution (LTE) networks and are exploring other data traffic offload strategies to keep up with demand.
The proliferation of smartphones and smart devices is driving data consumption on SP networks, with mobile application and video consumption contributing much of the data growth. This growth is not expected to decrease as social networking traffic and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is expected to continue increasing.
During the next five years, M2M traffic is expected to exceed even that of social networking traffic, as connect devices and sensors are expected to grow beyond 50 billion.
The sudden increase in the demand for monitoring quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) across the network is the main challenge for wireless carriers. With the rapid increase in the adoption of mobile applications used for business and online banking purposes, the emphasis for policy control and security is higher than ever. Earlier, customer data and user experience were just looked as a reference to validate the performance of the underlying infrastructure and connectivity. Today, service providers have realized the importance of QoE, as it determines the revenue per subscriber in terms of mobile advertisement and location-based services.
Most carriers are struggling with policy control, security and network optimization. The absence of standards, guidelines and best practices in the industry restrains the growth of the market and adoption of data monitoring solutions. As proper standard and regulatory compliance come in place, the rate of adoption is expected to accelerate.
As the wireless ecosystem continues to evolve in terms of network speeds, standards, services and technology, carriers are forced to continue investing in monitoring existing legacy networks and also manage deploying large-scale next-generation networks. For example, a number of wireless operators are forced to continue offering Edge, 2G and traditional voice and text services that are still used by a large percent of the subscribers.
On the other hand, operators need to explore new revenue streams and business models based on emerging technologies and services. In the wake of declining revenues and average revenue per user (ARPU), the ongoing investments to maintain and monitor legacy networks restricts the operator investments in buying monitoring and service assurance solutions to manage their services.
With the rapid change in the wireless industry, there are additional categories of players in the ecosystem, such as content developer networks and third-party application developers. In addition, the newer service assurance solutions, such as customer experience management, are required to be integrated with the existing legacy systems and applications. As service providers continue to migrate their network to support next-generation networks, there is an increasing need for interoperability and compliance. For example, a carrier may choose a CEM solution from a particular vendor and deploy network monitoring systems from another. In order to get a holistic view of the network and collaborate the user experience data with the network conditions, it is important for carriers to integrate and manage interoperability between various systems.
The significant increase in data rates challenges market development. Consumers want to use more bandwidth-hungry applications, which require operators to invest in faster transmission links. Consequently, end users require more monitoring tools to deal with the constantly increasing requirements.
Mobile users are always connected and are moving across different networks. They use specific applications, and when they log on to the 3G network they expect these applications to work seamlessly. Moreover, the information received from these different networks must be correlated.
The increasing growth of data traffic requires more secure and complex testing capabilities to keep pace with the demand for proliferation of smartphones, network expansions and upgrades in 3G and LTE.
For more information on Frost & Sullivan’s Test and Measurement research, contact Jeannette Garcia, Corporate Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210.477.8427.
Program Leader for the Frost & Sullivan Test & Measurement Practice
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