In Chinese, the written word crisis is comprised of two characters: one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. Mobile operators across the globe are facing a similar situation. They are finding it difficult to manage the exponential growth in data traffic. However, there lies a huge opportunity for them to monetise this growth.
In 2009, there were more than 450 million mobile Internet users worldwide. That number is expected to be one billion by the year 2013. When Openwave helped introduce the wireless application protocol (WAP) more than 14 years ago, it was with a vision that mobile data would become an indispensable part of our lives.
And so it has!
Today, mobile services have become a way of life. People around the globe are using mobile for basic daily needs of financial transaction, healthcare, education and entertainment and more. The iPhone, iPad, Blackberry devices have dramatically increased the capabilities that consumers can access through their handsets. With e-mail, Web browsing and a variety of other options made available on a single handheld device, smartphones have essentially integrated the functionality of computers and mobile phones and are driving the growth of mobile Internet.
More and more mobile operators are finding it difficult to keep up with ever-increasing demand for mobile data services. Their networksthe ones that were gathering cobwebs a few years agoare suddenly straining to cope with the crush of data traffic during peak periods.
This capacity crunch is resulting in dropped connections, latency, and, in some instances, a failure to connect at all. For years, the mobile Internet was hamstrung by limited devices and a bad user interface. With those problems well behind us, it would be a shame to falter now because of the networks.
Demand for the mobile Internet continues to pose a danger to operators networks, but were talking about unprecedented demand here. The opportunity to capitalise and monetise this demand is truly unique.
Managing the traffic
The most immediate way for operators to deal with surging data traffic is to reduce it by optimising the content sent over the network. Video content is the primary component as it is both heavy and popular. All content can be optimised through the use of compression techniques, caching and network acceleration. Reducing the data required for a popular video actually increases an operators effective bandwidth and delivers a smoother, faster video and browsing experience to the consumer.
Managing the demand
One of the most effective ways of managing data traffic is managing the demand that drives that traffic. Shifting the heaviest users away from peak hours is a fundamental technique in shaping demand for a limited resource like wireless spectrum.
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