Three Predictions About Wi-Fi Data Management That Will Affect Operators and Their Users in 2019
By Colleen LeCount, MOBOLIZE | Senior Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing
This is the time of year for savoring sugar cookies with an afternoon cup of coffee (maybe even an Irish one … or something stiffer… not sure it’s appropriate but thinking possibly to add a little humor). It’s also the time of year for industry predictions. I promise to make my predictions about what is happening with mobile data management short and sweet – so here we go.
1. Wi-Fi is here for now and always… even with 5G
The hot focus is 5G and what it offers consumers, businesses and operators. Networks will continue to be built, cities and houses will get smarter, and moving data faster through the network will continue to grow.
While this is a great development for our industry, don’t forget Wi-Fi. It’s here now and will remain a significant part of the way users connect before, during and likely after 5G networks are realized. As connectivity for mobile users increasingly relies on the interplay between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, it requires a smooth, seamless bonding of the two networks to eliminate dead zones where the mobile device hangs onto weak or unresponsive Wi-Fi, resulting in no connectivity. Dead zones have long been an issue, but just now getting recognized as a problem. Operators need a solution that doesn’t require adding servers to their network – a cost, control and customer experience issue.
5G also is set to speed up the development of connected cities, homes and businesses. But similar to the mobile device, Wi-Fi can help ensure that the user experience is not impacted by areas of poor network conditions due to capacity, coverage, spectrum or any other issue that plagues mobile technologies.
And, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve still got a way to go before 5G is ubiquitous. Wi-Fi is here now and will be a strong partner with 5G. Plus, Wi-Fi will only get better with advances in Wi-Fi 6.
Take a sip of coffee to bond with the wonderful sweetness of those sugar cookies.
2. Wi-Fi security is not a niche need anymore
Industry stats show that users are on Wi-Fi more than 70% of the time. Some of those Wi-Fis are secure (yet still vulnerable), but most aren’t protected. Users are vulnerable to silent hackers who gain access to their data in the short distance it travels between the device in the users’ hand at the coffee shop table to the router.
The headlines have reached a tipping point, from last year’s KRACK attack to this year’s Google Chrome auto-fill. But it’s each individual’s insecurity about using Wi-Fi that doesn’t make the headlines that is more telling. Most victims are hacked and don’t know about it until later. Our tests show that when users have a Wi-Fi security solution on their phone, they use 150% more Wi-Fi as measured by hotspots joined and total tonnage. As users become more aware of security issues, so will their demand for secure Wi-Fi.
Yummy. Enjoy that last bite of your sugar cookie.
3. Operators need disruptive products/services for their users
Video data usage has exploded. Operators have bought content companies, and content company’s shows, sports and games are growing in popularity on mobile devices. In 2018, mobile devices were used for 49% of all streaming content according to Convivia, and HIS Markit predicts that by 2021 there will be 650 million subscribers to services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix. An increase in 2019 is guaranteed.
For mobile operators, this large increase in data usage is putting significant strain on networks. This means operators need to think about offering disruptive products that provide excellent customer experience while solving cost and investment issues.
Users will watch video, but how do you get them comfortable with using Wi-Fi to do so? Or using network optimization technology that saves up to 80% of data consumption while still providing a good mobile experience? And keeping the data experience smooth and seamless, removing the friction we often experience as we traverse cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The coming year will challenge operators as they look for popular products and services that provide a great customer experience, while managing Capex challenges to maximize Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
As you take that last sip of coffee and wipe the cookie crumbs from the table, we at Mobolize wish you and yours a great New Year and a prosperous 2019. Look forward to connecting in the year ahead.