Showing posts from 2018

Smart Speakers Might Set a Record for Adoption

It looks like smart speakers might be the fastest-adopted product in consumer electronics history. By some estimates it took about five years for smart speakers to be adopted by half of U.S. homes.
By other estimates, adoption reached 41 percent only in 2018. Either way, that is fast.
source: Xapp Media

The Science Behind the Definition of Broadband as 25 Mbps

Some criticize the Federal Communications Commission for wanting to keep a minimum 25 Mbps broadband definition instead of boosting it to some other figure.  Keeping in mind that figure is a minimum floor, not a ceiling, there is clear science behind the chosen definition.

After about 20 Mbps, there is little to no improvement in user experience when using webpages, for example. The key caveat, however, is that multiple users on any account make a difference, if multiple users or devices are used simultaneously. source: FCC

Generally speaking, even in a household with multiple users, only 4K ultra-high-definition streaming will stress the connection.

source: High Speed Internet

That noted, even in many rural gigabit speed service is available at levels that would surprise many.

And typical speeds in cities routinely are far above the minimum. “The median download speed, averaged across all participating ISPs, was approximately 72 Mbps in September 2017,” according the most-recent Federa…

Is It the "Year of X"?

It’s that time of year when some feel compelled to prognosticate on “what will happen next year,” while others remind us of what did happen “last year.” And there always are a brave few who will try to capture the essence in a single phrase: “the year of X,” whatever X is said to be.
At a high level, we might well look back at such highly-distilled “year of X” predictions and note that it almost never happens. “The year of X,” whatever X is said to be, nearly always occurs (in the sense of commercial adoption or inflection point of adoption) some future year.
My simple way of describing this situation is to say that “whatever is said to be the ‘year of X’ trend almost ensures it will not be.” Of course, some will argue that is not what they mean.
Instead, they tend to mean this is the year some trend is popularized or discovered. Okay, in that sense, there is firmer--yet still tenuous--ground to stand on. Rarely does a big new thing just burst on the scene, in terms of public awareness…

80% of Results from 20% of Actions, Firms, Products, Services

Only 20 percent of actions lead to 80 percent of results, in business, life or telecom.
It usually is surprising how often a Pareto distribution occurs in business or nature. Most underlying trends in any business follow a Pareto distribution, commonly known as the “80/20” rule, where 80 percent of results flow from some 20 percent of the instances. That applies for consumer manufacturer warranty claims, for example.
In the telecom and most other businesses, as much as 80 percent of the profit is generated by serving 20 percent of the customers, while 80 percent of the revenue is generated by 20 percent of the products.
Apparently equity market returns also show a Pareto distribution. source: Longboard Funds
Most workers make tradeoffs between housing costs and commuting time and hassle that show a Pareto distribution.
In  the healthcare domain, the sickest 20 percent generate 79 percent of health care costs.
In the domain of athletic training roughly 20 percent of the exercises and habi…

Why Low Cost Bandwidth Now is an Imperative

Low cost bandwidth always has been a prerequisite for commercial video networks, whether of the satellite, over-the-air TV or cable TV variety, and now for any internet service provider or telco (access or connectivity provider) that wishes to sell its own subscription video products.
The reason is simple and straightforward: video is the most bandwidth-intensive consumer application, by far. Text messaging and voice require use of almost no bandwidth, while video consumers nearly two orders of magnitude more capacity, for each minute of use.
H.264 Skype video conferencing, for example, uses four orders of magnitude (10,000 times) more bandwidth than Skype messaging, for example.
So revenue per bit and data consumption are inversely related: video consumes the most bandwidth, and produces the lowest revenue per bit for a connectivity provider, while text messaging and voice use the least bandwidth and produce the highest revenue per consumed bit.
source: Microsoft
Internet traffic is in…

Cable and Telco Spend 4.4 to 5 Times As Much as Mobile Operators on Capex, as a Percent of Revenue

At least in the Canadian communications market, mobile networks are three to four times less costly than fixed (cabled) networks, based on capital intensity.
With the caveat that the mobile figures might be periodically higher when a next-generation network is under construction, ongoing capital investment is about nine percent of revenues.
Telcos tend to invest about 40 percent of revenues on their networks, while cable operators tend to invest about 45 percent of revenue. Those figures probably require some explanation.
In other words, telco networks spend about 4.4 times as much on capex as mobile networks, as a percentage of revenue. Cable operators spend five times as much as mobile operators.
Cable networks have historically been less capital intensive than telecom networks. But cable operators also are energetically investing in gigabit internet access, while most telcos are more measured in their spending. In part, that is because of the high cost of upgrading copper to fiber …

Not Every Service Provider Can Enter the Video Content Business

Even when connectivity providers agree that development of new revenue sources beyond connectivity is essential, much disagreement remains about precisely how to develop those opportunities.
In large part, the differences of opinion arise from scale requirements. Simply put, many new opportunities require scale that most service providers do not have, and cannot get. Consider the matter of ownership of video content, or acting as a distributor of video content.
Telefonica, for example,  has been a big believer in the value of revenue sources beyond connectivity, and in recent years has boosted its video subscription revenue to about seven percent of total revenues.
And video revenues also have emerged as a huge driver of “digital” revenues. Video subscription revenue now accounts for more than half of total “digital revenues,” for example.
Digital revenues account for nearly 14 percent of total revenues, and are among the fastest-growing revenue sources available to Telefonica. Digita…

What is Relationship Between Network Slicing, SDN, NFV?

New platforms in the networking business often are hard to classify and categorize. So there is criticism of “fake 5G” or 5G Evolution as AT&T calls it  (advanced 4G using infrastructure that will be shared with 5G) in some quarters, even if networking professionals all agree 5G will be built in large part on advanced 4G infrastructure.
In the same way, we might not all agree on how network slicing, network functions virtualization and software defined networks relate to each other. Some might argue they are nested subdomains. Others might see them as related but distinct domains. Eventually that all will be sorted out. The point is that common understanding has yet to develop fully.
Network slicing is the ability to create multiple customized networks operating on a common physical infrastructure.
Network slicing often is said to be an outcome of network functions virtualization, and many would agree that NFV underpins and enables network slicing. But network slicing (creation of …

Customer Experience Might be Twice as Hard as You Think

“Bothersome experiences” and “shopping delights” are thought by most people to be drivers of retailer abandonment, in the former case, or customer loyalty, in the latter case. Most of us tend to think of the full range of things a supplier does, or fails to do, that can move buyer perceptions in either direction.
Applied to the connectivity business, outages, incorrect billing, long waits for customer service, high perceived prices and low perceived quality of service are seen as drivers of churn. The logical thought is that high availability, correct bills, prompt customer service, reasonable prices and high value are seen as drivers of customer loyalty.
But an argument can be made that the bothersome and delightful dimensions of experience are not linear, on a single scale, but perhaps even two different categories: things that bother customers and need to be avoided, as well as things that delight customers, and have to be created.
In that view, you cannot delight customers by remov…