The role service providers can play and why Video Quality of Experience matters to their success
The popularity and at times necessity of mobile video and live streaming for entertainment, learning, and working in a still pandemic-influenced world has blown past even some of the most bullish predictions, and for good reason: it’s active and interactive, it’s engaging, it’s easy to consume and share, and most importantly, it inspires people to take action.
According to our latest Mobile Internet Phenomena Report, video services with the applications that ride on them, have become the top source of entertainment and information for more than two-thirds of the global population, with more than three-quarters of video-based application usage taking place on mobile devices as people go about their daily lives. And this is even without the full impact of 5G being felt!
The Phenomena report delves into this video revolution with amazing new data that can become actionable in service providers’ 4G and 5G networks to better optimize the delivery and monetize the applications riding on video services:
- Video streaming continues to be the top traffic category on global networks representing almost 50% of the downstream and 19% of the upstream;
- YouTube and TikTok applications reign supreme, each boasting tremendous growth over 2020, with easy-to-watch short-form videos and ever-changing content capturing people’s imaginations;
- There’s a continued shift of ‘work’ traffic from enterprise networks to the home due to the lingering effects of work-from-home orders and the cultural changes that ensued as a result: 68% downstream traffic growth and 135% upstream growth;
- Enterprise traffic has become highly distributed with mission-critical enterprise apps competing with home consumer apps for bandwidth;
- Zoom and Microsoft applications have shot up in the global rankings of video services this year as the ebb and flow of COVID-19 continued to influence where and how people work, learn and engage;
- And interestingly, mobile video has multiple peaks throughout the day, with the highest peak between 5 and 6pm. You can learn more about this in our previous Day in the Life of a Mobile Network
Enterprises are relying heavily on applications that connect their workforces. Busniess-grade QoE is now critical to keep workers connected and able to conduct business on the go. The surge in taking meetings while walking is driving a rise in the use of business communication applications on mobile networks.
Hourly video trends on mobile networks
Video streaming has multiple peaks throughout the day, with the highest peak between 5-6pm.
The role of service providers and why Quality of Experience matters
As the video trends highlighted in our report play out, how can you as the service provider play a more central role in the video value chain, especially as you think about slicing and dicing your 5G networks?
If you look to the first-movers in the North American and Asian markets, you see that service providers are recalibrating digital bundles toward mobile video and streaming, with wireless plans increasingly personalized around entertainment and sports:
- Verizon is partnering with Disney and offering Apple Music, Discovery+, as well as Hulu, ESPN and even Playstation applications in their higher-tier plans;
- T-Mobile is partnering with Netflix as well as MLB TV and offering a free one-year subscription to sports content at The Athletic.
- The SingTel, AIS and SK Telecom joint venture is offering cloud gaming and e-sports on 5G – based mobile edge computing (MEC) platforms, establishing a global community for approximately 800 million gamers and sports fans
To sweeten these deals, service providers around the globe are also offering different combinations of telehealth, retail and smart – home services, in addition to the video and streaming services.
With all of these services and critical applications riding on them, quality of experience (QoE) will be essential right from the get-go as a negative experience with any facet of new bundles (performance, user interface, billing, customer service) will make subscribers balk at trying them again or experimenting with new options. The experience has to be positive as there will be plenty of alternatives for customers to consider: Roku, Apple, and even the media companies themselves are all experimenting with different ways to aggregate and monetize content.
To stay ahead, service providers can strive to do more than their competitors – not only in the consumer market, but the enterprise market in which they already have deeply entrenched relationships. Fully programmable, automated enterprise network slices will be revolutionary. For example, KDDI and Samsung have already completed an end-to-end network slicing agreement for different use cases – one of which enables mobile operators to prioritize automated vehicle slices, or emergency-room slices to hospitals.
The ability to optimize and prioritize video service based applications like video security surveillance and monitoring, online learning, or public safety and healthcare, will give service providers more chances for engagement and monetization. However, they must have the ability to optimize video connectivity and combine it with innovative video-based service tiers that possess quality guarantees. With machine learning-driven analysis of traffic across application, subscriber, device and network metrics, service providers can better understand how applications sessions are perceived by their enterprise and consumer customers. Then, they can proactively make adjustments using congestion management, fair usage, and prioritization techniques.
High-value applications, in particular, should be quantitatively measured and ‘scored’ in real time to measure traffic and subscriber usage so that the network can dynamically respond to the ever-changing events and conditions that characterize video and live streaming services.
To learn more about how our Mobile Internet Phenomena data can become actionable in your 4G and 5G networks, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enhance your application intelligence and decision making and enforcement to deliver exceptional mobile experiences to your enterprise and consumer customers.