Displaying items by tag: Ericsson

Ericsson recently released its special Mobile World Congress 2016 Mobility Report, revealing intriguing evidence suggesting that poor network performance increases smartphone a user’s heart rate and stress levels. Ericsson’s research further reports that smartphone users share more online than ever before, and that 68 million mobile subscriptions were added during the last quarter of 2015, 21 million of which were in India. Rafiah Ibrahim, president of Ericsson Middle East & Africa, offered her insights.

Ericsson never fails to inspire the telecom industry with its factually revealing Mobility Reports. Its latest report, dedicated to the recent Mobile World Congress, is no excuse. It reveals results from a neuroscience study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab that captured objective reactions to varied levels of network performance while using a smartphone. The study revealed that under time constraints, delays in web page load times and video streaming can be as stressful as watching a horror movie. Additionally, the study revealed that if there are no such delays, we unconsciously become more satisfied with our mobile service provider.

It’s a topic we can all relate to. Just think back to all the times you have felt frustrated when a web page took forever to load, or a video kept buffering, sending you into a frenzy of dissatisfaction. It’s a given that when consumers turn to their smartphones to source information quickly, they expect an instantaneous response. The neuroscience study by Ericsson measured user reactions to network performance and shows that delays in loading web pages and videos while completing tasks under time constraints is noticeably taxing, causing heart rate and stress levels to increase.

The study measured brain activity, eye movements and pulse; while subjects completed various tasks by browsing the web and watching video clips. Changes in the perception of mobile network operators and content providers before and after network usages experiences were also measured. The participants were then exposed to a high degree of delays, a medium degree of delays or no delays, all while they completed tasks. This allowed a detailed analysis of how the duration and extent of delays affected emotional engagement and stress.

The purpose of the study was simple: the results help to uncover how variations in network performance can impact consumer experience and ultimately affect brand equity. For instance, if one network shows signs of being slower than its competitor, then its customers will likely jump ship since the study proves that slow networks cause stress and anguish; thus, causing users to blame the network provider.

This was one of the most interesting finds from the study, providing network providers a rare glimpse into the loyalty habits of consumers. The study found that participants who experienced no performance delays showed a net increase in brand engagement, measured using a motivation index: a calculation of the relative activation of the left versus right and closely linked to approach-avoidance behaviors. EEG electrode headsets were used to record brain activity. The results suggested that the participants became happier with their mobile service provider when they experienced low delays compared with groups subjected to medium and high delays, who displayed neutral and even negative brand engagement.

A fascinating result of the study was that medium delays resulted in a double negative effect on the service provider, as they not only decreased brand engagement with consumers, but also caused an increase in engagement with competitor brands. Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, users who faced high delays responded negatively to all mobile service provider brands. All in all, the findings suggest that major delays can cause the whole industry to suffer a loss of brand equity.

Similar to this, effects were observed in the study when observing changes in NPS, a quantification of the likelihood that a customer would recommend a company’s product or service. Customers are scored on a scale of 0-10 and then divided into three categories: 9-10 being promoters of the brand (happy), 7-8 being passive (satisfied but unenthusiastic) and 0-6 being detractors (unhappy). The info was calculated using data gathered from a survey administered to participants both before and after they experienced delays. On a scale of 0-10, NPS fell by 4 and 2.5 points for those who faced medium and high delays, respectively.

Infinite broadband, smartphone & social media expansion

Poor network performance and its effect on brand equity wasn’t the only issue discussed in Ericsson’s MWC Mobility Report. In fact, Ericsson also provided details of how mobile data traffic significantly increased in Q4 2015.

Rafiah Ibrahim, president of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa, said: “In November 2015, we significantly increased our mobile data traffic forecast. This was largely based on recent network measurements indicating a stronger than anticipated growth of average data traffic consumption per user.”

Ericsson predicts data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 percent through 2021 – a 10-fold increase in the coming six years. Contributing to this growth is the rising share of smartphone subscriptions – particularly for LTE smartphones – as well as increased data consumption per LTE subscriber. According to the report, in many markets, the rate of growth has not declined over time as fast as presumed. A similar data consumption pattern is also expected to apply to new LTE subscribers. The report suggests that this increasing data consumption per subscription is mainly driven by video traffic.

Looking back at 2015, the report indicates that net-added mobile traffic was 20 Exabyte (EB), half of which consisted of video traffic. The additional video traffic in 2015 is comparable to approximately three full-length movies per smartphone subscription.

Factors according to the report that are driving mobile video traffic include: evolving smart devices with larger screens and higher resolution (better picture quality), increased video content as part of applications such as news and social media, YouTube and Netflix driving growth of video streaming, increased streaming of on-demand services, changing user behaviors with TV and video being consumed everywhere, continued 3G and 4G deployments, and of course, major technological advancements such as video compression techniques.

The Mobility Report also highlights the way consumers are increasingly participating in and sharing information on multiple social media platforms. The report indicates that with an expected net addition of 3 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2021, many more consumers will have easy access to social networks via apps and web browsers.

“Social networking is second only to video in driving traffic growth,” says Rafiah Ibrahim. “We share more online now than we have ever before. With the increased penetration of smartphones, it is very convenient to access social media platforms. In Q4 2015, smartphones accounted for around 75 percent of all mobile phones sold worldwide and we predict an additional 3 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2021,” added Ibrahim.

Ericsson Consumer Lab research shows that today more people communicate using text as opposed to voice calls, which not too long ago, was the primary communication tool. It shows the velocity that trends are changing in our modern world of technological advancement. People are also used to instantly sharing photos and videos via social media networks. For example, the reports says over 70 percent of smartphone owners say they share personal photos regularly and have an audience which sees what’s been shared. Forty-six percent are reportedly active on more than one social media network.

Concluding this topic, the report suggests that accumulated social networking over the next six years is forecast to be around 180 EB, which is comparable to every person on earth spending around 35 minutes on social media every day, or a total of more than 200 billion photos viewed every day. Staggering growth! Social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram will likely be feeling optimistic about the future thanks to Ericsson’s research, especially the fact that total social networking traffic over the next six years will be around 12 times that of the last six years.

The final topics discussed in Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report include information about Q4 2015 mobile subscriptions and mobile traffic: two areas that have shown significant growth around the world. In fact, the total number of mobile subscriptions at the end of 2015 was around 7.3 billion, an increase of 68 million subscriptions during Q4 2015.

According to Ericsson’s report, global mobile subscriptions are growing around 3 percent year on year. The largest growth has been attributed to India in terms of net additions during Q4 2015 (+21 million), followed by China (+6 million), the United States (+5 million) and Nigeria (+3 million).

Additionally, smartphones accounted for around 75 percent of all mobile phones sold in Q4 according to the report, compared to around 70 percent during Q4 2014. The growth of smartphones is unprecedented, with around 45 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions associated with smartphones, compared with around 40 percent in 2014. All in all, the report shows that the number of mobile broadband subscriptions is growing steadily around the globe by around 25 percent year on year, increasing by about 200 million in Q4 2015 alone.

Lastly, LTE subscriptions are highlighted in the report, growing steadily with the total figure reaching around 1 billion subscriptions, with approximately 160 million additions in Q4 2015. WCDMA/HSPA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access/High Speed Downlink Packet Access) reportedly added around 30 million during Q4. Furthermore, the majority of 3G/4G subscriptions have access to GSM/EDGE (enhanced data rates for GSM Evolution) as a fallback, and GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions declined by 90 million.

“Ninety percent of the world’s population is expected to be covered by advanced mobile broadband networks by 2021,” Rafiah Ibrahim commented. “At the same time, more than 50 percent of the world’s population today still lacks internet access, especially in emerging markets across our region. This provides a great opportunity for the operators in the region.  At the same time, in the advanced markets, the report clearly shows the rapid uptake of data consumption such as video streaming. This is also another area of opportunity to provide better connectivity and differentiated customer experience,” explained Ibrahim.

The report concludes with a statement about mobile data traffic, which is reportedly growing rapidly. Graphics in the report suggest 65 percent growth in data traffic between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015. The growth in data traffic is being driven by both increased smartphone subscriptions and a continued increase in average data volume per subscription, fueled primarily by more viewing of video content.

In a final statement, the Ericsson report suggests that data traffic grew around 12 percent quarter on quarter and 65 percent year on year. It’s also noted that there are large differences in traffic levels between markets, regions and operators.

Never failing to follow-up trending movements in the telecommunications realm, Ericsson’s Mobile World Congress 2016 Mobility Report highlights where the industry currently stands, as a result of Q4 2015 findings. The report proves how customers are indeed affected by downloading delays, and will likely blame their network provider for the delays, which causes stress and anguish; thus, reducing brand equity. The report also shines a light on how social media and video is the driving force behind increasing data traffic, which has risen substantially from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015.

Published in Reports

The Active Telecoms team was at At Mobile World Congress 2016 where Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg said digital disruption will come to every industry in 2016 and made major announcements in 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud. With these announcements, Ericsson solidifies its positions as a leading ICT transformation partner for customers across industries.

As Ericsson's vision of 50 billion connected devices approaches, three fundamental ICT forces - broadband, mobility and cloud - are rapidly reshaping value chains, digitalizing business models and creating possibilities that were previously unimaginable. As an ICT leader, Ericsson is enabling this transformation and simultaneously evolving itself.

Vestberg said: "Along with our industry and our customers, Ericsson is on a transformation journey. Today, 66 percent of our business comes from software and services; just years ago the majority was hardware. The majority of our principal competitors are ICT players, rather than telecommunications businesses. Our portfolio is constantly evolving to keep pace with customer demands. Now, with industries and even whole societies being disrupted by mobility, broadband and cloud, we are accelerating our own transformation."

Vestberg identified 5G, IoT and cloud as the hottest topics in the ICT industry - and made major announcements in each area:

Ericsson has agreements with 20 major operators around the world to work together on 5G - more than any other vendor. 5G radio test-bed field trials will start in 2016.

Ericsson's new IoT transformation offering is a modular set of IoT professional services and software solutions that can be tailored to operators' needs and IoT ambitions. It leverages Ericsson's global services footprint, industry experience and technology leadership to help customers drive IoT transformation and business.

Ericsson has announced plans to form a global business, technology and services alliance with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accelerate cloud transformation for telecoms service providers.

Establishing a Unified Delivery Network

Ericsson also announced the establishment of a Unified Delivery Network (UDN) with global service providers to launch a new ubiquitous content delivery ecosystem. The UDN is supported by service providers including Hutchison, Telstra, AIS and Vodafone, and by leading content providers. The UDN aggregates regional service provider capabilities on a global scale, and allows consumers to benefit from enhanced quality video experiences through seamless delivery.

Vestberg underlined that many of these announcements are based on industry partnerships, since no single company is capable of capturing every opportunity by itself in an increasingly complex ICT landscape. This year, more than 50 partners have joined Ericsson at MWC at various levels.

Update on Cisco Partnership

One high-profile example is Ericsson's next-generation strategic partnership with Cisco to create the networks of the future. Vestberg was joined on stage by Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer, Ericsson, and Hilton Romanski, chief strategy officer, Cisco, to present the latest updates on the partnership.

With a joint and complete end-to-end offering, global market presence, unparalleled market position and strong cultural fit, the partnership was developed to create the networks of the future - and through this, shape the direction of the industry. Since the partnership was announced in November 2015, close to 200 customer engagements have resulted in multiple customer wins.

Ericsson also introduced the Ericsson Dynamic Service Manager, a new product for real-time management of network services via multiple technology and vendor domains. The result of a joint collaboration and encompassing intellectual property from the two companies, the Dynamic Service Manager will initially focus on multi-vendor mobile backhaul, IP core, and enterprise VPNs. It brings together Ericsson's leadership in OSS and Cisco's expertise in IP and optical for the cost-effective management of complex network services. General availability of this product is expected in second half of 2016.

Ericsson showcased its latest media solutions, paying special attention to the evolution of the cloud and the use of multi-screens at CABSAT 2016 in Dubai, where content owners, TV service providers and broadcasters gathered to discuss the challenges of the TV industry which has resulted in the growth of the cloud, as well as the popularity of multi-screens. Ericsson addressed these challenges by offering simple, yet powerful solutions at its stand during the event by presenting its vision for the future of cloud-driven experiences. Active Telecoms sat with Tarek Saadi, Head of Engagement Practices, Ericsson, Middle East, to discuss Ericsson's latest video offerings.

Can you update us on Ericsson's current video offerings?

Ericsson has a wide range of products relating to video, video compression, video optimizing in the mobile networks and video caching. On top of that we also have a host of services including Media First which was recently announced. It is a broad platform through which our operators can deliver content to multiple platforms: TV, iPad and phone, so it means that multi-screen content is delivered and the user interface is versatile and can profile different users.

Is the video industry a big focus for Ericsson and how are you working with mobile operators and telcos on this?

Yes it is. Consumer Labs is a research facility at Ericsson where we conduct different studies on multiple consumers globally and we gather information that we feed back to the market and to the operators. The studies are telling us that video is becoming the dominant manner of communication for many users and video will constitute more than 75 percent of the total traffic in any given network. A recent study saw that when a user is waiting for a video to download, if the wait time is more than 2 seconds then the feeling of anguish and stress increases. If that delay becomes 6 seconds, the level of the heartbeat for the user goes up by almost 40 percent which is equal to watching a horror movie.

Customer experience is one of the key differentiators for operators, so we work with them to ensure that video content is delivered efficiently and without any delay. We also we want to make sure that this video content does not occupy the resources in the network. The network is an expensive investment for the operator so you want to make sure you're compressing this video making it available as close as possible to the user; this is called caching.

On top of that we would like to enable the operators to capture some of the revenue. It is not just the Over-The-Top (OTT) players such as Amazon and Netflix that should benefit, but the operators also, and that was the importance of the announcement we made yesterday on Media First. The platform enables the operator to capture back some of that revenue now they are able to deliver the content on multiple screens; they can deliver their own content and they can benefit from that revenue and that customer experience.

When can we expect to see the studies from the Consumer Labs go live?

All the technology is available now but it just depends on where you are as a user and if you are connected to a network that incorporates the technology we are talking about; for example, MSP which is a way to optimize video; MDM which is caching technology; and a third technology is compression. If you add these technologies into a network and put them in the right places then you shouldn't have any problems. That is a capability that we have at Ericsson.

The demand for faster connectivity is growing, how will you continue to address that?

It is about expanding the network resources; growing the network, but also growing it in a way where the operators get the right return for their investment. We want to be able to capture the revenue of the video that is being channeled through the network and to expand the network as it is growing, however we do not want to add capacity which is very costly without incorporating these tools. I am talking about the example of these OTT players who are providing content such as Netflix and many other companies; these guys can deliver the content to the user. This is a value, and what the user is looking for, but then the operator, such as Etisalat or du, or other operators in our region, where do they benefit? They will have to invest to make sure that the experience of the user is positive; otherwise the user will start to look at alternative operators and switch.

Will this increasing demand for video have a negative effect on operators?

I think it can have a positive effect. It is a way for the operator to do what they have always been talking about: monetize the mobile broadband, monetize the data, data becomes video and if you implement the Media First platform then you are monetizing it and you are now in command of that content which is very important for the user.

Who do you think is driving this demand?

Consumers. The value is the video, so if operators can manage to capture that value then they are in command; if they don't, there will be another way of value reaching the users. Take the example of Google in the U.S. - they are building their own fiber network because they recognize that value is what we are offering - the content - but of course the operators we are working with including Google, are helping to recapture that value as well.

How does this region compare to others when it comes to the technology involved in the video industry?

It's hard to generalize because this region is very diversified, but I would say we are catching on, from talking to operators, that some are more advanced in the way they address video, while others are still exploring, and some are recognizing the importance, but are delaying the investment and what is required to address video. So as a leader in the industry, we are conveying the message, doing the research and showing the information and demonstrating it to the operators in the region. We're working in advanced markets such as the U.S. where video is extremely valuable and operators are consuming a lot.

Published in Interviews

Ericsson showcased its latest solutions in the Internet of Things (IoT) space during IoTX, the biggest IoT event in the Middle East powered by GITEX.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Ericsson to upgrade Bhutan Telecom’s BSS

Written on Monday, 28 March 2016 05:48

Ericsson has signed a business support systems (BSS) transformation contract with Bhutan Telecom, Bhutan's largest telecom service provider, under which it will convert Bhutan Telecom's billing systems into a convergent environment supporting mobile, fixed line and DSL broadband subscribers.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Ooredoo Group has signed frame supply agreements with Alcatel-Lucent and with Ericsson. The new agreements follow Ooredoo's strategy to enhance network performance across its global footprint, to deliver a superior online experience for customers and to provide the foundations for a new wave of "smart" services.

Published in Telecom Operators

Ericsson showcased its latest media solutions, paying special attention to the evolution of the cloud and the use of multiscreens in the Middle East region at CABSAT 2016, from March 8-10, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Published in Satellite Industry
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