Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Many UK Cyber Security Threats May Go Undetected

IT security is top-of-mind for most UK business leaders. A recent Juniper Research market study revealed that three quarters of survey respondents believe they're secure -- even though half of those organizations also reported having previously experienced a cyber attack.

While more companies are moving their IT infrastructure online, the transition could make them more vulnerable to security threats. Yet, the study found that despite increased concern and spending on cyber security over the last year, there is a high degree of complacency.

Overall, 86 percent of respondents believe they are doing enough to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks. Most respondents still think it’s enough to have the IT or security department involved in mitigating the effect of cyber attacks, with 33 percent considering the IT department solely responsible for security threats.

Inconsistent Security Plans are Common

Moreover, almost two thirds of respondents stated that cyber security is not their department's responsibility. And while over three quarters of businesses have a board that is involved in assessing cyber security preparedness, only one quarter have a dedicated security executive.

While 87 percent of businesses reported having some form of continuity plan in place, fewer than half of businesses have secure practice guidelines to ensure employees know how to keep the business safe. In fact, Juniper found that one of the biggest problems in British businesses is not that there are no measures in place, but that they are inconsistently applied, and not reinforced.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents reported having a plan in place for when a data breach occurs, but only 56 percent of respondents believe they are secure when it comes to digital threats, and 52 percent of businesses still do not have any secure practice guidelines.

Actions that businesses are taking to mitigate the impact of a cyber attack include:

  • 48 percent have secure practice guidelines
  • 47 percent give secure practice induction briefings
  • 25 percent have a dedicated security executive
  • 27 percent conduct penetration tests to assess attacks
  • 31 percent monitor emails for phishing attempts

Ongoing Significant Commercial Liability

While 69 percent of respondents would contact someone immediately in the event they discovered a cyber breach, 18 percent would wait until the next working day if they did not consider it a big problem, including 38 percent of founders and 27 percent of all board-level respondents.

"Cyber security is a big concern for businesses of all sizes, as an attack could cost millions of pounds in lost data, reputation, time and customers. Yet, our study shows that businesses believe they are far more secure than they really are," said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting & consultancy at Juniper Research.

While no business can be completely safe today, there are steps that companies can take to ensure they are as safe as possible -- and can recover as quickly as possible in the event of a cyber attack.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

5G to Deliver an Enhanced Mobile Internet Experience

The next generation of wireless communications will apply 5G technologies, and demand for service offerings is evolving slowly. The very first discussions about 5G started in 2012, and in 2013 NTT DoCoMo considered the possibility of deploying 5G in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Soon after, South Korea set the target for 5G pre-standard national service -- in reality, a 4.5G offering -- for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018.  Since then, 5G R&D developments have occurred in China, Europe and Japan -- fueling the hype to a level never seen for 3G and 4G.

Moreover, Verizon announced last year at the CTIA show that it has a progressive 5G plan -- with first commercial deployments anticipated in 2017.

5G Service Market Development

According to the latest worldwide study by IHS Markit, 5G will come in two waves: first, sub-6GHz in 2017, followed by the real 5G at higher spectrum bands in 2020. Sub-6GHz spectrum is not new: it’s where existing wireless communications already coexist.

However, IHS believes that mobile network service providers in the 5G race are struggling to find compelling use cases that substantially benefit from the proposed International Telecommunication Union (ITU) IMT-2020 standard.


That said, IHS analysts believe that 5G means different things to different people. Every key stakeholder apparently has its own ideas and thoughts about what 5G should be, and there’s currently a split between two schools of thought.

Evolutionary 5G is an extension of current Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced networks and is backward compatible with all 3GPP technologies. Revolutionary 5G, meanwhile, is a brand-new network architecture that requires a new air interface and radio access technology (RAT), moving away from current cellular designs.

Market Outlook for 5G Technologies

5G is the next wave of wireless and mobile technologies to create a new mode of connectivity that will provide humans with an enhanced broadband experience, and also address a wide range of industrial applications.

However, it's not a continuing development of 4G and current technologies. 5G is already on a path that goes beyond cellular, shaping up as a multilink architecture that enables direct device-to-device communications.

4G is just ramping up, and LTE as we know it is just at 3G transitional. As such, 4G will continue to evolve in parallel with the ongoing development of 5G. Besides, the entire mobile communication ecosystem is trying to figure out the uses cases for 5G.

Every mobile service provider now has plans for 5G and is trying to find convincing uses cases that can benefit from the proposed ITU IMT-2020 enhancements. Although the usual suspects are already in the game, companies such as Google and would-be entrepreneurs may come to the table with disruptive ideas.

Monday, September 26, 2016

M2M and IoT Enable New Data Intensive Applications

During the last couple of years, machine-to-machine (M2M) technology has become an integral part of the services offered by global telecom providers and a significant revenue stream for M2M app specialists. They've already developed comprehensive offerings, designed to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Meanwhile, the associated business models are beginning to account for new use case concepts and application developments; one of the latest to gain significant traction being the Internet of Things (IoT).

M2M refers to the wireless communications fabric between multiple devices. M2M is a supporting infrastructure for the IoT. M2M performs the connections, and provides the device interfaces, allowing data to be transferred between machines over wireless networks.

M2M Market Development

According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, new in-vehicle infotainment services such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will generate large amounts of new cellular M2M data traffic. Over the next five years, these apps will account for up to 98 percent of all M2M data traffic.

Data intensive applications, such as Internet radio, music streaming and information services, will generate approximately 6,000 PB per year by 2021 -- that's the equivalent to over 300 billion hours of music streaming. Moreover, in-vehicle 4G SIMs will provide over-the-air service and subscription updates for drivers and passengers.


The market research found that M2M technology will further the development of autonomous driving systems. Cellular vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, enabled through M2M, is expected to be the cornerstone of the new system over the coming years.

Consequently, operators will need to ensure that their networks remain able to cope with the projected increases in data traffic, especially in urban areas. Future smart city systems -- such as smart parking and smart intersections -- will further drive data usage and the potential strain on mobile networks.

Outlook for M2M Vertical Apps

Meanwhile, the research found that other, less data-hungry M2M modules, would see significant increases in adoption across an array of key verticals, including healthcare, agriculture, smart metering and smart home automation.

"The wider M2M market offers a reprieve from declining traditional voice and messaging revenues. Mobile network operators are now champing at the bit to capitalize on the growth of M2M," said Sam Barker, senior analyst at Juniper Research.

However, for network operators to maximize their opportunity in this emerging market, they'll need to evolve beyond merely providing device connectivity, and additionally offer value-added services to their M2M and IoT service customers.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pay-TV High Cost Continues to Drive Shrinking Demand

Video entertainment demand has been evolving rapidly. Yet traditional pay-TV service providers are still challenged to address the needs of more progressive consumers. Case in point: subscriber awareness of their "TV Everywhere" offerings -- the ability to watch programming from their pay-TV provider on devices other than a TV -- remains low at 36 percent, which is unchanged since 2013.

Meanwhile, pay-TV marketers are attempting to capitalize on another growing trend. Skinny bundles, TV subscription packages composed of selected channels targeting specific customer segments, have the potential to attract elusive younger consumers to pay-TV, according to the latest market study by Altman Vilandrie & Company.

However, their survey also finds that two-thirds of older consumers, typically the most loyal subscribers of legacy pay-TV, say they are wasting money for channels they don’t use -- so, skinny bundles could cannibalize the service provider's existing subscriber base.

Skinny Bundles Market Development

Skinny bundles are designed to appeal to younger viewers, who have come to expect more consumer choices and flexibility, with targeted, affordable packages.

Nearly 70 percent of non-subscribing 18-24 year-olds -- more than any other age market segment -- agree that they would consider subscribing to pay-TV if there were "more affordable channel lineups that fit my viewing tastes."

The traditional pay-TV industry is anxious to appeal to young consumers, who subscribe at much lower rates than other age groups. This market segment includes both cord-cutters, who have dropped pay-TV, and cord-nevers, who have never subscribed (and likely never will, given the current cost of pay-TV services).

"The surprising level of dissatisfaction with unwanted channels we found among older subscribers shows the difficult balancing act skinny bundles create for pay TV providers," said Jonathan Hurd, director at Altman Vilandrie & Company. "It is critical for providers to design optimal bundles that maximize adoption of new subscribers while simultaneously limiting appeal to existing customers – no small task, based on simulations we've run using the survey findings."

Skinny bundles of live TV channels from internet providers Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and soon Hulu seek to target price sensitive consumers who are comfortable watching online video. But Dish’s new Flex Packs have extended the skinny bundle concept to traditional pay-TV.

Skinny bundles may end up attracting older consumers disproportionately: 63 percent of pay-TV subscribers aged 55 and older -- more than any other age range -- agree that they are "wasting money because my pay TV service includes many TV channels that my household does not watch."

Outlook for Pay-TV Subscriber Growth

And yet, this age group is far less likely to switch to online video services -- only 30 percent watch TV shows or movies online weekly -- but may end up downsizing to skinny bundles that include traditional pay-TV channels.

The survey confirmed that young consumers turn to more economical online video options rather than traditional pay-TV services. Seventy-five percent of 18-34-year-olds watch online video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus at least once per week -- that's far more than the 22 percent of consumers age 55 and above.

And the trend among younger consumers toward online sources continues to grow. In a typical week, nearly 80 percent of 18-24-year-olds watch TV shows or movies on the Internet -- that's up from 60 percent five years ago.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blockchain: Exploring the Numerous eCommerce Apps

The emergence of Bitcoin, an alternative cryptocurrency, has been a catalyst of change for the financial services sector. A significant amount of these currencies has been traded across the globe on the dedicated exchanges, while some forward-thinking merchants already support Bitcoin as a payment option.

However, with a relatively small base of current users, attention is turning away from Bitcoin towards the wider potential of the Blockchain technology that underpins them. Several traditional banks are now testing the core blockchain technology as a means of reducing settlement costs, while a host of other use cases -- i.e. smart contracts and ID verification -- are also seeing their first deployments.

Blockchain Application Market Development

Meanwhile, blockchain technology will likely have a key role to play in the future of transaction settlements. Many of the legacy 'clearing houses' currently process many millions of commodities derivatives and securities transactions per year. Today, those organizations involved in these transactions have independent processing systems.

According to findings from the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, the introduction of a common blockchain-based system would substantially reduce the risk of transaction error -- and the time taken for ongoing error checking.

Cross-border remittance, in particular, is seen as an area where blockchain technology could have a very positive impact on the old business process. The total value of 'official' cross-border remittance in 2015 was $582 billion, of which $436 billion was sent to recipients in emerging or developing nations.

That said, a substantial amount is sent through unofficial channels that offer no security -- typically in the form of cash that's mailed to the recipient. According to the Juniper assessment, the perceived high cost of remitting through the most popular 'official' channels creates demand for better service offerings.

Case in point: the average cost of sending $200 via Money Transfer Operators was a 6.6 percent fee in October 2015 -- when the same amount is processes via traditional banks, this fee rose to 11 percent.

Several leading remittance firms charge rates significantly higher than the average -- sometimes up to 25 percent of the amount being transferred. With blockchain expected to reduce the processing costs to the remitting organizations, these benefits could be passed-on to consumers and enable fees of ~3 percent.

The hope is that more unofficial remittance will move to improved official channels, and also a net increase in remittance flows, helping to boost local economies which are somewhat dependent upon these incoming funds from the nation's migrant worker population.

Upside Opportunity for Smart Legal Contracts

Yet another potential use case for blockchain technology is commercial contracts. Smart contracts can self-execute by, for example, triggering the release of payment when certain conditions are fulfilled.

These contracts run on networks beyond the control of the contract’s participants, thereby providing a record of the terms of the contract and ensuring its eventual fulfillment.

Besides, smart contracts can offer additional benefits to participants -- i.e. less human intervention in the procedure would result in a lower resource cost. Plus, another benefit is real-time updates -- as the contract exists on the blockchain, transaction processing tasks are automated and can occur instantaneously.

Juniper analysts believe that smart contracts could be particularly useful for national and local governments, in that they inherently automate the prior manual processes which are proven to be time-consuming and relatively expensive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mobility as a Service Revenues will Reach $1 Trillion

Urban transportation is undergoing a revolution that's being driven by a variety of technologies. They've enabled new and disruptive business models. Recent research findings now indicate more changes are coming.

Where there's big change, there's often big opportunities. The emerging category of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which provides aggregated, single account, on-demand multi-modal transportation services, is quickly gaining momentum.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, global MaaS revenues will exceed $1 trillion by 2030. The anticipated impact on traditional transportation modes -- such as car ownership, buses, trains, taxis, and rental cars -- is causing a reevaluation of the economic foundation for legacy transportation companies.

Everything as a Service Market Development

"Driverless technology, through the Car as a Service (CaaS) paradigm, will be the defining factor for the success of on-demand mobility, offering consumers the possibility to summon transportation on the fly," said Dominique Bonte, vice president at ABI Research.

ABI analysts believe that MaaS concepts will result in more transportation offerings through the deployment of fleet-based, alternative energy-efficient powertrain vehicles and reduced congestion through improved utilization rates of available resources.

Autonomous vehicle operation will eliminate the need for paid drivers, reduce insurance costs, increase utilization rates to more than 70 percent, and enable Over the Air-based self-servicing and preventive maintenance.

When combined, this development will drive down the total variable cost-per-mile to a level that undercuts the cost of car ownership and enable MaaS ecosystem development. Vehicle-to-Grid, demand-response charging of electric powertrains and the economies of scale from fleet deployments will further lower costs.

The MaaS ecosystem will create dynamic transportation marketplaces, public private partnerships, plus aggregators managing the supply and demand according to government policies and associated frameworks.

Private and Public Transit Market Outlook

While the multi-modal character and complex interdependence of different transportation models is at the heart of MaaS, personal CaaS models will remain the dominant contributor to on-demand mobility though 2030.

Bicycle rental revenues will remain small. Moreover, Transit as a Service -- i.e. on-demand bus and driverless shuttle -- business models will likely start to become a significant market segment by about 2025.

But rail-based and other fixed route and fixed schedule public transit will become part of the MaaS paradigm, with digital technology and open platforms allowing automated multi-modal routing and single account billing.

"MaaS will fuel economic growth through lower transportation pricing," concludes Mr. Bonte. "But it will have to overcome resistance from both private and public entrenched players before it begins to progress."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Software Defined Networking Moves into Mainstream

Telecom service providers are embracing open source software and are moving beyond trial deployments. Moreover, they're seeking ways to free themselves from the technology constraints and associated costs of maintaining legacy networking equipment.

Three-quarters of carriers participating in a survey of software-defined networking (SDN) technology demand say they've already deployed, or will deploy, in 2016 -- plus, 100 percent say they plan to deploy at some point in the future.

Ongoing SDN Market Development

The top drivers for service provider SDN investments are simplification and automation of network and service provisioning. Meanwhile, most operators are moving from initial SDN proof-of-concept evaluations to their first commercial deployments in 2016 and 2017.

According to findings from the latest survey of carrier SDN strategies by IHS Markit, it’s clear that service providers around the globe are investing in SDN as part of a larger move to transform their infrastructure, internal processes, operations and service offerings.

Informed telecom service providers believe that SDN will fundamentally improve network architecture and deliver substantive benefits in service agility, time to revenue, operational efficiency and Capex savings.


Survey respondents report that their top three SDN-targeted network domains for deployment consideration by the end of 2017 are within data centers, between data centers and access for businesses.

Most start cautiously with SDN, targeting small parts of their networks called “contained domains” in which they will explore, trial, test and make initial deployments. That said, IHS Markit analysts believe that it will take time before entire telecom networks are controlled by SDN technologies.

However, there are a few forward-thinking global network operators already planning major, comprehensive SDN deployments -- such as AT&T, Level 3, Colt, Orange Business Systems, SK Telecom and Telefónica.

SDN and NFV Market Outlook

IHS Markit says that the industry is still in the early stages of a long-term transition to SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV). Respondent operators indicated that their top barriers to deployment are the lack of carrier-grade vendor products and integration of virtual networking into their existing infrastructure.

Regardless, survey respondents rated virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) managed services as the top SDN and NFV related application, specifically as a new source of telecom service provider revenue.

Survey participants also report that some SDN/NFV apps are not being adopted as expected, and telecom equipment vendors and software suppliers need to invent new approaches that create more added-value.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Digital Assistants will Transform Consumer Electronics

The mobile phone already does so much more than enable person-to-person communication. It's being used to browse across the world wide web, capture digital photos, access social network apps, play games and get travel directions.

The introduction of smartphones has been a game changer, impacting what we expect from a mobile handset. Now mobile device manufacturers have created new modes of voice control, utilizing cognitive computing capabilities in the cloud, that allow smartphone users to operate the device without touching it.

A new study from Juniper Research concluded that increased use of Digital Voice Assistants -- such as Google Now, Siri and Cortana -- on smart devices will provide new paid search advertising opportunities within the coming years.


Digital Assistant Market Development

Juniper forecasts that over $12 billion of advertising spend per year will be made through this rapidly growing medium by 2021 -- that's an increase of over 3,000 percent on estimated spend for 2016.

The new market study found that besides integration into devices like smartphones and PCs, digital assistant capabilities will be part of many home and automotive devices in future -- creating new spaces for human-computer interaction.

Improvements in artificial intelligence have led to a proliferation of new voice controlled programs. The list of consumer electronics vendors offering these Assistant services keeps growing -- such as Amazon, Nuance, SoundHound and Vi -- as alternative solutions to those from Google, Apple and Microsoft.

Market Outlook for Digital Assistants

As much of the technology grew out of voice search, Juniper expects Digital Assistants to follow a similar monetization strategy, with companies paying to provide specific targeted marketing results.

However, they often rely on data gathered about users, such as search and location history, shopping habits and demographic information. The consumer data liability issue will be concerning for some vendors and marketers, who could avoid the technology for privacy and security reasons.

"Voice Assistants are a great opportunity to create more convenient ways to interact with devices," said James Moar, senior analyst at Juniper Research.

However, they must balance the need for accurate data with consumer privacy requirements, and this will drive changes in how digital assistants are programmed in future, in order to make the data secure and totally under user control.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Configurations Gain Momentum

Most of the large IT systems vendors have shifted their focus to cloud computing. Meanwhile, more enterprise CIOs have adopted a cloud-first mindset -- that's an approach where a cloud solution is primarily considered for new workload deployments, whenever possible.

By and large, outside forces are pushing for IT infrastructure to support digital transformation projects. From the line of business (LoB) leader's perspective, the motivation is compelling. Cloud is being driven by a desire to become more agile and innovative, with the goal to create a competitive advantage.

It's a key point that should always be top of mind. This market transition is less about the underlying technology capabilities, it's more about applying technology to achieve bold strategic business outcomes.

Cloud Computing Market Development

According to the latest worldwide market study by 451 Research, 41 percent of all enterprise IT workloads are now in some type of public or private cloud. By mid-2018, that will rise to 60 percent of all workloads.

Among the various types of cloud deployment models, enterprises are most likely to use on-premises private cloud and software as a service (SaaS), each accounting for 14 percent of all applications. This would explain why industry analysts say that the ongoing adoption of Hybrid Cloud scenarios are anticipated.

That being said, survey respondents indicate usage of on-premises private cloud will remain flat while SaaS is expected to grow sharply to nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of all enterprise workloads by mid-2018.

While infrastructure as a service (IaaS) has many early adopters in the enterprise, 451 Research notes that just 6 percent of enterprise workloads are currently running on IaaS -- it's the smallest portion for any public or private cloud type.

This would indicate the few enterprises have, so far, moved beyond proof-of-concept deployments. However, the survey findings also reveal that IaaS is likely to see the highest growth, with usage predicted to double to 12 percent of workloads over the next two years.

Cloud usage is currently strongest in categories that have traditionally been drivers of IaaS adoption. In fact, 14 percent of web/media and 8 percent of application development now run on cloud computing IaaS today.

451 Research predicts strong growth in critical enterprise workload categories -- such as big data analytics and business applications. Moreover, usage is predicted to more than double, from 7 percent to 16 percent for data workloads, and from 4 percent to 9 percent for business applications.

Cloud Computing Market Outlook

"The predicted doubling of IaaS usage is the highest growth expectation for any type of cloud and points to significant revenue potential for vendors in this space," said Andrew Reichman, research director of 451 Research.

According to the 451 Research assessment, cloud-first strategy is common among enterprises -- with 38 percent of respondents indicating that they have adopted such a policy. The study also reveals that the most common triggers for increased cloud computing usage include business-related events -- such as mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

451 Research believes the vendor battle for cloud services domination is by no means over. They say the cloud usage growth points to greater opportunities -- i.e. new hybrid cloud services-- for many kinds of vendors to expand their presence as the market continues to expand.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

M2M Service Revenues will Reach $67 Billion by 2021

Mobile network operators are investing in infrastructure that enables the delivery of Internet of Things (IoT) service offerings. They're also establishing relationships with leading technology vendor partners -- to create a viable ecosystem that will attract software application developers.

Cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will reach 733 million globally by 2021, according to the latest worldwide study by Ovum. Moreover, they also have forecast that total cellular M2M service revenues will reach a global annual total of $67 billion in 2021.

Ongoing M2M Market Development

The greatest revenue contributions will come from three key regions across the globe -- Asia-Pacific ($22 billion), North America ($16 billion) and Western Europe ($14 billion).

Many wireless service providers will maximize their revenue opportunity by extending beyond connectivity, therefore Ovum also includes the proportion of revenue from the M2M service layers. Their forecast has identified the segmentation by the existing mobile network technology family.


Of all the current wireless generations, 4G LTE will likely become dominant, accounting for 212 million connections in 2021. Ovum notes that LTE is an adaptive technology for machine communications, because unlike 2G and 3G it's tunable to the specific needs of the service provider.

In 2021, 2G and 4G will be at a point of parity, while 3G will account for 172 million connections. Yet, by this time, 2G and 3G will be plateauing, while LTE will be firmly in ascendance.

"Aggregating the data by technology family reveals interesting trends in M2M, the dynamics of which are quite different to those in consumer markets" said Jamie Moss, principal analyst at Ovum.

M2M contracts typically reach the end-of-life stage before any network migration occurs. Consequently, 2G, specifically GSM, will persist for far longer in the M2M marketplace.

Outlook for M2M Service Evolution

According to the Ovum assessment, large carrier groups with established M2M businesses will not seek to switch off their 2G networks until 2020 -- and for some carriers this will not occur until 2025.

But this decision is not merely for the sake of legacy support: 2G M2M connections will continue to be added, because 2G still represents the most affordable and internationally available form of wireless network coverage.

Although both 2G and LTE are forecast to have approximately 212 million M2M connections by 2021, 2G like 3G will be plateauing with LTE firmly in ascendance. As a result, Ovum says the increasingly competitive nature of the M2M market now demands forecasts with greater segmentation and more accuracy.