Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, May 25, 2015

Global OTT Video Subscribers will Reach 332.2 Million

The growing popularity of watching online entertainment has meant that viewing video via the public internet has become a much more widespread activity in many people's lives, particularly the younger demographic that demonstrates little interest in the traditional pay-TV experience.

Worldwide subscribers to all over-the-top (OTT) video entertainment services -- such as Netflix and Amazon Prime -- will increase from 92.1 million in 2014 to 332.2 million by 2019, according the the latest market study by Juniper Research.

Continued growth within the North American market will see it remain as the leading region, in terms of total subscribers, but closely followed by the Far East, as this region emerges with new services and rapidly growing consumer interest.

In its latest global market assessment, Juniper found that consumers will still favor Connected TVs as their primary screen -- especially for watching long-form video delivered via OTT subscription services.

Their research observed that given the long life-cycle of TV ownership, previously 'dumb' TVs will see an upsurge in becoming 'connected' -- due to the availability of low-cost devices such as Google Chromecast and the Amazon Fire TV Stick.


Juniper also forecasts the continued high uptake of video games consoles and streaming video set-top boxes (such as Roku) which provide pre-loaded services via apps. This alternative device adoption is in contrast to the typical Smart TV, which currently offers a less-intuitive user interface.

Besides, traditional pay-TV service providers cannot afford to ignore the popular demand for the growing number of streaming video entertainment subscription and video-on-demand service offerings.

For example, Juniper believes that the growing threat from OTT video services has notably forced Verizon's hand into bundling less-expensive pay-TV packages, minus the expensive sports channels.

This has led to pay-TV incumbents arguing among themselves, as well as enraging the American sports TV networks, such as ESPN which is owned by Disney. Meanwhile, the progressive OTT providers continue to strengthen their market position with mainstream consumer groups.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • Ad spend on Video on Demand is to grow almost fourfold by 2019, with the Far East and China dominating the market by the end of the forecast period.
  • IPTV subscriber numbers are forecast to grow by over 70 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Friday, May 22, 2015

China is Leading Digital Television Market Growth

Digital video entertainment continues to gain momentum around the globe, as more consumers embrace high-definition broadcast television services -- many will also choose to connect their TV sets to the internet and subscribe to over-the-top video streaming offerings.

Based on forecasts for 138 countries, the number of digital TV homes will increase by more than 1 billion between 2010 and 2020 to reach 1.65 billion -- that's up by 180 percent, according to the latest worldwide market study by Digital TV Research.

The total digital television households will climb by 134 million during 2015.

According to their assessment, global digital TV penetration will reach 97.6 percent of television households by the end of 2020 -- that's up from 40.5 percent at the end of 2010 and 67.2 percent at the end of 2014.

By 2020, 93 countries will be completely digital, compared with only 17 at end-2014. It's now forecast that about 124 countries will have more than 90 percent digital TV penetration by 2020.


Some emerging regions continue to grow faster than the saturated mature markets. The number of digital TV households in Asia-Pacific will increased by 400 million between 2014 and 2020, with 93 million to be added in 2015 alone.

The Asia-Pacific region will supply two-thirds of the 608 million digital TV household additions between 2014 and 2020. Sub-Saharan Africa will more than double its base over the same period, with Latin America nearly doubling its total.

That said, China will boast an amazing 454 million digital TV homes by the end of 2020 -- that's 27 percent of the global total -- up by 169 million when compared with 2014 penetration.

Moreover, India will overtake the U.S. market to reach second place in 2015. Advancing rapidly, India will add 95 million digital TV homes between 2014 and 2020 to double its total.

Brazil will take fourth place and Russia fifth place by 2020. Meanwhile, another nation that's gaining share rapidly is Indonesia, which will leap to sixth place (from 23rd in 2014), by adding 43 million digital TV households.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Cloud Infrastructure is Viewed as a Commodity

The CIO at a typical large enterprise has a difficult task today. They're expected to perform procurement due diligence, in a professional and comprehensive manner, before selecting a cloud computing service(s) for their organization's many workload requirements.

More often than not, they look to one of the leading IT industry analysts for guidance. From a CIOs perspective, the industry analysts that they subscribe to (i.e. pay them an annual fee for their analysis) are expected to provide market clarity and a candid assessment of the various players.

Honest and informed analyst guidance is particularly important when most of the primary vendors and service providers tend to deliver the same basic offerings, or make very similar claims about their company's cloud-related capabilities.

Moreover, viewed through the lens of the collective IT technology trade media, a CIO can be excused for thinking that the current cloud infrastructure marketplace appears to be an undifferentiated blur. It looks like a commodity, that's likely to be a foundation for their CEO's strategic digital business transformation goals.

Assessing the Cloud IaaS Landscape

The market for cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is in a state of upheaval, as many service providers are shifting their strategies after failing to gain enough market traction, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

Global spending on IaaS is expected to reach almost $16.5 billion in 2015 -- that's an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a CAGR from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to the current Gartner forecast.

"The IaaS solution ecosystem is rapidly consolidating around a small number of market leaders," said Lydia Leong, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The sky is not falling, customers are getting great value out of cloud IaaS, but the competitive landscape is shifting."

According to the Gartner assessment, 2014 was a year of reckoning for cloud IaaS providers. Why? Many believe that their current strategy is failing them. But what does failure look like, from an industry analyst's perspective? Apparently, it's when a disenchanted cloud provider decides to change directions or abruptly exit the market.

"We urge buyers to be extremely cautious when selecting providers -- ask specific and detailed questions about the provider's roadmap for the service, and seek contractual commitments that do not permit the provider to modify substantially or to discontinue the offering without at least 12 months' notice," said Ms. Leong.

Should a CIO Believe in Magic (Quadrants)?

Gartner says that cloud IaaS market share has continued to become more heavily concentrated, even while the global marketplace for these services has grown dramatically.

Although 15 providers are featured in the Gartner "Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service" the market is dominated by only a few -- Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. Between them, these three providers comprise the majority of workloads running in public cloud IaaS in 2015.

In 2014, the absolute growth of public cloud IaaS workloads surpassed the growth of on-premises workloads (of any type) for the first time. Gartner's 2015 CIO survey indicates that 83 percent of CIOs consider cloud IaaS as an infrastructure option, and 10 percent are already cloud-first with cloud IaaS as their default infrastructure choice.

"Cloud IaaS can now be used to run most workloads, although not every provider can run every type of workload well," said Ms. Leong. "Cloud IaaS is not a commodity. Providers vary significantly in their features, performance, cost and business terms."

Ms. Leong concludes, "Although in theory, cloud IaaS has very little lock-in, in truth, cloud IaaS is not merely a matter of hardware rental, but an entire data center ecosystem as a service. The more you use its management capabilities, the more value you will receive from the offering, but the more you will be tied to that particular service offering."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

China is the New Wireless Broadband Market Leader

While it has been a common practice for telecom industry analysts to assess the economic vitality of a nation by ranking their relative investment in fiber optic broadband communication infrastructure, in future the comparison of wireless broadband capabilities will be the key measure of supremacy.

By the end of 2014, China had gained almost 100 million 4G LTE mobile service subscriptions in the first year of full commercialization -- further demonstrating the nation's unprecedented growth momentum, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Harnessing their first-mover advantage, China Mobile seized almost 90 percent share of the total 4G LTE market in China. Their accelerated investment in telecom infrastructure is a testament to the emerging Chinese leadership within the Global Networked Economy.

"Since the other two China mobile operators -- China Unicom and China Telecom -- were granted preferred FDD-LTE licenses in March 2015, it is expected that China will overtake the United States to become the largest 4G market in the world, accumulating 500 million LTE subscriptions, or 36.5 percent of the domestic cellular subscriptions in 2015," said Marina Lu, research analyst at ABI Research.

In 4Q 2014, global 4G LTE subscriptions increased by 149.1 million, which, for the first time, surpassed 3G subscriptions growth by 10.9 percent.

According to the ABI assessment, 4G LTE subscriptions will continue to cannibalize the 3G subscriber base, growing at a CAGR of 21 percent between 2015 and 2020, to reach 3.5 billion.

The Asia-Pacific region already leads the global 4G LTE subscriptions with 48.6 percent share, followed by North America and Western Europe. Global 2G subscriptions will continue to fall through 2020 and stand at 1.69 billion.

Due to several consolidation activities in the mobile industry, Western Europe saw some temporary fluctuations to the total number of mobile subscriptions.

In 4Q 2014, Telefnica Germany excluded 428,000 mobile accesses from its mobile subscriptions due to the adjustment in the former E-Plus customer base. This led to an overall drop in total subscriptions even though enhanced LTE coverage and availability of new devices helped Telefnica gain more subscriptions.

In the long-term, the consolidation will deliver synergies from network combination, overhead reduction, and retail shop rationalization. Through strengthening the competitive position and local scale, it might attract more customers.

One more acquisition is expected in the United Kingdom: Hutchison purchasing O2; making 3UK the largest mobile operator. Currently, Everything Everywhere (yes, that's the name of a service provider) is the largest mobile operator, with aggressive 4G LTE subscriptions of 7.6 million in 2014.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Global Data Breach Costs will Reach $2.1 Trillion by 2019

As more business communication infrastructure moves online, it eventually becomes the target of someone that will attempt to negatively impact that enterprise. Computer crime is a growing threat to corporations and individuals who are increasingly dependent upon the Global Networked Economy.

Mobile devices with internet access amplifies that commercial dependency, and the greater potential for harm.

The growth of at-risk online commercial database access via the public internet will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019 -- that's almost four times the estimated cost of these IT security breaches in 2015, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.

That being said, their latest findings indicate that the majority of these new security breaches will likely come from criminal access to existing IT data centers and associated network infrastructure.

While new threats targeting mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being reported, the number of virus infected devices is minimal in comparison to more traditional computing devices.

The study also highlights the increasing sophistication of cyber crime, with the emergence of cyber crime products -- such as the availability of malware creation software for purchase -- over the past year, as well as the reported decline in casual activist hacks.


Hacktivism has become more successful and less prolific, according to the Juniper assessment. In future, they expect fewer attacks overall, but more successful ones.

"Currently, we aren't seeing much dangerous mobile or IoT malware because it's not profitable," said James Moar, research analyst at Juniper Research.

He believes the kind of cyber threats we'll see will continue to be people locked-out of their device until they pay the hacker ransom to regain access, or where the device is hijacked as part of a hacker botnet.

At this time, with the absence of a direct payout from IoT security breaches, there apparently is little motive for online criminals to develop the required hacking tools. Of course, that situation could change over time.

Other key findings from the market study include:

  • Nearly 60 percent of anticipated data breaches worldwide in 2015 will occur in North America, but this proportion will decrease over time as other countries become both richer and more vulnerable.
  • The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million by 2020, as more business infrastructure gets connected to the public internet.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Industrial Internet of Things will Reach 43.5M Devices

As more machine-to-machine (M2M) applications are being created, Internet connectivity will become essential to numerous heavy industries around the globe. The installed base of wireless Internet of Things (IoT) devices in industrial automation reached 10.3 million in 2014, according to the latest worldwide market study by Berg Insight.

The number of wireless IoT devices in automation networks is now forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2 percent to reach 43.5 million by 2020.

There is a wide range of wireless technologies used in industrial automation with different characteristics and use cases. As an example, 802.15.4 based standards such as WirelessHART and ISA100.11a are major contenders at the field level in process automation networks.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most widespread technologies in factory automation while cellular connectivity typically is used for remote monitoring and backhaul communication between plants.

The increasing popularity of Ethernet based networks in factory automation is one of the key drivers for the popularity of Wi-Fi in such applications. Increased usage of standard devices such as tablets and smartphones in for example mobile HMI solutions is also an important driver for the adoption of Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth in automation equipment.

"Companies are now deepening the integration between industrial automation systems and enterprise applications and the promise of IoT is getting more tangible by the day," said Johan Svanberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.

Industrial Internet of Things Marketplace

The wireless IoT device market is served by a multitude of players from various backgrounds including global automation solution providers, automation equipment and solution vendors, industrial communication specialists and IoT communication specialists.

Emerson, Honeywell, GE and Yokogawa are leading vendors of 802.15.4 devices in industrial automation. Siemens, Cisco, Belden, Moxa, Schneider Electric and Eaton are major vendors of Wi-Fi devices while Eaton, GE and Sierra Wireless are important vendors of cellular devices for industrial automation applications.

Large multinational corporations are beginning to systematically develop and adopt best practices to maximize the benefits of IoT technology in every part of their organisations.

IT/OT convergence, smart factories, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things are all concepts which are part of the ongoing evolution of industrial automation.

According to Berg's assessment, innovation in sensor technology, wireless connectivity, energy harvesting, 3D printing, big data and cloud solutions -- along with seamless exchange of information between devices, systems and people -- paves the way for improved performance, flexibility and responsiveness throughout the enterprise value chain.

Friday, May 15, 2015

How Retailers Utilize In-Store Wireless Technologies

Retailers are investing more on in-store digital technology that has the potential to improve the shopping experience. The ABI Research quarterly indoor location database has forecast well over one million indoor location retail deployments by 2020, with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons now established as the key building block for indoor location.

"What is really interesting is how rapidly beacons are spreading into all 11 retail or venue verticals covered in the database, in particular quick service restaurants (CAGR 84.4 percent) and convenience stores (CAGR 47.1 percent) are two of the fastest growing verticals over the forecast period" said Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research.

ABI has forecast some major chain-wide technology deployments over the next 12 months, and there will also be significant new growth in key retail verticals -- such as Grocery, Big Box, and Malls.

Total BLE beacon shipments are now expected to approach 200 million by 2020 as verticals like connected home, personal tracking, and corporate or industrial take hold.

The arrival of URI Beacons is expected to have a big impact on these verticals. As the database expands coverage into new verticals over the year, there is potential for this number to grow significantly. Other indoor location technologies such as Wi-Fi, audio or ultrasound and small cells are also still viable.

Connolly adds, "Ultrasound is far more than just shopkick. With the emergence of proximity advertising networks such as Shazam, and competitive technology solutions from companies like Sonic360 and Perples, ultrasound is a vital and necessary companion technology given the limited reach of iBeacons in the short term as BLE penetration and app integration continues to grow on smartphones."

As a result, ultrasound is forecast to be the second most deployed technology in 2015.

Wi-Fi has faced a difficult 12 months, but ABI Research is still forecasting very strong growth for indoor location deployments. According to the ABI assessment, pure play Wi-Fi start-ups -- such as AllUnite and Euclid -- are building up an impressive list of clients.

With high accuracy Wi-Fi solutions now becoming available at low cost, ABI believes that the ability to leverage the huge installed base of wireless access points in retail will become essential to future success.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Global Market Leaders Invest in the Internet of Things

Current mergers and acquisitions related to the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to break records, according to the latest worldwide market study by 451 Research. Moreover, the applications for machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies are already surfacing in numerous industries.

Buyers so far this year have spent $14.8 billion to purchase 39 IoT-related companies, surpassing the $14.3 billion spent for 62 such companies in all of 2014, which itself was a record-breaking year.

Semiconductor-related acquisitions have driven the bulk of spending so far in 2015 with ARM, Intel and NXP each announcing two or more deals largely driven by IoT-related position taking.

The largest deal of the period, the NXP $11.8 billion acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor, was positioned as a consolidation of leaders that will focus its scale and reach on key IoT growth markets led by connected cars.

Other acquirers announcing acquisitions in 2015 included Amazon, ARM, Brocade, PTC, Silver Spring Networks and British Gas.


The IoT Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) data comes from the 451 Research M&A KnowledgeBase -- a database of more than 41,000 technology merger and acquisition transactions across 650 industry segments.

"While the Internet of Things is still in its infancy in terms of industry adoption, the deal-making accelerates unabated, and we see no end in sight," said Brian Partridge, vice president at 451 Research.

According to their assessment, the IT service and infrastructure leaders of the future will require broad and deep competencies in IoT applications, and those strategic bets are being made now.

Furthermore, some segments of the market -- such as open-source software -- may grow faster than others as the demand matures. 451 Research analysts believe that the activity thus far in 2015 left little time to even question their prediction that market forces would accelerate deal activity beyond 2014.

This year's increase in spending comes on the heels of spectacular growth last year. For the full year 2014, IoT M&A spending increased forty-fold from 2013 levels to $14.3 billion -- to put this in perspective, that's almost eight times the total spent by acquirers in 2012 and 2013 combined.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

More Big Brands Embrace Mobile Digital Marketing

The mobile digital marketing channel continues to gain momentum across the globe. The annual worldwide advertising spend on mobile devices is now forecast to reach $105 billion by 2019 -- that's up from an estimated $51 billion this year.

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, this increase in advertising spend is in large part attributable to an attitude shift among major brands and national retailers who are now embracing mobile as a core channel for consumer engagement.

Juniper argues that the ability of smartphones to deliver targeted, personalized and timely advertising -- aligned with the media-stacking trends among savvy consumers -- means that mobile advertising offers both high visibility and relatively higher response rates for the big brands.


Regional Growth and Other Key Factors

The research findings also observes an uplift in advertising spend within the Far East region, fueled by the dramatic adoption of mCommerce retail activity within China, and claims that the region is expected to account for 43 percent of global mobile advertising spend in 2019.

Meanwhile, the research highlighted increasing concerns around consumer privacy, with advertisers keen to exploit Big Data analytics to gain an insight into consumer online and offline behavior, including purchasing patterns.

Juniper observed that when the mobile device user's information is shared for advertising purposes, without their prior consent, consumers may feel a violation of their rights has occurred.

It therefore stressed the need for consumers to be opted-in to any data sharing to avoid both potential litigation and adverse publicity for the brands that embrace mobile digital marketing.

Other findings from the market study include:

  • Programmatic advertising (i.e. the real-time bidding of advertising space) will drive the growth in digital advertising as the technology advances over the coming years.
  • Video advertising is expected to see progressive growth due to the higher engagement rates of the medium.
  • Addressing the need for ads that are specifically designed for smaller screens should be at the forefront of issues to tackle within the industry.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Smartphone Software App Adoption is a Leading KPI

Now the smartphone market has reached saturation in America, with low single-digit growth rates, more market research emphasis will be focused on software applications. Offering guidance, comScore released data about the key trends in the U.S. smartphone industry for March 2015.

Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 42.6 percent OEM market share, while Google Android led as the number one smartphone platform with 52.4 percent platform market share.

Once again, Facebook ranked supreme as the top individual smartphone app, by a wide margin. Meanwhile, Google has the most combined number of apps on smartphones in this market.

Smartphone OEM Market Share

187.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (77 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in March -- that's up 3 percent since December.

Apple ranked as the top OEM with 42.6 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up by 1 percentage point from December).

Samsung ranked second with 28.3 percent market share, followed by LG with 8.4 percent (up by 0.4 percentage points), Motorola with 5 percent and HTC with 3.8 percent (up by 0.1 percentage points).

Smartphone Platform Market Share

Android ranked as the top smartphone platform in March with 52.4 percent market share, followed by Apple with 42.6 percent (up by 1 percentage point from December).

Below the two dominate platforms, Microsoft was stable with a market share of just 3.3 percent, BlackBerry with 1.6 percent and Symbian with 0.1 percent.

Top Smartphone Applications

Facebook ranked as the top smartphone app, reaching 69.5 percent of the app audience, followed by YouTube (55.9 percent), Google Play (51.5 percent) and Google Search (50.6 percent).

Software app market penetration is becoming the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to watch, as the emphasis shifts from hardware (devices) to software (applications).