Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Explore the Era of Mobile Location-Based Services

​As the mobile service provider's traditional sources of communications revenues decrease, the move towards 4G LTE enables new potential streams of revenues -- including in-store retail applications, big data analytics, customer experience management (CEM) and personalized advertising.

Location-based technologies are at the center of these market developments.

According to their latest global market study, ABI Research has considered the applications, industry verticals and technologies that will drive new location-based revenue growth for mobile carriers worldwide.

"Location for carriers is no longer about navigation applications. Location will become an essential tool in network optimization and CEM, as we move to LTE, HetNets, and personalized subscriber packages," said  Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI Research.

While these advances gives a clear return on investment, ABI says that there is also significant upside on new areas -- such as retail/indoor apps, financial/banking, big data analytics, and advertising.

Huge tertiary benefits aside, ABI Research forecasts associated telecom service provider revenues to approach $2 billion by 2019 in a market with far greater long-term potential.

This is reflected in a number of new and upcoming announcements from major carriers such as Verizon (Precision Market Insights, Smart Rewards), AT&T (Location Information Services), SK Telecom (Indoor Location), Telefnica Germany, O2 (Dynamic Insights), Orange (Data for Development), and Sprint (Pinsight Media).

From an advertising and analytics perspective, ABI has also noted an increase in joint ventures between carriers -- such as Weve in the United Kingdom -- providing the scale and frequency needed to compete. If this proves to be a success, it will be quickly replicated worldwide.

ABI believes that mobile internet service providers have been sitting on a location-based goldmine for too long, fearing a privacy backlash.

However, through careful segmentation of aggregated, anonymous analytics and advertising, coupled with clear opt in/out options and third party approval of anonymity, mobile network proiders can overcome any fears, while giving smartphone users the power to choose how their data is used.

Demand is growing for location-based information services and there is a perceived need for a Google alternative. Savvy mobile network service providers, in particular, are well placed in the analytics, retail, financial and advertising spaces to become just that.

Monday, September 29, 2014

OTT Video Entertainment will Reach $42.34B in 2020

The growth of the over-the-top (OTT) video entertainment industry was previously a primary concern of the American pay-TV sector, as more and more consumers chose to abandon the traditional high-cost cable and satellite TV services. Now this transition has become a worldwide phenomena.

Global online video entertainment revenues -- over fixed broadband networks within 51 reported countries -- will reach $42.34 billion in 2020. That's up significantly from $3.96 billion recorded in 2010 and the $19.03 billion expected in 2014, according to the latest market study by Digital TV Research.

Following the prior trend, the U.S. market will remain the dominant OTT territory for online TV and streaming video revenues.

However, its share of total revenues will drop from 59 percent in 2010 (when the U.S. recorded revenues of $2,326 million) to 37 percent in 2020 ($15,527 million) as the international markets catch up.

China's online television and video revenues will soar from just $37 million in 2010 to $3,033 million in 2020 -- to push China up to third place in the world rankings, with Japan in second place.

In addition to growing consumer demand, online video advertising has been the key driver for the OTT sector, with revenues of $8.3 billion expected in 2014 -- that's up from $2.4 billion in 2010.

Rapid advertising expenditure growth will continue, to reach a global total of $18.1 billion in 2020 -- as more advertisers shift spending away from legacy broadcast media channels.

Online television and video subscription revenues [SVOD] will climb from $1.06 billion in 2010 to $7.65 billion in 2014 and onto $16.77 billion in 2020. This means that SVOD will contribute 40 percent of total OTT revenues in 2020 -- that's up from 27 percent in 2010.

The U.S. generated online TV and video subscription revenues of $793 million in 2010, or 75 percent of the global total. Although its revenues will climb by 667 percent to $6,086 million, the American market will only account for 36 percent of the 2020 total.

Online TV and video rental/pay-per-view revenues will expand rapidly, climbing from $197 million in 2010 to $2,800 million in 2020. Download-to-own revenues are forecast to be $4,641 million in 2020 -- that's up from $332 million in 2010.

Friday, September 26, 2014

How China will Lead the Emerging Mobile Internet Era

Demand for affordable devices used to connect to the mobile internet, mostly from emerging markets, is continuing to drive strong sales of what Gartner calls "white-box" smartphones and media tablets in 2014. Gartner expects the white-box smartphone market to grow 50 percent, while the white-box tablet market will experience growth of 15.6 percent.

A typical low-cost white-box device is created by a device manufacturer using a turnkey solution based on application processors and reference designs. The device is targeted at affordable price points in segments across the globe, within the evolving mobile phone and media tablet markets.

According to the latest market study by Gartner, established and emerging Chinese vendors will lead the growth of white-box devices as they refocus to meet the demand for low-priced devices.

In addition, the move to 4G in China and beyond will create new opportunities for Chinese smartphone vendors, starting in late 2014.

"Selling smartphones is no longer a privilege limited to global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The maturity of the white-box smartphone ecosystem allows other OEMs to launch an Android smartphone from scratch within a four-week period, making China among one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets," said CK Lu, principal research analyst at Gartner.

White-box vendors can use the turnkey designs to launch white-box smartphones at prices from $50 to $330. These white-box phones are no longer largely sold via unknown/small brands — the ecosystem today is much more organized.

Emerging brands (such as Oppo and Gionee) and established brands (such as Lenovo and TCL) are much more like Samsung and Apple, where they get involved in everything from sourcing to design difference in the use of turnkey chipset solutions.

Gartner also believes that the price of 4G smartphones will reach the price of 3G models by the end of 2014, and become mainstream among white-box smartphones in China by the end of 2015.


The white-box media tablet market will also continue to grow to reach more diversified types of users, from budget-constrained users to replacement buyers in emerging markets, but the speed of growth will slow down over the next five years.

Emerging Asia-Pacific and Greater China are forecast to be the largest consumers of white-box tablets in 2014. Growing user interest in large-size smartphones, or phablets, will impact white-box tablets, especially at the 7-inch size.

Gartner expects the white-box vendors will have to alter their portfolio to adopt this market trend, launching tablets at 8-inch screen sizes and larger, or to integrate cellular functions at 7 inches to compete with phablets at 7 inches and smaller.

There is no doubt that device manufacturers in China are already well positioned to drive the next wave of internet user growth, furthering the onset of the Mobile Internet era -- by essentially enabling the next billion people to participate in the Global Networked Economy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Enterprise Wi-Fi Market will Reach $8.1 Billion by 2019

The growing applications for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) solutions are already benefiting from the adoption of new broadband technologies. The worldwide Wi-Fi customer premises equipment (CPE) market is expected to grow 11 percent in 2014.

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, total shipments of Wi-Fi access points, routers, and residential gateways are set to surpass 176 million units by the end of 2014.

"Growth is expected in all regions, driven by increased broadband penetration and more connected devices in homes," said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director at ABI Research.

Since its WLAN market inception in 2013, shipments of the 802.11ac standard have accelerated.

In the consumer Wi-Fi equipment market, D-Link and NETGEAR lead 802.11ac access point shipments. The combined shipments of the two companies represented more than 20 percent of worldwide 802.11ac shipments in 1Q 2014.

ABI Research expects that nearly 32 million 802.11ac access points will be shipped in 2014.

Shipments of Wi-Fi devices with older generation standards such as 802.11a/b/g have dropped significantly over the past few years as they were replaced by 802.11n products.

Rapidly growing Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices and multimedia applications continue to drive demand for higher performance Wi-Fi equipment.

ABI Research expects that accelerating 802.11ac deployments will cause a downward trend in older 802.11n standard devices starting from the end of 2014.

The enterprise Wi-Fi market has also experienced increased deployments of 802.11ac devices. Cisco and Aruba Networks sold the largest numbers of 802.11ac access points in the enterprise Wi-Fi market -- a combined total of 0.1 million 802.11ac access points in 1Q 2014.

The enterprise class Wi-Fi equipment market is expected to grow to generate revenues of $8.1 billion by the end of 2019, according to the ABI assessment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Upside Opportunities for Mobile Context-Aware Apps

As smartphone use grows around the globe, the demand for creative new mobile software application innovation will explode. Mobile Internet access is crucial in modern app functionality. Naturally, with faster broadband connection speeds, a richer mobile experience is available, with the possibility to leverage a cloud-based software app backend system.

Juniper Research predicts that increasing contextual awareness in mobile apps -- as seen in digital assistants such as "Google Now" -- will transform the process of app discovery and thereby limit future use of the cluttered app tray.

In addition, Google recently opened its deep linking API to allow apps to be indexed in a similar way to web pages, further accelerating the movement towards the Android platform.

According to the latest market study findings by Juniper Research, they now forecast that the number of smartphone and tablet apps in use, that leverage contextual or location data on devices, will near 7.5 billion by 2019 -- that's up from 2.8 billion in 2014.

In total, Juniper expects the smartphone and tablet Mobile Location-Based Services (MLBS) market to be worth $43.3 billion in 2019. The ad-supported model will dominate the combined smartphone and tablet user base; in contrast, the pay-to-download model will experience a sharp decline across the forecast period.


Their research has highlighted the availability of comprehensive app-based digital maps, at little or no cost to the consumer, as a key driver.

It also noted that context-awareness is now considered to be key among mobile application developers in delivering a relevant user experience.

"Context awareness signals a paradigm shift in the definition of what search means on mobile," said Steffen Sorrell, research analyst at Juniper Research.

Juniper believes that combined with deep linking, this shift will transform the manner by which we discover and access software apps -- the days of flicking through the app tray are therefore numbered.

Upside for Smartphone vs Tablet Applications

According to the global market study findings, the use of location and context-driven apps on smartphones will far exceed the usage on media tablets.

Cellular network use on tablets is not common, which restricts the ability of these devices to take advantage of hyper-local positioning, unless they're connected to public Wi-Fi hotspot services.

Nonetheless, tablets represent a proportionally higher per-app revenue stream relative to smartphones, with typically higher in-app spends and greater advertising revenue per session.

Other key findings from the market study include:
  • Privacy concerns still remain among users, with location preferred to be shared via apps on an instantaneous, rather than continuous basis.
  • Ad-supported apps will account for 71 percent of the total location and context-based service revenue.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Numerous Applications for Smart Structural Electronics

Structural electronics (SE) is one of the most important technological developments of this century. It forms a key part of the dream -- formulated decades ago -- of computing disappearing into the fabric of society. It will become a component of the evolving Internet of Everything phenomenon.

It also addresses a dream of Thomas Edison in 1880 -- that electricity should be made where it is needed. SE is often biomimetic -- it usefully imitates nature in ways not previously feasible. And, it's a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar business.

Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits that act as load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies.

According to the latest market study by IDTechEx, in the near future aircraft -- and later automobiles -- will have a nervous system like a human being, instantly alerting to touch and damage.

Aircraft will have no passenger windows, instead displaying a moving color picture of what you would see from a window in the position where the window used to be, thanks to a smart inside to the fuselage - an imaginary window.

Bridges immediately warn of decay, load or earthquakes -- thanks to self-powered sensors sealed within them. Dance floors, stairs and the walkways in subways sometimes generate enough electricity to power signage and lighting because electronics sealed in the floor creates electricity from movement.

All this is structural electronics, a large new market that was recently assessed  by IDTechEx. Their study resulted in a forecast for structural electronics and for its key enabling technologies employed or envisaged -- such as printed electronics. Electric vehicles particularly need structural electronics so their numbers were forecast for the next ten years, in 37 categories.

The technologies used now and in the future are assessed, from in-mold electronics to electronic 3D printing of load-bearing structures, structural metamaterials and energy harvesting such as structural photovoltaics. They are related to each other in the report with indication of maturity and potential.

A spectacular future awaits, with even the body of a washing machine acting as the controls, there being no separate components and connections. Aircraft are being developed that stay aloft on nothing more than sunshine thanks to structural solar cells in the whole wing and elsewhere.

Large boats circumnavigate the world on sunshine thanks to solar decks, solar roads are being developed and car bodies that store electricity thanks to structural super-capacitors are being trialed. Smart skin on vehicles, buildings and other structures is assessed in this comprehensive report.

Smart skin can increasingly perform many functions, including ubiquitous sensing, electricity generation, electricity storage and diversion of lightning strikes around aircraft made of insulating fiber composites. It will be possible to make the whole of a road vehicle glow in the dark, reducing accidents.

On a smaller scale, it has been shown that the protective insulation on cabling can be replaced with structural electronics and dumb printed circuit boards are being made load-bearing and smart. A common factor is saving space, weight and cost while increasing reliability.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Big Data Application Development will Increase in 2014

Investment in big data technologies continues to expand, according to a recent market study by Gartner, which found that 73 percent of survey respondents have invested or plan to invest in big data in the next 24 months -- that's up from 64 percent in 2013.

Organizations are starting to move on their big data investment strategy. Moreover, the number stating they had no plans for big data investment fell from 31 percent in 2013 to 24 percent in 2014.

"Big data investment continues to be led by North America, with 47 percent of organizations reporting investment, which is up from 37.8 percent in 2013," said Nick Heudecker, research director at Gartner. "All other regions experienced increases in investment over the last year."

However, this increased investment has not led to an associated increase in organizations reporting deployed big data projects. Like 2013, much of the work today revolves around strategy development and the creation of pilots and experimental projects.

Gartner believes that 2013 was a year of big data experimentation and early deployment, and so is 2014. In 2013, only eight percent of organizations reported having big data projects deployed to production. This has increased to 13 percent in 2014.

However, the six percent drop in organizations still gathering knowledge about big data and the seven percent increase in pilots and experiments indicate that organizations are evolving in their understanding and willingness to explore big data opportunities.

According to the Gartner assessment, big data can help address a wide range of business problems across many industries and for the third year in their study, both enhancing the customer experience and improving process efficiency are the top areas to address.

The most dramatic changes are in enhancing customer experience, especially in transportation, healthcare, insurance, media and communications, retail, and banking. Another area where they see an increase is using big data to develop information products, where organizations are looking to monetize their data. This is especially true among IT vendors, government and manufacturing.

Gartner continues to see planned investments across all vertical industries as communications and media continuing to lead the pack, with 53 percent of organizations surveyed having already invested and a further 33 percent planning investments in big data technology.

The other year-to-year changes in the survey findings are a function of the adoption stage. As organizations move beyond knowledge gathering and developing a strategy to making investments, piloting and deploying, the challenges they face become more practical.

Those with no big data plans feel the big hurdles are determining how to get value from big data, defining a strategy, leadership or organizational issues, and some are still trying to understand big data.

In the planning stages, beyond determining value, the top challenges are obtaining skills and capabilities needed, defining strategy, obtaining funding, and beginning to think about infrastructure issues. Companies that are further along with investments must begin to address risk and governance issues, data integration and infrastructure.

When it comes to the volume, variety and velocity aspects of big data, volume received most of the focus. Increasing data volume is easily understandable: you're getting the same data you had before, but at massive scale. Volume is also the easiest to deal with by increasing storage and compute capacity.

On the other hand, data variety is far more challenging. Getting value from a variety of data sources, such as social media feeds, machine and sensor data, as well as free-form text, requires not only increased storage capacity, but also different tools and the skills to use them.

The challenges introduced by analyzing a variety of data sources may explain why most organizations are studying traditional data sources for their big data projects. Those organizations analyzing transactions increased from 70 percent in 2013 to 79 percent in 2014, while those analyzing log data fell slightly by two percent.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Upside for Fixed LTE Broadband Internet Access Market

There's no doubt, 4G LTE has turbocharged the Mobile Internet experience, which has reflected in rapid adoption of new smartphones along with other mobile devices. Besides, it has also reinvigorated the broadband wireless marketplace.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, 1.26 billion households do not have DSL, cable, or fiber-optic broadband. Fixed and mobile service providers are looking to LTE to make the connection.

"By the end of 2014, we anticipate there will be 14.5 million residential and commercial premises with fixed LTE broadband access. By 2019, that figure should grow to 123 million," said Jake Saunders, VP and 4G practice director at ABI Research.

Chipset and CPE technology vendors are stepping up efforts to prime the market by manufacturing lower cost devices for both the consumer and enterprise mobility segments.

Chinese vendors -- such as Huawei and ZTE -- along with American brands such as NETGEAR and Novatel Wireless have partnerships with North American carriers like Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and AT&T to provide exclusive LTE routers that utilize the carrier's individual 4G networks.

ABI Research forecasts the shipment numbers for residential LTE gateways and commercial LTE fixed wireless terminals to grow from 9.3 million in 2014 to nearly 44 million in 2019.

Fixed LTE broadband access is proving to be an add-on market opportunity for a number of mobile operators that were initially focused on the mobility market.

On the chipset front, Intel is keen to jostle for market share with the likes of Sequans, Qualcomm, and GCT. In June 2014, Intel and Lantiq announced the release of a Cat6 LTE 300 Mbps joint reference platform.

Integrated devices like LTE gateways and fixed wireless terminals help to provide a solution for users in rural areas to have access to high-speed Internet.

The ongoing CTIA Super Mobility Week has been featuring vendors showcasing their products that facilitate fixed BWA.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why Low-Cost Smartphones will Dominate this Decade

The smartphone is now a mainstream mobile communication device in the majority of regions across the globe. For some people, access to the mobile internet enabled their first encounter with the Global Networked Economy.

According to findings from their latest market study, Juniper Research now estimates that the number of smartphone shipments will approach 1.2 billion in 2014 -- that's an increase of 19 percent from the 985 million in 2013.

The global market is expected to be driven by growth in emerging markets, due to a continued surge in sales and adoption of low-cost Economy ($75-$150) and Ultra-Economy (sub-$75) smartphones.

Juniper believes that the emerging markets are now vital to success in the smartphone sector, with the gap between the growing emerging markets and the stagnating mature markets closing.

Emergence of the Low-Cost Smartphones

While Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the Ultra-Premium end of the market, these vendors are facing significant competitive pressure from local players in the emerging markets. For example, Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone vendor, is witnessing tremendous success in China and India as a result of its aggressive price-point offerings.

These new players are beginning to build market share and achieve larger economies of scale, which eventually will enable them to expand their offering and challenge other smartphone sectors in the future.


Additionally, Google is partnering with local vendors for its Google-One initiative to provide a unified feature set tailor-made for the low-cost smartphone market.

In addition to the recently launched 4.7-inch iPhone 6, Apple launched a larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Although the 5.5-inch smartphone does not strictly classify it as a Phablet, Juniper says that they believe it has the potential to change the dynamics of the phablet market.

These new product introductions could also have a significant impact on other vendors such as Samsung who previously had the additional advantage of having large screen devices. Regardless, Apple will continue to miss opportunities for growth in emerging markets.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Apple and Samsung will account for nearly 45 percent of the global smartphones shipped this year.
  • The Average Selling Price of a smartphone will decline globally to reach $274 by 2019.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Over-the-Top Video Revenue to Reach $9.45B in Europe

The total over-the-top (OTT) video revenue in Europe was up 51 percent in 2013 reaching $3.2 billion and is expected to grow a further 43 percent this year, according to the latest market study by Strategy Analytics.

They predict that the majority of this new growth will occur within the online subscription VOD (SVOD) and ad-supported video business models, lifting the market above $9.45 billion by year-end 2018.

The growth of OTT video suggests that the audience is shifting towards accessibility and availability over actual ownership of home videos on DVD or Blu-ray discs.

"Over time, consumers will shift from content ownership to lower cost means of consuming media. As long as OTT services providers continue to offer attractive video catalogs at a reasonable price, accessibility and availability will trump ownership," said Leika Kawasaki, digital media analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The success or failure of OTT video services is heavily dependent upon the quality of their content library. According to the Strategy Analytics assessment, the expansion of global players like Netflix across Europe has been slowed due to complex content negotiation impacting the quantity and quality of available content in the region. Regardless, Netflix will continue its expansion in Europe.


Drivers of OTT Video Growth in Europe

Consumers across the region are consuming more OTT videos than ever before. Broadband internet access expansion, the proliferation of connected devices, and easy extensive online video catalogs have proven to be a potent combination in driving adoption of OTT video consumption.

Key findings from the market study include:

  • Led by Netflix, SVOD revenues experienced strong growth during 2013, up 133 percent and is expected to nearly double by year-end 2014.
  • Ad-supported video makes up over 60 percent of total OTT video revenue in Central & Eastern Europe, but will represent less than 50 percent of Western Europe OTT video revenue by year-end 2014.
  • Average OTT video spend per broadband user in Western Europe is about four times that of those in Central & Eastern European.
  • From a user perspective, the European online video market is reaching maturity but from a consumption, and even more importantly, monetization perspective OTT video is just beginning to hit its stride.