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Showing posts from November, 2008

Customer Care Jobs Return Home to U.S.

A new IDC market study confirms that "homeshoring" (the antonym to offshoring) will remain an attractive option for U.S. service providers and their employees, particularly as the global economy slips into what could be a deep and protracted recession. "Current economic ripples are buffeting American wage earners, including customer care agents, at a time when workers already face significant challenges to both their productivity and their wallets," said Stephen Loynd, program manager, Contact Center Services research. "I am convinced that when it comes to outsourced customer care, by the time we emerge from a possibly severe global recession, homeshoring will have developed into a more formidable sibling to offshoring than many would have expected just a few years ago." Despite current economic indicators, IDC's new market forecast for U.S. broadband enabled home-based agents shows that the projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) remains robus

More Concern about Limited IPTV Adoption

Strong anticipated growth may result in 57 million IPTV homes by 2013 -- or triple the end-2008 figure, according to a new market study by Informa Telecoms & Media. Despite this acceleration, only 4 percent of the world's remaining pay-TV households are forecast to subscribe to IPTV platforms by 2013. In fact, Informa's assessment states that only 14 countries will have more than 1 million IPTV subscribers. Report author Simon Murray said "This fairly limited penetration comes from having to migrate subscribers away from long-established cable and DTH services, as well as the impact of broadcast DTT to a lesser extent. However, there are examples of IPTV gaining a foothold even in the most competitive markets." In the short term, Informa forecasts 18.6 million IPTV households by the end of 2008, up 8 million in the year. Asia Pacific and Western Europe are each responsible for nearly 3 million of the additions, with North America adding only 1.7 million subscri

Pay-TV Competition on the Game Consoles

Market study findings from research consultancy TDG predicts that console-affiliated media portals such as Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Sony's PlayStation Network will soon become formidable competitors to incumbent Pay-TV services. Leveraging broadband-enabled game consoles as Over-the-Top (OTT) video platforms -- thus bypassing cable, satellite and telco TV operators -- these companies will offer a compelling alternative to traditional TV programming by providing a more immersive, interactive video entertainment experience. "The launch of Microsoft's 'Experience' and the Xbox LIVE Netflix streaming video service is a perfect example of how potent these services will soon become," notes Michael Greeson, president of TDG. "There is little doubt these services are finally ready for prime-time." TDG points to several related findings: - Even before the launch of "Experience," Microsoft's Xbox LIVE had amassed some 15,000 movies (1,00

Will the WiMAX Providers Find Their Mojo?

WiMAX may be a tale of two markets -- one being WiMAX as an emerging technology gaining momentum, and the other being the larger converging broadband market, where rival mobile broadband system HSDPA and the acceleration of LTE threatens the opportunity for WiMAX in some markets. "It's the best and worst of times for WiMAX," says Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. It's the best of times because the WiMAX industry has undoubtedly gained significant momentum in the last year, passing a string of key milestones including product certification, the launch of services by major operators such as Sprint Nextel, commitments to WiMAX by key Internet players such as Google, and the long-awaited arrival of WiMAX notebooks and other devices. WiMAX is also starting to take off in key emerging markets. For example, Informa's forecasts show that WiMAX will account for 24 percent of India's total broadband subscribers by 2013, up from 7 perce

Predicting Prosumer Mash-Up of DTT Video

The global market for set-top boxes will grow gradually over the next few years, then will peak at around 110 million shipments in 2012, according to the latest market study by ABI Research. Thereafter STB unit volumes for all platforms -- Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), and CATV (cable television) -- will begin a gradual decline. STB revenues show a different pattern. According to ABI Research principal analyst Robert Clark, "STB revenues for all platforms have declined significantly between 2007 and 2009, but will recover by 2010 and remain relatively stable through at least 2013." Sales of basic STBs have already been falling for some time; now HD-only and PVR-only STBs are also showing the first signs of downturn. From 2009 on, Clark expects to see a greater share of combined HD/PVR sales, especially in the DBS segment. Apparently, the decline in shipments after 2012 is due in part to the exp

South Korea and Japan Still Lead Mobile TV

Revenues from mobile TV services will generate $1.5 billion in 2008, rising to over $10 billion in 2013. At present the revenues are predominantly from subscription fees, but this is expected to change over time as the advertising business model starts to gain prominence. Informa Telecoms & Media believes that by 2013 nearly half of the revenues will come from advertising. In the next two years, growth is anticipated to be strongest in the pioneering markets of South Korea and Japan before the rest of the world starts to catch up around 2010 to 2011. Despite isolated success stories in places like Italy and Austria, Europe is not expected to see rapid growth in mobile TV until 2009. The USA is expected to take even longer as confusion over standards prevents growth. Eventually, Informa believes that concerted momentum behind ATSC-MH is expected to boost the market for mobile TV in North America. Frankly, I'm less optimistic about the U.S. market adoption potential, but only

Highest Text Messaging in El Paso, Texas

Where is the text messaging capital of the U.S. mobile market? El Paso, Texas is the top U.S. city for mobile phone text messaging, according to the latest market study by Scarborough Research. Fifty-seven percent of cell phone subscribers age 18+ in El Paso text message, versus 48 percent of adult cellular subscribers nationally. Other leading markets for text messaging include Salt Lake City, Dallas and Memphis. Fifty-five percent of cell subscribers in these cities utilize the text messaging feature on their phone. Scarborough finds that Fort Myers, FL, Charleston, WV, and Grand Rapids, MI are the local markets least likely to text message. Thirty-six percent of Fort Meyers and Charleston cellular subscribers utilize the text messaging feature on their phones, as do 35 percent of those in Grand Rapids, MI. Youth and cultural diversity are two demographic commonalities among these so-called texters, according to Scarborough Research. These consumers are 49 percent more likely than

IT Spending Decline in U.S. Hits Hardware

Worldwide spending on information technology (IT) products and services will slow significantly in 2009 as a direct result of the global financial crisis that began in September 2008. According to a revised forecast from IDC, worldwide IT spending will grow 2.6 percent year over year in 2009 -- down from IDC's last forecast of 5.9 percent growth. In the United States, IT spending growth is expected to be 0.9 percent in 2009, much lower than the 4.2 percent growth forecast in August. "Although all the economic forecasts went from up slightly to down drastically in a matter of days, the good news is that IT is in a better position than ever to resist the downward pull of a slowing economy," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. Technology is already deeply embedded in many mission-critical operations and remains critical to achieving further efficiency and productivity gains. As a result, IDC expects worldwide IT spending will continue to grow in 2009, albeit a

Profitable Personalized Video Advertising

The telco television headend equipment market is expected to grow substantially over the next five years, according to the latest study by In-Stat. This growth, driven by the expansion of video channels, the introduction of high-definition (HD) content, and the continued adoption of on-demand services will position telco operators to pursue highly-profitable personalized advertising and converged services business models, the high-tech market research firm says. "For operators to generate significant profitability from telco TV and related video services, they must find ways for the network to add value," says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. This will dictate finding solutions to the challenges faced with personalized advertising, converged video services, and ultimately the integration of network and Web-based applications. The In-Stat research covers the worldwide market for Telco TV and headend equipment. It tracks the development of the worldwide telco TV market, and e

Smartphone Upside for Advertising Revenue

Has the gloomy economic outlook got you down? One of the undisputed bright spots in 2008 has been the continued rapid growth of web usage on mobile phones. While growth of web usage is up across all mobile device classes, one of the biggest areas of growth has been smartphones. ABI Research sees this growth continuing over the next five years, with highly capable Internet browsers on smartphones expanding from 130 million in 2008 to 530 million by 2013. "From the strong growth in ad-calls for ad networks such as Admob to the astounding increases in page views for Opera Mini, it's very clear that consumers have embraced the use of the web on mobile devices," says research director Michael Wolf. The increase in awareness of the web on mobile devices -- due to the iPhone and new RIM models -- has helped contribute to this growth, as has the continued move towards flat-rate data plans by many mobile operators." In addition to more capable devices, consumer's desi

Travel still Top Online Transaction Category

Nielsen Online announced that 78 percent of adult U.S. online consumers made a purchase over the Web within the previous six months. The number one online transaction category was travel, with 38 percent of adult online consumers making at least one travel purchase on the Web in the previous six months. Credit card account management and home banking took the number two and three spots, with 36 percent and 35 percent of consumers conducting transactions, respectively. This market study is based on a quarterly survey of approximately 36,000 U.S. Internet users age 18 and older. "Most consumers see online retail as a primary benefit of the Internet," said Nachi Lolla, research director, commerce, Nielsen Online. The sheer convenience of being able to comparison shop from your home or office has become all but irresistible. Possible early concerns about online security have been sufficiently addressed, and consistent on-time delivery and reasonable shipping costs have bol

Control Your Digital Home Via a Web Page

Are you confused by your digital home management interface? Help is on the way. The rise of IP-enabled consumer electronics (CE) products is fueling increasing demand for browsers and web-based user interfaces in these complex devices. ABI Research expects the number of web browsers embedded in CE devices such as digital TVs, game consoles, and set-top boxes to grow from 60 million shipped in 2008 to 214 million by 2013. "Most forward-thinking consumer electronics vendors today are integrating IP ports in their mainline consumer electronics devices," says research director Michael Wolf. The push to bring web surfing, over-the-top video content, social networking and other web 2.0 applications to consumer electronics is creating a need to integrate browsing engines and dynamic user interfaces as well as other platforms for content rendering. The integration of web browsers into digital TVs is already common in Japan and is becoming increasingly more common in North America

Mobile Machine-to-Machine Comms Outlook

Continued strong growth in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications markets will see about 95 million cellular M2M modules shipping in 2013, according to the latest ABI Research market study. Regarding shipments to the three main market segments -- telematics, telemetry, and wireless local loop -- about 34 million devices are expected to be for telematics and 39 million for telemetry. According to senior analyst Sam Lucero, "Until about 2011, the major market growth will be found in the telemetry segment, since it encompasses a broad range of applications including smart metering, POS terminals, and remote monitoring and control applications." After 2011, we expect to see a spike in telematics applications. These exist now, but from 2011 will be driven more quickly by mandates such as Europe's eCall initiative, which will see cellular connections in every vehicle, and in North America by a much stronger competitive reaction to OnStar -- virtually of the major automakers

Greater Challenge than Mobile Phone Sales

While the cellphone industry has generally been unaffected by economic ups and downs, this recession (depression, etc.) may well be very different, according to the latest market assessment by In-Stat. The current economic slowdown is more widespread and deeper than ever experienced during the history of the cellphone era, and has spread through Europe, Asia, and North America, the high-tech market research firm says. The industry is currently strong, and this year is turning out to be a relatively good one, but the mobile phone sector will likely have some bumps and turbulence over the next couple of years. "The economic crisis is still playing out, but all indications are that it will have an effect on the cellphone business worldwide, but mostly on North America and Europe," says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. In-Stat believes that it will take until 2010 before cellphone sales return to their normal growth levels. Frankly, the current economic repercussions are truly d

North American IPTV May Still Catch-Up

Multimedia Research Group's (MRG) latest IPTV Global Forecast shows that global IPTV subscribers will grow from 20.4 million IPTV subscribers in 2008 to 89.6 million in 2012. To drive this growth, IPTV Operators worldwide are expected to continue investing in improved Quality-of-Service, ease-of-operation, high-definition (HD) content, exclusive programming and time-shifting as differentiating features. The MRG market study provides new insight into strategies and services added by IPTV Operators to accelerate growth, and the differences in key markets. In Europe, for example, steady IPTV subscriber growth continues while more HD channels are being offered to Western and Eastern European subscribers. By 2012, European subscribers will still be slightly ahead of Asia, with Europe maintaining 41.5 percent of the worldwide subscriber market and Asia, 35.8 percent. Despite economic contraction, consistent growth continues at the three major French IPTV Operators as they compete to

Global Mobile Messaging Market Forecast

With the global economy showing signs of a deep recession, mobile phone usage will continue to escalate, regardless. In a recent market study by ABI Research, mobile messaging services revenues are forecast to grow from $151 billion in 2008 to greater than $212 billion globally by 2013. Supply side drivers will be of primary importance for maintaining this level of growth. ABI's principal analyst Dan Shey said "Mobile messaging ARPUs are 85+ percent of all handset data services revenues regardless of region and will remain so for many years." As messaging involves all the biggest players in the mobile industry there will be incentives for all mobile messaging suppliers to work cooperatively to serve customers well and propel all parties through these rough economic waters. The important messaging suppliers include operators, device OEMs, content providers and middleware vendors. But although these suppliers can make the mobile messaging experience as pleasurable as po

PC Microprocessor Upside and Downside

Worldwide PC microprocessor shipments in the third calendar quarter of 2008 (3Q08) reached record levels again, according to the latest market study by IDC. However, the outlook for the processor market in 4Q08 and 2009 is unsure. Worldwide PC processor unit shipments grew 14.0 percent quarter over quarter (QoQ) and 15.8 percent year over year (YoY); market revenue grew 7.6 percent QoQ and 4.1 percent YoY to $8.3 billion. Intel's new Atom processor for ultra low-cost mobile PCs made a notable difference in the overall market performance; without Atom, unit shipments grew 8.3 percent QoQ and 8.7 percent YoY. "Not considering the effects of Atom, the overall market still grew at a decent pace in the third quarter," said Shane Rau, director of research at IDC. "Intel's and AMD's shipments grew at a rate only slightly slower than typical for a third quarter, and seasonal demand appeared reasonable up until September. By segment, while the mobile processor se

Latest Outlook on New Mobile Phone Sales

Revenues from mobile phone sales are expected to grow at 6.8 percent CAGR between 2007 and 2013, and should exceed $200 billion by the end of 2013, according to the latest study by Informa Telecoms & Media. Emerging markets, including Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) and Africa, will make up the majority global handset market value, with 60 percent share in 2013. Growth disparities between developed and emerging markets will become apparent within the next five years. Growth will not exceed 2 percent CAGR in developed markets according to the report, handset market value growth rates are slowing significantly in developed markets and, if the current economic slowdown persists, could even turn negative after 2009. Informa does not expect revenue growth from mobile phone sales to exceed 2 percent CAGR in Western Europe, 1 percent in North America, and less than 0.5 percent in Japan between 2010 and 2013. In these regions, the smartphone market will represent the major grow

Manipulation of Mobile Broadband Usage

The tremendous growth of mobile broadband usage, with annual growth rates of 200 percent in some parts of North America and upwards of 800 percent in parts of Europe, could create future challenges for mobile service providers. However, a new market study from Parks Associates found that many carriers rely on outdated business models, excessive pricing or flat-rate billing strategies, to manage traffic or otherwise attempt to reduce user demand. Excessive pricing slows growth and invites cutthroat competition. Flat-rate carriers charge a single rate for unlimited service, which does not effectively monetize traffic. Both models are unsustainable, given current growth trends. "Carriers need to create business models with more refined network controls in order to facilitate market growth while maintaining profitability," said Anton Denissov, research analyst, Parks Associates. These models must be easy for consumers to understand and also address specific needs, so subscrib

Mobile Location-Based Social Networking

According to ABI Research, mobile location-based social networking is expected to become a driver for the adoption of location-based services -- as it provides a unifying framework for a large set of applications such as friend finders, local search and geo-tagging. While many LBS applications will include features allowing the sharing of real-time experiences via fixed social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, fully-fledged mobile location-based social networking sites will also gain momentum with more than 82 million subscriptions expected by 2013. "While growth will be mainly driven by the availability of multimedia-centric GPS handsets, other mobile form factors will also become important," says ABI Research director Dominique Bonte. Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) with built-in GPS receivers have been announced, with location-based social networking site GyPSii supporting Moblin-based Intel Atom processor-powered MIDs. Connected PNDs and outdoor GPS soluti

Digital Video Interface Standards Adoption

Digital visual interface (DVI) and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) are related high-bandwidth, unidirectional, uncompressed digital interface standards. According the the latest In-Stat market study, 2008 has brought continuation of trends that have developed over the last few years -- the rapid rise of HDMI and the slow decline of DVI. Over 100 million DVI-enabled devices shipped in 2007, most in the PC space. High-end consumer desktops, aftermarket graphics cards and LCD PC monitors comprise the lion's share of the DVI market. However, both DVI and new entrant DisplayPort are encroaching on DVI's space resulting in long-term decline. The primary driver of HDMI's success is the Consumer Electronics (CE) segment, where HDMI was instantly successful upon its 2003 launch. In 2007, HDMI ports were found in over 90 percent of the digital televisions (DTV) shipped worldwide, the greatest volume for HDMI in any product. The rapid escalation of HDMI in all types of

Wireless Home Electronics Market Upside

According to an ABI Research market study, shipments of four classes of wireless audio and video connectivity products for the home -- which barely amount to 150 million this year -- are expected to increase to nearly 700 million worldwide by the end of 2013. The technologies in question are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, UWB (ultra-wideband) and 60 GHz -- the likely standard-bearer for in-home wireless distribution of uncompressed high-definition video. ABI Research has long maintained that as the wireless home electronics market grows, these technologies will coexist and become closely integrated according to their strengths and specialties. "Wireless video and audio connectivity within the home is still an early-adopter's market," notes senior analyst Douglas McEuen. As prevalent as wireless connectivity is in the home, it's still a small proportion compared to the potential overall market, and even smaller when it's a question of in-home media networks. However as these

TV Networks Gaining Online Video Audience

According to Nielsen Online, all four U.S. television networks enjoyed month-over-month growth in online video viewers in September -- coinciding with the season premieres of many new television shows. NBC.com had the largest increase in video viewers, growing 312 percent month-over-month, followed by FOX Broadcasting and ABC.com, with 165 percent and 105 percent growth, respectively. "A combination of series and season premiers, political news and parodies, and coverage of the financial crisis all contributed to increased online video viewing for the television networks in September," said Jon Gibs, vice president, media analytics, Nielsen Online. Consumers are increasingly relying on the Web to catch up on programs they missed when it aired on broadcast TV, and the networks are beginning to capitalize on this trend. Moreover, the television network Web properties were not the only ones to see significant growth in online video viewing in September. The depressing glob

Mobile Phone Data Users Demand Usability

In a recent market study, ABI Research examined the mobile messaging adoption and usage patterns of mobile business customers from four U.S. mobile service operators. One of the key findings is that mobile instant messaging (IM) adoption is negatively correlated to mobility. According to principal analyst Dan Shey, "The greatest adopters of mobile IM are T-Mobile subscribers whose demographic profile shows a high percentage who only work in an office." As office work typically requires PC access, mobile IM adoption appears more related to familiarity with IM through the PC rather than mobility itself. Other data from the survey analysis shows that Verizon customers are the greatest adopters of picture messaging services and use them the most frequently. AT&T customers are the highest adopters of mobile e-mail services. More Sprint customers use mobile e-mail on a daily basis than other carriers. All the usage and adoption data is combined with pricing analysis to prov

Creating Successful Mobile Data Services

According to a market study by Portio Research, mobile data services have become an important tool for generating revenue now that mobile handsets are used not only for voice calls but also for other services -- such as messaging, music, video, etc. The shift in focus from voice to data services has largely been due to the decreasing growth of voice revenue and the increasing pressure on voice service profit margins. As voice services becomes more of a commodity, mobile operators need to look at other sources to generate new income. This fact has provided the impetus to formulate and implement strategies to create successful data services that help increase overall data average revenue per user (ARPU). Their report analyzes the strategies that have been adopted by mobile operators in both advanced and developing countries to make their data services successful and, thereby, drive up data ARPU. Portio has also covered the strategies adopted by the mobile vendors to push its mobile p

SMBs Equally Savvy with Mobile Data Apps

Large enterprise employers have highly mobile workforces driven by the global reach of their operations. They often have extensive IT support, which offers globetrotting employees assistance with mobile communication services. These characteristics bode well for adoption of mobile broadband services. However, a new study from ABI Research -- based on survey analysis of U.S. mobile business customers -- demonstrates that enterprises are not the highest adopters of cellular modems and mobile broadband access. According to principal analyst Dan Shey, "The survey data demonstrate that mobile broadband reaches across all sizes of company with greater adoption in small and medium businesses. Our research identifies two key drivers: first, all businesses are familiar with data access from a PC, and laptops and mobile broadband simply make this access portable. Second, there is no distribution favoritism towards business customers." Mobile broadband can be purchased from big box e

Notebook PC Shipments Exceed Desktop

During the third quarter of 2008, notebook computer shipments into the U.S. market surpassed 50 percent share, topping quarterly desktop PC shipments for the first time in the history of the industry. The share of notebooks shipped in the U.S. in 3Q08 stood at a solid 55.2 percent, according to preliminary figures from IDC's market study. The 55 percent ratio was made possible by a record volume of notebooks shipped in 3Q08 -- over 9.5 million units -- representing more than 18 percent growth both year over year and on a sequential basis, according to IDC's preliminary data. These figures were reached amid a relatively active back-to-school season and the burgeoning financial crisis, which captured headlines but did not immediately affect the PC market's overall performance. Almost all the leading vendors with desktop and notebook offerings shipped greater notebook volumes in the quarter. Some vendors such as Toshiba have long focused exclusively on notebooks. Others, i

Business Marketer Social Media Opportunity

According to the 2008 Cone "Business in Social Media" Study, nearly 60 percent of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. The survey finds that 93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while 85 percent believe a company should not only be present, but should also interact with its consumers via social media. Fifty-six percent of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with, and better served by, companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment. Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, observes that "social media isn't an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion." Highlight from the Cone market study include: - 43 percent say that companies should use social networks to solve their problems. - 41 percent want companies to solicit feedback on their products and services. -

Economic Crisis Impacts U.S. eRetail Sales

ComScore released its Q3 2008 retail e-commerce report, which showed that online spending grew 6 percent in Q3 2008 versus the same period last year, a slowdown compared to the year-over-year growth rates of 12 percent in Q1 and 13 percent in Q2 2008. Total U.S. online retail sales (excluding travel) were approximately $30 billion in the third quarter of 2008. ComScore surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in October 2008 to gather attitudes on the economy. The study revealed that the majority of consumers are fearful of the future, with 82 percent stating they are more afraid about the economic future than ever before. Additionally, only a quarter (26 percent) of respondents said they believe the economy will be better a year from now. Consumer economic pressures continue to have a significant impact on retail spending, which is evident in the slowing growth rates in the online channel. However, in a tight economy, the Internet remains a critical sales and media channel for retailers

Lower Outlook for U.S. IPTV and SDV Subs

The North American telco IPTV and cableco switched digital video (SDV) equipment market declined sharply in 2Q08, pulling the worldwide market down 5 percent sequentially to $1.27 billion -- despite healthy increases in other markets, according to Infonetics Research. The dip in the overall market is due to slowing IPTV and SDV subscriber additions by service providers in some regions hit hard by the uncertain economic climate, particularly in North America, according to the latest Infonetics market study. In environments where the future of the economy is unknown, IPTV and SDV subscribers are more apt to stay with their current provider, rather than look for a new provider with whom they may have to invest in new equipment and other upfront fees; this is especially true in North America and Western Europe. However, service providers around the world -- particularly in Asia, Europe, and Latin America -- are still investing in IPTV equipment because offering video service is increasi

Why Mobile Over-the-Top Video Will Thrive

Looking for growth in the U.S. telecom sector? The market for mobile video infrastructure will experience very rapid growth rates in the near future -- in spite of the economy, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. There are many ways to deliver video content to mobile devices -- some of these require mobile video-specific infrastructure, such as broadcast out-of-band video services and cellular in-band video services. Others, like Internet access and digital terrestrial broadcast TV, utilize infrastructure in place for other video services. "In spite of the present economic turmoil, consumer interest in mobile video is growing, and service providers must build infrastructure to be in position when consumer demand recovers. Europe is the largest region for transmission revenue due to the number of countries that have launched, or plan to launch, mobile-specific out-of-band broadcast networks," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. "Mobile video headends wil

Managed Network Service Provider Update

Demand for managed network service (MNS) providers is growing fast as enterprises of all sizes grapple with increasing network traffic and complexity. At the same time, enterprises are seeing their services budgets shrink. This has created an intensely competitive landscape among global MNS providers, and even the industry's bellwether providers face new and significant competitive threats. In a new report, independent market analyst firm Datamonitor ranks 13 of the world's leading MNS providers based on their network services, end-user sentiment and market impact. The global MNS market is extremely competitive, particularly among the large telecommunications providers and conglomerate systems integrators that dominate it -- AT&T, BT Global Services, HP Services and IBM Global Technology Services. Yet new threats are emerging in the form of smaller, more agile rivals, such as CSC, Orange Business Services, Verizon Business and Vanco, despite the latter's recent fin

Global Carriers to Invest $142B in Networks

When service revenues dip due to reduced end-user confidence, a standard tactic is to cut back on capital expenditure, which boosts operating margins and thereby profits. This tactic was used in the dot.com bust and the 3G network anticlimax earlier in this decade. Adjusting, sometimes even drastically, capital expenditure plans can demonstrate to investors appropriate financial housekeeping practices. Network operators can also resort to a number of alternative strategies to make their capex dollars go further. "Subscriber growth may be flattening and carriers are facing tougher credit conditions from financial institutions, but the need to upgrade infrastructure and install new equipment will not go away," comments ABI Research vice president Jake Saunders. Competitive pressures are putting the thumbscrews on carriers to introduce innovative applications and services such as music downloading, mobile TV, and social networking. Furthermore the amount of traffic generated

Virtual World Revenue may Actually be Real

As blogging, and the ability to comment online, are in essence popularizing and decentralizing the traditional news industry, so too are virtual worlds changing the gaming, meeting, and 3D graphic design industries, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Virtual worlds -- especially the 3D kinds -- are classified under the Web 3.0 category because of their profound ability to integrate multiple types of content, information sources, and feeds into one highly engaging and interactive format. Virtual worlds are online, computer-generated simulations of life-like or fantasy environments where users guide their avatar, or digital representation of their physical selves, to accomplish various goals. "Evidence supports the conclusion that the application that is critical to virtual worlds -- and, by extension, to Web 3.0 -- is, in fact, already here and it is none other than social networking," says Vahid Dejwakh, In-Stat analyst. The In-Stat research covers the world

Will Consumer Electronics Avoid a Downturn?

A new market study by Futuresource looked at the impacts of recession on the consumer electronics industry and delves into the core drivers behind continued consumer uptake, providing forecasts across the key industry segments. Rather than going on vacation or dining out by candlelight, consumers see the purchase of hot new electronics items like Blu-ray players, flat panel TVs or smart phones as a far better value-for-money option. The tangible benefits of these products can be enjoyed for a long time to come and are seen by many as essential items once consumers begin the retreat into their living rooms. Futuresource research from the economic slump of 2001 reveals digital cameras and DVD players continued to grow sharply when the economy stagnated, giving a clear indication that home entertainment can ride the storm. Stretching the timeline backwards further, during the economic downturn of the early 1980s, sales of VCRs in the UK rocketed, growing by 440 percent between 1980 an

High Speed Mobile Data Service Demand

High speed packet access (HSPA) will be a key driver behind future wireless femtocell adoption, according to the latest market study by Infonetics Research. Once users adopt high speed mobile data services, their report contends, subscribing to a femtocell service could follow to ensure coverage and capacity consistency for services delivered to the home or office. "When HSPA becomes more widely available, mobile broadband adoption will get an extra push. Femtocells, in turn, should see an uptick in adoption, as they provide consistent indoor wireless coverage and give mobile operators a stronger positioning in the home broadband network," said Richard Webb, directing analyst at Infonetics Research. Once launched, femtocells offered with home-zone tariffs could be seen as a recession-buster deal for consumers seeking to reduce mobile voice call charges, and the early market could see decent growth, despite the prevailing economic climate. Highlights from the Infonetics st

India is Number Two Mobile Phone Market

By the end of September 2010, there will be five hundred million mobile subscriptions in India, according to the latest market study by Informa Telecoms & Media. The speed of growth has been remarkable. While it took 13 years for India to gain its first 250 million mobile subscriptions, forecasts from Informa indicate that the country's second 250 million subscribers will be added over a 30-month period. The engine for this rapid growth has been the increased competition in India's mobile market, which has been driven by tremendous consumer demand, and has resulted in heavy investment from the country's largest operators. "The bottom line is with a penetration rate of 26 percent, India is a hugely attractive investment destination, and will continue to be so for many years. Indeed, our forecasts suggest that the active subscription rate will remain well below 50 percent until 2010," says Informa Principal Analyst, Nick Jotischky. Not only is India now the

Wireless LAN Semiconductor Market Upside

The worldwide Wireless LAN (WLAN) semiconductor market is expected to pass the $4 billion mark by 2012 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 percent. While PCs will remain the largest application segment for WLAN semiconductors, mobile phone applications will grow at a CAGR of 49.3 percent and become the second-largest category for WLAN semiconductor revenue by 2012. IDC expects the MIMO-enhanced 802.11n technology to be the next growth driver for this market as the higher throughput and range provide a great opportunity for new applications and usage models. "The need for connectivity and connected mobile clients continues to fuel the WLAN semiconductor market," said Ajit Deosthali, research manager for Short Range Wireless Semiconductors at IDC. "WLAN adoption is set to grow beyond notebook PC and into the mobile phone and consumer electronics devices." Key findings include the following: - WiFi is set to take off in mobile handsets with dual-mod

Easily Convert Old Analog Video to Digital

If you were an early-adopter of video camcorders -- like me -- then you probably have a significant amount of personal video content trapped on VHS video tape. Perhaps you have also used your camcorder for business purposes, capturing training sessions, seminar presentations, etc. In the past, the choices to convert your video to a format that you could use on your computer, and ultimately make it available online, were limited by your technical skills. While video capture cards that insert into a desktop PC slot have been available for years – this approach was not user-friendly for mainstream consumers. The alternative was cost-prohibitive. I've used professional video transfer services, but due to the processing fee I've only converted a small amount of my analog video content to a digital format. I recently had a situation where I needed to convert and enhance very old video content. I decided to try a do-it-yourself solution that promised to be easier to embrace, and I