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Mobile Streaming Media Encryption Drives Disruption

Reports of the doubling in audio and video related mobile network traffic within 2015 highlights the fact that the demand for multimedia entertainment on smartphones and media tablets continues to grow.

Meanwhile, revelations of Internet spying by governments, and content vendors worried about the quality of the consumer experience, are driving the mobile communications industry toward end-to-end encryption of more data traffic.

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, apps enabled with content encryption eliminated nearly 60 percent of the traditional video and audio optimization market in 2015.

Streaming Media Market Development

Moving forward, telecom operators and vendors need to make significant operational moves to protect network performance and create a competitive advantage with streaming media entertainment.

"With encryption here to stay, network operators need new tools to manage mobile broadband traffic," said Joe Hoffman, vice president at ABI Research. "We expect 85 percent of traffic to be encrypted. But that leaves 15 percent that can be optimized, and that is a significant network load."

In the months ahead, telecommunication service providers and their vendors now face the challenge of coping with relentless demand for mobile data traffic without the proper tools to manage it.

This obstacle coupled with the increased use of difficult-to-manage protocols, such as UDP, and inflexible data services could hinder network operators if they do not find ways to reboot their traffic management strategies.

 Streaming Media Market in Transition

ABI analysts suggest that all affected parties should take proactive steps to address the IP traffic demand. Leading telecom infrastructure vendors all have traffic management solutions to keep network operations steady, and next-generation solutions that perform with encrypted streaming media are coming.

Besides, non-traditional vendors have a significant opportunity. ABI believes that telecom network operators should also consider new flexible solutions -- such as the "IP Traffic Manager" from Openwave Mobility, or the "Fairshare Traffic Management" from Sandvine -- to successfully manage the next-generation data traffic.

While content encryption clearly disrupted the data optimization market, it does not mean the end of vendor opportunities. According to the ABI assessment, the exponential growth of online digital  media traffic will make even the residual optimization attractive to vendors that survive this huge market transition.

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