Monday, May 14, 2012

[Guest post]: Seeing is Believing: Monetizing Traffic through Differentiated Services

By Chris Koopmans*, Chief Operating Officer, Bytemobile

We have all heard − and told − the story of how differentiated services are critical to the monetization of data for mobile network operators. But realistically, differentiated services must be sufficiently transparent for subscribers to see the difference between a “premium” mobile data experience and an “economy” mobile data experience. 
To date, operators have offered service differentiation at a basic level. Service tiers are typically determined by device types and data volumes, and often enforced through throttling. However, subscribers can’t fundamentally discern the difference between 1 KB or 500 MB or 3 GB of data; nor are they counting how many seconds (or milliseconds) it takes for the Bloomberg App to load the latest stock quotes. 
With the roll-out of LTE networks, there is both an inflection point and an opportunity for change. Due to faster network throughput, mobile video is poised for significant consumer uptake that far exceeds the existing average of 10% of mobile subscribers. 
Most video sites automatically deliver content of the highest possible resolution, based on the speed of the network and the quality it can support. Video resolution is clearly discernible to the naked eye. With very fast networks such as LTE, subscribers can immediately see the difference between “best”, “worst”, and everything in between. 
This visual differentiation of quality opens the door to commercial differentiation of services in a very direct way. The consumer perceives value for price – similar to cable packages for HDTV or airline passenger seating and services. Operators can leverage this perception to create service plans that go far beyond device types and data volumes to the quality of the subscriber experience

The reality is that the visual difference driving quality is currently controlled not by the operator, but by the content provider. And the visual difference being controlled by the content provider is generating a significant higher network load − up to 5x more data volume for the same video. Another issue is that content providers do not have the same information about the network and its users – where is there congestion, what are the peak hours for traffic in specific neighborhoods, etc. – which may inadvertently create a poor subscriber experience. Operators are well placed to create the best experience – they play a critical role in creating that experience actually – and they should leverage it. 
Managing content quality is the key to managing network capacity. The only way to manage the quality of the subscriber video experience is to manage both the network connection and the corresponding video resolution. Operators can achieve this objective by adaptively monitoring network conditions and automatically adjusting the visual quality of the video in real time. Seeing is believing.

*As Chief Operating Officer, Chris Koopmans, a founding engineer at Bytemobile in 2000,  is responsible for all aspects of product development, management, marketing, delivery, and support, as well as information technology (IT). He has over 13 years of industry experience in hardware and software engineering and architecture. In 11 years at Bytemobile, Koopmans has held a wide range of technical leadership positions. Most recently, he served as vice president of Product Development, leading the R&D evolution of the UnisonTM Platform into the worldwide leader in mobile video optimization and the strategic initiative that culminated in the launch of the T3000 Adaptive Traffic Management System (T-Series).

Before joining Bytemobile, he worked as an engineer at Intel Corporation's Microcomputer Research Laboratories and Silicon Graphics' Cray Research subsidiary.

Koopmans earned a B.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with Highest Honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

No comments:

Post a Comment