In 2019, with the advent of 5G, and the preparation for yet again another wave of streaming high definition video on mobile devices, the ability to achieve a superior customer experience utilizing fewer resources will be key.
New technologies with a smaller footprint that are greener, and more cost effective infrastructure will become essential along with revenue generating services to protect subscribers.
Here are the top five trends we predict for 2019.
#1: Mobile video addiction
Current estimates are that in 2018 US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices, an annual increase of more than 11 minutes. The expectation is that by 2019, mobile will surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes in the US. An increasing number of content providers are developing VoD apps for mobile phones and as a result of increasing view times. On smartphones, viewers watched long-form content (20-40 minutes) to completion 57% of the time; ultra-long form content (40+ minutes) more than 45%.
#2: Family safety on mobile devices
Mobile users are becoming increasingly younger. Today even toddlers are clicking away on i-Pads, and more and more parents are employing digital babysitters. At the same time the risks to children are greater. It is becoming more likely that youngsters will come across inappropriate content or inadvertently disclose too much information compromising their safety. Screen time is also addictive and unhealthy. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, excessive screen time can cause bad posture, poor eyesight, inadequate sleep and lack of sufficient physical activity resulting in poor health, not to mention taking time away from homework. There will be an increase in demand for solutions provided by mobile operators that help enforce healthy use of mobile devices.
#3: Gearing up for 5G
The promise of faster speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity to enable high definition video, virtual reality, machine learning, and other advanced applications, may also come at a great cost. Delivering the performance improvements that 5G is expected to unleash through high-band spectrum could require a fundamentally different architecture, requiring 15 to 20 sites per square kilometer in highly populated urban environments, as opposed to two to five sites today. Finding more hardware efficient methods for providing network services will be critical to keep the cost of expanding infrastructure in line.
#4: Demand for tighter security
As more and more people bank by phone, purchase online using a mobile device, and utilize their mobile phone to control devices inside the home, mobile operators will be expected to provide fail safe protection of personal data on mobile devices. In addition, with the increasing adoption of IoT, there are an increasing number of mission critical applications in banks, hospitals, and airport terminals powered by digital devices that require secure connections.
#5: Customer experience first
With subscribers having more choices for messaging and content services, operators will be pressured to provide smooth video streaming, slick clicks, and fast web page loading. There will be a need to measure response times at a granular level so that capacity can be managed more efficiently, and subscriber frustration can be kept at bay to prevent churn.
2019 will escalate the challenge to deliver growing volumes of bandwidth hungry content with a high level of performance and reliability, while at the same time investing in infrastructure to prepare for 5G. At the same time mobile operators will need to provide more revenue generating services including better security, and child safety. The coming year will see the introduction of new innovations for more cost effective infrastructure and delivery methods, as the generation of “now” becomes increasingly dependent on their mobile devices.