By Heidi Adams, Director, Networks Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent
Recently I was reviewing some Bell Labs data about the projected growth of video traffic. The study is predicting that the time spent watching Internet video per person per day will grow to an average of 219 minutes by 2020 vs. the 44 minutes we watched today. While this stat is certainly not hard to believe when I look at my own household, when I am at work I think about how video traffic like this will impact communications network.
There is no way to escape the impact of video. Even if a service provider is not directly or actively engaged in delivering video services, customers are accessing video through their broadband Internet service. If the video quality is poor, more often than not they will attribute the problem directly to their service provider and do so independently of how it’s distributed (ie, via a ‘managed’ network or the ‘open’ Internet).
If you take a snapshot of our mobile and online world we seem locked in an epic struggle over the cost of content consumption. As consumers we want complete content freedom – getting the broadband content we want when we want it where we want it at anytime. The challenge is for the most part we have a limit to how much we will pay for these privileges.
On the other side we have service providers who need to continue to add capacity to networks and need to manage this growing traffic are looking at new ways – including usage tiers – to curb how much bandwidth we are using. Right now the battle is locked in a slow moving chess match as demand and frustration are growing on both sides.
I believe there is a better way. Rather than discourage the use of the services they provide, operators can embrace subscriber demands for freedom and enhance their services to thrive on higher bandwidth consumption. The delivery of new and innovative video services is an excellent way to create new revenue streams, however the challenge becomes how to manage the cost of scaling the IP network, while also optimizing for video services, and ensuring the agility to deliver future services within the constraints of IT infrastructure.
But is this possible? Well that is where we come in on the equipment side. If we can work with service providers to evolve residential networks by leveraging technology that embraces performance, improves network management and ultimately delivers higher quality, more personalized subscriber services and at price points that don’t aim to limit our bandwidth guzzling ways, we become happy, loyal customers which ensure the service providers’ investment pays off in the end.
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