According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, more than three billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices will ship in 2017 joining more than eight billion devices already in use. What does this mean for communication service providers? Getting Wi-Fi right has never been more critical. From winning the war for relevance inside and outside the home to combating subscriber churn in an increasingly competitive and diverse marketplace, Wi-Fi is paramount.
I recently attended the Wi-Fi Global Congress, a conference in London put on by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). The focus was promoting and enabling carrier-grade Wi-Fi that is secure, seamless, and interoperable between networks. It was clear from the conference program, and the large number of wireless service and equipment providers in attendance, that Wi-Fi remains a highly relevant, complementary extension to cellular networks and an important part of the mobile broadband experience. However, many challenges remain with Wi-Fi, including seamless handover between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi, subscriber management, policy enforcement, session mobility, and more.
This week Smith Micro is releasing a third white paper in a series that examines new broadband-related challenges and opportunities in Windows 8 for mobile operators.
Apple launched iPad on April 3, 2010, and within three years it created a completely new category of mobile computing. This category changed user habits on how we consume and create content, from watching movies on Netflix to creating documents with Pages. According to recent findings from The NPD Group, in Q1 2013, the installed base of tablets increased by nearly 18 million, to an estimated 53% of all households with an internet connection (see chart below). That’s only 4% less than estimated smartphone penetration, which rose from 52% to 57% in Q1. Yet smartphones were launched back in 2000 with the first Ericsson Symbian device.
These stats draw a number of questions: Are tablet users largely the same half of the web-connected population as smartphone users? If so, is it just an obsession with the latest gadget, or is there a functional need filled by tablets that can’t be met by smartphones or PCs? What about non-internet households? How many of those people are buying tablets? And where do they connect their tablets to play games online or watch YouTube videos?
In our first mobile hotspot survey, we discovered that two-thirds of employees are using company-sponsored mobile hotspots to … not work. That’s right—after a hard day, road warriors like to curl up with their favorite 3G/4G hotspot (i.e., the one they’re not paying for) and watch a movie, play games, or surf for limited-edition Dr. Who action figures—all on the company’s dime.
Enterprise IT must be drowning in data charges, right? We sent a follow-up survey to 250 IT managers about mobile hotpots in the workplace and found some interesting results:
- Security Trumps Cost: 75% of those managing mobile hotspots rank security as their main concern
- Enterprise Adoption Barrier: 47% of those not managing mobile hotspots also listed security as their main concern (cost was only 12%)
- Lack of Control: almost 50% feel they do not have adequate control over employee hotspots
- Smartphones Dominate: 71% said employees use smartphone hotspots, compared to pucks at 44%
- Increased Support Cost: 46% cited an increase in technical support calls and incidents since mobile hotspots were introduced into their companies