Smith Micro Corporate Blog

Video Streaming QoE: A Challenge of Growing Importance

blog-video-streaming-qoe-mental-stress.jpgI recently read an article that did an excellent job capturing the link between mental stress and high quality mobile experiences. Citing a report published by Ericsson in February 2016, the article - “Slow mobile buffering a horror show” – focused on Ericsson’s comparison of the mental stress caused by slow mobile video streaming with the stress caused by watching a horror movie alone.

This comparison really resonated with me for two reasons: 1) I love watching horror movies; 2) in terms of a technology-related pet peeve, poor video streaming is at the top of my list. While I love the myriad of streaming options now available, I’ve come to expect QoE issues any time I use on these content delivery methods.

Whether I’m trying to stream a movie at home or watch a funny YouTube clip at the bar, I expect the video to work when I want to watch it. I bet most other people share this expectation as well. As Ericsson’s[1] and other similar reports[2] on mobile data traffic project mobile video consumption to skyrocket in the next few years, I think that mobile QoE related to video streaming will become synonymous with overall mobile QoE.

This trend is central to customer satisfaction for both wireless carriers and fixed-line operators with Wi-Fi footprints. For both types of service providers, delivering a continuous, high-quality end user experience is absolutely crucial to churn reduction. This is a challenging issue for mobile service providers (MSPs) now and will become business-critical as more users demand high-quality video streaming experiences.

I think it will get to the point (if it hasn’t already for some super users) where the quality of video streaming experiences will dictate network loyalty. To deliver the continuous, high quality experience all mobile users demand, MSPs must be: 1) incredibly strategic about the deployment of network assets through device-level understanding of user behavior, as well as 2) intelligent in how available network bandwidth is optimized to meet ever-increasing consumer demands.

In conclusion, as video streaming assumes a greater role in overall QoE for most users, device-based QoS monitoring, analytics and connection optimization strategies offer specific advantages to the task of managing continuous, bandwidth-intensive user behavior. In addition, as MSPs rely more on combined network strategies (LTE, Wi-Fi, small cells, etc.) to meet surging demand, device-based strategies offer greater value by providing visibility into QoE from the user’s perspective. By combining device-based analytics and monitoring with “intelligent” policy-based connection optimization, MSPs can meet and exceed the high expectations of a subscriber base demanding "anywhere anytime” streaming video.

What types of content do you like to watch on your mobile device? That is… when your network is working properly.

[1] Ericsson Mobility Report – Mobile World Congress Edition: February 2016 [http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2016/mobility-report/ericsson-mobility-report-feb-2016-interim.pdf]

[2] Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2015-2020 White Paper [http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/mobile-white-paper-c11-520862.html]

Topics: wireless, Quality of Experience, QoE, mobile video delivery