MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Addicted to Connectivity?

Peggy Dau - Monday, August 18, 2014

Connectivity. Engagement. Data. Anytime. Anywhere.  These are the buzzwords that surround those of us in the communications, media & entertainment sector. We check the stats about the adoption of Smartphones and Tablets, using them to justify investment in new solutions and product updates. We track likes, hash tags, influencers and market trends. We use data to understand how customers, consumer or business, are accessing content and information. But, do we pay attention to how we access all that content, information and data?  

Not really. While we actively select our broadband and wireless carriers based on our needs, we take it for granted that that connection will be there when we need it. We increasingly use free Wi-Fi to access rich content on the go because we don't want to eat up the data in our data plans. We can do this because…free Wi-Fi is increasingly available at places beyond Starbucks and McDonalds. Anytime I’m traveling, especially internationally, I pop into such places to download email, check social updates and gather business news. I admit it; I'm addicted to connectivity.

Who supplies that connectivity? The telecommunications companies around the globe. They are AT&T, Verizon, BT, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, NTT DoCoMo, and the list goes on. We expect these service providers to provide us with the connectivity that allows us to be informed, entertained and engaged. But, do we understand how it works? Do we care? Yes, we care in so much as when the network doesn't work, we are disgruntled. We may even tweet about it.

These communication service providers (CSP) have worried about becoming commoditized pipes. It's a fair concern, given that the motto, "Content is King" has never been more true than it is now. However, how would we access that content without network connectivity? How would all those big data companies scrape the Internet for social insights, search queries, opinions and recommendations, to augment internal, system driven data, without network connectivity? 

OTT content consumption has raised eyebrows for broadcasters, cable operators and the FCC in the United States. Why? Not simply because it changes the business model for content, but because it consume a LOT of bandwidth. Bandwidth provided by CSPs such as Verizon and Comcast. As wireless networks continue to improve and networks in general become more flexible due to evolving technologies, the bandwidth and services they can provide become more advanced. We are already enjoying content on the TV screen while using Wi-Fi or wireless networks to access incremental data related to the show we are watching, or to see what our friends our saying, or to check email or to [fill in the blank]. What happens next is dependent on the evolution of those wireless technologies enabling our connectivity.

Network technology is the secret sauce connecting our 21st century world. While CSPs are certainly not perfect in how they manage connectivity, they are persistently working to improve their capabilities. And, we are all addicted nonetheless.

What's your perspective?