“Grandma got run over by a reindeer. Walking home from our house Christmas Eve. You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and grandpa we believe.” There are many songs for the Holidays, but this one gets me into the right mood (for many reasons). :-)
As we start to enjoy our Holiday break with friends and family and recharge our batteries for 2015, we can reflect back on an exciting year in the wireless world.
In 2014, mobile innovations brought us the early days of wearable devices, and the beginnings of the connected home. Apple and Samsung continued to push the size limits of mobile devices. Mobile consolidation efforts continued with Softbank and Sprint, plus T-Mobile USA brought us low-low pricing battles.
For SpiderCloud, 2014 was a breakthrough year for many reasons. We saw customer adoption and traction for our dual-band Radio, and the industry awarded us with many awards:
- SpiderCloud Wireless to Supply Scalable 4G Small Cell Systems to Verizon Wireless
- Vodafone Sure Signal Premium delivers high - performance indoor capacity and coverage for business
- LTE Added to Scalable 3G Small Cell System Delivers Business-Class KPIs for Operators' Large Enterprise Customers
2015 has the earmark for more monumental shifts in the mobile landscape. Overall, we should expect a continued focus on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in enterprise and mobile networks, edge and cloud services and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to drive network transformation as the industry moves from CapEx to OpEx.
Big Data will grow as enterprise IT vendors and mobile carriers alike leverage data analysis for localization content, context and services for advertising and brand loyalty. There will be continued focus on data security for data center services, as well as in the enterprise and at home. Mobile network evolution to LTE and beyond continues, especially as ‘wearables’ and the growth of the “Internet of Things” make the case for improved use of higher spectrum for last mile access to enhance our quest for an “always-on” experience.
Here are my predictions for 2015 for the mobile space (Note: these predictions are my own personal views and not SpiderCloud Wireless’s point of view, nor company opinions).
Mobile macro networks will see OpEx spend match CapEx spend by years end.
Network infrastructure spending is expected to be flat, but thanks to the rise of cloud services over the last few years, 2015 will mark the year that OpEx overtakes CapEx and never looks back. Even Deutsche Bank is eyeing this trend, as both carrier and enterprise IT is looking to cloud; SaaS; subscriptions and service contracts will make up the majority of spending in the year ahead.
Expect small cells and software to dominate network build out to handle the need for mobile capacity.
Flat macro-cellular spending means the shift is going to be on small cell build-outs and services rather than the traditional macro-focused infrastructure spending we’ve seen in the past. Mobile carriers will be looking for ways to enhance coverage in high-density areas using small cell networks. Expect to see in-building Enterprise services to become the new battleground for mobile carriers by years end.
The move from 3G to 4G and then 5G, is a long journey.
Unlike the previous mobile telephony generations that were defined by technology, 5G hopefully will soon be officially defined by service levels. Personally, I do not expect 5G to not be about the air link or access method, speed or spectrum, rather it will be about service level and quality of service. 3G has a long tail and will co-exist with 4G for another decade.
BYOD and DIY mobile in the enterprise “rightsize”.
Businesses realize that BYOD is a misdiagnosis of a larger problem when trying to solve in-building mobility issues and security concerns. Originally trumpeted as a smart fiscal move, CIOs and CFOs begin to realize that without the relationships and economies of scale, enterprises begin to see its employees are treated like regular consumers. CIOs realize that corporate IT are security savvy, but not mobility experts, and lean on mobile operators to fix mobility problems. For large enterprises, Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) devices with secure application containers becomes the preferred methods to deal with mobility, security and cost-containment by corporate IT, CIOs and professionals alike.
Smart Buildings become a strong trend in the Enterprise.
The expected increase in wearable and connected devices, due in part by significantly lower prices as companies fight for adoption, will add a significant strain on the already-strained enterprise Wi-Fi networks, creating opportunities for 3G/4G in-building mobility solutions and services from mobile operators and computing partners. Within the next 2 years, wireless and mobile traffic demands inside the enterprise will double. This will mean IT departments will need help to better cope with dynamic capacity demands while focusing on security. Simply banning non-essential devices is not a move that works as early adopters always find work-around methods. Rather, the savvy enterprise IT team will look for ways to prioritize application usage and/or cloud-source a large majority of network functions.
Gigabit Consumption becomes the norm, as we look ahead.
100-Gigabit mobile family usage plans and Ethernet-to-the-home to become the norm. By the end of 2015, individual usage will start to reach 2 Gb on average and 3-5 Gb for the top 10%. By 2018, when you hear 100 Gb pricing plans, you won’t blink an eye.
Ethernet-to-the-home (ETTH) will be favored over fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in major metropolitan areas. ETTH not only addressed the growing bandwidth demands of the consumer, but it better favors business deployments making it a more cost-effective way to bring a big pipe to over 75% of highly populated areas. This broad coverage translates to around 10% of all deployment areas giving carriers a one-two punch on both consumer and enterprise deployments.
The “big surprise” in 2015?
A space Odyssey: Should we be surprised if a company like Google acquires a space company to compete with SpaceX and Virgin Galactic for space travel and exploration?
Enjoy your Holidays. See you in the New Year. And, be careful out there. Who knows what Santa’s been drinking as he travels the globe with his merry reindeers.
“I've warned all my friends and neighbors. Better watch out for yourselves, they should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.”
Happy New Year.
- Ronny Haraldsvik