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David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
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The Mobile Video Crunch: IMB & eMBMS to the Rescue?
Although only 9 percent of wireless customers are using their devices for video at any given time, that group is generating 38 percent of mobile data traffic. Those figures come from carrier customers of Bytemobile, one of the many vendors proffering solutions to this problem, and they're fairly consistent with what other vendors and carriers tell Heavy Reading Insider.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) and High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) provide much-needed relief in the form of faster connections and, to some extent, a lower cost of delivering service. But these technologies alone aren't enough to support burgeoning video usage over the long term. As KDDI's president said in November 2010, "Multiple access technologies will be needed."

To avoid running out of capacity and, more importantly, profitability some vendors and carriers are looking to offload up to 20 percent of video traffic using Integrated Mobile Broadcast (IMB), evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (eMBMS) or both. This may sound like a drop in the bucket, but carriers considering the technologies believe that amount will significantly alleviate pressure on their networks, which then can focus on other traffic.

Although eMBMS and IMB are best known for their video capabilities, it's a mistake to pigeonhole them in that role. Both technologies also could be used for distributing anti-malware updates and products such as e-books, issuing emergency alerts and other tasks that involve a large percentage of devices in the operator's installed base. That flexibility is an example of why vendors that specialize in non-video products, such as remote device-management systems, should be keeping an eye on eMBMS and IMB as potential enablers including of their competitors. Assuming that eMBMS, IMB or both ever become widely adopted, wireless carriers might be drawn to products that use those technologies instead of clogging up the main network.

Although HSPA and LTE enable faster connections and lower cost of delivery, by themselves they're not enough to ensure that carriers can deliver video services profitably. That reality is driving the market for IMB and eMBMS.

The Mobile Video Crunch: IMB & eMBMS to the Rescue? identifies and analyzes these and other key issues that will affect the global market for eMBMS and IMB through the end of 2012. It examines the cost of adding the technologies to user devices and network infrastructure. The report also looks at the various ways that carriers and their business partners could use eMBMS and IMB not only to mitigate the video problem, but also to turn it into a market-differentiation and revenue opportunity.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei0911_toc.pdf)
Although memory keeps getting cheaper, it never will be in endless supply on handheld devices. So it's worth looking at how caching competes with applications and other programs for memory resources. The following excerpt uses the top 20 YouTube videos to show the potential memory requirements and network impact. Caching just the top 20 videos would offload 12.218 percent of daily YouTube traffic, or more than 7 TB of data.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Total pages: 12
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