More than 1 billion viewers tuned in to the last World Cup, held in Brazil – with more than 90 million in the Middle East alone. Given the significant rise of consumers viewing television on their mobile devices, it’s hardly far-fetched to consider that a high proportion of football fans tuning into the matches will be watching from their smart devices.
This will drive data revenues for mobile operators, which is a definite upside of the event, but it will also drive the consumer’s need for a higher quality video experience, which operators must be prepared for.
Higher levels of mobility across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are helping to drive the video evolution, a virtual evolution that demands access to more video content and a higher-quality video experience. This will only continue to grow; at Ericsson, we envision 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, 15 billion of which we anticipate to be video-enabled devices.
Our latest Mobility Report shows that mobile data traffic grew 65% between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014, with the expectation for it to grow around 10 times between 2013 and 2019. Most of this growth will be driven by consumers watching video, which is the largest and fastest growing mobile data traffic segment.
The ability to seamlessly enjoy content anywhere, any time, and via any connected device will be one of the empowering factors of the Networked Society, in which everything that can benefit from being connected will be connected.
Mobile broadband is integral to our lives in numerous capacities, not just for watching the latest World Cup match, watching the news or catching up on a favourite television series or movie; as more smart city initiatives emerge across the region, connectivity will be even more vital than ever for the way that we connect with the world around us. A superior experience is, therefore, essential – especially if a smart city is to succeed.
Research conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab for our recently published report, ‘Life in the Fast Lane’, shows how the two factors of network speed and reliability have a significant impact on the way in which consumers behave.
The findings show that, even though consumers have similar profiles, those on faster networks – ie, using 4G LTE technology, have a more positive perception of their network, and are more likely to use more advanced services than those on slower, 3G networks.
Users of 4G LTE networks are also less likely to toggle to WiFi connections, preferring to use mobile broadband. This empowers them with an even higher level of mobility, as they are more willing to access mobile broadband-powered services, such as video calls, streaming, downloads and games, wherever and whenever they want.
According to the report, consumers on 4G LTE networks are 15% more likely to use their smartphone as part of their shopping habits, and 15% more likely to make a payment through their device, making connected devices central to all aspects of our daily life.
Mobility at this level is what will make any smart city vision a reality. Opening up accessibility with reliable, fast networks is the key to the Networked Society, empowering communities with the ability to connect with what they want, when, where and how they want.
Convenience of this kind is much more than simply tuning in to watch van Persie’s career-defining goal or to watch the World Cup trophy handed over to the Germans – it’s a way to redefine life as we know it, creating an accessible world at our fingertips.