App-centric cities require a new mindset
If there is one place we rely more heavily on our apps it’s in the city. From checking transportation timetables, to buying movie tickets or making restaurant reservations, mobile apps have become an integral part of city life. But have you ever noticed that although you have a full set of bars on your smartphone, indicating full coverage, the app you are using is still not functioning satisfactory? You’re not alone.
Mobile usage patterns have undergone a huge shift over the past five to six years, from being voice-centric to becoming increasingly app-centric. Today there is ten times more data traffic in the mobile networks than voice traffic. With this shift, the meaning of user experience has also changed. Having voice coverage and a full set of bars on your smartphone does not automatically give you sufficient network performance for your apps of choice.
The challenge of app coverage is even greater in large cities. Mobile network technologies today have the possibility to provide very high throughput speeds and low latency but the challenge is to provide sufficient performance throughout the entire network, including at the cell-edge.
In the Networked Society many apps will require far better performance than what is currently available in many cities worldwide. The demands on the networks will grow and depending on the service offered, requirements will vary on aspects such as uplink and downlink speed, latency, indoor coverage, reliability and availability. Consequently, in order to deliver a consistent experience to subscribers, service providers need to adapt their quality processes to this new app-centric world.
Providing good user experience is not a network issue alone, but will always involve a balancing act between networks, devices and apps. As part of a recent white paper we suggest establishing a new approach to network performance called app coverage, where app coverage is an indicator of the end-user mobile broadband experience.
In my next post, I’ll look at actual app coverage in a number of global cities.