New user behaviors, emerging technologies and an increasingly connected world are changing the way we lead our lives, both at work and during our leisure time. We use smartphones, computers and tablets for work and play. More and more devices, from cars to street lamps, are now being connected to make them more useful.
And complete industries are being connected – from transport to utilities and health care and public safety, which is changing the way we do business.
Intelligent power grids now report on everything from potential problems to customer usage, transforming how the service is monitored and delivered. The X-rays at your local hospital can be studied by a radiologist and a virtual team of health care providers from a location thousands of miles away. When everything happens in real-time, connectivity is the catalyst for innovation, collaboration and unprecedented business opportunities.
The pace of change is staggering. In just one year – according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, there was an 80 percent increase in mobile data from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013.
Spurred on by the growth of the likes of Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, video traffic is increasing exponentially and is expected to make up more than 50 percent of mobile data by 2019.
Gamers are going online in ever-growing numbers, increasing the demand for bandwidth. In the US, 76 percent of Android and iPhone users play games on their devices – and advertisers are demanding that their online clips be carried in high definition as they are streamed throughout the web.
For mobile operators, there are risks, challenges and opportunities. They will need to focus on real-time network capabilities, to provide service differentiation, and they'll need to do it across a broad range of subscriber segments and across industries.
Attracting subscribers and keeping them happy will depend not just upon the promise of compelling user experiences, but on the operator being able to deliver them, too. Operators are increasingly bundling 'over-the-top' content in their service offerings – including music, premium sport and TV optimized for mobile networks in an attempt to create an environment where everybody wins.
Everyone – content owners, network operators, equipment vendors, and device manufacturers – can work together to create attractive services and elevate user experiences.
Operators benefit from the added perceived value of bundled content, using it to augment their brands through association with carefully-selected players.
These content owners, on the other hand, can benefit from the operators' reach as well as their established capabilities for marketing, charging, and revenue sharing.
Smart Networks allows the use of sophisticated policy control, traffic categorization and quality-of-service delivery to flexibly respond to opportunities. Application providers can use these features to allow location-specific service access, and for the tailoring of promotions.
Together, service and application providers can prioritize traffic, reducing download times for selected premium websites. Load times for web pages can be critical in determining a user's quality of experience, especially when browsing and buying online.
But how do you deliver all that with consistency and clarity at a cost that consumers are willing to pay?
Ericsson's Smart Networks solutions enable differentiated and targeted service offerings, and enhance user experiences.
Put plainly, that means Smart Networks do not limit the creativity, scope or rapid delivery of new services. The solutions have been designed to let industries and service providers to take full advantage of new opportunities in the Networked Society.
The solutions that Smart Networks offer comprise more than just a few products and extend beyond policy control. More is required because the user experience is the combined result of every part of the network used to deliver services from server to screen – the combination of content, network and connected device.
Smart Networks brings together the very best Ericsson has to offer so that operators can in turn exceed their subscribers' expectations – Quality of Service Control, Smart Service Routers and Ericsson's Evolved IP Network solution are just a few examples of Ericsson offerings that operators can combine to provide a mobile experience that satisfies their consumers and keeps them coming back for more.
Every user, from a consumer or a connected car or a doctor, has different needs and different expectations. Each one is equally valuable, and their experience of network performance is all that counts.