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Building a Bridge to 5G from the Mobile Edge



Guest Author: Rui Frazao, CTO, Vasona Networks



 The mobile industry has some grand aspirations and a lot of priorities. Mobile video is king and ever-growing. 5G is coming (eventually) and will support new services and change many more aspects of business, many still to be determined. Operators are running to stay in place, spending a fortune on capacity expansion to keep up with exponential traffic growth. And competition for mobile customer share is getting hotter all the time.


The common denominator across all of these focus areas is the mobile customer. If someone has a bad experience streaming video because of stalls, delays or anything else, they won’t blame their content provider or the device. They will blame their mobile carrier.


An August 2016 Ericsson ConsumerLab survey reported 45 percent of global smartphone users consume video. Those with 11+ poor experiences per week are 2X as likely to consider switching operators.


The survey went on to report that net promoter scores (NPS) are no longer enough to gauge customer loyalty and that users evaluate their mobile experiences in new ways not aligned with traditional network measurements and KPIs. Customers are focused on video start time, buffering effects, and getting what they want, when they want it.


At Vasona, we agree. These facts reinforce what we have been talking to operators about for a while now -- leveraging the customer experience to drive CapEx investments. Operators that base network-planning investments on KPIs that speak the language of the customer, not that of outdated network-performance metrics, will be better-aligned with their customers’ needs. 


The stats above tell us that customer experience absolutely impacts the bottom line. Mobile executives are accustomed to focusing on Return on Investment (ROI). Now, they need to also think about Quality on Investment too. How much QoE improvement are they delivering for each investment made?


Based on Vasona’s firsthand view of initial edge computing (MEC) proofs of concepts and deployments, MEC can have a direct impact. Here’s how...


MEC solutions can deliver 5G-like benefits today. One significant MEC use case, mobile throughput guidance, promises true relief to operators. It quickly adapts video streams to dynamic RAN conditions. This results in steady, superior customer experiences.


Interested in more specifics? Our in-line MEC platform can evaluate current cell conditions and communicate with the content provider about the best possible bitrate that can be sustained. The content provider’s streamed data may then be adjusted accordingly in real time.


We know from Vasona field deployments that 80 percent of video sessions experience at least one handover from one cell to another. We also know mobile operators gain an even greater ability to deliver the best end-user experiences when they are able to receive guidance updates in real time as app sessions hop from cell to cell.


We are seeing the benefits of better coordination between content providers and operators. In fact, we are conducting throughput guidance field trials in the Americas, working with two of the world’s largest mobile players. Vasona’s throughput guidance solution, Smart Guided Video Rate (SmartGVR), effectively reduces video stalls and delays by 20 percent during peak video viewing hours. This is above and beyond the benefits already achieved by our existing RAN traffic-management solution.


Vasona is proud to be working with HPE to deliver edge solutions. I’ll be speaking on this topic in the MWC Discussion Zone at MWC: 2:30pm on March 1 in Hall 3, Stand 3E11. See the full MWC Discussion Zone agenda for more details on this and other sessions.


This is just one of the topics the Vasona team will be discussing with customers, prospects and partners at MWC 2017. Come visit our stand - Hall 6, 6L41 to learn more. Or contact us today to set a meeting: You can also find me on LinkedIn.


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