Informa recently reported that the number of messages sent using free chat apps like ‘WhatsApp’ has overtaken the number of traditional paid-for SMS messages sent. The BBC revealed that according to Ovum, more than £15bn of SMS revenue was lost in 2012 due to popularity of chat apps. When you bear in mind that the Apple app store only opened in 2008 and that WhatsApp only launched in 2009, this is quite incredible.
Free apps aren’t just muscling in on the messaging territory of mobile service providers; WhatsApp is now rumoured to be considering a voice chat function. If we can text and make calls for free on the go, what does the future have in store for mobile service providers? It seems likely that free messaging apps will follow in Skype’s footsteps by making traditionally paid-for services free for all. As communication apps continue to take their piece of the pie, mobile service providers will need to look for alternative opportunities to generate revenue.
In addition to the revelation that free texts are overtaking their paid-for equivalents, this quarter has also revealed another first. This is the first time that smartphones have outnumbered basic phones in terms of worldwide shipments (in a total market of 418.6 million devices, 216.2 (51.6%) were smartphones).
With smartphones becoming more and more prolific, apps are becoming an increasingly important part of our lives. And with communication services available free of charge, why would we choose to pay for our messages and calls, if we didn’t need to?
Service providers need to find alternative ways to make revenue; rather than calls and texts, they should shift their focus to data. Securing and managing the data on our mobile devices is likely to become more of a priority as the uptake of smartphones and tablets continues to skyrocket.
Context is something that has come up in several of our blog posts and this is one incident where it plays a truly crucial role. In order to remain competitive in this changing market, mobile service providers need to understand context; offering intelligence that allows them to deliver the right data to the right user at the right time, quickly and securely. Understanding what kind of data it is, who is accessing it, from which network, and from which device is key to its secure delivery. Once they understand that, mobile operators can build new products and services in order to keep their customers happy.
While we may have a long way to go before the SMS is obsolete, any mobile service provider that chooses to ignore the threat posed by the arrival of free chat apps is going to get left behind. Apps and free chat apps in particular are about making data and communication accessible to all. Understanding context will empower service providers to build new revenue streams and secure an advantage over the competition.
The big data phenomenon is something that we at F5 Networks have been banging on about for a while now – after all the network plays such a vital role in ensuring businesses really get the most out of big data by letting that information flow freely.
One of the drums we have been constantly beating is that context is king; analysing big data is one thing but applying context to it, by tying together information from multiple sources, is the best way of really understanding it.
A report from the team at Gartner recently revealed that 42% of IT leaders have already invested in big data technology, or are planning to do so over the next 12 months. Interestingly the report added that a better understanding of big data – such as what it actually is and the benefits it can bring to an enterprise – will continue to drive adoption of these analytical technologies.
An article on Computer Weekly said the report went on to state that: “Organisations are becoming aware that big data initiatives are critical because they have identified obvious or potential business opportunities that cannot be met with traditional data sources, technologies or practices.” http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240179450/Big-data-understanding-drives-spending
It’s great that businesses are identifying where big data can improve their decision making but as we keep saying that is just one step of the process. For a business to achieve decent return on investment (RoI) from its big data initiative there are many other aspects to consider.
One of the most important is getting the right infrastructure in place to ensure all that data can get from where it resides to where it needs to be without any hiccups. Many of the services that will be collecting the data – such as social media sites, CRM systems and so on – and the platforms to analyse them are hosted in the cloud.
This means application delivery becomes more important than ever; it helps all that traffic flow around the network, getting it from where it originates to where it’s analysed and finally to where those insights are acted on. That’s how to get the best out of big data, and where IT bosses should focus at least some of their energy when looking into big data technologies.
As big data matures from a massively-hyped buzzword into a technology that can actually benefit businesses it is vital that companies don’t ignore the context of all the data they are collecting and analysing. The best way to do that is to ensure the right applications are allowed to work as they should. That is the best way to ensure truly user-centric information in the era of big data.
F5 Sales Director, Tim Hearn, takes a seat to discuss working in the Public Sector.
Stephen Bishop from Cenzic stopped by our stand at Infosecurity Europe 2013. We grab a few minutes of his time to talk about the F5/Cnezic partnership and our awesome joint solution.
Taking 5 minutes to talk with F5 Security Solution Architect, Joakim Sundberg (JJ), at Infosecurity Europe 2013 in London.