PARTNER INTERVIEW: Soaring demand for mobile video services is creating challenges and opportunities for mobile operators.
Hao Guangming (pictured, left), VP of Wireless Network Marketing at Huawei, talked Mobile World Live through the ways Huawei is helping operators overcome those challenges and capitalise on the opportunities, and explained why the company believes the time is now right for telecoms service providers to position video as a core service rather than a value-add.
What key challenges is the growing demand for mobile video presenting?
Currently, there are three major challenges. First is the lack of an accepted standard covering the evaluation of user experience. This makes is hard to evaluate and quantify the gap between user expectation and experience, and any improvements operators make.
The second challenge concerns how to construct a video experience-oriented network which offers the higher throughput required by video relative to voice. The benchmark for ubiquitous coverage in mobile video is also higher, as is the traffic carried by the pipeline.
Third, there is currently insufficient coupling between the pipe and the applications, meaning service level agreements (SLAs) can’t be the same. Making those SLA’s happen efficiently in the same network is a challenge.
Is mobile video fuelling mobile broadband (MBB) deployments and network upgrades?
Definitely. Mobile video will be an essential part of mobile network operators’ (MNOs) business.
In recent years we have witnessed data generate over 50 per cent of tier-1 MNOs revenue. Also mobile video can account for up to 60 per cent of the total data service volume.
Changing video types are another factor to consider. In future entertainment, communication and industry videos are going to play an increasingly important role, which will push MNOs to upgrade to MBB networks.
You mentioned developments in the kind of videos mobile networks will need to handle in future. What other trends are you seeing in terms of video development, and how is Huawei helping operators to tap those developments?
In the past two years we have witnessed a boom in entertainment videos, short videos and live broadcasting.
Looking forward, communication and vertical industry videos will be growth points – indeed we’re already seeing several successful cases in China and overseas markets including initiatives around monitoring and security from China Mobile, and mobile video surveillance by Elisa in Finland and Spark in New Zealand. We have even seen auto insurance companies begin to utilise mobile video for in-car surveillance.
Huawei already has products to meet those trends and, of course, we continue to develop new products.
In addition to summarising best practices for the industry and sharing our experience with MNOs, Huawei offers consultancy services, and network analysis and planning. We also offer VideoGo, which matches our products to MNOs’ marketing strategies.
Does fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) offer any additional challenges in terms of video?
Yes, FMC brings several challenges to operators.
Content synergy is one such challenge. It is difficult to provide the same content on a mobile phone and a TV set. The same can be said of the user experience – there are differences in the way you operate your set-top box (STB) and mobile phone, which results in differences in the way consumers experience the video service.
Billing and content systems must also be considered. For example, there may be differences in the subscription and billing information for a fixed TV and mobile phone, and separate content delivery networks (CDNs) for each device. Added to that are potential differences in the big data systems used by each format, and isolated network planning systems.
Those aspects make it difficult to develop coordinated plans covering users, product, and content operation.
Another consideration is the business plan of the operators. Many of them have different focuses – for example on either the fixed or mobile side – which makes coordination challenging.
What developments do you expect to see in the mobile video market in the next five years?
Huawei expects to see HD video content become mainstream and for the overall network experience to improve.
Virtual reality (VR) could be a big growth point for both the mobile video and entertainment industry. For example, in 2016 we saw the first live broadcasts of concerts using VR from artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chinese singer-songwriter Faye Wong, which attracted impressive audience numbers (some 20 million in the case of Wong).
We are also exploring end user demand for entertainment videos, while developing operator’s traditional business operations to meet the huge demand for mobile video content.
Vertical industry videos are likely to take an ever larger share of the overall mobile video market in the next few years – services including security and video surveillance, each of which will broaden the size of the overall mobile video market.
We also believe mobile videos could be used to make it easier to access services in the healthcare and logistics industries.
For these reasons, Huawei believes the time is now right for operators to reposition video as a basic, core, service rather than just a value-added service.
To achieve such a goal, operators must first position their video business as an effective way to promote traffic and increase ARPU. They must also assign a single member of their executive teams to oversee the video business, and redesign their networks to provide the best possible video experience.
Huawei will also continue to develop its capabilities to further assist operators on this journey. We will bolster our business and strategic consulting capabilities, build a robust set of content aggregation capabilities to help operators reduce the difficulty of content acquisition and improve the efficiency of their video business. Huawei also plans to construct a convergent, cloud-native, open video platform to enable operators to boost their operational efficiency and increase the exposure of their services to video ecosystem partners.
We also plan to assist operators in the construction of end-to-end video-centric networks which enable the provision of a premium video experience, and will build video-specific planning, design, integration and experience management capabilities