Friday, June 14, 2013

Creating Real Business Value from Wi-Fi

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. The recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month.  In parallel, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never viewed any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business.  The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that.  Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them to avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.

Mobile operators understand the business case behind off-loading data traffic to cheaper Wi-Fi --deferring significant capital expenditures for further build-out of the licensed network.  However, operators around the world are asking if there is more to Wi-Fi than just data offload? Or, more appropriately how do they actually make money from Wi-Fi -- turning a cost of doing business into profitable business models?  The simple answer is “Yes.” 
Cisco views the Wi-Fi monetization opportunities as a pyramid, or set of layers.  Each of the layers supports the subsequent layer above.  Not only is it extremely difficult to make a compelling business case for a stand-alone layer without successfully implementing some of the business models in the previous layers, but it is not in the SP’s strategic interests to focus on only one of the layers.  However, the SP and its customers derive increasing value as they move up the Wi-Fi Monetization Pyramid.

The core layers of Wi-Fi monetization opportunities in the pyramid, starting at the bottom, include:

1.       Baseline – using Wi-Fi for broadband retention or mobile data offload offer a very compelling return on investment, largely based on cost reductions, to justify further investment in other layers of monetization.

2.       New Revenues – leveraging the Wi-Fi network deployed in the Baseline layer to offer premium connectivity services, managed hotspots or Wi-Fi roaming offers opportunities to generate significant new revenues from Wi-Fi.

3.       Value Added Services – increasing new opportunities are emerging to leverage the Wi-Fi network developed in the previous layers to provide new and innovative services related to advertising, location, analytics, retail store interactions and special venues, such as sporting facilities.

The recent white paper (Wi-Fi: Service Providers Can Make Money with New Business Models) by Cisco IBSG describes each of these business models in much more detail – laying out the economics and providing case studies of success operators. 
The rapid growth of mobile data and the popularity of Wi-Fi have created a number of new and innovative money-making opportunities for SPs. The question is no longer “Can SPs make money from Wi-Fi?” Rather, it is “Where should they focus their efforts, and when should they deploy?”  By methodically climbing the layers of the Wi-Fi monetization pyramid, SPs can create compelling new business models and sources of revenues and business benefits to readily justify investments in building robust Wi-Fi networks and operational capabilities.

View the blog on Cisco.com

2 comments:

jaspreet singh said...
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jaspreet singh said...

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