U.S. wireless carriers have made significant strides in rolling out 5G services across major cities, but all are on different paces using varying spectrum strategies to reach both consumers and business end-users. According to a recent article on SDxCentral, "Earlier this month, T-Mobile US leapfrogged all of its competitors with a nationwide 5G network running on 600 MHz spectrum. The operator’s low-band 5G network covers about 200 million people, or about 61% of the total population, spanning a geographic range of more than 1 million square miles." They also share that AT&T will reach part of 30 cities by early 2020 with AT&T confusing some in the industry by using the term “5G E” brand in select cities, while using “5G” brand for 5G running over low-band spectrum, and “5G+” for those running on mmWave spectrum. Verizon recently announced reaching 30 cities and 14 NFL stadiums by the end of this year. Lastly, Sprint started out 2019 with a strong leading roll-out of 5G but is expected to end the year covering roughly 11 million people. Also, U.S. Cellular shares it will launch 5G service in Q1 of 2020.
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by Compass Intelligence shows roughly 49% of those 4K+ wireless end-users surveyed across the U.S. believe 5G is available within their city or town, with 15% planning on purchasing a 5G enabled smartphones or devices in 2020. As consumers plan upgrades, phone replacements, and trade-ins on their smartphones, it only makes sense to make sure your device is 5G ready or enabled. Most wireless end-users, 88% of the 4,351 surveyed, believe 5G will be faster than 4G or LTE, with 31% believing 5G will be much more than just a faster or speed upgrade when compared to 4G or LTE services. Wireless carriers have not really been effective at communicating what these other advantages are to consumers at this stage, as most of the marketing and communication has been about the coming advantages to business solutions yet consumers will see brand new customer experiences with 5G like they have not seen in the past.
As for now, experiences within venues like airports, stadiums and event venues, shopping/retail, and engaging within a city has the potential to offer brand new real-time and personalized experiences. Many ideas have been shared at a high-level, but think about seamless buying and shopping catered to your needs and wants with better location, routing, checkout, and service. Within a city, interacting with public transportation or city services may be enhanced as 5G brings speeds that better leverage video, virtual reality (think 3D virtual city tours or interactive Uber ride experiences), and immersive experiences.
Stay tuned next week to the latest in plans to switch carriers ...survey research rocks!
This holiday season and the heightened economy has given rise to purchasing and this holiday season saw a spike in spending overall. According to recent tracking, "Retailers have much to cheer about this holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, holiday retail sales increased 3.4 percent (ex auto) with online sales growing 18.8 percent compared to 2018." Online purchasing of electronic devices have also seen promising results including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and overall Christmas shopping. Consumers are spending and this provided opportunities for those selling smartphones, tablets, and computing devices.
Compass Intelligence recently completed a survey with over four-thousand wireless end-users (4,351) and dove into a number of topics including planned purchases, perceptions of 5G, current ownership of devices, payment structures, and other related wireless services including insurance, prepaid, and leasing. This survey highlight included a snapshot of plans to purchase for smartphones, tablets, and computing devices. As shown, below is a roundup of purchasing plans for the next 3 to 4 months:
Note: Online survey conducted in late November 2019 with 4,351 (18 and older) wireless end-users in the United States.
A few weeks ago, I had the honor to attend the annual Xfinity Analyst Day event in Philadelphia located at both the Four Seasons Philadelphia hotel and the Comcast Technology Center. Thank you to Joel Shadle and team for inviting me and for the insanely wonderful hospitality. As we think about consumer needs and wants, the instant economy demands innovative customer experiences that cater to individual and contextual personalizations, and this is exactly what Comcast is doing with a suite of solutions, products, and services around broadband, WiFi access, Mobile services, and Content. I will share a few highlights of the day's activities below.
Dana Strong, President Xfinity Consumer Services, kicked off the event and shared a great summary of the Comcast/Xfinity innovation journey. Xfinity's primary focus is to push for differentiation around product innovation. It was clear throughout the event that Comcast is fully focused on positioning Xfinity Internet as its primary product; and counts around 26 million residential customers for the service as of Q219, compared to 22 million video customers and 1.4 million Xfinity Home customers. The trio of innovation areas include speed, coverage and control for broadband. Upcoming and new solutions include bringing Hulu to X1 customers in the first quarter of 2020, along with innovation around WiFi with Xfinity xFi Pods WiFi Extenders and a home suite that is fully integrated and searchable by voice with options for adding home security (#smarthome 1.4M home security customers), and innovation around the X1 cloud DVR and remote services. X1 is a platform of platforms with companies such as Cox, Shaw, Rogers all using it as the foundation for their video products.
In addition for homes today, it is all about speed as we are consuming more streaming video than ever. In fact Dana mentioned Xfinity customers used 6 billion video on demand hours along with 9 Billion voice commands in 2018 alone. Innovation is also an area being explored within Xfinity Mobile, where the company serves 1.6 Million mobile lines and is currently expanding LTE with their partnership with Verizon. Family Gig packs (Unlimited and By the Gig packs) or bundles allow payment plans and options to add in home monitoring for existing broadband customers. It is important to understand that only Xfinity Internet customer can get Xfinity Mobile services.
A great amount of innovation is centralized around the entire entertainment experience, which requires robust broadband and tools that can be leveraged with voice automation and an open system with access to services such as Netflix, Xumo, Pluto, Amazon Music, iHeartMusic, Amazon Prime video, YouTube, and again Hulu coming in Q1. Customers can use voice search across the entire ecosystem, not just linear tv, while search results default to free/complimentary and displays where you left off and recommends based on your history.
This innovation around entertainment does not happen without a sound high-speed broadband experience. Tony Werner, President of Technology & Product at Comcast Cable, shared additional innovation details around its broadband and WiFi solutions. With 17 different speed upgrades over the course of 18 years and a strong portfolio of patents with 400 currently pending and 20 million WiFi hotspots, the company is well positioned to leverage these assets to a strong base of residential customers and drive business to the B2B market moving up market from a strong SMB base. A great stat was shared...there are currently 58M homes today that have access to 1Gbps broadband by Comcast today.
Other innovation details shared by Patti Loyack (VP of IP Services) and Rui Costa (VP of Product, Design and CX) include some of the following:
Lastly, I will wrap up by sharing more around innovation specific to customer experience (cX). Charlie Herrin, Chief Customer Experience Officer for Comcast Cable, shared additional details around making the customer experience their best product. He shared four main components to personalized automation (Xfinity Assistant) including IDENTITY, INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION, PROACTIVE 2-WAY DIALOG, and CLOSING THE LOOP. Both self-care and administration are areas where Mr. Herrin is building out services and solutions.
Some highlights include:
These short-list (many others taking place) of improvements have brought about tens of thousands of predictive recommendations produced via IVR for better servicing customers and reduction of calls into the call center, along with billions data elements captured daily. Many customer issues have been contained in the Xfinity Assistant, which has reduced agent handled chats substantially. This customer-first and simplicity approach is sure to enhance the overall customer experience and drive retention for residential clients.
This summary does not include all the interactions and sessions attended, but provides a great review of things to come and the innovation in process and coming down the pipeline. It was clear throughout the event that Comcast is fully focused on positioning Xfinity Internet as its primary product; and counts around 26 million residential customers for the service as of Q219, compared to 22 million video customers and 1.4 million Xfinity Home customers. As part of this analyst day, we were also treated to product demos, Comcast Technology Center Tour, the Universal Sphere experience, and a great networking reception and dinner with showcase labs and interactions with executives. Thank you again to Comcast and the Xfinity team of executives and team who prepared and put this event together. I look forward to witnessing continued innovation and enhancements across the Xfinity portfolio.
Written by: Stephanie Atkinson, CEO of Compass Intelligence
In late June, a group of analysts (including myself) and consultants attended the annual Sprint Business Analyst Day in New York. This event provides an update on the business group including business wireless products and services, wireline (yes they are still operating in this space!) services, and of course IoT solutions. The theme this year was focused on how Sprint Business connects people, places, and things or branded as #worksforbusiness. We kicked off the event the first evening at The Knickerbocker Hotel with a reception to meet, greet, enjoy roof-top beverages and food. Jan Geldmacher (@JanGeld), Sprint Business President, kicked off the evening with a few words on expectations the next day, and a highlight of the sessions and content. The evening was enjoyable meeting up with old colleagues, fellow analysts, good friends, and catching up with Sprint executives.
The next morning was held at Sprint's NY offices with a slightly wet commute a few blocks away as the rain helped wake up our day. Mr. Geldmacher again kicked off our morning sharing again the highlights of the day and thoughts on 5G network progress, merger expectations, IoT solutions, and more. Jan stressed his high expectations of winning merger approval, along with the challenges of attorney generals suing yet sharing of the job growth that the merger will bring. Sprint Business reached 17% year over year growth in gross adds, with net adds up 34% y-o-y despite experiencing higher churn compared to competitors. Geldmacher mentioned focus areas and goals including increased contribution from Sprint Business with improved convergence of organization for selling across portfolio, stating the organization will continue the "Sprint Way of Selling" (i.e. solution selling focus, & automation/digitization of operations). Geldmacher shared they are working government and local companies including Peachtree Corners, GA and Greenville, SC on 5G and/or IoT use cases including Autonomous Vehicles.
Next up, we heard from Dr. John Saw, CTO of Sprint (@SprintCTO), who shared their mobile 5G progress. Sprint continued to roll out 5G in several cities using massive MIMO antenna systems (assets include 2.5 GHz spectrum assets) noting in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Kansas City (4 cities currently, with 5 cities coming online soon) there are over 1000 sq miles already covered with 5G. Meanwhile AT&T and Verizon are leaning on mmWave a 5G coverage approach. The primary differentiator is the ability to serve Advanced LTE and 5G customers simultaneously on a single existing antenna in split mode. Sprint essentially has an advantage on leaning towards its heavy spectrum assets to provide 5G network leadership, which will in turn be better for businesses and government. Outside of mass IoT and business use cases, 5G also brings consumer use cases noted Saw...sharing mobile gaming use case leveraging 5G and Hatch (spinoff from Rovio) edge computing centers and Sprint infrastructure. (See related article: https://www.section.io/blog/edge-computing-gaming-benefits/)
Ivo Rook, Sprint Business SVP of IoT and Product Development, provided an update on overall Sprint Business activities, IoT, and Sprint Curiosity (TM)...OS, Platform, and Core), and placing Sprint outside of being just a wireless operator but focused on software and AI. Rook shared more on bringing data to the edge, going global, a focus on talent/training, deal pipeline growth, nationwide Cat M, and #smartcities partners including AWS @awscloud, Mapbox @Mapbox, Spireon @Spireon, Nauto, Arm @Arm, and Dynamics @dynamicsinc (recently signed). Sprint closed smarty city deals with Peachtree GA, Phoenix, AZ, Detroit MI, Greenville, SC, and Sacramento, CA.
Rook also noted growth in SMB customers, up 24%, transitioning clients off CDMA. 5G was also a source of discussion, especially as it relates to autonomous vehicles (AV), where 5G can increase accuracy from 9 feet to 1 inch stated Ivo. Ivo shared 4 primary focus areas along with 5G emphasis including communication, security using #AI, engagement between colleagues, and client communications to enable business. Additional 5G use cases may include mobile wireless access points, #enterprise wireless backup, and #SMB collaboration.
The software and AI discussion continued as #AI application=reduce production costs stated Rook. #ArtificialIntelligence is expected to balance accuracy/speed providing relative #context to intelligence. New AI products announced include #Sprint Secure AI, Sprint Secure Mobile AI, and Sprint Smart Messaging all with a focus on reducing human intervention with #flatfee incentives and #endpointsecurity. Sprint Smart Messaging is helping #restaurants recapture lost reservations and field missed calls (great restaurant use case).
Kim Green-Kerr, SVP of Sprint Business, was also a speaker and shared live client examples of new #Sprint #AI products and solutions, with a highlight of service industry use case. She shared 60% of service industry experiences missed calls result in lost business to other companies or vendors (hair salons, restaurants) and Kim stated Sprint can help recapture #lostrevenue #lostcalls #lostbusiness using #AI #artificialintelligence (Sprint Smart Messaging). While sharing customer examples, Kim (@KimGreenKerr) introduced client Ron of @NationwideComm1 NCL Networks to share his experience working with Sprint Business. Ron mentioned NCL Networks maintains the largest base of Business Placement Outsourcing #BPO clients and nearshore and offshore customers in #singapore #philippines #manila #cebu sharing successes #3nodes.
Kim wrapped up by sharing a demo on Sprint Solutions Customization Tool which supports in helping those browsing #IoT solutions to a #guidedsell approach. This easy approach to find solutions, enables a no rep sale with #IoTFactory and can run full decision and close deal online #CuriosityMarketplace.
Partners include Spireon, Mapbox (Using Live mapping with @Mapbox @ericg and Curiosity(TM) platform, designed for people and things, rich data sets, near real-time intelligent data), among others...Sprint is also working with @Accenture Innovation Centers, running #Curiosity #IoT. Curiosity and Sprint's IoT Factory (launched in May 2018) continues to experience progress, noting after the launch of the #IoT Factory the focus is to (1) Engage with Developer community (2) Gather and learn from Insights in how customers think with IoT (3) Produce IoT Leads. IoT factory currently has 26 solutions added on Factory 2.0 with 368 activations in FY19, also sharing 42 new customers (added in Q1), 127% sales growth (QoQ).
#SprintCuriosity is live in #SanJose and #Ashburn with data collection nodes in 10 cities now, rolling out on weekly basis. The goal is to get data to the core (#SDN) as quickly as possible (19 Intelligent production nodes (Uber and Accenture)). #closetocustomers #sensordata #mL #AI Sprint is launching #Curiosity Labs, a public-private partnership (#3Ps #PPP) with Peachtree Corners @PCCityYes working with city Manager, Brian Johnson (#connected #smartcity #V2X #autonmous #500acres #smartcityexpo) and the expected date launch is set for Sept 9th...more can be found here vimeo.com/336207235 .
As for what's next, Sprint also continues to focus on international expansion. Sprint shared both casual and permanent roaming in 152 countries and has deployed EYCC centralized solution with continued work on roll-out and deals in 135 countries enabling local profiles activated OTA partnering with @ericsson and @TelnaGlobal.
Final thoughts on connecting PEOPLE, PLACES, and THINGS...
#IoT #IIoT #SDN #5G #certification #massIoT #IoTactivation #missioncriticalIoT #IoTSLAs
IWCE and the PSTA Collaborate to Support Worldwide Open Public Safety Technology Standards
International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) (iwceexpo.com) is collaborating with the Public Safety Technology Alliance (PSTA) to support open technology public safety standards and open APIs for the critical communications industry worldwide. IWCE takes place March 4-8, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
IWCE is the premier annual event for communications technology professionals. Targeted to government, public safety, transportation, utilities and enterprises, IWCE offers a Conference Program with five-days of learning and an Exhibit Hall with 400+ exhibitors showcasing the latest products and trends in the communications technology industry. The event also offers networking opportunities to build industry relationships.
PSTA’s mission as a non-profit organization is to bring public safety and industry together to support and promote the adoption of open, best-in-class technology standards and open APIs for the public safety user community.
At IWCE, PSTA will be located in the Exhibit Hall in booth #MCT75 showcasing its technical subcommittees’ progress and the benefits for both industry and public safety of joining PSTA.
TJ Kennedy, CEO of the PSTA, will present at the Town Hall meeting “Help is on the Way Roundtable: Public Safety Think Tank,” and Maggie Goodrich, Chair of the PSTA Board of Directors, will present at the General Session. PSTA will also host its quarterly board meeting at the conference.
“By partnering with PSTA we will be able to reach a wider audience of public safety professionals to ensure that they have the vital knowledge and latest safety technologies necessary for them to succeed in the critical communications industry,” said Stacey Orlick, IWCE’s Director of Community and Conference Content. “We look forward to working closely with PSTA at IWCE.”
Kennedy said, “We’re very excited to be working closely with IWCE to share our mission and progress on key technical issues with event attendees. As our industry continues its dynamic transformation, we are proud to support global open technology standards and open APIs to improve interoperability for public safety.”
To register to attend IWCE, click here.
Compass Intelligence is a proud media partner of #IWCE2019!
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