I wanted to take a look back at 2012, because it has been a very interesting year from a networking point of view. What applications did we find blazing new paths? What services caught the eye? Any trends that we saw that may affect 2013?
Best Application: WhatsApp: Although Apple often loves to quote iMessages statistics, WhatsApp was delivering 10B messages a day in August of 2012. This has caused issues for a number of mobile operators, from KPN to others to lose billions in revenue. This is a transformational application that has signaled the end of a predictable revenue stream for operators, who can now kiss SMS revenue goodbye just as they are kissing voice revenue goodbye.
Trickiest (i.e. Worst) Application: uTorrent: This file sharing application is still the trickiest around. It changes its behavior, tries to use IPv6 tunneling whenever can, loves encryption, and is just generally a pain to keep up with. uTorrent even launched an Android client this year. Although file sharing traffic is declining in some parts of the world, it is still a problem for many network operators. As an IPE vendor, this is one of our biggest applications to try and correctly classify without “false positives”, and we are very careful with uTorrent.
Most Innovative Pre-paid Service: Yoigo: Have to give one to a Procera customer. Yoigo is one of the fastest growing operators in Europe, and have continued to offer new services that offer significant value to consumers. A Spotify plan and a VOIP offering have been highlights this year. It is not just Procera that thinks so – Their services were recognized by the Broadband Traffic Management Congress Awards in November as the best service enabled by Traffic Management (although we prefer the term “Intelligent Policy Enforcement”.
Worst Service: LTE iPad plans: When you can hit your data cap in under 4 minutes, the cap is too low. A video user reported by the Wall Street Journal was approaching his cap just a week into his iPad experience. As wonderful as LTE is, if you cannot effectively use the device and run out of usage when you are just getting started.
Best Service Trend: Free Mobile Broadband: I have a subscription to Freedom PoP, Netzero has a service, and Free in France have all started offering services. This is a great trend, as wi-fi is not prevalent, and sometimes you just need a little broadband to get you through until your next fix.
Worst Service Trend: Overly Restrictive Caps: This is an interesting one, as I am sure many thing that any company that does what Procera does is for caps. The move to the cloud – Dropbox, iCloud, Spotify, iTunes match – and all the other cloud services – have the potential to be completely stifled by overly restrictive data caps. I share many Dropbox folders with work colleagues, and every time we change or add files to the shared folders, all of my systems download the updates – using lots of Gbytes – even on mobile. I downloaded a 7.9GB game on the Playstation network on Christmas (Lego Lord of the Rings BTW)– that would be almost all of my cap on some networks. Operators need to be more intelligent with caps, and zero-rating some traffic – cloud services, iTunes updates, Windows updates, etc – will go a long way to making caps more acceptable and not stifling new service and application innovation.
Next up, a look at 2013, and some interesting trends in DPI and IPE.