Potential own goal with congested mobile network traffic

By Steve Nicholson
July 7, 2010

SOCCER-WORLD/

-Steve Nicholson is CEO at The Cloud. The opinions expressed are his own.-

There we were, transfixed as a nation hoping to see England beat Germany to progress in the World Cup – we watched the match from our homes, maybe the office, or in my case at the pub.

Over the course of the World Cup more and more of us have been able to snatch a glance of the matches whilst out and about – on our mobile phones, iPods or maybe even iPads for those lucky few..

Oh how the world is changing – we used to dream of using our mobiles to watch TV and here we are thanks to Sky, the BBC and ITV, with their iPlayers, able to do so.  However, just as the moment arises, the mobile networks don’t have the capacity to enable this to happen.

I remember vividly back in the early 90’s shouting from the roof tops about how 3G would transform the way we use mobile technology, how our mobiles would switch the lights on and off, set the central heating, the alarm and even park the car – ok, that bit’s not true!

So here we are nearly two decades on, the third generation of mobile telephone networks has arrived (3G) and its already choked to capacity before we even start.

The good news is the 4th generation mobile technology is just around the corner – sadly however not until around 2013 / 2014 other than in a few instances.

I suspect it will coincide with the next sporting event for all those sports fans, and I wonder if I might be writing something similar again. In truth I doubt it – we will all have moved on and converted to something faster and arguably easier, certainly cheaper – Wi-Fi.

We have Wi-Fi both at home and at work, and we know that it’s effective, it works and in fact it’s up to 4 times faster than 3G networks.

Wi-Fi enables the same rich media experience you’d expect at home and the ability to use broadband on the move for multiple applications and on multiple devices.

We are already using it at thousands of public hotspot locations in our everyday lives. You don’t even need a mobile phone – with Wi-Fi, quick and secure access to live World Cup streaming this summer can become a reality on any cellular or non-cellular Wi-Fi enabled device.

We, at The Cloud, are building a public Wi-Fi service – there are currently around 6,000 or so UK locations where you can watch the match – McDonalds, Pret a Manger, Eat and a variety of pubs.

If you have the latest Smartphone, you can watch the matches with The Cloud – and its typically free.

Go to the web site (www.thecloud.net <http://www.thecloud.net> ) and find the network. If you are an O2 iPhone customer download Wi-Fi FastConnect from the app store – its free, automatically connects you and locates the nearest access point.

Our consumption of data via our mobile devices is roughly doubling every 6 months.

Mobile devices are fast becoming available, and affordable and can deliver TV quality video and good quality radio (audio).

So high definition quality TV on mobile devices is just around the corner – we estimate this quality should be available over the coming 6 to 12 months.

The challenge however remains that our traditional mobile networks will continue to struggle to provide the capacity to deliver the services – either over 3rd or 4th generation services.

To contain demand the mobile operators are introducing capacity caps with additional charges for rich media services .

But there is an alternative and we see Wi-Fi as an integral part of this solution. For the time being hunt down the Cloud and we will do our best to deliver the match, the tennis, you Tube and so on.

Picture Credit: Fans of Japan’s national soccer team use a mobile phone before a 2010 World Cup second round soccer match against Paraguay at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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