Technology is generation-hopping with Asian providers

Joshua Eum

With IDC expecting 2016 to be the year where digital transformation takes root in at least 65% of Asia-Pacific organization, we can rightly say that Asia is well in the midst of a digital transformation. Across the continent, Asian service providers are leading the way for some of the most advanced home entertainment experiences in the world. But what’s even more exciting are the incredible advances they’re making to bring these experiences to billions of consumers.

Service providers in many countries in Asia are leapfrogging entire technology generations. Take for instance how in some emerging markets, we’re increasingly witnessing broadband providers going straight from dial-up to fiber broadband, while video providers are transitioning from analog to digital MPEG-4, completely bypassing MPEG-2 in the process.

These broad deployments of next-generation technology have a number of advantages. From a business perspective, they’re enabling local providers to unleash top-of-the-line services that are heads and shoulders above the competition’s offerings. Well for the consumers, it means that the future will arrive sooner — with faster speeds, smarter devices, and the latest entertainment coming on the heels of these cutting-edge deployments.

Even in areas without “straight to tomorrow” trajectories, local providers are upgrading networks and technology at a pace that exceeds much of the world. It reflects the fact that Asia, as a market, is more competitive than ever before.

Among the biggest growth trends in Asia is the digitization of cable networks, fueled in large part by government mandates for nationwide infrastructure advancements. The resulting leaps in technology generations are changing the way that Asian providers introduce new services like network DVR. For example, in China, where few have ever owned a VCR, there is no interest in hitting the record button to watch something later. Chinese consumers expect providers to offer all shows whenever they want them.

Asian providers are anticipating these new experiences as well as idiosyncratic expectations of their local consumers using a combination of technology and market insight. Content consumption across wireless networks is huge in Asia, as is multiscreen. In addition to investing in new network technology to handle the inevitable shift to multi-gigabit broadband, providers are also racing to ensure that there’s enough Wi-Fi coverage throughout consumers’ homes to take advantage of those speeds and power tomorrow’s TV in every room.

According to the Arris Consumer Entertainment Index 2015, APAC consumers experience challenges when it comes to Wi-Fi — two-thirds of consumers in the region reported issues with their Wi-Fi. Add that to the nearly three-quarters of respondents who indicated that they want high-speed internet in every room, and quickly the notion of generation-hopping both network infrastructure and home networking technology begins to make sense.

Whether it’s deploying network extenders, the latest DOCSIS devices, or laying fiber and shifting to all-IP networks, Asian service providers are setting a global example for the introduction of tomorrow’s entertainment. And very soon, Asian consumers will be the ones enjoying the fruits of falling technology prices, highly competitive markets, government incentives, and forward-looking service providers.

Joshua Eum is a member of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).

Commentary

5G and data center-friendly network architectures

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Rémy Pascal / Analysys Mason

The launch of 5G by South Korean operators serves as a first benchmark for other operators around the world