LTE Broadcast – solving the one-to-many mystery

March 3, 2017

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One-to-many broadcast transmission presents a whole world of possibilities for mobile operators, suppliers of goods and services and for end-users themselves – and the technology that can support it effectively is now here.

LTE Broadcast, based on Evolved Multicast Broadcast Multimedia Service (eMBMS) technology, is the next level content delivery technology the market has been waiting for. Previously, the business case for LTE Broadcast based on delivering live video to end-user devices was not robust enough; eMBMS however enables much more than ‘just’ streamed video and helps make more viable business models. Non-live data delivery services to dedicated locations offered by LTE Broadcast can help cross the chasm.

Solving the one-to-many mystery

Service and solution providers have long looked for ways to address the one-to-many broadcast challenge, and they now recognize that there are key areas which must be exploited to make the most of LTE Broadcast. Historically broadcast technology was generally considered fit mainly for sporting events or concert venues, but it has now evolved. Broadcast over LTE mobile technology can now enable the use cases to make it a valuable channel.

LTE Broadcast enables ‘push’ notifications, like over-the-air device updates which can be triggered when an end-user is in a specific venue or location. Video content streaming to mobile devices is obviously a given service, whether it is live sporting matches, music concerts, films, TV shows or anything else; but content streaming and distribution can also include different types of content downloads, app distribution and software updates. It can be the conduit over which media companies send ads to digital signage, and tailor that content dynamically while doing so to create more targeted messages.  An example of this is the Connected Bus Shelter in Innovation City.

Furthermore, as the mobile network continues to evolve and 5G becomes a reality, LTE Broadcast can also become a network-as-service platform for IoT connectivity, thanks to its ability to communicate to billions of connected devices simultaneously.

Technology and timing now right

The development of LTE technology means networks can now provide the required bandwidth, in conjunction with the numerous mobile devices in circulation, for LTE Broadcast to now deliver on all these possibilities. Operators have the opportunity to add value across multiple areas and generate new B2C and also B2B revenue streams from using LTE Broadcast to provide services like public announcements, airport announcements, traffic accident warnings and tourist information right through to being the backbone that supports live TV, regional news and sporting broadcasts. eMBMS use cases already exist that showcase the technology’s ability to stream real-time video sporting event content to smartphones and also deliver specific content relating to concerts or music festivals.

Data, data everywhere

By 2020, two-thirds of mobile data will be video. To handle this gigantic growth in video data the industry will need the efficient, scalable content distribution network that LTE Broadcast offers. The GSMA recognizes the potential and is working to encourage all device vendors to support eMBMS natively. Telstra publicly stated that a shift of 1 percent of mobile data traffic from unicast to multicast by 2021 is sufficient to recoup the investments necessary to deploy eMBMS.

Download our report on 4G Broadcasting Opportunity HERE

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