There can be little doubt as the world becomes ever more mobility-centric and we rely on our personal devices and all of those applications almost around the clock, that all of the mobile usage has consequences. It impacts service providers, device manufacturers and app developers, and most importantly both our user experiences and our wallets.
These consequences manifest themselves in terms of operator concerns about which applications have the most impact in terms of their use of network resources. Device manufacturers who like to tout how long you can go without a charge are not disinterested in which apps are power drains. App developers are keenly interested since they wish to encourage not discourage usage. As for us, we want to preserve battery life and husband our data plans to avoid sticker shock. Thus, knowledge of not just where we are in relation to our plan but what is eating up which chunks of the bill is very valuable information.
With this in mind, it is recommended that regardless of whether you are an industry professional or just a typical user that you review new data from Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) (ALU). A just released study, The Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Applications Rankings Report, based on analytics from ALU’s Wireless Network Guardian (WNG) solution, reveals how better collaboration between mobile network operators and app developers can optimize usage and device battery life for an improved experience. In a word, the information is “illuminating.”
Visualization and details on app impacts
The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” should be the allure for downloading the entire study as can be seen below.
The information is compiled from more than 15 million subscribers using 3G networks in North America, Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. WNG signaling and data volume impact (bandwidth used) generated by apps when they are on the network. It is a key component of Alcatel-Lucent’s network analytics tool kit, which includes the WNG and the company’s Motive Big Network Analytics solutions, designed to give service providers information and deep insights they can use to improve operational efficiencies while enhancing customer experiences.
Source (News - Alert): Alcatel-Lucent Wireless Network Guardian, Network Analytics
As, Josee Loudiadis director, Network Analytics, Alcatel-Lucent (whose recent blog provides additional insights about this study and ALU’s Analytics Beat studies) told me, “To get a full understanding of app impacts on all of the stakeholders, the ability to look at the two key areas we measure and analyze is critical.”
She added, “The reasons these metrics provide great guidance is because obviously data volume drives service providers’ bandwidth-related CapEx and consumers’ data usage fees. Signaling usage impacts how spectrum is managed and network resources are utilized. It also impacts how much battery is being consumed. All of this is instructive to the entire mobile ecosystem in terms of better network planning, better device and apps designs for more efficient operation and ultimately an improved user experience. It enables all of us to effectively manage how we use our data plans based our personal preferences.”
Here are a few key findings from the report that provide a bit of context for the graphic above, and as it relates back to an overall app impact ranking contained in the study.
The five highest network impacting apps are also the five most popular: Google (News - Alert) Search, Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and YouTube.
- The lowest network impact apps include weather, Google Maps, DropBox, social media services like Nimbuzz, and Palringo and Zynga (News - Alert) games. The last three are on a ‘Watch List’ given their high cost per user – an increase in popularity could propel them into the high-impact list.
- Apps that have the highest data volume impact on networks are iTunes, Instagram, Pinterest, Apple Maps and Pandora.
- The top battery draining apps are Nimbuzz, Yahoo Messenger, BlackBerry (News - Alert) Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber and Palringo .
- The top apps impacting the consumer data plan are YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Video, Pandora and Instagram Video.
- The least costly apps for consumers by category are: Yahoo Mail and Gmail (tied for e-mail); Blogger and QQ.com, Live Messenger and Viber for social media; and Instagram Video (video)
- The least ‘chatty‘, or signalling-efficient apps per category are Blogger and Instagram (social media); Gmail (e-mail); Weather Channel (weather); and Yahoo (search)
Patrick Tan, Alcatel-Lucent general manager of Network Intelligence re-emphasized the value of the information in the study for each of the major stakeholders noting: “App cost profiles can be used by consumers to decide which app they will use. Service providers can understand which apps to proactively monitor, how to plan for future app growth and which app packages to create that subscribers would be willing to pay for that have an acceptable operational cost. Making this data available to apps developers assists them in optimizing app design so they run better over mobile networks and devices for an improved user experience.”
While the information is clearly extremely valuable to operators, device manufacturers and app developers, what resonated with is getting a better handle on the apps I use that are data plan and battery hogs. There were a few surprises.
As hopefully you are doing as well, I try to stay as much as possible on Wi-Fi as the first line of defense from being hit with a data overage. Plus, when I am out and about I turn off synchronization to save on battery as well as my plan. Now I also know with even more granularity what I can use and when, along with what not to use, and that is very valuable indeed.
Edited by Maurice Nagle