The vital role of networks and digital transformation in mega events
Source: MSL Group for Ericsson , Author: Shadi Sayed
Posted: Sun October 7, 2018 6:26 pm

QATAR. At the conclusion of the football world cup in Russia, data traffic trends have once again been confirmed – people need to share their experiences with family, friends and colleagues, and operators have to be prepared for the data explosion that these events bring about to ensure satisfaction and service continuity for consumers.

Network infrastructure plays a vital role in ensuring end-to-end service delivery during mega events; as we look toward the 2022 world cup, operators have an opportunity to upgrade their networks to meet future traffic needs and have the capacity for the traffic explosion during mega events.

According to Ericsson's latest Mobility Report published in June 2018, mobile data traffic is expected to have grown by a factor of 8 by the end of 2023. In Q1 2018, mobile data traffic grew around 54 percent year-on-year. The Traffic growth is not only driven by the rising number of smartphone subscriptions and increasing average data volume per subscription, but also fueled primarily by more viewing of video content at increasingly higher resolutions.

During mega events such as the world cup, service providers have to prepare their networks for the massive increase in data, in addition to the anticipated everyday traffic demands. During such events, both consumer behavior and network delivery undergo a transformation.

The existence of a big mass of fans sitting within a relatively small location such as a Stadium or fan zone requires a completely different way of handling the traffic. Additionally, thousands of fans migrate from various countries to watch the games will expect an end-user experience that will enable them to share memories with friends and family in their networks. Hence, they will excessively use their mobile phones and tablets to share live experiences with their family and friends.

As telecom operators and smartphone manufacturers are continuously offering new services and functionalities to the end subscribers, we believe mobile networks should be prepared for data traffic volume explosion in the near future and for upcoming events.

For instance, an emerging trend is the increased streaming of immersive video formats, such as 360-degree video, would also impact data traffic consumption. For example, a YouTube 360-degree video consumes four to five times as much bandwidth as a normal YouTube video at the same resolution. Network traffic is also expected to increase dramatically when subscribers upstream 4K and 10K HD videos in the future as compared to current standard HD video.

Needless to mention the growing number of OTT applications heavy in data streams and their high utilization during events. Mobile subscribers are hungry for capacity, trying to capture all moments of an event which exhausts network resources and contributes to peak traffic increase.

There is also a strong correlation between the number of event attendants and the large amount of data shared over social media during a particular event. Ericsson expertise in managing mega events supports telecom operators to achieve optimal resource utilization, maximize network performance, avoid unnecessary infrastructure investments, monetize the event and ultimately protect the operator's brand.

Capacity investments are primordial but also designing and optimizing the network in a dynamic way is very crucial during such events. Obviously, the operators don't want to dimension their network for a two-hour game or even for a month-long tournament. Hence, the role of the Artificial Intelligent Networks to dynamically allocate the network elements resources in the most optimal way and increase the return on investments.

Ericsson successfully contributed to Russia world cup by delivering a superior mobile broadband coverage to hundreds of thousands of fans in more than 40 sites across seven cities. In addition to the world cup in Russia, Ericsson has provided network infrastructure to ensure regional events such as F1 Racing Event, mega concerts, business conferences and government summits had the broadband coverage to ensure service continuity.

Ericsson has played a major role in handling FIFA world cups in 2010 and 2014 as well as the Super Bowl 2017 (plus 70000 spectators) where one operator's subscribers generated nearly 10 terabytes (TB) of mobile data. Last but not least, we have recently implemented Ericsson Elastic Radio Access Network for Turkey's best-known arena – the Ülker Sports Arena in Istanbul.

The upcoming world cup will prove even more challenging for operators, with the evolution of technology to 5G networks, capacity demand will be higher and more intricate than ever. Combining both our local presence with our global experience in supporting such mega events, places us in the right position to add value to our customers gearing towards a successful event in 2022. 

Author: Shadi Sayed, Ericsson Qatar Country Manager



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