Trying To Improve Mobile App Experiences? The New Standard Is "Flawless"
October 16, 2014

John Reister
Vasona Networks

Share this

There was a time when consumers were so happy to have the power of a computer in their pockets that they’d put up with some usage flaws in exchange for information and entertainment on the go. But with higher costs of owning and using smartphones, and experiences enriched by 4G speeds, consumers have developed much higher performance expectations.

For the past two years, Vasona Networks has surveyed more than 1,000 smartphone owners about their mobile broadband performance expectations. This year, 72% of respondents said that they expect “good mobile data performance all of the time” with no hiccups or flaws. This is up 8% from the year before.

Even more striking is what we’ve learned about the increasing onus consumers put on their service providers to ensure great app experiences. In fact, the majority of consumers told us they hold their mobile operator most responsible when apps don’t function properly. This number is up to 55% from last year’s 40%, when app developers and operators were essentially tied for blame. This year, consumers that held the app developer most responsible dropped to 25%. In our most recent survey, the remaining 20% suspected either the device maker or operating system to be the cause of poor app performance. Considering recent operating system update struggles, perhaps there will be future increase in the blame placed there.

Regardless of where consumers place responsibility, delivering a great app experience is truly a shared burden across operators, technology providers and the developers of those apps.

On the app side, the developers that prioritize performance management work smartly to control the size of their apps, take advantage of the latest compression techniques, and give users control over how content is displayed depending on what type of network they’re connected to. These app developer strategies are well-covered by other authors on this site.

From our experience working with service providers, there are some exciting new techniques available for use in mobile networks that drive the best app experiences by smarter approaches to the RAN (Radio Access Network). Managing contending traffic that shares the cell air interface is a major area of focus. This is where bandwidth additions are most expensive, and, related to that, where congestion is most frequently encountered. Operators are finding better ways to address the diverse mixture of streaming media, web browsing and downloads that can cause severe congestion within cells.

Solutions like edge application controllers assess whether a cell faces congestion at any given moment, and understand which sessions are causing it and the experiences suffering the most as a result. Bandwidth is then reallocated based on application type and subscriber needs.

This is a leap beyond prior probe and DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) approaches that observe traffic patterns and congestion and then communicate through a policy control function to take enforcement action. But congestion and latency are transient phenomena that may last seconds or less. These small incidents can destroy app experiences and cause degradation with repercussions longer than the initial periods of congestion. In these cases, the information can be revealed too late by the probe and service experience is compromised before the DPI takes action.

The results of better approaches to RAN management are speaking for themselves. For instance, a US service provider using an edge application controller to manage the impact of congestion has achieved more than 30% improved bitrate performance for video and web browsing and more than 35% reduction in service latency during congestion. These numbers signify the difference between a great app experience and a frustrating one. Between a finger tapping happily on a screen or pointing angrily at the offending party.

As consumers stiffen their demands for mobile operators to assure flawless app experiences, the industry continues to move closer to that promise.

Click on the infographic below for a larger version.

John Reister is VP of Marketing and Product Management for Vasona Networks.

Share this

The Latest

July 26, 2017

The retail industry is highly competitive, and as retailers move online and into apps, tech factors play a deciding role in brand differentiation. According to a recent QualiTest survey, a lack of proper software testing — meaning glitches and bugs during the shopping experience — is one of the most critical factors in affecting consumer behavior and long-term business ...

July 25, 2017

Consumers aren't patient, and they are only one back-button click from Google search results and competitors' websites. A one-second delay can bump the bounce rate by almost 50 percent on mobile, and a two-second delay more than doubles it ...

July 24, 2017

Optimizing online web performance is critical to keep and convert customers and achieve success for the holidays and the entire retail year. Recent research from Akamai indicates that website slowdowns as small as 100 milliseconds can significantly impact revenues ...

July 21, 2017

Public sector organizations undergoing digital transformation are losing confidence in IT Operations' ability to manage the influx of new technologies and evolving expectations, according to the 2017 Splunk Public Sector IT Operations Survey ...

July 20, 2017

It's no surprise that web application quality is incredibly important for businesses; 99 percent of those surveyed by Sencha are in agreement. But despite technological advances in testing, including automation, problems with web application quality remain an issue for most businesses ...

July 19, 2017

Market hype and growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) are pushing established software vendors to introduce AI into their product strategy, creating considerable confusion in the process, according to Gartner. Analysts predict that by 2020, AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service ...

July 18, 2017

Organizations are encountering user, revenue or customer-impacting digital performance problems once every five days, according a new study by Dynatrace. Furthermore, the study reveals that individuals are losing a quarter of their working lives battling to address these problems ...

July 17, 2017
Mobile devices account for more than 60 percent of all digital minutes in all 9 markets profiled in comScore's report: Mobile’s Hierarchy of Needs ...
July 14, 2017

Cloud adoption is still the most vexing factor in increased network complexity, ahead of the internet of things (IoT), software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV), according to a new survey conducted by Kentik ...

July 13, 2017

Gigabit speeds and new technologies are driving new capabilities and even more opportunities to innovate and differentiate. Faster compute, new applications and more storage are all working together to enable greater efficiency and greater power. Yet with opportunity comes complexity ...