Over-the-Top Communication Service Provider Vendor Guide
Life in the bit stream: now, connected consumers can watch their favorite videos over the Internet; shop for anything they can imagine; monitor their homes; even feed their cats. The consumer communication services space is now in the cloud, and will increasingly be a digital artifact. Ultimately, people will live much of their life in a virtual world.
Yet, this new virtual communication environment is still a vague concept for many. Traditional carriers, especially, seem to under-appreciate the magnitude of the looming age of virtual interaction. Since they are the suppliers of access, the feeling seems to be that it does not matter what is traveling over the digital pipes they provide, as long as they are paid for building and terminating those pipes.
As has been discussed in other Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan reports, consumer value perception has evolved beyond simple connectivity. The result has been a willingness to drop conventional service, such as subscription television and landline voice, in favor of Internet-accessible streaming video and telephone service. The new “dual” play is a blend of broadband access (both wired and wireless) and over-the-top (OTT) services. And these OTT services are not restricted to communication offerings.
In fact, it is the very diversity of services that can be delivered digitally that has most of the carriers stumped. As consumers increasingly judge communication services on the ways in which they integrate with such activities as retail commerce, mobility, demographics, and social media, carriers are rapidly being left behind as the consumer market evolves to a new integrated service space. A focus on simple access largely denies carriers the opportunity to generate high margins and increasing revenues.
OTT services now include traditional communications, two-way video communications, social media communications, social interactions such as e-gaming, as well as eCommerce. Each of these is a complete market in itself, but, combined, cover just about every existing conventional market. Achieving anything like a comprehensive guide to the entire OTT space, then, is probably not practical. However, representative players for the major market niches can be identified; and this can serve as a good overview of the space as it is evolving.
This year’s OTT Vendor Guide defines a starting point: one that will be expanded as the market grows. It is the intent of Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan to maintain this guide as a foundation for continuing industry discussions, and as a directory for interested parties to locate players in the OTT space.
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