By: Roger Vilanova, Solutions Architect, Netrounds

…Then you should measure it with accuracy and reliability! An analogy between Telcos and elite athletes on how goals should only be supported by high-quality data. 

Introduction

In the midst of a frenzy, on a Saturday afternoon, full of family-shopping in my hometown of Barcelona, Garmin’s brand-new store came to my rescue in a centric city mall.

As mad as I am about cycling, and endurance sports in general, I am an avid user of fitness-wearable devices; admittedly, my appetite for the newest and coolest gadgets to track my performance is never satisfied. Nothing exceptional within my circle of mad friends, all equally obsessed with any kind of analytics and trend analysis devices providing weekly training reports posted in social-fitness network platforms.

The Quest for High-Quality Data

The fact is that, for those of us “hard-core enthusiasts'” we are still rara avis, but might possibly not be a minority for much longer I reflected as I stepped into Garmin’s newly opened, and first-ever store in Spain. I looked quickly around the showroom, it became apparent that Garmin is well tuned to a growing demand in high-end wearable devices; particularly watches. In taking a closer look at their latest earnings report, it is apparent, and rather impressive, to see how their fitness segment is already their biggest contributor to overall revenue and its fastest growing business in result of the company’s new direction set a few years back. Garmin is an accurate and reliable data source for tracking athlete performance, they succeed by making their unique data seamlessly available to leading social-fitness portals such as Strava.

Why is this remarkable do you ask? Today, every one of us who owns a smartphone can collect a great deal of data on what we do and how and where we we do it. Mostly with broadly-available free apps, 24/7. But the question is, is all that data relevant? Naturally, it depends on the context but when it comes down to reaching specific goals purpose-driven data becomes imperative. As suggested in an earlier blog post by Dr. Stefan Vallin, “Big Data and AI: Gandalf with his magic wand is here!,” specific (or high-quality) answers won’t come from generic questions or queries when collecting data.  

This is well reflected with our analogy here; with a strong trend of fitness adepts and sport amateurs increasing worldwide, demand for specific, high-quality data has grown significantly. This demand can no longer be served by mainstream smartphones and low-cost wearables. When athletes enroll for the next challenge, they set clear and measurable goals and follow a well-defined training program which is consciously executed by tracking their progress consistently. Access to specific, accurate and reliable data is critical in their pursuit for gradual improvement towards their ultimate goal. This group of individuals are very serious about their goals and can simply not afford any vague or misleading information in the process so their willingness to pay higher prices for accurate and reliable data information is high. As Peter Drucker said “If you can’t measure, you can’t improve.”


How Serious are Telcos about their goals?

As the telecommunications industry embarks on new technology waves supporting the so called digital transformation and fourth industrial revolution latency is evolving as the killer app for services providers- to the extent in which they can deliver superior latency and prove it to end-users by measuring it accurately and reliably, they will then differentiate themselves from competitors and succeed in their overall business.

We have clear examples today where latency requirements are becoming more and more stringent as we transition from 4G to 5G networks, latency buckets move from 30 ms in LTE to 10ms in LTE-A today and down to ultra-low demands within the sub ms range for 5G soon. This is particularly true in use cases around Mobile Edge computing (MEC) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) where Netrounds is actively involved by supporting leading service providers in PoCs and early field trials.

Measuring latency demands top-quality metrics with first-rate levels of accuracy and reliability; Netrounds is helping telecommunication companies with standard-based active testing and monitoring based on hardware time-stamping evolved SR-IOV/passthrough techniques and proprietary in-line time synchronization for one-way measurements supporting most stringent latency buckets towards unsynchronized demarcations.

So this leads us to a final question; are you an elite athlete in your field or are you going to allow your competitors to lead the way? If Telcos are serious about their transformational intent, and coming ahead of their competitors, then it is simple, they must follow the example set by elite athletes and sport amateurs in their quest for measurable goals only supported by high-quality data. 

For more information about the right kind of data, read our white paper “Service Assurance – In Need of Big Data or Small Data.