Cisco's Got Your GIST
Cisco talked up the software during a Webcast about trends in mobile data usage expected to emerge in the next five years -- something that the company may well know more about as users continue to download the Global Internet Speed Test (GIST) application. (See Cisco: Video to Drive Mobile Data Explosion.) GIST lets users measure phone connection speeds over a carrier's 3G network or via WiFi based on their location and network access speed at the time of a test.
"It allows you to check the speed of your connection based on the time of day and your overall location," said Doug Webster, Cisco's senior director of service provider marketing, on the Webcast.
This means that the users can find out the best spots and worst dead-zones for audio and video downloads, Web browsing, and more data-intensive applications.
Webster also said that the application will allow Cisco to "aggregate" customer data. The extent of that aggregation is not exactly clear yet, as Unstrung is waiting for the company to provide further detail.
Nonethless, even the customer's location and phone signal strength and whether the phone has a stronger cellular or WiFi connection is useful information for Cisco when it comes to understanding how and where people use mobile data on its phones. The company says that, so far, 42,000 iPhone users have downloaded the app from iTunes.
More generally, the company has been looking into mobile data trends from now until 2013. Cisco expects to see so-called "4G" broadband adoption -- based on networks using mobile WiMax and LTE -- to increase steadily and push data usage up, but really spike in 2013 as the new networks get established.
"There is a lot of evidence that higher connection speeds do encourage more usage," said Arielle Sumits, senior manager of service provider marketing.
Cisco, meanwhile, is predicting that mobile data traffic will exceed voice traffic for the first time in 2010. And that's good news for carriers that are seeing an increasing amount of revenue from data on mobile phones. (See Cisco Gives Mo Data.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung