Compression not the answer to data download overages

by Donal O'Callaghan for blog, EMM, MODA

Anyone involved in running an internet-related business will tell you that the only certainty is uncertainty. Think about it. The streaming service you thought was hot has turned cold, a mobile game you couldn’t put down is forgotten in a fortnight, and by the time you’ve cracked the latest meme the joke’s over.

Asavie Moda’s role in protecting companies from excessive mobile data downloads means we have a pretty good idea about what content is popular but that’s not our main focus. When we started out, the biggest challenge was identifying a technology solution that wouldn’t be rendered obsolete by the shifting sands of the internet.

Some companies, for example, have looked to curb excessive downloads with compression. When someone lands on a web site they provide an intermediary service by compressing the content before passing the slimmed down version through to the end user’s device.

In theory, compressing data means you’ll get to download more content without hitting your limit at a faster speed. In practice, it quickly runs into trouble if it’s focused exclusively on HTTP. While the protocol still accounts for most web traffic, there are plenty of signs to suggest that it may not always be the case.

Changing protocols

70%Some of the biggest internet names have moved over from HTTP to HTTPS, which has an added encryption layer to protect the privacy and integrity of data.  Google ranks sites using HTTPs higher in its searches; Apple will make it mandatory that iOS apps only connect to HTTPS sites by the end of this year. Our own customer research around Asavie Moda reveals that about 70 per cent of business internet usage now takes place over HTTPS.

Another issue is the growing use of different transport protocols on the web. Ubiquitous Voice over IP services run over UDP because it’s connectionless and faster. Packets of data might get lost in transit but they won’t seriously damage the quality of the call. Streaming services like Spotify, however, require a more exact transport layer and use TCP which prioritizes accuracy over speed. It has congestion controls and the ability to re-send lost packets, making sure all the data gets through.

The point is that if you attach yourself to web protocols as a way of reducing download volumes you risk being overtaken by events and left running an incomplete service in a notoriously fast-changing industry.

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Taking control

We launched Asavie Moda as a cross between an EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) and a MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution, filling a gap for organizations that wanted to better manage how their employees consumed mobile data. Our focus is very much on putting the customer in control.

Because of the pace of change and innovation around the mobile internet, we weren’t prepared to second guess protocols and content services, let alone speculate on the types of content people want to consume. Everything changes all the time. So we came up with the idea of SIM-based solution coupled to a cloud-based portal.

Asavie Moda lets organizations control precisely what their employees can and can’t download through the web portal where they can set precise parameters on a SIM-by-SIM basis from 25 categories of web site covering 900 million domains.

You can also manage speeds of your data access. If you want to apply a restriction that will allow access to email and light web browsing, but will deter the user from accessing streaming video on their mobile device, consider setting the Restricted Connection Speed to 400Kb/s.

The ability to set policies and rules at the device level, on your terms with your own inhouse technology, is the only guaranteed way keep to mobile data usage under control.

iPad-Pro-Mockup-Mobility-300Learn more about better mobility management by downloading our EMM eBook

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