How Much is 2GB of Data Usage and Why Should We Care?

8/15/2013 2:51:00 PM
Recently my mother-in-law came to visit. She was considering a cell phone upgrade, so together we ventured to the Verizon Wireless store.

Verizon Wireless stores (wireless stores in general) are scary places for many, especially if you’re not well versed in the jargon of that business. These stores are an alternate world filled with young “I-think-I’m-smarter-than-you” tech people pushing the latest gadgets on customers. I’m hesitant to believe that they are asking the right questions or trying to find the best product for their customers. Maybe that’s just me.

My mom-in-law was available for an upgrade and the lady behind the desk started to explain the deals. The one that stood out was unlimited text and voice (sounds like smart phone heaven)… and a data cap of 2GB. Hold on! We were assured that she would never use this much data, but for anyone that has been burned by overage charges for voice or texting in the past will find it is hard to believe Verizon has our best interest in mind.

This got me thinking. How much is 2GB of data, really? And why should we, the custom integrator, care?

You could send thousands of emails a month and hardly touch a 2GB cap. Add in some attachments to those emails, and you’re still golden. To that let’s add some web browsing. If you are a light web-surfer you may hit a 100MBs a month, whereas a heavy user would hit at about 200MB a month (graphic heavy sites not optimized for mobile usage eat up more than mobile-ready sites).

We then throw social networking into the pot. If you’re just checking out Facebook or Twitter, you would be hard pressed to hit 100MB, but if you’re uploading your life via pictures (and we all know someone who does this) you could be more likely to hit at about 400MB of data.

To this we add my personal favorite: streaming. I’m an avid fan of Pandora. Rarely does a day go by that I’m not streaming my favorite tunes. On a recent road trip I wondered how much data I would eat up if I streamed Pandora during our 5-hour car ride. I reset my data statistics on my iPhone 5 as we left. When we finally arrived home I had received 92.5MB of data. What does that mean to the average bird? Steaming audio is an easy way to eat up your data plan, and quickly!

The real hog in the data eating sphere, however, is streaming video. According to Digitaltimes, “If you wanted to watch a 30-minute TV show on Netflix every day, you can expect to consume almost 2GB of data.” Ouch! There goes our budget.

Nevertheless, we’re talking about the average human being here. Let’s budget 100MB each for email, web surfing, and social networking (that’s 300MB to those who are math challenged). If we allow another 1GB to cover streaming of audio and video, we would still have 700MB to spare.

Sounds like we’re good for now, but does the average consumer want to worry and watch their data usage?

Why we custom integrators should care about this is because no data is used when you’re on a Wi-Fi network (have you been thinking that all along? Go you!). Stream Pandora, stream Netflix, surf the web all day long on your iPhone, smart phone or tablet, and it won’t ever touch your data plan. Now go ask Mr. and Mrs. Client if their Wi-Fi is covering their entire house. Are they adding pictures to Pinterest or Facebook from the upstairs master bedroom while the router lives in the basement? Are they sure they are getting coverage in the backyard? If not, sell them an enterprise-grade wireless access point, and you become the hero. You’ve solved a problem, and they no longer need to worry.
An enterprise-grade wireless access point can help ease data-plan concerns in the home.
Never before has the convergence between the IT world and the AV world been so strong. Now is the time to make sure you and your staff are well versed on the subject. It is a must to survive.

May I suggest seeking out network-technology companies such as Pakedge, Access Networks, and Luxul—just to name a few—at CEDIA this year? Make a friend. Take a class. Become the expert. Your clients will be happier and your business will be stronger. Heather Sidorowcz
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.


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