Survey Results: The Future Telco-Connected Home

The Future Telco-Connected Home

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Download the new survey from Omdia and Broadband Forum on the importance of greater open standards to enable service providers to protect their position in the connected home.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Survey Overview

For many years broadband service providers viewed the connected home largely as a cost driver and, therefore, focused their strategies on developing cheaper hardware and driving greater operation efficiency. However, the connected home is now a far more advanced environment than it was in the early days of broadband. Over just the five years to 2020, the number of installed connected devices has doubled to 13.4 billion, and this figure will increase again by a further 70% over the next five.

It is not just the sheer number of devices that is increasing but also the applications that they are running, including ultra-HD video, cloud gaming, tele-health, and home working, all of which require a highly reliable, quality network to perform to the required standard. Managing this network is, therefore, of paramount importance, and if done well it can bring the service provider significant brand differentiation and new revenue opportunities.

Industry standards and open frameworks are vital to this success, because they remove technical barriers and better equip broadband service providers to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Key findings and recommendations

Ensuring a wall-to-wall advanced Wi-Fi experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance of broadband and a good home Wi-Fi solution. Wi-Fi solutions, therefore, must now be optimized to provide the best-quality connection possible to all corners of the home. However, this is not just about throwing more hardware at the problem: in some cases this only makes the situation worse. Service providers must take a comprehensive view of the connected-home predicament and look to invest in both hardware and software platforms that will deliver the right solution to each individual customer.

Balance operational efficiency and new service development to optimize the customer experience. There are two sides to modern smart Wi-Fi platforms: one is around driving service and operational efficiency; the other is about developing and enabling new applications and services. However, this is not an either/or situation. All service providers, regardless of their market position, should look to do both, because it is only through driving service optimization and new service features that they can optimize the customer experience. The key question is how this should all be monetized, and service providers should develop an overall roadmap with a clear monetization strategy in mind.

VAS prioritization remains focused on safety and security. In terms of new value-added-services, the priority today remains on applications that bring added safety and security to the customer. Especially considering the pandemic, during which many more people are working and being educated from home, this prioritization makes perfect sense. However, service providers should also have a longer-term roadmap that means that their service portfolio will continue to evolve, unveiling new revenue opportunities over time.

Telcos’ attitude to smart home has changed, but for the better. Since Omdia carried out its last service provider connected-home survey in 2015, there has been a distinct shift in not only strategy toward the connected-home gateway but also smart home strategy. Five years ago, there was a greater focus on and optimism around developing service provider own-branded smart home solutions. Since then there has been a real shift toward more smart home enablement, working with third-party developers, with the connected-home gateway a key element of that strategy.

Help drive open standards to a better-connected world. Without greater standardization, service providers will continue to be restricted by industry fragmentation that will limit both their ability to gain scale and the pace of innovation and thus their ability to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies. All service providers and equipment vendors should, therefore, invest time and money in driving new open standards that will help ensure broadband service providers maintain their place at the core of the future connected home.