Since about half of today's smart-device owners require set-up assistance, tech support for smart homes is a big concern -- and opportunity -- for service providers.
In 2020, the US will see 13.5 million support requests derived from smart home devices and systems, compared with 11 million this year, according to "Tech Support: Influencing IoT Adoption."
Devices are getting more complex, using more sophisticated apps and increasingly integrated with other devices and smartphones, according to Parks Associates. That could mean more than half of consumers will seek post-sales support for deploying their new connected Internet of Things (IoT) device.
"Broadband providers have been interested in this space for a very long time. They had lots more connected devices coming into the home and people were calling the broadband provider for help," said Patrice Samuels, senior analyst at Parks Associates, in an interview. "And they're like, 'These are our customers. We have two options: We can turn them away and say, 'Okay, this is not really the umbrella of what we cover under our basic support,' or we can say, 'Hey we'll take care of that for you and charge you a premium or fees to take care of those issues for you.' So they've been dabbling in it for a long time."
Because it's an immature market subject to product failures today, most support is included in the device price, she said. However, some businesses have carved out a niche by providing fee-based set-up services, she said.
In addition to exploring ways to improve home Wi-Fi to eliminate connectivity-related calls, broadband providers also are exploring premium services for smart homes, said Samuels, whose clients include tech support companies hired by large manufacturers. In time, Samuels expects service providers to hire these firms to support their residential subscribers' smart home solutions.
In a flurry of activity throughout the week, Donald (DJ) LaVoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture, and his team spent about $145.8 million in the non-urban or suburban areas of seven states.
Calix reported revenue of $120.19 million – up 4% – in Q4 2019, putting a bounce in the step of company president and CEO Carl Russo and a shine to Calix's ongoing transition from hardware vendor to a provider of platforms enabled by cloud, APIs and subscriber experience.
Looking to curtail e-waste and improve the bottom line, BT will require customers to return routers and set-top boxes, although subscribers will not have to pay a fee when they receive regular broadband equipment.
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.