Parks Associates’ president addresses the current state of the connected home market and the impact of connectivity across multiple platforms, devices, and services.
Consumer interest in the smart home crosses multiple categories, from entertainment to security to energy, but the strength of that demand relies on a variety of products working seamlessly together. Understanding the contrasting business goals and their impact on integration is essential to producing a successful smart home solution. This session examines the business issues that must be resolved to achieve and expand the ecosystem of interoperable products and realize the vision of the smart home.
Current consumer trends are the leading indicators for the future of the industry. Consumers will continue to stream content and in greater amounts because this method offers them desired content on demand and at an affordable price. Already, 40% of broadband homes in France and 36% in the U.K. access online video via a computer or TV. Demand for faster connections will push broadband penetration and speeds worldwide. By 2025, two-thirds of households in Eastern Europe will have broadband connections, as will half of homes in Latin America and Asia/Pacific. This session assesses the longer-term (5-10 years) future of the industry, including digital lifestyles, access services, sources of content, devices used, and competition as well as how pay-TV providers can expand their influence and revenues in this changing market.
Like other pay-TV operators, Sky Deutschland is launching innovative OTT services to provide additional value to its customers, reach new prospects and respond to the threat from new entrants. Oliver Lewis presents how the company has created these products to address the opportunity in Germany and Austria, where pay-TV penetration is low but broadband penetration and device ownership are high.
While many service providers seek to deliver the smart home through a proprietary system, an alternative approach is to create an ecosystem of partner vendors who individually maintain relationships with the customer but enhance the value of their offerings by interoperating. By offering an integrated and tested suite of solutions, partners extend the range of possibilities for their customers without ceding their own position as product provider. Panelists discuss the advantages and opportunities of participating in a cooperative partnership.
Special session sponsored by Verisure
The future of the set-top is a key topic of debate. Will this device become more resource-rich, will it be eliminated in favor of cloud-based services, or will other connected CE devices absorb it? In Europe, some operators are pushing to have thin-client devices for all televisions in the home, with each enabled by cloud-based services. This session looks at the different scenarios for the set top, including the market for retail set-tops, requirements for operator-provided boxes, and the potential for a full-featured primary gateway that would manage user profiles in the household and handle conditional access, security, data, and other functions. This session also examines the role of alternative set-top boxes among other connected CE devices in the home.
As the world marches toward 50 billion connected devices, virtually everyone recognizes the Connected Car as an important component of the connections puzzle. Sometimes described as the ultimate mobile device and other times seen as a smartphone on wheels, the automobile is critical to so many pieces of society. Basic transportation, city management, highway construction, fuel standards, traffic management, environmental concerns, and dozens of other societal factors are all impacted every day by data that can be extracted from the car. In this session, Ken Durand of Ericsson reviews some of the current innovations and constraints in the automotive ecosystem and a few lessons learned from early prototypes and adaptations.
Manufacturers and smart home service providers understand that data is the key that will unlock new capabilities and service opportunities. Big data is here, and efforts to develop smarter software that can utilize its power while protecting the privacy and security of consumers are underway. From a manufacturer perspective, smart product services provide an opportunity for price expansion and an improved product mix. From a service provider perspective, services provide the potential for recurring revenue and new business models. This session highlights successful value-added services and reviews approaches for integrating those services into the larger smart home ecosystem. The panel also addresses privacy and ownership of data and the business strategies in developing these solutions and gaining consumer trust in the smart home.
Over the past several years, TV Everywhere—linear and on-demand video services provided by pay-TV operators to IP-connected devices—has emerged as a key tool for pay-TV providers. Many pay-TV providers believe that a presence in the OTT space is critical in retaining customers and future competitiveness in the video marketplace. In North America, TV Everywhere is close to universal, and operators in Western Europe are catching up, with penetration numbers exceeding 50%. This session addresses how operators are rethinking their approach to OTT, multiscreen services, and the role in the video market space.
Consumer adoption of connected devices—home entertainment, mobile, smart home, and health and fitness—is opening new opportunities for tech support companies that can support both the number and the complexity of these new products and services. The need for support automation has become especially critical as technical support services include more delivery channels and cover more services and devices, both fixed and mobile. This session addresses new strategies to enhance all stages of the support process, including service initiation, diagnosis, resolution, and customer relationship management. In addition, speakers discuss strategies to improve the consumer support experience even as the home environment becomes more complex, which drives up support costs and requires more time and resources to provide the necessary support and protection.
Icontrol Networks and Deutsche Telekom provide their perspectives on the keys to success in the smart home market across Europe. Industry veterans share their insights and lessons learned from their respective smart home product launches and provide their views on the evolution of the smart home market in Europe.
The user interface is an increasingly prized asset that enables data collection, an advertising portal, an integration point for OTT and linear content, and a portal to smart products and services. Consolidated interfaces provide consumers with a single point to find content and services from a host of content providers, smart products, social networking sites, and app developers. Integrating entertainment services with the broader smart home represents a potential competitive advantage for service providers. This session discusses innovations that are shaping the future of the user experience, its role in the smart home, and strategies for different players to monetize their presence on the UI.
4K is in its infancy, both in terms of content production and video services. Manufacturers of streaming media devices are assessing the requirements to add 4K/UHD capabilities. CE makers will continue to produce 4K televisions and other devices, including set-top boxes, computer monitors, streaming devices, cameras, and other CE products, and over the next 10 years the prices of 4K TVs will fall to mass-market levels. However, manufacturers will need to drive awareness and give consumers a reason to adopt—currently less than 15% of U.S. broadband households are familiar with 4K. This session addresses the role of content in driving 4K adoption, strategies for broadcasters and OTT providers to produce and deliver original content in 4K/UHD, and the potential for new services and devices using this technology, including new interactive features and display options.
Connectivity is a disruptive force impacting the market for nearly all products and services. Companies can leverage connectivity to reduce operating costs, extend functionality, and add new services. This session examines the impact of IoT on traditional product and service channels and new strategies to provide and deploy unique, fully integrated experiences within smart home solutions. This session also discusses new business models and partnership opportunities among entertainment and security service providers, utilities, manufacturers, retailers, and other players in the smart home market.
Many consumers are purchasing products such as smart programmable thermostats and smart smoke detectors today as stand-alone devices, but Parks Associates research shows consumers clearly prefer smart home systems with extended capabilities that integrate multiple devices. Consumers expect all of their devices to work together, regardless of when or how they are purchased. Companies offering smart products and smart home platforms that can provide this benefit will have a competitive advantage. This session examines the increasing number of ways to ensure products can interoperate and analyzes the solutions needed to satisfy all players, including the consumer.
18th–19th November 2014