Consult Red – Aggregate more
Rahul Mehra, CTO, Consult Red
Communication service providers can unlock competitive advantage and deliver additional customer value through green field service aggregation, underpinned by the operator Intelligent Edge.
Media and telco operators have had a good run with triple and quad-play – combining fixed broadband and voice with pay TV and mobile – but, with these services now table stakes, the ability to differentiate their offer from the competition is constrained.
Operators understand that they will need to offer more value on top of their existing services to keep customers on board, especially at a time when home budgets are being scrutinized and stretched.
We believe there’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity for telco and pay TV providers to diversify their retail offer, by moving beyond quad-play to ‘omni-play’ and beyond super-aggregation of video content, to the aggregation of our increasingly smart lives.
By ‘aggregating more’ operators will be able to increase customer loyalty and raise ARPU, from services as diverse as multiplayer live gaming and home security, to smart domestic energy management.
Leverage existing technology
The technology exists for providers to deliver a single gateway to services, a unified UX with single billing and customer care, and in so doing they can move from discounted bundles to ‘mega-bundles’.
This is the golden opportunity to take control of the emerging Intelligent Edge – the future brain of the connected home.
The Intelligent Edge, hosted on operator CPE such as the video set-tops, connected TVs and broadband gateways, can be harnessed to improve existing TV/streaming services and launch new entertainment offers, including gaming which is more likely to appeal to younger demographics.
The same technology can be used to take a leadership position in Smart Home services. The Intelligent Edge gives operators a flexible, dynamic and elegant means to introduce new services without the overhead that is often associated with software deployment to devices in the field.
Aggregate more is already in play
The innovative bundling of new services with smart home tech like video doorbells, indoor cameras, motion/contact sensors and environmental sensors, exemplifies the new possibilities when we look beyond entertainment and connectivity and ‘aggregate more’. Sky for instance recently launched an innovative smart home protection service, Sky Protect, offering customers comprehensive home insurance and smart home monitoring devices, bundled in one app.
The recent market introduction of connected TV platforms such as Sky Glass and Comcast Xumo are additional examples of aggregated consumer offers. Sky Glass bundles premium hardware, that includes a 4K display, 5.1 channel sound and camera, with financing that is attractive to both consumer and operator. This is before adding a compelling bundle of apps and OTT services, delivered via a sophisticated, unified user experience, featuring universal search and far-field voice control.
Leading operators are clearly looking for the most efficient, cost-effective and attractive way of providing as wide a range of services and applications to their consumer base as they can. Through existing managed CPE devices, telcos and pay TV operators already have an edge in the emerging ‘Aggregate More’ market. But perhaps not for long with Big Tech snapping at their heels.
Containerization is a key technological enabler
The power of the operator Intelligent Edge is underpinned by Downloadable Application Containers (DACs) – via an application platform with a common backend and authoring that spans the cloud and CPE.
Containerization further supports agile product development for a community of third-party application providers that operators could then roll out under their service and provide additional value.
The same approach not only enables providers to stand up and nimbly deploy these new services but breathes new life into legacy devices as well. Since operators have invested significantly in their existing infrastructure and devices, they want to make sure they maintain their longevity. With DACs, they can. Containerization brings cloud-like power to the home and full capability for flexible, cost-effective deployment.
The opportunity is not all about new customer-facing services. There are underlying operational benefits to be tapped as well. Operators can use the Intelligent Edge to ensure QoS and QoE across all services and applications to ensure operational effectiveness. They can deploy applications to monitor the performance of their network and key services, and proactively identify issues before customers notice and raise calls to the call center. The net result is higher customer satisfaction, fewer truck rolls, and lower operating cost.