Connected Home Consumer Preferences: A Market Ready for Solutions
Survey data provide interesting insights into consumer thinking, and point in the direction of viable connected home solutions that could be offered. This report will be of interest to network operators and service providers, as well as those vendors that provide technology to this market.
The connected home experience is becoming real for many consumers. Under the auspices of such operator offerings as AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity and Verizon FiOS, consumers can now sample home telemetry, multi-room content distribution and management; as well as access many of the home telemetric and content services remotely. Do these various aspects of connectedness work well together? No, but the potential remains to make them work well. Do consumers want such connected service offerings? Yes.
Nevertheless, much work remains: home telemetry doesn’t necessarily operate with other connected home functions. Home security and utility management are, more often than not, stand-alone offerings that live, if however so uneasily, with content delivery and other communication services. Consumers are beginning to not only identify the virtues of having a well integrated communications and computing environment in the home; they are also quickly identifying the gaps in the offerings they do have access to.
In particular, home infrastructure is problematic. Complex services depend on complex home networks; yet, the state of home networking is fairly primitive. Operators have not yet stepped up to pervasive support services; and this failure to be more than an access provider will ultimately limit the market for advanced service offerings, as well as limiting the potential for operator revenue. Nevertheless, there are hopeful signs. Many operators are exploring home networking support; and most of the major players acknowledge the need to develop and provide total connected home packages.
Perhaps a more important development in the connected home space is the shift in consumer preferences from the traditional quad play (voice, video, Internet access, and wireless) to a new access-service package based on broadband access and over the top (OTT) services. A rising acceptance of broadband service delivery makes the ultimate integration of all services easier, and the value to the consumer greater. Although consumers are just now making the connection between quality of experience and broadband data rates, there is some indication in the annual Connected Home Consumer Preferences survey that this is happening.
The connected home, like any developing market, is evolving in ways that are not necessarily predictable from a purely technology centric perspective. Connectedness, after all, is a very personal dynamic, driven by consumer needs and perceptions. This year’s survey discloses that the connected home will likely become a way to enable content management more than it will be an extension of the old “smart” home concept, based on home utility management. Yet, there will be a certain amount of such management in the connected home that ultimately manifests as a consolidated service offering from the network operators or other interested service providers.
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