According to Broadband Forum Managing Director Ken Ko, Smarter Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), which enables operators to offer customized offerings with the touch of a button, is essential for operators in order to secure new revenue and reverse declining ARPU rates.
Ko urged service providers to invest in devices with built-in application intelligence, creating an app store-like experience for their customers as traditional revenue streams such as fixed voice and IPTV are declining. Doing so will enable them to reach multiple market segments like teleworkers, security, home automation, and Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality while having fewer product stock-keeping units (SKUs) to manage during deployments.
Focusing on improved options
Ko commented, "Operators know they need to move from simply being connectivity providers, but how they do that has, until now, remained elusive." According to Ko, as consumer demand continues to grow for innovative services and network quality, operators should now focus on offering improved options and enhanced user experiences if they wish to expand their revenue streams. An app-enabled portal for services can accomplish this by granting users access to individual bandwidth or application-specific latency at the touch of a button.
Ko stressed the importance of application-intelligent devices as a key enabler in the broadband services ecosystem, warning operators against simply upgrading existing deployed equipment and becoming utility providers who compete only on speed and price. In order to offer differentiated high-value services, operators must look beyond these two selling points.
Michael Philpott, Research director of Digital Consumer Services at Omdia, concurs that operators have an incredible opportunity to succeed.
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Philpott said, "With the rapid growth of connected media and IoT devices inside the home, demand heightens from consumers for the latest next-generation applications, and the industry is nicely positioned to utilize the Home Gateway as a platform for growth." He continued, "It’s key that subscribers have the flexibility to be able to pay for what they want as they go."
Ko had some encouraging news for operators regarding the timing and design of network-intelligent technology. Broadband Forum and prpl Foundation will collaborate to create open industry standards that will create a common software platform that benefits both service providers and application developers within residential subscriber premises.
The Broadband Forum's Technical Report TR-492, "Software-Based Architectural for App-Enabled Services Gateway Design Principles," serves as a model for smart CPE. This type of device utilizes the open standard User Services Platform and allows service providers to offer apps like parental controls or streaming capabilities. With this new specification in place, CPE manufacturers, operators, application developers, and OTT wholesalers will find it simpler to provide their products and services to consumers.
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