“Think like a start-up,” was a recurring theme of the Digital Home Summit and a key message of the opening keynote by Robert Kenney, EVP of Sales and Marketing for OnProcess. Other speakers reiterated this line throughout the daylong event, as they stressed that the digital home is still early in its development. The opportunity and the challenge for service providers is that the digital home is still in its early stages.
Sam Harlan of CHR Solutions gave practical advice for operators when he suggested looking for niches in the digital home where their reputation and local presence can give them an edge as well as near-term revenue and customer retention/acquisition; niches such as personal media back-up.
One of the benefits to a conference like Digital Home Summit is the one-on-one interaction one gets that leads to discussions that, while somewhat off-topic, can be very valuable. In a side discussion, Harlan explained the intricacies of the FCC requirements for reporting for Eligible Telecommunications Carriers receiving high-cost support (download the CHR Solutions’ white paper that distills the process into a brief overview).
The interaction and relationship between the home network and the outside plant and metro networks and the impact of IPv6 on the digital home was presented by Steve Senne of Finley Engineering. His discussion of the networked lightbulb and how it might be programmed to flash every time a user received a Facebook update was amusing, but also thought-provoking as he discussed some of the potential security implications of the networked home.
And as much as the discussion was about what inside the home, panelists kept going back to what the operator could do outside the home, whether in the global cloud or local cloud. Panelists on the shared headend panel, emphasized the importance of local content; particularly hyper local content where the content that a person sees may be personalized or at least directed to a specific building, in the case of an MDU. Charlene Taylor of chaz taylor, Inc. suggested that local content can serve a greater, “human purpose.”
Eric Bruno of Verizon reflected on their rollout of their connected home product in his keynote. Bruno made an interesting point that technology, such as smart phone and broadband, isn’t making the world smaller, instead, “our reach is getting longer & deeper.” Now, thanks to technology, one can reach across the world or across their house to have a virtual presence without having to leave their couch.
Verizon’s central goal of its offering is to make their customers’ lives easier. He indicated that the best way to do this is to integrate into their existing routines with minimal disruption. He pointed to the fact that 60 to 70% of their customers use their smart phones to interact with their connected service as an indication that customers are adopting their home automation service as part of their daily routine.
Routine is one thing that the digital home is not. With innovation still to come, it is clear that the digital home is an area that remains both an opportunity and challenge for operators of all sizes.
Watch for video coverage of this event on the Telecompetitor web site.