A 2022 State of the Industry for EMEA and Asia by Mercedes Pastor, Eurasia CPE business unit at Technicolor Connected Home.
While uncertainty related to shifting conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to challenge markets across Eurasia, business and technological developments in the connected home environment have created new bonds between consumers and network service providers (NSPs) in the region.
Improvements in wireless connectivity in the home, the emergence of new entertainment and information services, and industry-wide acceptance of open standards are redefining relationships between subscribers and NSPs. In so doing, new demands are being placed on the new generation of customer premises equipment (CPE).
To better understand the events that defined 2021 and get a preview of what to expect in 2022, we sat down with Mercedes Pastor, senior vice president of the Eurasia CPE business unit at Technicolor Connected Home.
Here is what she had to say:
Q: As you look back on 2021, what do you see as the key trends defining the current state of the market for customer premises equipment in Eurasia?
Mercedes Pastor: Despite—or perhaps because of—the constantly changing situation with COVID restrictions and supply chain challenges across the region, 2021 has turned out to be a year of great transformation and innovation for the customer premises equipment (CPE) sector.
While unexpected change seems to have been the only constant for the year, the connected home has been a vital refuge that makes it possible for people to live and cope with the turbulence of the era. There has never been such a sustained period of dependence on broadband access to homes and wireless connectivity within them.
As a result, we have seen two big revelations come out of 2021: the emergence and acceptance of Wi-Fi 6 and the imperative of providing excellent consumer experiences that manage growing complexity while introducing new compelling services demanded by a very sophisticated customer base.
This has been no year for NSPs to rest on their previous accomplishments. Greater dependence on connected home resources has required more technology, more services, and higher levels of customer care. The NSPs that have adjusted to this reality have been rewarded with customer loyalty and low churn.
This picture will only grow in intensity as we look ahead to 2022.
Q: You seem to be emphasizing the importance of “experiences” as a key success factor for NSPs in the region. Why is that?
Pastor: The in-home experience is now one of the most defining aspects of people’s lives. Leading NSPs throughout Europe and Asia recognize this as paramount to meeting business objectives and retaining customer bases.
So many experiences outside of the home are in such a precarious situation. So much is uncertain. Can we go to the office? Can we go to school? Is it safe to visit public spaces?
Connected homes across the region have become a rare source of certainty. This has had the effect of dramatically raising customer expectations about the performance of in-home wireless networks and the ability of subscribers to dependably access the work, education, and entertainment resources they need in a reliable and high-performance manner.
That is why a majority of operators in the region have made significant commitments to bringing new Wi-Fi experiences to their customers. More devices than ever are accessing network resources from all parts of the home as families utilize every room, every day, all day.
It is a phenomenon that has created strong demand for the latest Wi-Fi 6 solutions, prompting Technicolor Connected Home to launch and deploy new CPE offerings supporting this technology in multiple countries with increasing frequency. In fact, we made several announcements on this front in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Watch the video on how Technicolor has been delivering premium Wi-Fi 6 experiences to customers all around the world
Beyond broadband access and in-home wireless connectivity, consumers have also elevated their expectations regarding the variety and quality of content they want to consume. With subscribers accessing more content from more sources than ever—including movies, episodic programs, and online games—the CPE that NSPs deploy to homes in this region must be robust, intelligent, and open enough to simultaneously support the complex array of options that are now available. As a result, NSPs in the region are adopting much more open ecosystems around their CPE strategies that not only support the diversity of services that consumers expect but also manage the complexity that this situation creates.
Q: What is Technicolor Connected Home doing in the region to help operators navigate this dynamic environment over the course of 2022?
Pastor: Technicolor is responding to these trends by investing even more in its strategic partnerships with key players across the ecosystem—including chipset vendors, software developers, and security providers. We continue to play a leading role in important industry standards groups, such as OpenWrt, RDK, Purple, and Android.
We are also establishing deep relationships with the most innovative players in the market that can sit on top of Technicolor Connected Home CPE platforms to help our NSP customers execute their business transformation strategies.
Service providers increasingly recognize that open ecosystems offer more control in designing and developing the mix of experiences their subscribers want. It is an approach that enhances their own capabilities and competencies while increasing NSP’s ability to incorporate new applications that harness new technologies to enhance home video, sound, and analytics.
Mastering analytics will be a big part of NSPs’ success throughout 2022. Given how frequently and substantially customer expectations shift, it will be necessary for operators to carefully monitor customer experiences and take proactive actions in advance of these shifts—as opposed to waiting for customer feedback.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies that enable predictive analytics are being deployed and integrated into Technicolor Connected Home devices to provide our clients with the latest and most accurate information. This makes it possible for NSPs across Eurasia to quickly and efficiently adjust their business practices and ensure they are meeting—and hopefully—exceeding customer expectations.
Finally, Technicolor Connected Home will continue to put ecological design and sustainability practices at the center of all our design, development and distribution operations. We have involved all aspects of our supply chain -- from sourcing to customer delivery. It is a critical element of our strategic plan for 2022 and beyond. It is an approach that is not only appreciated by our NSP clients, but now increasingly expected by consumers around the world. Technicolor Connected Home is playing a leading role in the CPE industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.