By: Dave Davies
Senior Vice President for the North American Cable Sector with Connected Home
By combining new cable-based gigabit access technologies with managed Wi-Fi services, cable operators will be well positioned to make further inroads into the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar small and medium-sized business (SMB) market in North America.
While traditionally the SMB segment has been the domain of telco operators, cable companies have been making strong in-roads into this profitable sector. They have been heavily marketing to SMBs and have been able to compete by offering high quality bandwidth and business services at more attractive price points.
The uptick in marketing has been complemented by new dynamics in SMB demands. Fast, reliable broadband access, and high-quality in-office Wi-Fi performance, for instance, are emerging as indispensable requirements for a growing number of small and medium-sized businesses.
These business owners and managers are more likely than ever to have important business applications that are running in the cloud, as can be seen by the rising role of financial accounting and industry-specific offerings that are available to SMBs in a Software-as-a-Service format.
Moreover, for businesses in this category that do business with the public – such as restaurants, hotels, cafes and retailers – there is a prevailing consumer expectation that high-speed, high-quality Wi-Fi will be available. This may explain why, if you look ahead, there are market analysts who view this as a segment that could continue to grow into a $20 to $30 billion market opportunity over the next couple of years.
The recent emergence of DOCSIS 3.1 represents a major technological development that will make cable operators more attractive to the small and medium-sized business segment. The ability of this technology to support gigabit speeds not only rivals the performance of fiber infrastructures, but does so in a cost-effective manner.
When this is combined with other technologies that cable operators can integrate into commercial customer premises equipment (CPE), it becomes a truly compelling value proposition for the SMB. For instance, along with DOCSIS 3.1, the latest SMB CPE solutions also offer advanced Wi-Fi which delivers a tremendous amount of bandwidth.
In recent years we have seen many business-related services layered onto today’s commercial gateways, allowing cable operators to provide solutions like web hosting, public and private Wi-Fi, advanced telephony services, and the ability to seamlessly and securely interconnect office locations.
Before the end of 2018, Technicolor will be releasing a next generation series of commercial gateways that will include 802.11ax, a new generation of Wi-Fi technology that provides even better performance in more congested environments.
During this period, and beyond, I look forward to meeting with cable providers throughout North America to explore how we can work together to develop and implement effective strategies to engage with an SMB market that is increasingly dependent on high-performance end-to-end networking environments.