August 22, 2018

How High-End CPE Can Help Network Service Providers Gain a Competitive Edge and Drive Margins as Consumption Models Evolve

By Brian Jentz, Senior Director Technicolor, Connected Home.

As consumers embrace premium technology experiences -- such as voice assistants and smart home security -- network service providers (NSPs) are under the gun to deliver high-end customer premises equipment (CPE) needed to access these services.

NSPs have witnessed a paradigm shift in what constitutes a high-end consumer experience. In the past, premium CPE focused on high-definition video, hundreds of channels and a local digital video recorder (DVR) with a large hard drive. Today, high-end CPE are more likely to require support for enhanced video experiences in 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) with cloud-based DVRs, while enabling a custom channel lineup that includes access to over-the-top services from Netflix, Amazon Prime and others.

Other new services are capturing consumers’ interest as well.

For example, voice search is a relatively new feature that is being adopted quite widely. Wi-Fi is also becoming a key enabler to many technologies, and home security with camera integration is taking off with the emergence of low-cost platforms. Do it yourself cameras and security monitoring capabilities priced as low as $10-a-month are dramatically increasing the usage of home security services.

Recent research confirms that adoption of voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant will definitely drive smart home growth, with 275 million voice assistant devices used to control smart homes by 2023, according to Juniper Research. This is up from an estimated 25 million in 2018 -- a growth of 1,000 percent.  A separate Juniper study found that smart security adoption will drive home automation and monitoring revenues from an estimated $12 billion in 2018 to over $45 billion by 2023, posting a growth of over 260 percent.

While offering a new generation of premium CPE is a powerful differentiator for NSPs, it can be prohibitively expensive if the strategy is not carefully considered. This is why NSPs increasingly are tapping into the innovations that are emerging from next-generation technology developers.

Success in this new marketplace is really going to come down to NSPs partnering with the right technology providers.

NSPs are looking for technology partners that have experience with open platforms -- such as Android TV -- as well as a track record of integrating Netflix and Amazon Prime onto a platform that can deliver 4K and HDR content. Partners also need to have experience supporting and integrating new services, such as security camera solutions and voice assistant apps.

Earlier this year Technicolor hit a milestone of 650 million devices delivered to NSPs around the world. Today, Technicolor is number one in shipping Android set-top boxes. We have helped 15 NSPs deploy Android-TV ready CPE with many more on the way. Technicolor also has extensive experience with Netflix as evidence by the fact that we have earned eight Netflix certifications in the first four months of 2018 alone.

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