Why communications services providers need to rekindle their consumer relationship and rethink home gateways
by Joakim Bennerholt
For communications service providers (CSPs) focused on consumers and their broadband needs at home, it’s time to update triple-play services to a multi-play offering. Not only because the market is transforming rapidly but because previous obstacles are no longer a barrier. Here is my take on why CSPs might have reached a tipping point and 2023 is the year to embrace new business models and services.
Lessons learned from Android
We know the challenge CSPs face with broadband and IoT devices locked into various proprietary solutions with poor interoperability. But there is hope. We can draw parallels from smartphone operating systems to explain. First, we had the iPhone which provided a significant step in showcasing how you can use software to realize, deploy, deliver, and make accessible an entirely new set of customer experiences. But you still needed specific hardware to be part of the ecosystem.
In comparison, the Android operating system is open-source, including an application layer that unlocks an entire universe of hardware platforms. With open modular software separated from the hardware, you can leverage it across a range of low-end to high-end products, all with the same operating system. The Android case demonstrates several proof points which apply to CSPs. First, how effective it can be with open-source; second, the freedom to innovate and develop; and third, it opens the doors for companies to use Android for their specific needs.
It also showcases the importance of standardized APIs that are well-documented and open-source. But, more importantly, by separating the software layers, companies using Android can unleash market and customer experiences in a dynamic way.
Trends point to timing is now
The Android case is familiar to CSPs. What is new is that market trends and advances in technology indicate that it’s time for CSPs to apply Android thinking to their own broadband business. And several market trends point in the same direction. These are:
1. Home gateways are more technically advanced compared to a few years ago.
In recent years, even standardized residential gateways have become more powerful in processing. They have made a quantum leap performance wise, creating new possibilities. So even a standard gateway from a CSP is powerful enough to run additional applications on top of the traditional triple play service offerings.
2. Standardization has improved.
Combined with more powerful gateways, standardization has evolved thanks to industry organizations, like Broadband Forum and Wi-Fi Alliance. Constant evolution of standards are key to achieve wider industry collaboration and viable ecosystems by adapting standardized APIs.
3. There is a convergence of technology.
Cloud and data center technology, where you manage applications and process data, is moving from servers to the cloud. We see a separation or disaggregation of data layers where data is processed. Technology that was network core centric is now moving closer to the edge of networks. This means that standardized widely deployed technology is now closer to home, providing more capability to manage large amounts of data and applications.
4. Expanding market potential to 1,2 billion broadband households by 2026.
According to a market study, in 2021, the number of broadband households worldwide reached 970 million and will continue to grow to 1 218 billion in 2026. On top of this, the global footprint of cloud managed Wi-Fi devices is expected to grow to 60% of all broadband homes. With these estimates, CSPs have incredible potential to embrace new business models and launch new services.
Rekindle the consumer relationship
There are no longer barriers for CSPs to wait on the sidelines to transform broadband solutions for home gateways. Previous gaps between available technology and consumer interest have become smaller while the market potential has grown.
What are you waiting for?
Let’s talk about how IOPSYS can help you. We combine the best from the open-source community with industry standards from Broadband Forum and Wi-Fi Alliance. Contact IOPSYS to learn how to unlock and explore the full potential of any embedded Linux device!
Market study from the ReTHINK TV WiFi Cloud Management, Multi-AP, WiFi 6, 6E & 7 Forecast- 2021-2026