Mickey Mouse and Ironman bring magic to HKBN’s home Wi-Fi experience

by Marika Henriksson

HKBN Group is a leading telecom and technology solutions company, serving 1 in 3 families and 1 in 2 active companies in Hong Kong, with broadband and other telecom and technology solutions. With the vision to “Make our Home a Better Place to Live”, improving customer experience for the market is key. That’s why HKBN partnered up with Disney to offer residential customers quality and service that are out of the ordinary.


Managed services to take full responsibility for customer experience

These days, making the home a better place to live includes ensuring an optimized Internet experience. Simply providing an Internet connection at the fiber socket isn’t enough anymore – customers want end-to-end home service that wows: top-of-the-line equipment, plus added services like voice services, Wi-Fi connectivity, Internet security, etc. As the number of such services grow, so do the need of managing them well.

Rex WM Hui leads the product development team for the residential market at HKBN:

– If the customer is using retail products and is experiencing Wi-Fi-related problems there is no way for us to get insights about the network or if the equipment is set up the wrong way. The only thing we can see is whether or not the actual Internet connection is functioning properly. If instead we provide equipment that can be managed remotely, we can offer our customers better quality of service from end to end. This requires a management platform that provides us with insights into customer equipment and networks.

Together with IOPSYS HKBN is currently developing HKBN Home Gateway solutions with a number of partners. IOPSYS’s role in this project is to develop and provide gateway firmware and a device management platform.

Displayable gateways a clever way to improve usabililty 

Two years ago HKBN started providing 2Gbps fast fiber broadband. At the same time they introduced a new Home Gateway solution, capable of this speed. Disney-themed limited editions of these gateways were also launched. Behind the idea of a new design was not only a change of appearance, but also a clever way of improving Wi-Fi quality. Rex explains:

­– When customers call the customer service department because they can’t connect to the Internet, they may not have a problem with the connection itself, but with the Wi-Fi network. Such problems are often related to how and where their equipment has been set up around the house. Wi-Fi gateways are usually placed where they are hidden from view – behind or underneath furniture or inside a cabinet, for example. People generally don’t like the appearance of them. What the subscribers are not thinking about is that such obstacles will block the Wi-Fi signal. This is why we want them to place the gateways in plain view – in the living room, for example. We saw an opportunity to encourage subscribers to display their gateways as a part of the décor by changing the way the gateways look, thereby improving Wi-Fi connectivity.

Around 50 percent of the population in Hong Kong consists of families with children. A Disney theme, using a broad range of familiar characters like Mickey Mouse, or characters from Pixar and Marvel for the designs, was therefore ideal for this market. Rex continues:

– So far, HKBN has launched eight different Disney-themed character designs to fit customers’ preferences. And each quarter these characters change. Usually new designs are also added when new Disney movies are released. Another reason for choosing Disney, and in particular Marvel characters, for the designs was our effort to promote more Internet security services and services for parental control. Correlating Marvel superheroes with the notion of protecting your children and increasing security, has proven to be a very effective way of raising awareness about these topics.


Positive impact on customer installations and service calls

When the offer was launched, special designs for gateways was a completely new phenomenon and customers were unsure whether or not the gateway was a toy. HKBN therefore saw the need to help customers understand that the gateway can be used as a fun part of the décor, but that it’s also a high speed Wi-Fi router that includes services and features that will benefit them.

– We have now finally reached a point where our customers make the connection between our Disney-themed equipment and HKBN’s high speed Internet. As the knowledge grows it becomes easier to sell the products. I also feel that our informational and promotional campaign have helped us build trust. Our customers know that we offer a high-quality broadband service with secure solutions, like parental control etc.

Since the launch of the Home Gateway products and the Disney-themed versions, they make up close to 30 percent of all gateways sold. This has made an impact not only on the way subscribers now choose to place their equipment inside their homes, but also on customer service calls. Rex concludes:

– Since our offer also includes installation, we can tell that the number of subscribers who now choose to display, rather than hide, the equipment has increased – it’s a big change. As the quality of Wi-Fi connectivity increases due to better placement, calls to customer services drop. The biggest benefit, however, is that the length of the calls has dramatically reduced. As we now have a more in-depth look into the customers’ Wi-Fi networks through the device management system, we can give better service faster.

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