What lies ahead in 2015: Smart life defined

  • Market saturation of triple-play’ services poses a challenge for CSPs
  • One way they can address this is look into the ‘smart-life’ market

What lies ahead in 2015: Smart life definedTHE consumerisation of IT has caused market saturation for ‘triple-play’ phone/ Web/ TV services, as well as for voice/ data/ text wireless plans. This threatens the growth and margins of communication service providers (CSPs).
 
For instance, the use of landlines has been significantly reduced, while online streaming is capturing more of customers’ entertainment dollar instead of the cable television.
 
CSPs’ entertainment offerings seemingly become less relevant in the fast-paced technology world. This poses an unprecedented array of long-term challenges, and there is an increasing need for CSPs to find new markets for subscriber and revenue growth.
 
One possible way for CSPs to grow user base, margins and revenue per customer is to look into the ‘smart-life’ market.
 
New smart home offerings use existing infrastructure to provide new security, convenience, entertainment, and telehealth services that extend beyond current offerings.
 
This is cost-effective for CSPs to deploy and manage due to the reliance on existing networking and organisational infrastructure.
 
What lies ahead in 2015: Smart life definedSmart life defined
 
To put it simply, smart-life services leverage computing power, the cloud and established wired and wireless communication infrastructures to make life easier, safer and more convenient, pleasant and efficient for consumers.
 
One example of it would be home security monitoring and management, where consumers can switch on or off lights, or remotely monitor their homes through a live video stream.
 
Strategy Analytics predicts that the global market for smart home systems and services, including entertainment, smart appliances and digital healthcare, will rise to US$72 billion in 2017 from US$31 billion in 2013.
 
To look further than the smart home, CSPs can explore delivering new offerings that encompass services outside of customers’ homes, steering towards the ‘smart life.’
 
For instance, CSPs can extend to the outdoors with smart irrigation systems that determine whether watering is necessary according to cloud-based weather forecast.
 
Pioneering the smart life market
 
It is important for CSPs to understand that the smart life market is still young and new. Hence, there is a lack of familiarity with the benefits of the smart home.
 
In order to successfully pioneer the market, CSPs have to educate the market and their own sales force on the real value that smart life offerings can bring by making it comprehensible and user-friendly.
 
In addition, CSPs need to be willing to incrementally roll out new offerings, while providing high-quality support to resolve customers’ issues quickly and efficiently.
 
Organisational alignment
 
Ultimately, CSP leaders must inform, convince and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders in order to drive smart life initiatives.
 
To better position themselves, organisations need to be aligned to meet the functional demands and that will provide the full support demanded by consumers. It is also important for CSPs to partner with businesses that can support the full spectrum of services that allows efficient scalability.
 
Lastly, CSPs should also structure the organisation to fully support smart life, from selling consumers on the concept, to comprehensive and convenient customer support on an ongoing basis, while approaching the correct demographic/ segment as the market requirements evolve.
 
Yoosuf Mohamed is vice president of the Technology Practice at Cognizant Technologies.
 
Related Stories:
 
Market potential of US$731bil in ‘connected living’ by 2020: Frost
 
500+ smart devices in a typical home by 2022: Gartner
 
 
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