Remember your mobile phone from 15 years ago?
In simpler times, all we had was voice and text (and perhaps Snake). Now, the average person has more than 80 apps installed on their phone and uses 30 mobile apps per month. Collectively, we download more than 175 billion apps per year and consume 50% of all mobile traffic through them.
Back then, we didn’t have to worry about hundreds of apps functioning correctly, but now, a comprehensive mobile operating system is required to manage everything. Issues that were nascent in the past, such as security, connectivity and notifications are now core to the phone’s operating system.
The home is now going through a similar evolution. The average home, once only having a few connected devices, now has an extraordinary amount – ranging from appliances, security systems and IoT devices, to gaming systems, mobile phones and computers – connected to the internet through a router. This creates a tsunami of not only connected hardware, but their associated mobile software applications as well.
Now the question is, in this increasingly complex environment, can communications service providers (CSPs) provide value beyond connectivity?
The current state of the hyper-connected home
Although CSPs are a critical resource for connected devices and in-home voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, there is a lack of visible value to users. Essentially, CSP connectivity has become an invisible commodity.
But as more connected devices and assistants come to fruition, a dumb device approach — where something connects with no real care for a consistent practice — will cause a wide range of experience problems. For example, latency problems for online gaming or streaming. Privacy violations in IoT and connected devices. Not being sure what device is causing your network to malfunction, or lacking complete control of what’s happening in the home.
The average person will have around 14 network-connected devices by 2022, which is why experience management, visibility, simplicity, management capability are increasingly critical. These different devices belonging to one user or household will come with different types of plans, connectivity options, monetization models, operating systems, and onboarding experiences.
What CSPs can bring to the table that others can’t
As more in-home connected apps need to be managed, CSPs have to be ready with a place in the value chain beyond just connectivity and back-end operations.
Luckily, the always increasing “connectivity explosion” represents a critical opportunity for the CSP to play a vital role in the new connected home. The gap between the legacy connectivity play and the care necessary to support a flourishing connectivity ecosystem can make the CSP a force around areas like performance, control and security.
But more importantly, a CSP can provide consumers with smart insights about usage, important events, warnings and more. And it can be achieved by leveraging AI to convert signals from connected devices within the home into actionable lifestyle and operational insights.
Digitizing the physical world
More than looking for irregularities, an AI layer can eventually be used to give predictions of what might happen in the future and change depending on the proposed outcome. It can let you know which device is causing stress on the network, which will become increasingly crucial as more connected devices enter the home. This ability allows CSPs to reduce growing service costs related to areas like customer care (calls or in-home) to fix issues they may not be responsible for. This reduces customer frustration, but can also save the CSP millions in care costs.
When we leverage intelligence this way, we achieve the next level in connectivity evolution. We effectively digitize the physical world. This is where opportunity awaits, and why effectively leveraging data intelligence will be critical to the connected home experience.
Time is limited to stake a claim
In their ability to provide this experience, CSPs have a pivotal role. However, they’ll need to find their place now before other offerings become standard. If not, they lose the opportunity to scale beyond faster pipes and monetize this in-home experience.