Editor ©RapidTVNews | 13-09-2011
The television is the Trojan Horse that will encourage full adoption of the connected home, entertainment a familiar and key part of a system that will also secure the house and control and monitor energy consumption as well as our health.
According to expert opinion, many consumers already have isolated pieces of digital content and services in their homes; they just lack a substantial way of hooking them all up.
Eran Rom, CEO Jungo, joined Vodafone's Head of the Connected Home Division, Guilhem Poussot and Cesar Bachelet from Analysis Mason, to discuss the Connected Home, at an NDS IBC Perspectives session.
Broadband penetration and the success of services like triple play mean the prerequisites for connected homes are already in place.
"With music and digital video, there are already islands of digital content in people's homes and a small group of early adopters," says Cesar Bachelet.
"It's the beginning of a long journey to where people have a seamlessly connected home and I think we'll start off with multi-media and television as the main entry port."
"What is really important for us is convergence between fixed and mobile," says Guilhem Poussot. "More and more tablets, TVs and phones will be connected, through a powerful home gateway where all these technologies converge.
"Telecommunications operators will play a significant role by having these powerful gateways to bring this (connectivity) to our customers."
The television appears central to the acceptance and adoption of connectivity, the familiarity of entertainment helping persuade consumers to select more and more joined-up systems for their homes.
"Some services are embryonic, but a number of operators are offering services such as energy management, home automation and security," says Cesar Bachelet. "The TV screen is the dashboard."
"Telecom operators are well placed, they already have a relationship with the customer and overtime, they will transform these digital 'islands' into a joined-up experience in the home."
"The trends are for a combination of video over the Internet and the TV with many more devices to be connected to the gateway ... games consoles, tablet computers," says Eran Rom.
"The opportunity is to provide easy access for content to all of these devices, inside and outside the home."
Perhaps the most important connectivity is the one between those who provide all this joining-up stuff and those who'll sign-up for it, the consumer.
"The big trick is for operators to turn this into something consumers will want to pay for. They don't want to be swamped," says Cesar Bachelet.
"It's a very gradual and modular process. People will pick the services that appeal to them, they won't buy everything."
That means the home gateway will have to be technology that can tolerate routine change and enhancement.
"The gateway will allow flexibility for the introduction of new services. When you ship a gateway, you don't know what services the customer will choose," says Eran Rom.
That's a significant challenge for telcos like Vodafone. "It's very important that we can remotely management and remotely upgrade the gateway," says Guilhem Poussot.
"Yet to come is the smart gateway that will be at the centre of the home, offering all these services, connecting all the devices in the home," he says.
With the flexibility of such a smart gateway, comes stickiness, the opportunity for the provider to become more and more central to the running of the household, its entertainments, communications and even the health of its occupants. And there is one more winning benefit for the provider of the best services and the best connectivity.
"As the operator becomes more involved in your life, the harder it is to dump them and thus churn will decrease," predicts Cesar Bachelet.
"The challenge is to create the infrastructure to introduce as many services as customers will want and the stickiness from using these services on a day by day basis.
So, a much easier way to stay safe, healthy, green and entertained. Although perhaps there'll be less opportunity for entertainment as we 'drive' our homes from the dashboard of our televisions.