Selling the connected home

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms and Media
29 May 2012

Having traveled the global telecoms-conference circuit for more years than I care to remember, I have lost count of the number of forthcoming “revolutionary” services I have heard breathlessly pronounced by vendors and operators – most of which ultimately amount to nothing.

I need hardly trawl through the list of failures at length, but a special mention should go to 3G video-calling, a concept I must shame-facedly admit I enthusiastically bought into, even buying a cumbersome Motorola 3G handset to lend my weight to the doomed concept.

Despite multiple attempts by operators to breathe life into it, 3G video-calling was an unmitigated disaster. Consumers, for a multitude of reasons, did not want to engage with the technology. It just did not suit their behavioral habits or lifestyles.

The hot offerings of the moment are, of course, connected-home services, which are being deployed by fixed-broadband players across the globe, all of which are desperate to find new revenue streams for their expensive broadband networks. But will these services find commercial success?

The long wait

Attending the Broadband World Forum Asia 2012 conference in Kuala Lumpur last week, I was struck by the fact that several operator delegates who in previous years had talked of connected-home services on a theoretical basis were now launching full commercial services, though services remain in their infancy.

Whether Asia Pacific operators have already launched connected-home services or are still only in the planning stages, they pretty much agree on one thing: Selling such services to subscribers is going to be an uphill battle. After all, it requires operators to take subscribers well out of their comfort zones.

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