The advent of fibre to the home (FTTH) and near ubiquitous availability of wireless broadband services has heralded the arrival of superfast, convenient, and flexible home networks. The fantastic potential of digital homes has attracted the attention of broadcasters and TV operators, IT and consumer electronics manufacturers, and the internet industries. The arrival of high speed home networks represents an unmissable opportunity for telecom operators to expand home services based on their advantages in the home broadband access market.
The digital home services provided by telecom operators cover two distinct areas: home theatre and entertainment, and the Smart Home.
The home theatre and entertainment field focusses on the large-screen TV in the living room as the main consumer interface device for a range of services from live broadcast TV to long-tail, such as video-on-demand, interactive games, and information acquisition. With the popularity of large-screen LCD TVs and improvements in screen resolution, HD video content has already become a mainstream reality. Video content with a resolutions of 4K or higher are currently at the premium end in consumer electronics. However, the electronics industry moves so quickly that 4K will become mainstream in a few short years.
In addition to improvements in large screen technology, we’re also seeing a trend towards content shifting. Where home entertainment can be viewed on a variety of devices such as tablets and smartphones in different locations.
With the popularity of broadband networks and multi-screen devices, OTT video services have developed rapidly around the world, challenging the IPTV services provided by carriers. OTT internet video services enjoy a superior multi-screen service experience with access to greater volumes of content than traditional televisions. The number of paid TV users around the world is growing albeit quite slowly, while the number of OTT TV users is growing rapidly. From 2012 to 2017, it is expected that the compound annual growth rate of paid TV subscriptions will be about four percent, while that of OTT TV subscribers will reach 14-15 percent over the same period.
Telecom operators are undoubtedly facing a challenge from OTT players in the field of home theatre and entertainment, however, challenges always come hand in hand with opportunities. Operators should therefore focus on the following:
The Smart Home includes home security, home energy management, home automation, and other features. In the M-ICT era, as a result of highly available network connections both inside and outside the home, the development of the Smart Home features the following:
Carriers will undoubtedly play a central role in the development and operation of the Smart Home and should focus their energies on the following two key areas:
In order to promote Smart Home services carriers would be well-placed to establish a core platform and/or form industry alliances. Subscribers obtain different Smart Home services by downloading the corresponding service from an app store to their own smart terminal device. A unified service platform would enable carriers to aggregate the supply chain, develop their service brands, and realise their core values.