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Service providers hold an edge in providing smart homes: report

Service providers hold an edge in providing smart homes: report
Service providers are well-positioned to a provide smart home services, due to their strengths in addressing Wi-Fi network and data security issues, and their ability to provide ongoing installation and configuration support.
A recent Parks Associates report indicate difficulty in connecting devices to the router has been the leading issue that smart home users face for the past two years. They encounter loss of wireless connectivity, slow Internet and coverage problems.
To address these issues, 22% of US broadband households have purchased Wi-Fi extenders. However, most of these devices do not solve connectivity issues. Other households have purchased a whole home mesh networking system.
“Absence of Wi-Fi solutions from service providers is driving consumers to retail, even though service providers are in position to solve these issues,” Parks Associates says.
Another reason service providers are well suited to offer connected homes is that they can offer better network security.“Network security embedded on customer premises equipment (CPE), like Wi-Fi gateways, can address security concerns in a more robust way than endpoint security solutions alone,” the Parks Associates report says.
Since service providers are the leading source of CPE, they can offer hardware that address problems related to network coverage, congestion and security.
“Solid, reliable Wi-Fi and network security are building blocks for future IoT offerings and can serve as key differentiators from other smart home services,” Parks Associates says. Premium Wi-Fi and cybersecurity services can be bundled with other smart home services.
While retailers are the most appealing purchase channel to get smart home devices, 10% of American broadband households consider service providers as their channel of choice, Parks Associates’ survey found.
Service providers have the opportunity to expand the market share, especially among consumers who gravitate toward “Do-It-for-Me” option. “Partnerships with the device brands consumers love, supported by a feature-rich application platform, will help,” Parks Associates says, adding that service providers can offer more value than retailers and security service firms by offering bundled solutions. 

Flexible platforms are needed

Service providers are advised to adopt “open, cloud-based platforms and hardware-agnostic technologies” so that they will have the “freedom to let strategy drive business without being limited by past partnerships,” Parks Associates says.
“Smart home services typically require a value chain of partners that need to be integrated into an orchestrated ecosystem that delivers a unified user experience. Broadband service providers need technology solutions that won’t disrupt their business but will seamlessly support new directions.”
Calix, a global provider of the cloud and software platforms, systems and services, offered a few tips on obtaining flexible technologies.
Firstly, provide an abstracted layer of software and service applications that can run on a wide variety of popular hardware brands. Ready-built application integration tools using a containerized architecture can improve time to market.
Also, manage all applications simultaneously, even though applications are installed independently; and leverage a microservices data aggregation platform that scales for millions of devices.
Service provider may captures activities across the customer base in order to apply AI for advanced marketing segmentation, maintenance and predictive modeling.
Finally, integrate and orchestrate third-party devices and services through standardized application programming interfaces (APIs).

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