Authored exclusively for Voice&Data by Gil Rosen, President and General Manager at amdocs:next
Have you had broadband issues during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 lockdown created a new reality, which basically overnight demonstrated what the future home would look like. Heavy usage of high bandwidth activities such as video conferencing, streaming and gaming, in parallel with connected hardware, legacy, and IoT devices fighting for the home network’s attention. With the pace of 8K video devices, new IoT sensors, and everything in the home becoming more connected, this future may be here to stay sooner than expected.
At their peak during the pandemic, network traffic saw a 40% rise, with major contributors being video streaming’s increase of 34% and online gaming up 41%. As consumers use more connected devices for longer periods, and as they continue to try digital experiences for the first time, there will be implications and opportunities for both IoT developers and connectivity providers.
While this increase in usage creates new opportunities, it also creates challenges that must be addressed. Consumers aren’t going to simply stop enjoying these new experiences when things go back to “normal,” and that can create a lot of added stress on home broadband networks as these experiences become more advanced.
Both service providers and the IoT developer community must understand the “big picture” and what the home experience will look like in a singular way. Everything is part of a rich ecosystem in one home.
As device usage increases, so do connectivity expectations
This brings a need for a more intelligent broadband approach, especially as consumers project to have upwards of 14 network-connected devices each by 2022. If you are a family of four with the typical accompanying phones, iPads and laptops, you are likely well over that number. This will create a tidal wave on the network of not only hardware but mobile software applications as well. This can cause conflicts throughout the ecosystem. Experience management, visibility, simplicity, and management capabilities will become exponentially more important.
How IoT developers and service providers can set themselves apart
With an influx of devices, services and changes in network habits, broadband connectivity must evolve beyond the “dumb pipe” scenario and start doing more. This includes better intelligent monitoring and understanding of quality of experience.
Our survey also found that consumers are now more willing to buy devices that improve Wi-Fi connectivity (24%). Service providers can set themselves apart by offering smart ways to manage the consumer broadband experience, quickly identify issues throughout the home and providing interesting insights on behavior. This is where IoT developers come in, ensuring the service provider can integrate their respective software within this experience.
I believe this will lead to the rise of home operating systems, where consumers have easy visibility and control over experiences, as well as improved cybersecurity. More importantly, data on usage, important events, warnings and more.
One way to seize this opportunity is to implement cloud-based solutions that enable service providers to redefine broadband and reclaim the connected home. As we continue to put more stress on the network, in-home connected apps need to be managed, and it must go beyond connectivity and back-end operations.
IoT leaders and service providers can have a pivotal role here if they act quickly. Things will only become more complicated from here on out.