Parks Points

Insights on Smart Home and Entertainment Services from CONNECTIONS™ Europe Speakers

by Parks Associates | Oct. 1, 2013

Some of Parks Associates speakers at CONNECTIONS™ Europe provide insights on smart Home and entertainment services. More information about CONNECTIONS™ Europe at www.connectionseurope.com

Mike Harris, CEO, Zonoff, Inc.

What do you feel is the biggest obstacle to growth in entertainment services and/or smart home services?

Historically, price has been the biggest obstacle towards achieving mainstream adoption of the connected home. While there is still somewhat of a connotation of luxury that surrounds the idea of a “smart home”, we’ve worked with Staples to create a smart home solution that enables consumers to get started for under $100. For the smart home to enter the mass market, it needs to be accessible at a mainstream price.

The next step towards accelerating mainstream adoption is educating the public. We’re focused on consumer education and showing how the connected home is a way to simplify your life through technology. Connected devices can give you peace of mind by letting you know when your kids get home safely after school, or by automatically turning down your thermostat when you leave for vacation.

With the abundance of connected devices coming to market, and the ability to bring the price point down, we believe we’re at a tipping point for the connected home to reach the mass market. Over the next 12-18 months we’ll see continued adoption as consumers become more educated about the types of smart solutions they can create in their homes -- and the lifestyle and peace of mind benefits that come with those solutions.

What is one key issue that people can’t stop talking about regarding entertainment or smart home services?

We find that consumers are excited by a few things: prices are coming down on hardware; there is less confusion around wireless standards; and they see more of the brands they trust now entering the market - both on the device and service side.

Beyond that, the thing that gets consumers excited is understanding how they can use the concept of a “smart home” to solve one very specific problem that matters to them. Once they achieve that, then they begin to understand other “use cases” or solutions, and soon they are on their way to a truly smart home.

 

François Moreau de Saint Martin, CEO, Viaccess-Orca

What do you feel is the biggest obstacle to growth in entertainment services and/or smart home services?

One of the biggest obstacles for content providers is obviously piracy. Piracy represents a constant threat to content service providers’ revenues. If the service providers’ revenues are compromised, the value of the content itself is also in jeopardy. Service providers who are unable to protect the content they deliver, will not be able to license premium content in the new multi-screen paradigm forcing us all to live in an eternal loop of Seinfeld reruns.

Therefore Piracy management and security renewability from a multi-screen service standpoint thatremain a strong expectation/requirement for content owners. Viaccess-Orca has developed solutions to defeat this threat: VO's Dynamic Sentinel (cardless solution) as well as our Connected Sentinel (DRM solution) incorporate the experience gained from over two decades of securing premium content over a wide range of distribution networks and effectively fighting piracy.

VO has also been since years at the forefront of designing and running security services for its major Pay-TV customers targeting advanced forms of piracy such as subscription sharing (i.e., card and internet key sharing) with real-time security operations.

Another obstacle is the user experience complexity: due to the multiple devices availability and particularly what we call the second screen, service providers need to leverage the connected nature of these devices in order to relieve this complexity. If you want an exclusive, committed relationship with your subscribers, you need to show them you care by paying attention and providing a persistent, personalized and consistent user experience.

We also believe that the growth in the entertainment industry is possible thanks to an effective business model. One major question today is “how to monetize OTT services”? How to increase revenues out of these services?

The OTT revolution has opened the door for new type of monetization opportunities and business models. At VO we introduced some of these models in our latest developments, such as context aware monetization, branding opportunities for via T-commerce (TV commerce) and advertising. The goal of these monetization methods is always to increase content consumption by the users and extend the purchasing offerings through a personalized and engaging experience.

 

Bram Tijdhof, Senior Strategy Manager, Ziggo

What do you feel is the biggest obstacle to growth in entertainment services and/or smart home services?

Fragmentation of the market. For example, many players are entering the SVOD and TVOD market, making it difficult for customers to choose between different providers of these services. This hinders companies to build brand and scale needed to get better deals and thereby better offerings.

What features should service providers focus on to convince consumers to sign up for new services?

In general: Ease of use, good quality and good price, and for service providers: offering new services as a logical extension to the existing product portfolio, preferably in a converged manner.

 

Simon Trudelle, Senior Product Marketing Director, NAGRA

What features should service providers focus on to convince consumers to sign up for new services?

The delivery of premium entertainment on every screen appears to be the primary need to address for PayTV service providers in advanced markets. Consumers equipped with new devices such as tablets, portable PCs and smartphones are interested to use these new devices as portable, secondary TV sets: watching all their best content to these devices is key. Being able to seamlessly “throw and fetch” content between a portable device and a big screen is also driving adoption, as watching content on the big TV screen remains a key consumer need and value driver.

This is especially the case when devices such as tablets provide a rich, personalized content discovery application that can be more convenient to use than the remote control on legacy STBs. Loading premium content to devices such as tablets for offline consumption is also high on the list of use cases that drive adoption and increase value perception from subscribers.

What is one key issue that people can’t stop talking about regarding entertainment or smart home services?

Simplicity and ease of use. Consumers, even the early-adopters of new technology and services, have little time to waste trying to access the content they want to watch. It just needs to work. Accessing illicit servers is often motivated by the plain reality that it is a more convenient way to access and consume content.

PayTV service providers need to make content delivery and sharing a reality in the connected home to own the connected home and protect their core content delivery business. By doing first a good job with video content, they can then leverage their position and consider other exciting new smart home service opportunities that leverage the same infrastructure such as the Home Gateway and Cloud platform.




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Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

The company's expertise includes new media, digital entertainment and gaming, home networks, Internet and television services, digital health, mobile applications and services, consumer electronics, energy management, and home control systems and security.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, and Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer.

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