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Network Service Providers Elevate the Role of CPE in Connected Homes to Support Critical Services for Consumers

By: PRLog

AMSTERDAM - Oct. 18, 2022 - PRLog -- With the home emerging as the center of consumers' digital lives — supporting their professional, personal, health and educational priorities — the role of customer premises equipment (CPE) is evolving.

So too is the relationship between network service providers (NSPs) and consumers. Once limited to enabling connectivity for the delivery of entertainment, the CPE provided to homes by NSPs now supports a wide range of critical functions. As a result, consumers and NSPs expect significant improvements in performance, adaptability, intelligence and security offered by the next generation of gateways and set-top boxes, according to Ashwani Saigal, vice president of Broadband, at VANTIVA–formerly known as Technicolor.

"The events of the past few years have changed the fundamental relationships that NSPs have with consumers," says Saigal. "Before March 2020, broadband connections to the home were largely considered a luxury that enabled people to enjoy entertainment-focused experiences. For the most part, people viewed the experience — and calibrated their expectations — through the lens of "best-effort" connectivity. If poor connections disrupted a signal, it might have been irritating, but it was not considered a critical failure."

Today, an ever-increasing number of people are working, learning, connecting with family and even taking medical appointments from home. As a result, broadband connectivity — a key component in the CPE puzzle — has evolved as an essential home service. Consistent, high-performance broadband access is now considered a critical utility — like water and electricity.

As a result, consumer expectations around CPE capabilities and reliability are extremely high.

"Operators are shifting their CPE strategies to meet evolving consumer expectations. Speed, reliability, efficiency and the ability to manage multiple services on one device are now key considerations when operators make strategic decisions about CPE design and the array of services they will offer," explains Saigal.

The past few years have also added nuance to how the connected home market is tiered. As the so-called "new normal" begins to take shape, the market is seeing basic requirements for connectivity rise. For instance, as people return to the office, they may retain some enhanced services utilized during the pandemic and stop using others.

"The bottom line is that people are landing across a spectrum of service requirements that have to be supported by NSP infrastructure and in-home CPE. This segmentation complicates CPE strategies because operators are forced to look at how devices can address all tiers in their market in a technically effective and cost-efficient manner," says Saigal.

Further exacerbating this equation is the fact that home experiences are becoming much more complex. Consumption is no longer primarily entertainment based. The evolution of smart homes means that "intelligent devices" and "home automation" now compete for bandwidth with entertainment services, work-related zoom meetings, and home learning. NSPs must be able to manage a diverse array of digital traffic.

"All of this is putting immense pressure on home wireless networks. As a result, Wi-Fi is evolving as a key factor in delivering services that meet the needs of consumers. The challenge is that Wi-Fi radio

spectrum is a shared — and scarce — medium. To ensure high quality of service (QoS) there has to be a mechanism for prioritizing the allocation of wireless resources," says Saigal.

As these trends converge, the business case for developing and deploying CPE devices that are more powerful, intelligent, and open is rising. It is emerging as the key to maintaining existing services while introducing new innovative offerings.

CPE Optimization Delivers Higher Levels of Value to Connected Home Environments

According to Saigal, there are three areas of focus that NSPs are applying when it comes to developing CPE strategies that ensure the delivery of higher value to connected home environments.

  • Consolidation: Operators are looking for ways to consolidate services and supply devices. This means pursuing multi-purpose device strategies rather than single-function appliances. "VANTIVA has been working with NSPs to harness open systems and industry standards to create platform technologies that can accommodate a wide range of applications from different players in the technology partner community. We are designing CPEs that allow partner apps to be remotely downloaded by consumers or pushed to subscribers by NSPs," Saigal says.

  • Security: Because the connected home is no longer solely about delivering entertainment-based content, security — which has always been important — is now being elevated to a higher priority. "Personal data, corporate information, banking data — and even automated cameras, sensors and locks — are managed through CPE devices. Security is critical with this amount and variety of data flowing through CPE," notes Saigal.

  • Ease of Use: As the connected home environment becomes more complex, it is absolutely essential to ensure that devices, applications and services are intuitive. This is easier said than done. VANTIVA has captured statistics that show significant spikes in calls to NSP contact centers between Christmas and New Year.
"What is interesting is that most of these calls are unrelated to network performance issues. People call for help connecting new devices received as gifts to their home networks. These are rarely devices offered — or managed — by NSPs. It demonstrates the evolving role of NSPs in helping consumers manage their digital lives," says Saigal. "VANTIVA has developed solutions such as Wi-Fi-protected set-up (WPS) and intelligent pairing of Wi-Fi-enabled devices to make the onboarding of devices easy to reduce the number of inbound calls to contact centers."

The key to meeting these requirements — while laying the foundation for emerging services — will require robust, intelligent, and sustainable CPE devices that provide the connected home with an infrastructure that supports the digitally enabled lifestyles of households around the world.

To listen to the full interview or read the Q&A with VANTIVA's Ashwani Saigal, visit:


Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

Pushing the Edge Ashwani Saigal, VANTIVA

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