Up, close and digital

Sanjay Rohatgi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 10, 2012

Today’s consumers want a personalised technology experience

Technology is evolving at a fast pace and consumers worldwide are embracing a ‘digital culture', thanks to a host of new-age devices.

These devices are dramatically changing the way we interact with each other as well as how we entertain ourselves — whether at home, at work, or while on the move.

Be it their PC, television or ‘smart' mobile devices, consumers want “many services on many screens” — with integrated voice, video, and data.

Consumers' preferences are shifting from a discrete service model to a personalised “experience” that accommodates their preferences in terms of content, access and devices.

From an Indian market perspective, these trends are only beginning to take shape with the recent impetus given by the Government for digitisation of cable networks and introduction of technologies such as 3G.

The government has mandated complete digitisation of the cable networks in the country by 2014. Digitisation of cable networks can, in fact, serve as the first step towards achieving a ‘connected life'.

The Connected everyday

The ‘home' serves as a communication and entertainment ‘hub' for most of us and therefore for our connected life. The digitisation of cable networks will bring about the convergence of formerly disparate home services.

For example, consumers have, for long, been using the Internet to create blogs and personal web pages with text, pictures and video.

Digitised cable networks will allow them to share this content with friends and family not only through television but also through other devices such as Tablets and mobile phones. Consumers can also define video quality (standard definition or high definition), network bandwidth and much more, for sharing content.

on the Move…

Consumers increasingly demand the freedom of ‘untethered' access to content while on the move.

This has spawned ‘streaming video' offerings, web sites optimised for mobile browsing, along with online/downloadable games for mobile devices. This trend of taking wired content and applications to the wireless world is expected to continue.

For example, consumers will be able to use their mobile phones to buy movie tickets or train tickets, use vending machines and shop on the web.

Location-aware and presence-based services will allow parents to find children's GPS location and empower businesses to send offers to interested consumers in close proximity to their office. Mobile search capabilities will enable subscribers to get directions to concerts, theatre schedules, and store locations.

Like everything else, these mobile experiences will be personalised. Importantly, consumers will be able to choose and define the information they want to receive.

…And at Work

A ‘connected' environment enables employees to be productive, responsive, and creative within or outside their traditional ‘office' space.

In fact, business can be conducted from any physical location by accessing mission critical applications and connecting with colleagues and partners' worldwide to share/discuss any type of information, in real time.

The video is transforming the way business is done today. Video-conferencing systems enable participants — across the globe — to make eye contact and speak comfortably with each other at normal voice levels.

All of the technology required to enable this business communication is invisible to users and easy to initiate, just like placing a phone call.

Delivery challenges

Digitising cable networks comes with a fair share of challenges. Huge investments in technology are required for upgrading to digital transmission and last-mile cable operators across the country need to tie up with multi-service operators (MSOs). Capital will be required to create better infrastructure to enable digitisation although consolidation in the sector can provide the scale required for attractive investments.

In addition, there is a need for a favourable regulatory environment — such as a more liberal FDI policy for cable operators, a focused plan for digitisation, and a licensing framework for last-mile cable operators.

Service providers (wireline, wireless or cable) today clearly understand that a business strategy based on the delivery of only basic voice services, broadcast television or web services for a flat monthly fee is no longer compelling or competitive.

To achieve sustainable growth and profitability, they need to innovate and develop enhanced services that generate incremental average revenue per user or create revenue streams by serving new customer segments.

It is important for service providers to integrate different services to deliver a connected experience to consumers. It goes without saying that each new service introduction typically includes unique regulatory and technical challenges that service providers must successfully address.

(The author is Senior Vice-President, Service Provider, Cisco India & SAARC)

Published on April 10, 2012
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