What Lies Ahead in 2015 Digital Economy: Smart Life Defined

December 9, 2014 (Tue): The consumerization of IT has caused market saturation for “triple-play” phone/Web/TV services, as well as for voice/data/text wireless plans. This threatens the growth and margins of communication service providers (CSPs). For instance, the use of landlines has been significantly reduced, while online streaming is capturing more of customers’ entertainment dollar instead of the cable television. CSPs’ entertainment offerings seemingly become less relevant in the fast-paced technology world. This poses an unprecedented array of long-term challenges, and there is an increasing need for CSPs to find new markets for subscriber and revenue growth.

One possible way for CSPs to grow user base, margins and revenue per customer is to look into the smart-life market. New smart-home offerings use existing infrastructure to provide new security, convenience, entertainment, and tele-health services that extend beyond current offerings. This is cost-effective for CSPs to deploy and manage due to the reliance on existing networking and organizational infrastructure.

Smart Life Defined

To put it simply, smart-life services leverage computing power, the cloud and established wired and wireless communication infrastructures to make life easier, safer and more convenient, pleasant and efficient for consumers. One example of it would be home security monitoring and management, where consumers can switch on or off lights, or remotely monitor their homes through a live video stream. It is predicted that the global market for smart-home systems and services, including entertainment, smart appliances and digital healthcare, will rise to US$72 billion in 2017 from US$31 billion in 2013.

To look further than smart-home, CSPs can explore delivering new offerings that encompass services outside of customers’ homes, steering towards the Smart Life. For instance, CSPs can extend to the outdoors with smart irrigation systems that determine whether watering is necessary according to cloud-based weather forecast.

Pioneering the Smart Life market

It is important for CSPs to understand that the smart-life market is still young and new. Hence, there is a lack of familiarity with the benefits of the smart home. In order to successfully pioneer the market, CSPs have to educate the market and their own sales force on the real value that smart-life offerings can bring by making it comprehensible and user-friendly. In addition, CSPs need to be willing to incrementally roll out new offerings, while providing high-quality support to resolve customers’ issues quickly and efficiently.

Organizational alignment

It is important for CSPs to understand that the smart-life market is still young and new. Hence, there is a lack of familiarity with the benefits of the smart home. In order to successfully pioneer the market, CSPs have to educate the market and their own sales force on the real value that smart-life offerings can bring by making it comprehensible and user-friendly. In addition, CSPs need to be willing to incrementally roll out new offerings, while providing high-quality support to resolve customers’ issues quickly and efficiently.

Making the Smart Life pivot

Ultimately, CSP leaders must inform, convince and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders in order to drive smart-life initiatives. To better position themselves, organizations need to be aligned to meet the functional demands and that will provide the full support demanded by consumers. It is also important for CSPs to partner with businesses that can support the full spectrum of services that allows efficient scalability. Lastly, CSPs should also structure the organization to fully support smart life, from selling consumers on the concept, to comprehensive and convenient customer support on an ongoing basis, while approaching the correct demographic/segment as the market requirements evolve.

Written by: Yoosuf Mohamed, Vice President, Technology Practice, Cognizant

Author: VSDaily Editor

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