There are a lot of good things to being connected all the time, but there’s no doubt that having networked devices also adds a layer of complexity to everything. If my Wi-Fi music player isn’t working, is that because there’s something wrong with the player, or something wrong with the broadband connection? And if the problem is the connection, how do I fix it? It turns out the solution is coming, and soon.
Motorola’s Alan Lefkof is predicting a major shift in 2009 in how cable operators manage broadband service. Despite the economy, Alan believes cablecos will invest in remote-management software next year to solve home broadband woes. While cable operators have been reticent in the past to try to manage home networks, they’ve come to the realization that they – not the local CE retailer or company product support – are going to get the customer complaint calls, whether they like it or not.
[How] can we help the carrier from a a service assurance point of view remotely manage and remotely provide services for the household so that the consumer doesn’t have to become an IT director?… We [Motorola] have very sophisticated software platforms that allow a service provider from a central location to monitor, diagnose, upgrade, and support what’s in the home the way an enterprise would for a Fortune 1000 worker.
Cable operators can cut down on their own service costs with remote-management software while making things easier for their subscribers. In other words, the pipes may be dumb, but management of those pipes shouldn’t be. Cable companies see a new way they can add value to their services that will ultimately also save them money, according to Alan. His prediction: the more sophisticated cable operators will have service assurance software deployed in 2009, with the rest of the market following right behind in 2010.
One other interesting aspect to note here is that home networking today is a lot different than it was just a few years ago. I remember talking to one large cable operator about plans to offer complete home networking services back in 2004. But at the time that would have introduced a lot of headaches with very little payoff. Today networking is a lot more than just sharing an Internet connection to check email. It’s about accessing all kinds of valuable information and entertainment from anywhere in the home – across modems, set-tops, and other devices. And that means a lot more potential reward for the service providers that make the home network work well.