Wi-Fi is the critical foundation of the Connected Home but also a common source of customer frustration. This is an issue that service providers need to tackle head on if they are to grow revenues, reduce churn and prepare themselves for enormous opportunities that lie ahead. That was the message given today by Bo Dines Larsen, Regional VP of Solutions Engineering at Calix at the BASe workshop preceding Broadband World Forum (BBWF) in Amsterdam.
Larsen highlighted that already 50% of calls to operators were concerning Wi-Fi problems caused by either signal blockage in the premises or from interference. With most customers expected to have an average of more than three connected devices each by 2021 – and demanding average speeds in the home of 53Mbps and 20Mbps on mobiles – these are issues that need addressing urgently.
“In North America alone, there is 87% market penetration for broadband and of that, 76% use Wi-Fi as their primary connection,” Larsen said.
“It is therefore not only vital to resolve Wi-Fi issues but is an enormous opportunity to create a differentiated service which troubleshoots Wi-Fi issues and resolves customer concerns with speed and efficiency. By managing the complexity of the connected home with properly managed Wi-Fi and security, operators can reduce complaints and boost loyalty and ARPU,” he added.
Collecting information about device usage within the connected home is a vital factor which is why Larsen urged for access gateways and Wi-Fi mesh devices to collect and expose proper Wi-Fi statistics to a Broadband Forum TR-98/TR-181 model. Standards support for the BBF’s TR-69 to collect the data and going forward their TR-369 USP too, is critical for operators who are deploying access gateways from multiple vendors.
Larsen highlighted the Calix Support Cloud as being one of the ways in which operators could rise to meet the challenge. With real-time troubleshooting and access to intelligent analytics and automation, it gave a real focus on customer interaction, the ability to resolve issues on a first call and reduce average talk time.
“Automation is the key factor going forward as we look to solve customer problems before they are even aware they might have them. With a deluge of connected home devices appearing all the time, it is vital to have these systems in place to trouble-shoot before a complaint is made,” he said.
Through managing the connected home, using standards-based equipment and automation was possible. With this, Larsen saw an opportunity to market to “high end” customers who would be prepared to pay a premium for “great broadband” service and reliability where issues are resolved before they are noticed. He saw this potential in both highly developed and emerging markets.
“If you control the Wi-Fi experience for the customer, you ‘own the antenna’ and the potential becomes enormous. Working together as an industry we can support the customers’ demands, creating a differentiated and personalized service which creates vital revenues and customer satisfaction at the same time,” he concluded.