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SP360: Service Provider

By Ross Fujii, CTO of Cisco Network Management Technology Group (NMTG)

Service providers have already penetrated the connected home network with equipment such as set-top boxes and Internet gateway routers to provide Triple Play services – voice, video, and data.  From this established base, Service providers have the opportunity to further extend into quad and quintuple plays by offering additional services such as wireless/cellular and security-based/home automation.  In fact, with the right infrastructure, the connected home network becomes extremely flexible and capable of supporting a wide range of new and innovative services.  Service providers are the natural candidate to offer – and capitalize upon – these services.

The key to generating more than just Triple Play revenues is visibility into the home network.  Effectively, Service providers need to push the edge of their networks further into the connected home.  In this way, they can enable the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) reality by:

Clearly, content is king.  To stay competitive, however, service providers need to go beyond merely serving up content that users have requested.  They need to manage content so that its discovery and delivery is seamless.

Such visibility can also increase revenue for service providers by reducing operating expenses.  For example, a common problem that service providers receive calls about is slow service.  Often the issue is that someone else in the house is streaming video or playing an online game.  Currently, service providers cannot verify that this is the actual “problem.”  Nor do they have any way of giving the customer a way to resolve the issue in the future other than to tell everyone else to get off the network.  Furthermore, this situation often generates several service calls for service providers with their related expenses.

By pushing the edge into the home network, service providers will be able to give consumers more control over content and service delivery.  For example, parents will be able to prioritize traffic so that a WebEx meeting is allocated bandwidth before YouTube.  Such capabilities also create a whole new level of service possibilities.  For example, customers could add and manage parental controls that block undesirable content to children and teens.  This visibility also becomes the foundation for home security and automation services, offering service providers a wholly new potential market in which to operate.

All of these possibilities are exciting.  In my next blog, I’ll discuss how Cisco is enabling service providers to extend their network into the connected home.

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