Deutsche Telekom has a clear strategy to differentiate itself in the future, based on value-added services that derive from a great broadband experience, rather than relying just on the broadband itself. As Pedro Bandeira, VP Product and New Business, Europe, at the pan-European telco points out: “Today, broadband is about speed, especially speed into the home. We need to move from focusing only on speed and look at how we give customers the tools to control their Internet experience.”
Giving consumers more control requires next-gen technology wrapped in a super-friendly UX. And Bandeira is determined that the increasingly connected Deutsche Telekom home ‘thinks human.’ So, a cybersecurity solution does not boast how many viruses it killed for you today, but advises you to upgrade some device software to limit the chances of an emerging security threat. It means parents can decide to cut Wi-Fi access on their child’s devices at bedtime with a simple command, whether through an app or a voice command.
DT has introduced its own digital assistant, Magenta, on a Deutsche Telekom branded smart speaker that also accommodates Amazon’s Alexa. When dealing with a customer service issue, it is Magenta that could help. The assistant will set the wheels in motion in the backend. “You could adjust your radio connection [Wi-Fi] and router resource to increase support for a streaming connection,” Bandeira explains.
This is a reactive use case. The idea is that the service provider will also spot trouble for you and automatically optimise settings, or ‘chat’ with the customer. A message to the customer could say: ‘We know you are having a bad [streaming] experience in the kitchen. If you move a few metres towards X, that will help. Meanwhile, we are going to send you an extender to increase your Wi-Fi coverage’.
The people-friendly UX is made easier as voice technology matures. Bandeira is convinced that voice will help service providers increase engagement with multiple services. “For years we have relied on graphical user interaction through the mobile, PC or television screen. Sometimes people give up on a feature or service when it is hard to access. Voice makes complex tasks easier, so it is more inclusive.
“Voice is a very important piece of in-home interaction,” Bandeira declares. “It creates an opportunity to get services used more widely.”
When it comes to the smart home, Bandeira believes one of the chief goals for Deutsche Telekom is to deliver peace of mind. He thinks communication service providers are well placed to deliver monitoring services, thanks to a well-established security ecosystem that already protects highly-valuable assets (e.g. premium video content). “People trust us,” he adds.
For Bandeira, success in the smart home market depends a lot upon mindset. It’s about users having control over their world. It’s about peace of mind. And it is also about positive engagement above passive presence.
On this last point, the DT executive says: “Valuable as they are, fire and smoke sensors are a negative interaction use case because if everything goes well, you never interact with them or see the value. We also need to be able to create ways to interact often and positively. We need to create great and happy user experiences in the home, from controlling music, doors and lights to checking on your kids and pets. “You create an interaction and if something is used every day, it becomes sticky,” Bandeira emphasises.
Broadband and beyond: the next steps for service providers
This is a small excerpt from the new Videonet report, ‘Broadband and beyond’, which argues that even ultra-fast broadband will become commoditised, so communications service providers (CSPs) need to think about how they differentiate themselves and where they make money in future. They need to look towards connectivity+ services like premium managed Wi-Fi and family management, and place themselves at the centre of the smart home, whether offering customer care bots or security cameras.
The report explores the opportunities ahead and the operator transformation needed to capitalise on them, including a focus on cybersecurity, a data-driven culture, and agile device and service development. The report concludes that fixed-line providers are well-placed for this journey, from smart customer home all the way to the smart city, and reveals why.
You can download the (free) report here.