In our recently published article on Connected Homes: Enabling a Digital Lifestyle, I along with my colleagues Alan Young and Satish Singla, analyzed the drivers of connected homes, emerging opportunities and the key challenges faced in scaling.
The pervasiveness of high speed broadband, smartphones and tablets is having a remarkable effect on home networking technologies. Practically every home appliance and piece of consumer electronics is moving towards an Internet Protocol (IP) address, making it addressable and connected to the internet. Consumers today already own several connected devices and this number will continue to increase over the next few years. With networking technologies and standards evolving, there will be new possibilities emerging out of this confluence of devices and connectivity. For instance, a call on a mobile phone could automatically and seamlessly switch to the home's wi-fi network once the user is home. Media-sharing services that can connect all the devices used in a home are already in demand and the surge in demand for personalized entertainment services will call for new partnerships between device manufacturers, telecom providers and OTT players. Such convergence will give rise to the need for many new services and hence a new breed of service providers. With all the digitization, it will be possible to generate tremendous amount of transactional and behavioral insights that can be used by advertisers to target customers based on multiple factors. Some of these factors could include screen size, location, season and even an understanding of the home's technological ecosystem (devices owned, usage, etc). This will lead to more flexible and effective advertising models.
Similarly, Healthcare and assisted living will be transformed as patient monitoring, device management and communications merge seamlessly in real time. This will enable better collaboration between medics, hospitals and drug companies thereby helping; improve diagnostics, availability and response times. This will likely give rise to innovative business models for the healthcare industry.
One of the key advantages that can emerge from connected homes is that service providers will be able to bundle several services into a single mobile number, thereby eliminating the need to manage multiple bills. In addition, new billing models will emerge based on time of day, seasonality, location and even the type of device. The potential of connected homes to transform our lifestyles is tremendous; this also means the opening up of new business opportunities for operators, equipment vendors, system integrators as well as media companies.
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