Many homes now have a wide array of media and entertainment electronics - TVs, video players, recorders and game consoles. In addition, smart devices such as laptops, PCs, smart phones and tablets have become almost ubiquitous. However, most of these devices operate independently, with little 'awareness' of each other. The principle idea behind the connected home is to enable these devices to "talk" to each other, allowing them to work in concert.
With the advent of next generation networking technologies such as 4G and IPv6, the connected home market is poised for dramatic growth. According to analyst firm Juniper Research, connected home service revenues are forecast to grow from $20 billion (USD) in 2012 to $60 billion (USD) in 2017. This growth will be driven primarily by the home entertainment segment, which is expected to account for 82% of connected home service revenues in 2017.
I expect that all forms of media will soon be delivered to a diverse set of devices over a converged IP network. The advent of an all-IP environment will be the first step towards enabling a connected media experience, paving the way for Interactive, Seamless and Personalized Services.
- Interactive Services: An all IP environment offers two key advantages - flexibility and adaptability - that will spur the adoption of interactive services. Content in IP format can be transported to any IP compatible device via the Internet or a private IP network. This will make it possible for users to stream audio-video content stored on a common drive, to multiple devices within or outside the home, using one device to control another. These activities will be accomplished with ease, requiring only connectivity, suitable software, and applications on each device.
- Seamless Experience: Session mobility and the seamless transfer of viewing sessions across devices will be another key facet of connected home entertainment services. For example, a viewer can watch a news clip on TV, and then continue to watch the same clip on his mobile device while stepping out of his home.
- Personalized Services: Connected home entertainment will enable video streams to be specifically tailored to specific device capabilities or consumer needs. This will facilitate targeted advertising, as well as the integration of multiple services targeted by user type, to a single platform.
The secure two-way communication provided by IP enables voice, video and other data to be transferred between devices and service providers easily. Hence, creating fast, all-IP networks is the first step towards achieving a seamless connected home entertainment experience.
However, there are various challenges that CSPs need to address to leverage the Connected Media opportunity, which I will discuss in a separate blog.
At this time, Service Providers are moving fast to provide anytime, anywhere and any device media. I am sure Connected Media will soon be a reality, enabling seamless session transfers, media sharing flexibility and mobility that consumers desire.