& cplSiteName &

Can Cable's IoT Dethrone Alexa?

Craig Leddy
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Craig Leddy
4/19/2018
50%
50%

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a trendy catchphrase for something that cable's been talking about for years: connected homes, automated services and voice controls. Big players -- including Amazon, with its popular Alexa voice assistant; Apple; Google; and a multitude of startups -- have jumped into the field, but many players lack what cable already has: connectivity and customers.

Despite a checkered track record with previous home security and automation services, US cable providers are seeking to offer new IoT products and services, either on their own or by enabling other's dreams. IoT looms as a new opportunity to shake off cable's weakening pay-TV business and prove its prowess as a cutting-edge technology enabler.

A new Heavy Reading report, Heavy Reading report, "Move Over, Alexa, Cable's Jumping Into the Internet of Things," analyzes cable providers' IoT plans and the opportunities and challenges ahead. The IoT category is overrun with ideas, from the practical to the fanciful, and the competition is fierce. The report assesses market drivers and four key use cases for cable:

  • Home automation: expanding home security services to perform household tasks, such as monitoring and managing thermostats, lights, cameras and sensors

  • Business services: meeting small business needs for sensors and cameras to large enterprise demands for asset monitoring and machine-to-machine learning

  • Smart cities: working with municipalities to support energy management, water control, outdoor lighting, public and school safety, police and fire department activity and other city operations

  • Telehealth: supporting healthcare professionals and services with video communications and apps for remote healthcare needs

Along with the increasing might of cable's broadband pipes and expansive WiFi networks, cable's IoT efforts are being fueled by LoRa, a wireless technology well-suited for low power wide area networks (LPWAN) that can carry IoT commands over distances of about 30 miles. CableLabs has issued an open-source LoRa spec and Comcast has deployed LoRaWAN in more than 15 metropolitan markets.

IoT comes with tremendous challenges and responsibilities, Heavy Reading says. News stories have raised alarm about hackers or potential Alexa eavesdropping. The more that cable gets involved with technology inside a home or business, the greater the responsibility -- or even potential liability. Who do you think will get blamed if a cable-connected smart refrigerator fails and all the food gets spoiled?

Perhaps the best position for cable providers is to use their platform to aggregate and enable IoT experiences by established and emerging solutions providers, the report says. A recent study of consumer habits in the connected home, conducted by Magid for Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), concluded that consumers want to move from IoT to the "Internet of Intelligence," and for service providers "the best enabler will win."

To that end, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cox Communications Inc. have both launched services -- Comcast's machineQ and Cox's Cox2M -- that are signing up IoT solution providers as customers and supporting distribution of their products and services. machineQ is providing LoRaWAN support for IoT providers that are offering everything from water management and smart streetlights to soil monitoring and rodent control. The Heavy Reading report identifies 21 IoT providers in roles with US cable providers.

IoT is unlikely to serve as a quick offset for cable's declining pay-TV fortunes, Heavy Reading says. But over time it could prove to be another way for cable to leverage its broadband assets and derive revenue, all the while riding a new wave of innovation.

— Craig Leddy, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/19/2018 | 3:57:13 PM
Expensive New Market
Yes, cable companies need to find new sources of revenue, and there digital assistant market still has room for growth, but Amazon and Google have established themselves and anyone new in the market would have to spend much on advertising just to make the first sale, and then would need to continue to dedicate resources to compete effectively. Cable firms may find that any additional profits (revenue minus expenses) would be slim at best.
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Three strategic initiatives &ndash Novitas, Stratus and Sentio &ndash have powered Colt's move into on-demand services.
Next week at BCE, we'll look at some of the ways machine learning and AI will help operators make the customer experience better, without driving up the cost of network operations.
The Aussie operator is trying to reinvent itself, and its network-as-a-service is a vital piece of the transformation puzzle.
Every network operators business case is different but what remains true is that combining the disciplines needed to get value from data requires a very collaborative organization.
Universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) systems are growing rapidly, paving the way for new opportunities, lowered costs and increased performance overall.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
5G in the USA: A Post-BCE Update
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2018
Vanquished in Video, Verizon Admits OTT Defeat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed