The abundance of innovative connected devices is fuelling a rise in the consumption of digital content and home networking. In turn, this is driving demand for faster broadband speeds and advances in networking technology to improve consumer experiences and create new revenue stream opportunities. Consumer electronics manufacturers are rapidly adopting the networked movement, integrating IP connectivity into devices as standard, allowing consumers to stream online content through multiple devices in the home.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that over 50% of all broadband homes utilise some form of networking technology on a day-to-day basis. According to research from Futuresource Consulting, of the 600 million global broadband homes at the end of 2011, 400 million deployed home networking technology. By 2015, expectations are for 650 million of the 700 million broadband homes to be interacting with networked devices.
Growth for broadband equipment including modems and new generation digital media gateways will continue throughout the forecast period, hitting a value close to $6 billion by 2015. This is driven predominantly through the connection of multiple devices to home networks and the richer experience available through online services; consequently the demand for higher tier premium broadband packages is rapidly increasing.
Tablets and smartphones are influencing the market significantly due to the Wi-Fi connectivity inherent in these devices, especially with wireless being the preferred connection method. In addition, device mobility, quality viewing experience and growing availability of content are also major contributors.
Tablets in particular are of key strategic interest to the pay-TV industry as an additional viewing platform with content delivered through apps, enabling subscribers to access on-demand content and broadcast programming.
Despite a rise in sales from $173 billion in 2010 to $184 billion in 2011, the pay-TV industry looks set to be reaching saturation across the Western Hemisphere, forcing operators to launch additional or added-value services to drive growth and focus on other aspects of their business including broadband.
The pay-TV industry – particularly in North America – has recognised a potential revenue stream following increased consumer demand to access content on multiple devices, and responded by launching ‘TV Everywhere’ which adds subscriber value by delivering content to any connected device in the home. This service is being trialled in the US and Western Europe, and due to constant demand, pressure is on operators and retailers to incessantly deliver innovation in home networking and broadband infrastructure.
The ubiquitous standard to emerge into the home networking market has been DLNA supported by all key industry players with the exception of Apple, and it has become the industry’s adopted standard for cross-consumer device communication. The technology is now a default feature in the majority of network-enabled equipment, from traditional products such as TVs and Blu-ray players through to fridges. 2011 saw DLNA announce support for commercial video, incorporating content protection and rights management allowing for deployment within pay-TV applications. This initiative is likely to raise the profile and usage of DLNA within devices as pay-TV operators look to use the technology to enhance their services and improve the customer experience.