Technology and Market Shifts Drive New Requirements Access and Video Streaming Technologies on Customer Premises Equipment Throughout Europe and Asia
ATLANTA: Network service providers (NSPs) across Europe and Asia must explore new strategies to support consumer attitudes and behaviors in the wake of a global pandemic, says Mercedes Pastor, VP, Eurasia with Technicolor Connected Home, in an interview for journalists to outline key trends and opportunities for NSPs in the region.
"COVID-19 related lockdowns have changed the digital lives of people all over the world. It has been no different in Eurasia. The move to study, work and shelter in place has put immense pressure on technology companies and NSPs throughout the different regions to meet new user needs and expectations," says Pastor.
In response, NSPs are exploring new broadband delivery and access technologies while developing value-added services that enhance support of streaming video services, online gaming and bandwidth intensive business applications -- such as video conferencing and large data transfers.
"Prior to COVID, there was already significant industry movement to improve bandwidth throughout the region by harnessing established technologies -- such as cable and fiber. The new requirements for working and studying from home, however, have revealed an immediate and urgent need for an improved user experience that includes reliable and fast connectivity, seamless video streaming and increased security," she explains.
Interest in Fixed Wireless and Wi-Fi to Grow Across Europe and Asia in 2021
As a result, NSPs have rapidly adopted solutions that address markets not served by traditional terrestrial infrastructures. Interest, for instance, is rising in the role that fixed wireless access (FWA) technologies can play to connect unserved markets that are in bandwidth deserts, or to improve services in underserved communities, that need better broadband access.
"NSPs are consequently taking a hard look at the opportunities presented by the new 5G spectrum being rolled out around the world at different rates," Pastor says.
In addition to larger efforts to deliver as much bandwidth as possible in Europe and Asia, there has been a growing requirement to better manage the rising number of devices within residences that need access to internet and cloud resources.
"We can expect NSPs in the regions to make investments to upgrade wireless networks inside subscribers' homes. One of the major consequences from the pandemic was the sudden shift of traffic from mobile networks to home Wi-Fi networks. It's an unprecedented event resulting from a huge shift in consumer behavior. Wi-Fi 6 -- and the upcoming Wi-Fi 6E technologies -- are very exciting. We should see these technologies widely deployed within the next few months. That is why, at Technicolor Connected Home, we accelerated our plans to introduce Wi-Fi 6 to the market and integrate them into our gateways," she says.
User Experience and Security Emerge as Key Metrics for Success
The new work from home norm throughout Europe and Asia has changed user experience expectations. Reliability of services and connectivity, as well as appropriate bandwidth, have been elevated and will continue to remain a key requirement. As a result, additional investments will be required to adapt the network architecture and increase infrastructure capacity.
"These improvements will have to be matched by better capacity -- and performance -- of gateways and set-top boxes in the home. A more sophisticated environment is needed that is both faster and smarter than the previous generation of technologies," says Pastor.
Security management will be another important success factor in 2021, according to Pastor. With consumers throughout Europe and Asia more engaged in online activities for their personal and professional lives, more attention will have to be paid to digital risk.
"Managing risk is no longer an option, it's now a requirement. NSPs are in a very good position to be a trusted partner in providing services that protect the rapidly rising number of people, devices and applications that are linked to connected home networks," she says.
Region Remains Ready for More Volatility
While 2020 has been quite eventful, it is not the first time in the last few years that the industry has had to face unexpected events that have disrupted business and supply chain operations feeding the NSP community.
"Three years ago, there was a shortage in the memory market. The following year, it was about the capacitors and resistors market. Today, the industry is making a huge shift to address new consumer behaviors as a result of the global pandemic. Through it all, Technicolor Connected Home has demonstrated a flexibility and agility that has allowed us to develop and deploy new technologies and solutions in a timely manner. We have demonstrated that we can -- and will continue -- to quickly meet the needs of our customers," concludes Pastor.