Communications Service Providers (CSPs) everywhere face daunting new performance demands as home-network usage has skyrocketed. At the same time, these challenges offer unprecedented opportunities for CSPs to create long-term strategic advantages in an era of uncertainty.
Record-breaking demand is here to stay
When pandemic lockdowns took hold in 2020, working and learning at home became the norm. As a global Smart Home Services pioneer, Plume® is able to review real-time data from more than 20 million homes worldwide and has seen firsthand how device usage in the home has changed in the last year. Between local hours of 6 a.m.–6 p.m. the number of devices active in homes across the US had risen 75-100% between March and December 2020. This number had increased to 147% in some cities by February 20211.
While patterns across the UK and Europe differed from the US in 2020, Plume data shows similar spikes in demand in 2021. For example, an increase of 121% in Germany, 131% in the Netherlands, and 102% in the UK1 as of February 2021.
According to Accenture2, more than half of people who worked from home for the first time in 2020 plan to keep doing so at least some of the time in the future — 53%. Supporting this trend: new hybrid office models introduced by pioneering tech companies3, in which the office becomes more a “state of mind” than a physical location for knowledge workers.
So, we should not assume that data consumption will go back to pre-COVID-19 levels of “normal”–– at least not anytime soon.
Consumer expectations vs. service limits
The pandemic has accelerated what we knew was coming –– an age in which consumers would demand hyper-connected homes. As home WiFi becomes the cornerstone of their work, home, and social lives, subscribers depend more than ever on their CSPs to provide a reliable and robust connection.
Meanwhile, dramatic increases in usage have challenged providers to deliver a high quality of service to consumers4 and the proliferation of WiFi-connected devices has created wireless chaos inside the home. As countries continue to fight COVID-19 and now race to vaccinate their populations, Plume data continues to tell the story of intense, sustained demand in homes across the US, UK, and Europe.
In addition to the surge in activity, subscribers are connecting more devices than ever before, such as digital voice assistants, smart appliances, and home security systems.
In fact, digital voice assistants are forecasted to triple in use to 8 billion by 2023, up from 2.5 billion at the end of 2018, driven by the popularity of wearables, smart speakers, and smart TVs, which are themselves expected to grow at more than 121% CAGR per year through 20235.
The pandemic has placed new urgency on finding long-term solutions to retain and grow market share against large tech rivals. Fortunately, a partnership with Plume offers a viable path forward for CSPs who want to ensure a premium smart home experience for their subscribers.
Delivering a flawless WiFi experience — together
Plume offers CSPs a way to thrive in a post-COVID age of accelerated demand and uncertainty. With a powerful combination of open-source, cloud, and AI technology, Plume’s adaptive WiFi system works to:
- Improve quality of experience (QoE). Plume technology limits dead zones, optimizes client steering for smoother connections, and offers sophisticated cloud-based processing to cut down on network interference.
- Reduce support costs. Machine learning predicts which customers are most likely to call support, based on networking conditions and usage patterns. This allows the system to send proactive emails and initiate preventive maintenance, dramatically reducing truck rolls and overall support costs.
- Provide remote solutions. Plume ships hardware directly to homes, with self-service installation and cloud-based support tools that slash in-person support costs and meet the needs of a post-COVID world.
- Create additional revenue streams. CSPs can turn on new, ongoing revenue streams with products and services their subscribers value. These include things like WiFi motion detection capabilities for home security and elder care.
Bundled into a suite of Smart Home Services called HomePass™, Plume has packaged premium home connectivity into an easily integrated solution that can be delivered rapidly at massive scale. HomePass includes adaptive WiFi (Adapt™), cyber-security (Guard™), access controls (Control™), and other valuable consumer features. Behind the scenes, Plume Haystack™ brings robust back-end applications for CSPs that provide unprecedented visibility and support which has seen Service Providers reduce churn by up to 30%, and cut truck-rolls by up to 67%6. Finally, Plume leverages OpenSync™, an open-source framework which comes pre-integrated and supported on the leading silicon, CPE, and platform SDKs – potentially giving CSPs’ current hardware a new lease on life.
Embracing new technologies: the way forward
For CSPs, the challenge and the opportunity to provide a reliable and robust connected home experience has never been more important. And with consumer behavior changing indefinitely, CSPs need to embrace new technologies not only to stay competitive and minimize customer churn, but as the only way to innovate rapidly, provide exciting services, and boost revenues.
To learn more about how Plume can help you achieve your goals, visit plume.com.
1 Plume Work From Home Dashboard: https://discover.plume.com/wfh-dashboard
2 “COVID-19 Likely to Usher in "Decade of the Home," According to Accenture Survey Research,” 13 Aug 2020: https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/covid-19-likely-to-usher-in-decade-of-the-home-according-to-accenture-survey-research.htm
3 “WFH or Work at the Office—More Tech Employees Can Now Choose,” Arielle Pardes, Wired, 30 Oct 2020: https://www.wired.com/story/hybrid-workforce-tech-companies-future/
4 “Can networks cope with millions working from home? So far, yes,” Reuters, 17 Mar 2020: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-europe-telecoms/can-networks-cope-with-millions-working-from-home-so-far-yes-idUSKBN21435U
5 “Digital voice assistants in. use to triple to 8 billion by 2023, driven by smart home devices,” Juniper Research, 12 Feb 2018: https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/digital-voice-assistants-in-use-to-8-million-2023
6 “Total Cost of Ownership Study”, Plume, December 2020: https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/3848927/_Sales%20Materials/Whitepapers/Plume-TCO%20Study.pdf
Plume is the creator of the world's first SaaS experience platform for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and their subscribers, deployed in more than 20 million homes globally. As the only open and hardware-independent solution, Plume enables the rapid delivery of new services for connected homes (and beyond) at massive scale. For consumers, Plume delivers self-optimizing WiFi, cyber-security, access controls, and more. CSPs get robust back-end applications for unprecedented visibility and support. Plume leverages OpenSync™, an open-source framework which comes pre-integrated and supported on the leading silicon, CPE, and platform SDKs.