Three ways CSPs can make money from network quality transparencyMay 18, 2022
Much good work and collaboration is being done in the broadband and communication services industries to create better, clearer network quality metrics. We at Domos have had the the opportunity to play a part in these initiatives as an active contributor to the Broadband Forum’s QED standard, but there are many other concurrent initiatives driving toward the same goal: a network quality metric that can support real time insight into the outcome of unique internet applications and use cases. There is still some way to go to harmonize the many initiatives and standards out there, but we think there is reason to be hopeful.
With increasing awareness and attention has come shared understanding of the core issues, and with that a unified problem definition is emerging. And while we now have good technology frameworks and solutions, the time has come to move beyond the technical discussions and at last bring some viable commercial strategies to the fore. No doubt, that process starts by building business cases that can motivate change and investment. But how?
Here are the three new customer value propositions we believe could make network quality transparency a transformational opportunity for the broadband industry:
1. Hook Application Developers
Application developers are always on the hunt for new ways to expand, elevate and differentiate their offerings. Exposing robust network quality metrics in real time would allow them to integrate this into their respective application logic and create better user experiences.
Meta Connectivity put this well in a recent blog post, highlighting how application and network optimisations, when done in isolation can degrade outcome. If network quality was made available to the application in real time, the application developer could factor it in and make applications optimisations network aware. It would certainly improve performance of both applications and the network, and - as Meta, no surprise, points out - it will be absolutely necessary to support future value drivers like AR and VR. Needless to say there’s a lot vested there.
But there are other ways application developers can benefit. Take sports streaming for example. DAZN and other “Netflix of Sports” type companies are bidding competitively to carry premium brands like Serie A and Premier League. And not just for online streaming. This is for full broadcasting rights. In parallel, they are investing in interactive technologies and business cases, and one of the sweet spots they’re gambling on is - you guessed it - live betting. No doubt this is seen a core business driver for these companies in the future. Latency differences will make this model difficult unless the application developers can integrate network quality into content promotion and make sure participants have relevant conditions. Similar opportunities are seen in gaming where games like fortnite have been known to pair gamers of similar network quality. We believe these applications could create better experiences if they have SDK access to network quality in real time.
2. Enable Application Users
In software it is well understood that simplicity is key to creating value. A natural and intuitive user interface will reach a much wider audience and monetise better. So application developers invest in UX design to stimulate this natural engagement.
We believe a similar dynamic can be created by integrating network quality metrics seamlessly inside each application. The concept is being validated now with a leading video conference application provider. We at Domos have developed an SDK and a general plug-in that allows enterprise employees that work from home to optimise their residential networks directly inside the video conference application. The application developer believes this offering would prove very attractive, particularly to their corporate customers, creating a natural enterprise business opportunity for the residential broadband service provider.
So again, by creating an SDK that makes it easy for application developers to integrate, we see huge increase in user engagement and as a result new go-to-market partnerships opening up for the network service provider
3. Empower App Customer Care
End users naturally get frustrated when things are not working as expected, and it is difficult to get useful help. Typically there is a lot of finger pointing, between application and network layers, but also internally (server vs app, access network vs WiFi). Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive root cause analysis available that can access all possible issues at all the various layers. We believe this presents a very tangible business opportunity that empowers customer care with a complete picture of a given case through a full topology when addressing specific application users.
The broadband industry tends to validate investments in spreadsheets. No investment is made before the business case is developed, discussed and validated. This is a process that is not counted in weeks or months, but years. Ever nimble, Internet companies on the other hand tend to validate in engagement. They know that if they can organically win engagement, they will be able to convert to revenue down the road when the time is right.
Business case dynamics will of course need to be different. Building out costly infrastructure is very different from distributing content over the internet. But the value propositions we have outlined above all have dynamics that are more similar to internet companies than those in the infrastructure space. No surprise, they all target application use cases through application developers, the architects of internet services.
With this in mind, the broadband industry should apply theses now well-established best practices when planning the business case. Monetisation should wait until there is proven value and engagement. And let’s not forget simplicity and ease-of-use. It will be relatively easier with enterprise and customer care use cases, but either way, the effective go-to-market approach is through developers. The less friction they meet on the path to integrating network optimisation data and insight, the more effective they will be in bringing value to the end users.
Domos supports developer engagements through robust APIs and SDKs for all our latency management installations. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.