Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Delighting the Consumer: Exceeding Expectations for Digital Lifestyles Enhancement

Summary information from Day 2: CONNECTIONS™ May 2007, hosted in Santa Clara, CA.

Delighting the Consumer: Exceeding Expectations for Digital Lifestyles Enhancement

This panel brings together companies that are leveraging consumer research, marketing prowess, and technical expertise to create new applications, services, and devices for end users to enjoy. They will discuss key steps in developing digital lifestyles solutions, from concept to the store shelf.

Ted Feldman, President/Founder, Neosonik
Hestia Lei, Executive Director, U-verse Member Marketing & Programmer Management, AT&T, Inc.
Joe Menard, Corporate Vice President, Consumer Business, AMD, Inc.
Moderator: John Barrett, Director, Research, Parks Associates

Hestia Lei spoke about AT&T’s rollout of its U-verse television services. The service is now available in 18 markets, with a total of 20,000 subscribers, and key features include a picture-in-picture feature that works with any television because it is a tunerless solution. She also noted that the U-verse solution allows for up to four streams to be recorded on the DVR, a significant difference between the AT&T service and other television services. Lei said that the marketing for U-verse has also been unique in that they are leveraging in-home demonstrations with good success. Whereas a satellite marketing effort (in-store, for example) requires on average 2.5 visits to get a customer to subscribe, AT&T is getting subscribers “on the spot.” AT&T is also looking to strengthen its U-verse community of subscribers via a magazine and a special Website.

Joe Menard began his presentation by noting that today’s bandwidth is currently a “non-delightful experience” for consumers. He called for further improvement in in-home connectivity by developing simple solutions that are truly plug-and-play. This improvement, he said, will require open standards. His call to the industry for delighting the consumer includes five key mantras:

  • Things should work as promised;
  • Premium content should be made easily available;
  • Bandwidth needs to be improved;
  • The network should have a focus of quality-of-service; and
  • The solutions should be easy to understand and buy.

Ted Feldman from Neosnik said that one key consumer desire is ease-of-installation and use with such solutions as home theater and multiroom audio. Retailers and dealers are constantly turning away customers who simply want wireless speakers for their video and audio entertainment purposes at home. Up till now, he said, these solutions simply haven’t been available. However, his company has developed a wireless speaker system that has solved the critical engineering issues in order to assure an excellent sound experience. Ensuring the transmission of audio at just the right amount of time (with the minimum of delay) is absolutely essential to guaranteeing that the solution meets customers’ expectations.

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