Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recaping the RESIDENTIAL GATEWAYS - Devices Enabling New Services panel at CONNECTIONS Berlin

Kurt Scherf began this session by describing the market landscape of service provider competition in Europe and the rise of the residential gateway and value-added services as key competitive differentiators:

  • Aggressive local loop unbundling in Europe means that service providers are no longer safe from intense competition behind their own borders.
  • Parks Associates’ analysis of the value-added services market indicates that pragmatic services and features will be more popular with subscribers in the early stages. For example, solutions aimed at home IT management, storage, and converged voice services (FMC/femtocell) will be deployed in larger numbers in early stages. The residential gateway will sit at the heart of these services, providing a platform for converged and managed services.
  • Parks Associates is forecasting that households with residential gateways will grow from 26 million at the end of 2008 to more than 70 million by the end of 2012. European households will account for more than 60% of deployments in 2008, and it will still be the largest market in 2012.
  • Residential gateway features will evolve to include home networking, converged voice services, media transcoding/transrating, and storage.

The panelists each introduced themselves:

  • Hans-Joerg Kolbe, Senior Researcher, NEC Europe: NEC runs research labs in Heidelberg, Bonn/St. Augustin. Their work includes security, networking and service-related products. The home gateway is the service origination point for the home and its responsibilities can include media management and voice services. As the RG migrates to a femtocell access point, it can allow mobile devices to become home control devices. Quality of service is an important part of RG function. Can support IMS.
  • Christer Larsson, CEO, Makewave AB / OSGi Alliance: OSGi develops standards to manage the lifecyle of RGs. Ebox system was an independent platform to load services and software apps directly. Christer indicates that most OSGi development and deployment is coming from Asia, including Japan and India.
  • Klaus Milczewsky, Senior Manager for Innovation Management, Technology Management Products & Innovation, Home Gateway Initiative / Deutsche Telekom. Klaus indicates that the RG is serving an important entertainment-centric function, and keys to its success are that it is simple, easy-to-use, and cost-effective for the service provider to deploy. The focus of the Home Gateway Initiative is to leverage existing standards and to fill application holes. Key to future development of HGi specifications will be to work with organizations such as DLNA and to focus on the future functionality of the RG.
  • Frederic Onado, Vice President EMEA, HomePlug Powerline Alliance; Vice President, Marketing & Sales, SPiDCOM Technologies: HomePlug – covers chips to service providers, HomePlug A/V compliance standard will be released next year. SPiDCOM chairs HP Europe. Involved with many other service bodies. OMEGA project is to provide new connectivity in the home – wireless optical transmission.
  • Jim Wallace, Director, Emerging & Home, Segment Marketing, ARM: A common processor at the heart of digital home. There are an average of two ARM processors shipped for every person in the world! Processor power for HD streams. Video drives demand for almost unlimited bandwidth – ARM architecture designed to account. Software complexity growing exponentially.

The question and answer session focused on the key benefits of RGs to the service providers and future applications that we can expect to see.

What data shows that HGs benefit service providers?

• Deutsche Telekom / HGI – opportunity to offer features that customers desire – network management and config are key features.
• HomePlug Alliance/ SPiDCOM Technologies – reduces return rates by several percentage points.
• NEC Europe – cannot function without it – it enables offer of voice services over IP, must have these platforms to keep cable from displacing telcos.

Does RG make the relationship with consumer stickier?

• Not yet enough data.
• Makewave AB / OSGi Alliance– the strength is VAS. Services are table stakes – so RG can reduce expenses for required services.
• NEC Europe – looking to protect consumer from VoIP spam. SPIT is spam over IT Telephony.

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