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By Arnaud Canu, Manager, Service Provider EMEAR, Connected Home Solutions, Cisco
One of the perks of being a partner to so many in the industry is the inclusion in the strategic and proof-of-concept lives of our service provider customers. And if trade shows are revelatory of that kind of progress, allow me this prediction, based on what’s transpiring in front of and behind the scenes: This year’s ANGA (May 20-22 in Cologne, Germany) is going to provide an insight into what’s next.
As the midway point between CES and IBC, we often find that ANGA plays host to curtain raisers or behind the scenes glimpses at what’s coming at the end of the summer.
Allow me to begin with what’s going on in front of the curtain, so to speak: A focus on the “Digital Life”. With households embracing remote, wireless access to cameras, window/door sensors, smoke/carbon monoxide monitors, door locks, thermostats, water shut-off valves, and appliance/lighting controls.
You could say that it’s almost a reflection of what AT&T has been successfully offering to subscribers in the US, and is already becoming evident in Europe with the deployment of 35 million smart meters in France by 2020.
Starting at ANGA, service providers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) can take the same path. Why? Because we’re bringing it to the EMEAR marketplace, and we’re calling it the Cisco Connected Life Gateway, because it’s a complete hardware and software platform for the European connected home.
The timing is rather serendipitous, really, for three reasons: One, rising energy costs and economic uncertainty throughout Europe are sparking interest in smart meters, ways to reduce consumption and solutions to protect people, homes and goods.
Two, broadband penetration in certain countries is at an all-time high (Europe’s Internet penetration will reach 75 percent - or three out of four people - by the end of 2014, the highest in the world), which makes it all the more plausible to offer all-IP services, like security, home automation, home monitoring, and solutions that enable the “Internet of Everything.”
Third, and perhaps most notably, it’s designed with the deliberate openness that makes for swift deployment of new products and services. In short, it lets our customers create their own killer apps (using open standards) and launch them quickly.
New regulations on the horizon that mandate smoke detectors in all French homes? “There’s an app for that” takes on a whole new meaning, when its backed by a box that contains five radios and can ultimately support as many home networking and Internet of Everything sensors as desired.
The Connected Life Gateway means that marketers and product developers can jump into the agile and “DevOps” movement that fuels fast, forward progress -launching a few new service features every few weeks, instead of a laboriously compiled list of 50, every two years. It opens the door to continuous development, and everything that brings with it. (One of our service provider partners, for instance, wryly notes that “the marketing department” is now so focused on short-term wins, they’ve had to be reminded that they’re still to look after the longer-term horizon, as well.)
Another reason why Europe’s digital life is about to get so much better is an applications framework we’ve been building, which lets our service provider and partners launch new, cloud-based services - on legacy home devices like existing Cable or Telco gateways.
It’s part cloud, and part very thin software layer for gateways and consumer premise equipment. It enables connected life experiences and navigation on existing gear, while opening the door to even richer experiences, in next-generation CPE. (This one is big, if you ask me. It opens the door to so much.)
Last but not least, and as part of an overall design goal to make our products plumbed to move smooth and fast, from development into production, is a focus on management and self-help tools. The goal is to help customer care representatives and end consumers to solve problems in the shortest and most automatic ways possible.
This was intended to be a short little note on what’s happening with the “connected home” scene, at ANGA. When there’s so much going on, brevity is a challenge! If you’re in Cologne, please come see us. We’re in Hall 10.2 on booth J13