As providers of the network infrastructure, telecommunications companies have always been a critical component of smart technology. And they have always had a wealth of data. But strategic integration provides telcos with the opportunity to be more involved in smart technology and to acquire access to rich customer data.
Integration is the number one trend in the telco industry. Pundits predict that by 2020 one or more major telco companies will be acquired by a content company, but so far this has not come to fruition.
While Google is building fiber optic networks across the US and has purchased smaller network providers, recent news items reveal that telcos are finding creative ways to play the integration game.
Comcast is Getting Smarter
Take the recent shared purchase of Icontrol Networks by mass media and telecommunications giant, Comcast, and Alarm.com. Icontrol Networks builds platforms and user interfaces for the internal, or local, network in smart home systems.
In this deal, Comcast will take over Iconverge, a platform with a touch screen interface for security and other smart home features. Iconverge already powers Comcast’s Xfinity Home security package. Iconverge is also used by a number of other home security and internet service providers, including Time-Warner and Rogers. Comcast intends to continue with the wholesale operation of Iconverge, which means the company will be powering smart home features for direct competitors.
Smart homes are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), a system that is comprised of a number of different components. These components include internal and external networks, sensors, devices, data and people.
Comcast now has a stake in both internal and external networks as well as the sensors and security devices they sell as part of the Xfinity home package. In other words, Comcast now operates all of the machine and network components of their smart home security system.
Verizon is Getting Richer Data
Verizon made a recent purchase that furthers their integration efforts in an altogether different direction. The company that acquired AOL last year, announced the purchase of Yahoo last month. With this acquisition, Verizon will have control of Yahoo’s popular email and news services, The Huffington Post, and Yahoo advertising and search.
The purchase allows Verizon to grow their audience and puts them in direct competition with Facebook and Google in terms of online advertizing revenue. In addition to direct revenue streams, Yahoo’s search and ad programs will provide Verizon with a treasure trove of data.
Smarter and Richer Increases Network Demands
While telcos are getting smarter and richer through strategic integration, they are also putting more pressure on the network infrastructure. Network speed and reliability is critical to smart home functionality, particularly for home security. And the sheer volume of data traveling through networks takes up bandwidth.
It’s a feedback mechanism in which diversifying revenue streams beyond the network infrastructure creates a greater need for the network infrastructure, with fiber optic becoming the only viable option to meet network demands.
There’s also more emphasis on the quality and security of demarcation points and structured wiring within the premises. Installers need to use high quality enclosures for transition points and media distribution.