Whether they deliver service to multifamily apartments over copper cable or fiber optics, voice/video/data providers continue to turbo-charge Internet speeds and broaden an already rich array of on-screen media and resident services applications, and they are increasingly exploring how to deploy those services to mobile devices via wireless networks.
According to major industry telecom and cable companies presenting at this week's Broadband Properties Summit in Dallas, consumer demand is driving providers to deliver both front-end content and back-end account management tools via mobile as a way to differentiate their services and sweeten the marketing message for multifamily clients looking to attract renters with 21st century entertainment and communications packages.
“We’re trying to give the customer control and the ability to own their experience beyond just offering really good TV,” said Jeff Weber, vice president of Dallas-based AT&T U-verse, an Internet protocol (IP)-delivered system that claims 2.3 million customers in 122 markets across 22 states. “You can get the same content and the same applications that you have on TV on your phone or PC. It is really [about] starting to bring a multi-screen experience to our customers rather than only focusing on developing better TV.”
Weber said that the only impediment to rolling out U-verse content to a multi-screen, multi-device format is concern among big media content providers such as Disney and Turner Broadcasting, which like multi-platform delivery but want to maintain quality control over rights and licensing. “From a tech platform standpoint, we have the capability and the intent to give content control on any screen and any device wherever and whenever you want it,” said Weber, who added that U-verse Mobile, announced in March but still under development, will additionally seek to expand DVR control to smart phones and other mobile devices.
New York-based Verizon is likewise working with upstream media partners in an effort to guide content delivery as it applies to mobile. “They are the experts on the communication of entertainment and what it requires from an application and bandwidth standpoint,” said Verizon Enhanced Communities director of sales Dan O’Connell during a preview of the Verizon Concierge amenity management system developed for multifamily clients. O’Connell pointed to ESPN and HBO as networks on the progressive end of developing mobile delivery strategies. “They want seamlessness of service delivery to the handheld, and we think we’ll get a preview opportunity of [deployment initiatives] due to our bandwidth capabilities. With the deployment of 4G, that’s when we expect to see the real interoperability of mobile devices [with traditional broadband hardware delivery platforms].”
Executives at New York-based Time Warner Cable are also keyed into the end consumer’s appetite for mobile control over their broadband experience. “We have been spending a lot of time around how our customers want to interact with our services,” said senior director of national sales Dave Schwehm, who walked conference attendees through improvements made to Time Warner Cable’s online account sign-up and management processes, including optimizations for mobile users. “We’ve been investing a lot over the past three years in mobile capabilities, not just for the sake of technology but to allow our customers to access our products and services when and how they want to.”