Stuart Sikes President Parks AssociatesAhead of Cable Congress 2013 we speak to Stuart Sikes, President of Parks Associates about cable priorities for 2013 and new trends in consumer technologies.

What do you think will drive cable’s priorities as we look at the state of the industry in 2013?The increasing emphasis on a superior user experience will lead to new enhancements in 2013.  Giving consumers the ability to access content on all platforms will lead to richer interfaces and TV-like programming on non-TV devices.  2013 will see more robust connected device offerings, enabling users to browse the full capabilities of their subscriptions from tablets, PCs and smartphones — not just a limited sampling of what is offered on TV.  2013 will include a number of “in the labs” second screen experiments, none of which will be generally available this year.  New EPGs, or should we say, enhanced user interfaces will be fine-tuned as the industry responds to new standards set by both the Horizon box as well as by a growing number of OTT boxes, including Apple TV.  2013 will include a number of announcements of providers offering STB-less options.

As Parks Associates keeps a close eye on trends in consumer technologies, would you be able to tell us a bit about what these trends are?We are on the edge of an explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT).  The ways that we relate to our devices is quickly changing.  We see it evolving as follows:

  • A move to specialized app interfaces (this happened around 2011).
  • A move to gesture and voice commands (Siri is a crude start, and Samsung’s facial and voice recognition TV technology is an early example).
  • Context-based controls for devices will set lighting and temperature or TV channels based upon my preference as I enter the home.  Our cars already adjust our seat and mirrors based upon which key is being used to enter the car.  Our homes will follow a few years behind.
  • True smart systems in our homes are those that operate in the background, improving operating efficiencies and increasing our comfort and security without us having to “operate” them.  They will just work.  We see early examples in energy management technologies available through providers such as Comcast.

How will these trends affect the cable industry and the vendors who work along with it? Cable is in a great position to leverage a residential gateway device and offer incremental services for a few extra Euros each month, slowly but firmly wooing the subscriber into a deeper and more satisfying relationship.  When consumers realize that they want these new services, most will not want to self-install.  They will want to pick up the phone and have their cable company “just make it happen.”

What’s in the connected home for cable? Higher customer satisfaction and higher revenues…


On Day 3 at 9.30 Stuart will be moderating a panel discussion on the ‘Home Automation’ subject. Home automation is a growing trend worldwide. As consumer demand for smart home security, control and energy management has picked up speed, operators see it as an opportunity to enhance their offerings. Yet home automation raises many questions: is it a new way to generate revenue? Will it further engage customers and make them more “sticky?” Is it the next step in product development? Click here for the latest Cable Congress programme.

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