Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Digital Home Tech Support Front and Center at CES

As much as the Consumer Electronics Show gets defined by the flashy announcements, the big keynotes, and the huge TVs (Panasonic's 150-inch monster), it's the behind-the-scenes stuff that is always intriguing to me. As we've followed the digital home tech support space over the last four years, I like watching the industry evolve and see how the major players such as service providers are coming around to the notion that delivering an enhanced level of customer support not only benefits them by reducing customer support costs, but paves the way for new service offerings that could include product and service recommendations.

Below, I'm highlighting a few of the announcements that caught my attention:

1. Cisco's purchase of WebEx last year has led to enhancements to its Linksys EasyLink Advisor (LELA) offerings. In addition to providing consumers a graphics-based map of their home networking configurations, a WebEx client allows for live technical support.
2. I was intrigued during a panel discussion at our CONNECTIONS™ Summit on Tuesday about how social networking tools can enhance the customer support experience. Rick Clancy, who is Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Sony Electronics, indicated that Sony's use of blogging tools has allowed the company to receive direct feedback from customers. He indicated during our panel How Social Media is Changing the Rules that it was quite likely to see more social networking tools implemented to enhance customer support.
3. Jungo Ltd. has another win for its OpenRG residential gateway middleware. Siemens Home and Office Communications announced that it would use the software in its Gigaset Gateways.
4. Thomson demonstrated its Advanced Cable Gateway that uses TR-069 for remote management.

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