There’s a huge opportunity for cable operators and other “fixed line” residential communications service providers to roll out affordable, convenient and fun multimedia solutions to families including those with “work from home” entrepreneurial parents. By creating over-the-top WiFi supported solutions bundles, associated with the home phone number, CSPs can compete immediately with cellular providers who are known for their “friends and family” plans.
The economics are stunning for consumers – families – and the service providers themselves. As long as the home has WiFi, family members can make free calls including to international locations when family members overseas are also “on-net,” and creative new services can be implemented over time including integrating with OTT content and entertainment for shared “social” experiences (watching sports, news, and other live events – together!)
But before we even get to those future opportunities, many which can drive new ad-supported and e-commerce business models, there are some very basic solutions being offered today including when service providers upgrade residential landlines into a ‘Family Community’ real time communications hub.
Here’s a visual for a scenario where Mom works from home, and needs to separate her business calls from family calls but doesn’t want the expense and complexity of having two “lines” to deal with. Instead, a second number can be affiliated with the main home phone number. Mobile devices can also be attached to the single account, and any “smart endpoint” (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV) that is IP enabled can be transformed into a real time communications access point.
By extending residential telephony services into multimedia solutions, even service providers in the most rural (and often underserved markets) can bring world-class and very “sticky” communications services to their markets, with minor or no capex required when they select a software / cloud platform provider like fring as a partner.
A few details:
- Incoming calls to Home Phone Number alert the Home phone and the “Web Phone” (tablet or PC)
- Incoming calls to the Home Phone Number are distributed to the family member’s fring clients on IP devices (PCs, mobile phones, tablets)
- Family members can make calls from their IP devices, with the CLID set to their Home Phone number
- Calls can be moved from one family member to another
- Family members have access to a common contact list
- Family members can exchange rich messaging and have video calls / conferences with each-other
In a world where we also need to simply “unplug” from business to spend real quality time with our families, there are also cool solutions like BusinessCall, another GENBAND solution powered by Kandy’s Platform-as-a-Service (as fring is).
This solution starts with the smartphone connected to a cellular or WiFi network, and provides a cost effective way to add a business number. It’s ideal for home-based businesses, and like the fring solution, has the ability to include multiple numbers on same phone with inbound/outbound SMS capability, a dedicated number assures professional interactions, and even an automated attendant that helps create a sophisticated image. Calls from the smartphone can be redirected to the home land line – thus a second solution for entrepreneurial parents!
I am one of those busy, traveling parents who loves nothing more than spending time with my family when I am not a road warrior! I find that a mix of solutions works well for me, but have come to rely on OTT solutions most to connect with my kids even when I am in Hong Kong, London, New York, India or even in our office in Tel Aviv. Given that I am in a global company, having access 24/7 to multimedia interaction capability also makes my life easier to juggle, while keeping the costs of staying in touch dramatically lower than they were a decade ago – with much greater quality!
About one in five workers around the globe, particularly employees in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day, according to an Ipsos/Reuters poll. Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs, which conducted the survey, noted that businesses see lot of advantages…telecommuting is a great way to retain women. It provides less stress because of less commuting and provides a better work-life balance,” she said in an interview with Reuters.
Whether or not a “family unit” includes a work-at-home entrepreneur, keeping parents, children, friends and family connected with software-based and OTT solutions simply makes sense – for consumers, and the CSPs who are continually striving to find new ways to attract and keep those “subscribers.”