Digital Checkup: Where are you on the path to digital transformation?

By: Philip Yoo

When our industry gathers to discuss digital transformation, the conversation can take many different directions, from updating IT systems, to upgrading network speed and capacity, to innovating new digital services. No matter how we discuss and define it, the bottom line is that the communications and entertainment industries are transforming their very business models to keep up with the digital lifestyle. 

Consider that the average consumer already owns 3.3 connected devices — both in the United States and across the United Kingdom — and this number is on the rise. In the age of Apple, Google, and Uber, user experiences are expected to be easy (and seamless). Personalization and customization have become a core demand and expectation of digital consumers. To gain a competitive advantage in the digital era, it’s up to the service provider community to not only innovate, but to stay ahead of the expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s connected consumers.

U.S. consumers spend five hours per day on their mobile devices (which is a 20 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2015), and media and entertainment apps account for 15 percent of this time. What is the driving force behind consumers’ accelerated mobile content consumption? Streaming.

Access to multiple ways to stream the same content motivated prospective customers to "shop around" before committing to a service provider. Furthermore, the connected consumer expected its provider to offer case-by-case, personalized recommendations around what content to watch or listen to, on which device to access content, and what payment method to use — all based on that individual’s previous behaviors and preferences.

The widespread adoption (and expectation) of streaming services put immense pressure on Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to accommodate, and get ahead of this phenomenon. Customers were pushing for more streaming offerings, and had ever-increasing expectations around higher video quality and more options about how to view that content.

For the digital-savvy consumer, it is no longer enough that service providers make high-quality video content available for streaming. The CSP is expected to deliver real value to the connected consumer, which stems from what offerings they feel are compelling enough to keep them coming back to the brand for the next chapter, the next episode, the next experience.

Getting Ahead of Consumer Expectations

A recent market survey polled millennials around the globe about their expectations for future service offerings in order to uncover what capabilities will matter most — both today and tomorrow. The study revealed that from personalized services to more intelligent and intuitive services, millennials, in particular, have clear priorities and expectations for offerings. Spanning payments to home automation, millennials want their services to play a key role in simplifying their lives. The desire to see service providers make everyday transactions faster and easier rose to the top of the priority list as well, including the ability to take action on the consumer’s behalf using Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. 

As for content consumption, 83 percent of millennials reported that they planned to use their smartphones to watch online video in 2022, including YouTube content, TV serials and movies. The results highlight the need for mobile services to become more of an entertainment hub, with service providers expected to deliver or enable a superior video, music and entertainment streaming experience.

If we consider that millennials are the future customer and revenue base of today’s CSPs, it becomes important to gauge progress in meeting their expectations for their services they expect not only now, but in the future as well.


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