IN PERSPECTIVE: Unsung heroes
More services, more features and complicated installs simply
serve to increase opex costs. But there’s help.
Actually having to compete with each other is putting cable operators and other service providers in an odd bind. On the one hand, there’s the ongoing effort to reduce operating costs by encouraging self-installs and trying to engineer more intelligence into the network so that more service problems can be evaluated, and even fixed, by customer service reps in remote locations, thereby reducing costly truck rolls.
But there are countervailing needs. In a competitive environment, quality of service (QoS – making sure your plant is up and running) gives way to quality of experience (QoE – making sure your customers are getting consistently excellent TV quality). That puts service providers under additional pressure to make sure their networks are as clean as they can be – which means getting technicians and installers out there in trucks.
At the same time, MSOs are providing more services that interact with each other in increasingly complex ways, which serves to compromise the success rate of self-installs. That’s compounded by the growing desire of consumers to network all of their entertainment services and devices. The home networking trend, by necessity, forces service providers to expand their responsibility beyond modem, set-top, router or gateway into home networks. That all leads to more time-consuming, and therefore more expensive, installs.
There are a lot of unsung heroes working diligently to counterbalance increasing customer service demands with new technologies and techniques to keep opex costs from accelerating out of hand.
There are organizations dedicated to helping train installers and techs. Companies that make self-install technology are continually expanding and refining their techniques (see my first blog entry online under “And Another Thing”).
And test equipment vendors are consistently coming up with lighter, faster, more sophisticated test systems that consistently do more, and do it less expensively, making it easier to install, test and monitor services (see “A preponderance of evidence”).