Executive Vice President
Field Operations, Calix
In this edition of the Revenue EDGE Beacon we are focusing on how market leaders, such as Comcast, are leveraging experience to differentiate. Why? Because understanding what they are doing right is important, as Terry O’Reilly shares below in “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions.”
Over the last quarter we have seen Comcast make significant moves that indicate the future is about delivering an experience, not speed. First, it cut capital cable expenditures in 2018 and increased cuts in 2019 (-11.7 percent YoY), indicators that speed only counts up to a certain point. Comcast can now deliver 1 Gb download speeds to all subscribers. Comcast added a record number of broadband subscribers (379K) while losing a record number of video subscribers (-238K). Our view is that it has hit the right speed level (1 Gb) and is now shifting its strategy, as the video experience is not a differentiator.
In my keynote at ConneXions, I acknowledged Comcast as a highwater mark in our industry for experience. Last week at CES, Comcast raised the bar with the launch of its new Wi-Fi 6 router. More importantly, Comcast also announced that any subscriber who signs a contract will get Advanced Security ($5.99 per month) free for a period of time. This is another indicator that Wi-Fi 6 is now the minimum bar and that Wi-Fi extenders will go extinct as Wi-Fi 6 mesh makes them unnecessary. This will then make Comcast’s $37M ownership of Plume a short-term investment while it builds this gateway.
Furthermore, this announcement strengthens our long-held position that experiences, such as security, are the new battleground. All of this validates that our investments in the BLAST Wi-Fi 6 systems and ever-expanding EDGE Suites (ProtectIQ™, ExperienceIQ™, and SmartThings), are the right way for your team to compete. In February, we will further expand the platform with new product launches that will ensure that you provide your subscribers with the ultimate experience and WIN.
I spent my holiday reading about an even bigger competitor–Amazon–who’s customer-first culture is to be admired and analyzed. Jeff Bezos has made Amazon's mission clear from the start; “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.” The Everything Store documents the rise of Amazon, and it is clear that Bezos’ customer obsession is core to its culture and success. As a leader, I found myself asking “Is Calix customer obsessed enough?” We have a long history of being customer focused, and in 2020, obsession is on deck.
We should all be asking ourselves that question as leaders.
This led me to a podcast, “Land of the Giants” from Recode. I would highly recommend it, with two episodes standing out:
Amazon is playing for the long-term, strategic win. It has deep pockets and is able to invest billions of dollars to make that happen. This is why it is doubly important for service providers to own the antennae in the home at all costs. Service providers must build compelling experiences to protect that strategic high ground against all competitors, including Amazon, Google, or companies who are pitching a partnership with you while selling direct to your subscribers. Rest assured, Calix will never sell around you, we are CSP first and only.
When your place is solidified in the home with the Revenue EDGE, you will be able to ensure that Amazon remains a great partner, not a competitor. Never lose that place in the home, as getting it back might be impossible, relegating your capital investment in fiber to a replaceable dumb pipe.
Our 2020 goal is to help YOU deliver earth’s ULTIMATE subscriber experience.
We have incredible new product launches planned, which will allow you to stop EERO and Google Wi-Fi dead in their tracks. We are obsessed with arming your marketing and support teams with the analytics and tools they need to be the ultimate in your market. We will also continue to invest in those capabilities, as Matt Collins explains in “What exactly is EDGE Enablement?” below.
If you have feedback or ideas on how we can improve, please email me and please send me a LinkedIn invite to continue sharing.
Wishing you and your team an incredible 2020.
Host of CBC Radio's Under the Influence.
Co-Founder, The Apostrophe Podcast Company.
Walmart founder Sam Walton used to hold meetings with his top 500 managers every week.
He’d schedule them on Saturday mornings (ouch). He would review sales and inventory. But his big interest was what his competitors were doing.
He wasn’t interested in what they were doing wrong. Walton was only interested in what they were doing right. He expected his people to visit competitors constantly. He would pepper his managers with questions and extract every piece of information in their possession. In his own way, Sam Walton was looking for granular data. His philosophy was simple: Why try to guess what your competitors are thinking when you can just walk into their stores?
When you’re running a business, it’s easy for your attention to be diverted to internal issues. Like systems, process, P&L statements, staffing issues, etc. But if your nose is too close to the glass, it fogs up the view.
That’s why Sam Walton was constantly using binoculars instead of a microscope.
Right now, if you look out your front door, you can see Amazon and Google pushing to own subscribers. Yes, huge companies have reach and resources, but they have one important strategic weakness.
They don’t live in your town.
Data gives you insights. Insights generate opportunities. Opportunities ignite marketing ideas. Fold all that into your first-hand understanding of your community and you can create a meaningful connection that a remote, giant corporation just isn’t capable of.
I always say the best business people are the best listeners and the best listeners build valuable companies. Data is a listening device. It lets you hear what your customers want, what they use, how they use it, what they have, what they wish they had, what they love and what they don’t.
Then take that stream of learning and turn it into customer service. Use data to surprise and delight your customers. Become the Service Provider that leverages insight to build great customer experiences. That deep, local understanding of their needs is a powerful competitive advantage.
Sam Walton had it right. Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
Even if that breakfast is on Saturday.
Serving over 33,000 miles across Wyoming and Montana, the Range Companies (Range) bring voice and broadband service to a rural population that values the lifestyle their communities afford them. However, living in this region should not equate to a substandard in-home Wi-Fi experience and Range has ensured its subscribers are ahead of many urban areas with its new next generation Wi-Fi service.
Built on Calix Marketing and Support Cloud and the GigaSpire, Range has delivered its new service to subscribers served by its FTTH network. By utilizing the insights from Calix Marketing Cloud, Range reduced truck rolls by 22 percent and Wi-Fi support calls by 24 percent in the first 3 months, while identifying subscribers who are the most in need of the upgrade. With the newly launched Range Smart Home App and Wi-Fi 6 and Amazon Alexa functionality built in to the GigaSpire system, Range is showing its subscribers the value of this new service.
Learn more about how Range is partnering with Calix to establish a foundation for the future, including network security and parental controls, in this Calix Customer Video.
Chief Marketing Officer, Calix
EDGE Enablement is the embodiment of our partnership with you. It is everything Calix provides to ensure your whole team is supported from education and training to subscriber facing content, consults, and success services.
Calix Professional Services and Training are readily available including online courses, instructor-led courses, defined learnings paths based on role, TAC TV videos, on-demand webinars, as well as enablement and deployment services.
Calix Customer Success Services ensure that you get the most from your Calix Cloud investments, driving tremendous time to value. This paired with our growing Calix Community (on MyCalix) provide fantastic opportunities to collectively benefit from the knowledge and experiences of your peers.
1 to 1 Marketing Consults are available to discuss best practices, packaging/positioning, and strategy.
And finally, amazing content is available to enable you to get a jump start on your Go-To-Market messaging to your subscribers. You’ll never have to start with a blank sheet of paper again when you are launching new services focused on the subscriber experience from the Revenue EDGE. This includes product planning guides, educational videos, quick start guides and videos, consumer product brochures, FAQs, web page content blocks and templates, and more. We also provide fully developed campaigns that can you can pair with our Success Playbooks to clearly outline your campaign goals and expected results.
To get started, go to our new EDGE Enablement page and join the “Revenue EDGE” to gain access to all of this great new stuff. To give you a feel for some of these great tools, check out the example to the left of one of our great, new How-To videos.
Rest assured, we’re only getting started! We’ll continue to update you on the many ways we’re working to enable you behind the scenes. Your success is our success and we look forward to supporting you throughout 2020!
In Perspectives from the EDGE above, Michael makes the point that competing on speed alone is not enough in today’s competitive market and that you need to deliver value beyond speed. Well, where will that value come from and what forms will it take?
Let’s take those in reverse order. The value will come in the form of Solutions & Simplicity. Specifically, solutions that are pre-integrated into the Revenue EDGE Foundation, solve real subscriber needs, and do so in a way that’s simple to market, enable, manage, and for your subscribers to consume. As to where these solutions will come from, they will come primarily from our growing Calix Partner Ecosystem.
In 2020 Calix will be making major investments in growing our partner ecosystem, with specific focus on Revenue EDGE partners who bring value-added solutions to your subscribers, and who make it simpler to adopt, deploy, and run the core components of the Revenue EDGE (Calix Marketing Cloud, Calix Support Cloud, EXOS, etc.). These partners will be both large (Amazon, Samsung, etc.) and small, but all will be focused on delivering real value to your subscribers and enabling you to not just compete but to stay ahead of your competition.
As part of this expanded focus on growing our partner ecosystem Calix has asked me to take on a new role focusing exclusively on partners who will supplement and expand the value of both the Revenue EDGE and in the Intelligent Access EDGE.
I got a taste for the new role at CES last week where, along with other leaders in the marketing and product management teams at Calix, I had a number of amazing meetings with innovative software companies who definitely will, and some who potentially might, add tremendous value to the Revenue EDGE. Specifically, we had a great meeting with the Samsung SmartThings team with whom we’re already collaborating to launch SmartThings on the Revenue EDGE. The SmartThings platform and solution partners will be a trove of value that we will mine to enable you to bring amazing solutions to your subscribers. For example, two of the meetings we had at CES were with companies who leverage the SmartThings platform to bring innovative solutions to market focusing on the very hot areas of video and in-home health.
We also had great meetings with other software companies that offer enhancements to existing solutions and new solutions both in the consumer space and in the SMB space as we begin to explore that market.
Following CES I’ll be travelling to Silicon Valley to meet with both Amazon and Google to continue our partnerships with those companies and extend our strategy of leveraging their market dominance and muscle to enable you to own the user experience by partnering (not competing) with these giants. More on those meetings in future editions of the Revenue EDGE Beacon!
And on that topic, keep your eye out for the Revenue EDGE Beacon as, throughout the year, we will highlight new partners we are bringing onboard and the solutions they are providing that you can to deliver to your subscribers to create value. Like so many situations in life, our focus on growing our partner ecosystem can be summed up by a Beatles song. In this case, we’ll all grow our businesses, With a Little Help From Our Friends!
A February 2019 report published by Symantec (‘Internet Security Threat Report’) found that:
In a story reported by CNN, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning in November 2019 that smart TVs may be used by television manufacturers and app developers to snoop on consumers. The warning suggested that malicious actors can take control of, and potentially wreak havoc on, unsecured smart TVs.
These are just a few examples of the countless threats that your subscribers—and their connected devices—face every day. Still not convinced? Read this article in Bloomberg Businessweek. It’s about notorious hacker Daniel Kaye, the man responsible for one of the most widespread hacks in history, and it documents the powerful, negative consequences that can result.
Adopting a proactive approach to home network security
Not surprisingly, broadband subscribers are worried about their online security. In a recent study sponsored by Calix, 76 percent of broadband households in North America expressed high levels of concern about security and privacy when using their connected devices.
For a few of your subscribers—the technically savvy ones—purchasing software that protects their connected devices from malicious websites, viruses, and ransomware is a no brainer. But what about subscribers who do not understand the risks that they face?
Communications service providers (CSPs) have a unique opportunity to strengthen their brand by providing their subscribers with tools that improve their overall experience and provide protection from online threats, while reducing the number of costly support calls, decreasing churn, and generating additional revenue.
One method of offering these capabilities is through a mobile app that allows subscribers to enable security controls that generate notifications and alerts related to network threats.
ProtectIQ™: Home network protection to prevent malicious activity
ProtectIQ is a network-level security application — part of the EDGE Suites within the Calix Revenue EDGE solution — that provides malicious website protection, anti-virus and anti-ransomware packet inspection, and intrusion detection.
ProtectIQ proactivity monitors network traffic coming into your subscribers’ homes, using a proprietary classification engine that automatically blocks anything that looks suspicious. A container within EXOS, the platform that runs on top of the Calix GigaSpire, provides the ideal location for network security functionality. The GigaSpire is the nexus through which all traffic to the home passes, providing a natural point at which to establish and enforce a home perimeter layer of security and privacy. Subscribers use the CommandIQ™ mobile app to enable their security controls, receive security-related notifications and alerts, and add trusted devices to a ‘white list’.
Deliver home network protection that provides peace of mind
As cyber attackers continue to target residential gateways, routers and poorly secured IoT devices in subscriber home networks, it’s more important than ever for CSPs to expand the level of security protection they are providing. By implementing a proactive approach to securing subscriber home networks, CSPs can protect their subscribers—and their own networks—from potentially devastating attacks.
Best of all, every time an unwanted intrusion is prevented, and your subscribers are notified, you are building up the trust that they place in your brand.
Want more information?
There is a great video, summarizing ProtectIQ, available on the EDGE Suites web page. We’ve also created a wide range of materials that you can use with your subscribers as you look to provide more information about the CommandIQ app, including a Consumer Product Guide and Quick Start Guide, with more to come.
The Calix team is also here to help your marketing organization transform your brand into one that your subscribers trust for their home network security needs. Start by scheduling a Marketing Consult, to discuss strategies and available solutions that can help move you from being a service provider to becoming an experience provider.
Thought Leadership Marketing, Calix
Comcast made some interesting announcements last week at CES. So let’s take a look, starting with the hardware. The latest xFi Advanced Gateway was touted as a next-gen DOCSIS 3.1 Wi-Fi 6 Certified gateway designed to provide whole-home Wi-Fi coverage to large numbers of smart home devices, low latency online gaming, and 4K video streaming services. And according the Comcast, this version of the xFi Advanced Gateway will be the “fastest, smartest and most powerful Wi-Fi device on the planet.”
Um… No. It’s a mildly interesting collection of technologies but it’s certainly not the most powerful Wi-Fi device on the planet.
The new xFi gateway supports four simultaneous dual-band antennas to support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation. Dual-band 4x4 antenna designs are old news and certainly nothing to brag about. The GigaSpire BLAST came to market in 2019 supporting simultaneous 8x8 5GHz and 4x4 2.4GHz antennas. While Comcast is announcing trials of middle-of-the-road Wi-Fi, Calix is already expanding the GigaSpire Wi-Fi 6 portfolio, so you always have the right system for each location.
The new xFi gateway also includes a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port to support services greater than 1 Gbps. Sounds great, and I’m sure there are early adopters that will sign up for a 2.5 Gbps service. A 2.5 Gbps LAN port is another thing that sounds great on paper, but it’s mostly there to bolster claims that DOCSIS is the fastest access technology. It’s not (and its especially anemic in the upstream direction).
So now let’s focus on what Comcast is doing right: bundling their cybersecurity service options. Comcast is increasingly selling software-based subscriber experiences and using these to differentiate, because the hardware is not differentiated. What does this mean for you? This is a wakeup call for anyone not thinking about the incremental services they can offer subscribers whether it be security, parental controls, IoT, aging in place, etc. How you choose to define your subscriber experience will determine how “churn proof” you will be to competitors like Comcast.
Fortunately, Calix and our partner ecosystem are in your corner. The Revenue EDGE delivers that differentiated experience your subscribers are looking for, while we give you the systems, services, and insights you need to be successful.
CES 2020 was number 10 for me, and this milestone made me reflect on the show’s evolution from cool consumer electronics, to cool connected consumer electronics… to smart consumer solutions.
The Calix team on the ground hosted customers at the Wynn, sharing more of our 2020 vision to enable their success and exchanging ideas of how we can continue to support their focus on subscriber experience. We also met with partners and potential partners, as Stephen detailed, and kept our eye on the show floor. Here’s a quick snapshot of the highlights and themes from the event:
Digital Health & Wellness
Overall, CES was a great way to kick off 2020, but most importantly affirmed our ongoing mission at Calix. None of this is interesting or attainable without simple, easy-to-use platforms and someone (like you!) to help subscribers navigate the chaos and make these smart decisions for their lives.
Did you know that the majority of subscribers consider broadband and Wi-Fi coverage as the services they care about most? While only 15 percent view broadcast TV as the most important?
The surge in the number of connected devices along with the burgeoning use of gaming and video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + has changed the dynamics of the subscriber home. More competitors are staking their claim for the home while many providers are becoming increasingly reliant on fixed broadband services as single source of revenue. It’s time to rethink this model.
Join Broadband World News and Calix on the January 23 webinar to learn how providers like you are positioning themselves with compelling, value driven offers that are transforming their business, driving new revenue streams, and solidifying their role in the home for years to come.
Amazon suggests products they know you want or need. Netflix recommends movies and programming they are confident you will enjoy. You have probably purchased some of Amazon’s suggestions and watched Netflix’s recommendations.
Studies show people prefer—and respond better to—personalized content. They want advertisements and information to be relevant and meaningful. They want it to target their specific habits. According to a survey by Infosys, 74 percent of consumers feel frustrated when content is misplaced and doesn’t speak directly to them. Another 59 percent say personalization influences their shopping decisions.
Put that in perspective of a broadband provider. Gamers don’t want to receive emails about using broadband to work from home, and remote workers are not as likely to be persuaded by movie streaming options.
This strategy of knowing and dividing up your audience base is known as marketing segmentation: grouping consumers together based on shared traits or habits. And this strategy works for companies beyond just giant tech companies like Amazon and Netflix. You can easily get in the game and maximize your marketing efforts. Here are some basic marketing segmentation rules to maximize your results:
A thought-provoking perspective from Forbes on what it takes to lead in the coming decade. A summary of different aspects of your business that need to align with successfully converting disruption into an advantage. The article explores necessary mindset, skillset, technology, and more.
Did you know 19 percent of Millennial smartphone users do not have broadband Internet service at home? Discover eye-opening statistics from Pew Research on Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation—who they are and how each generation adopts technology differently. No matter what your subscriber generation mix, it’s essential to follow the trends that will continue to impact your long term business strategy.
Thought Leadership Marketing, Calix
In this month’s Analyst Insight, IHS Markit Research Director John Kendall discusses Wi-Fi challenges in the connected home and the opportunities for communications service providers who offer a managed whole-home Wi-Fi solution.
John argues that subscribers intrinsically know what they want, even when they don’t express it clearly:
Fortunately, communications service providers are uniquely positioned to deliver a truly “smart” broadband service.
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