The ability of the service provider to “own the customer experience” could get a little easier in 2018 with the help of a new gateway from Calix. As explained by Calix’s Chris Bernard, the prototype GigaCenter, demonstrated in the above video at ConneXions 2017, incorporates a microphone and speaker, enabling the service provider to provide an on-demand, always-on, customer service presence within the home through a familiar conversational interface.
In addition to providing the fiber or copper WAN interfaces and Wi-Fi mesh capabilities of a gateway, the speaker and microphone allow integration with increasingly popular natural language services, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, to provide an app-free way to control one’s broadband experience. Calix’s underlying hardware design is software-independent, meaning the service provider won’t be tied to a natural language interface from a specific entity.
The ConneXions demonstration points to one possible interaction, whereby the initial bandwidth was too low for the 4K video stream causing pixelization and loss of synchronization. Using conversational language and in about 30 seconds, the Calix-scripted Alexa identified the issue, offered a solution, fixed the issue, and pitched an upsell package.
This new GigaCenter capability goes beyond broadband, as the gateway brings together and hides the disparate home networking protocols, such as Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, that are beyond the ken of the average consumer. As important as the hardware integration, the software integration with the Calix Cloud allows the service provider to remotely manage the home network, simplifying the smart home experience for the consumer.
Brent Christensen of Christensen Communications exclaimed that “This is a game-changer.” Christensen believes that the ability to customize and brand the GigaCenter and associated experience will put him on an even footing against larger competitors.
[Note: This video brought to you by Calix and was filmed at the 2017 Calix ConneXions Conference].