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Cover Story of +50% of TV usage during the lockdown, and now the level is maintained higher than in 2019 at +20%. We believe that the Covid-19 Lockdown has made many people realise that they could now do more with the Online Video services, for example, doing their daily exercise watching PE Joe on YouTube in front of the big TV screen. SaH: We think that during the lockdown PCs were back! It’s mainly linked to teleworkers’ activity. However, the PCs were mainly used during the day/office hours. There has been a rise of the time spent in front of TV screens and game consoles as well. Technicolor: The lockdown has caused some changes in the usages at home: • An increased need for bandwidth and high-quality WiFi services as users are working and learning from home, all at the same time. As an example, Comcast disclosed that traffic increased +32% upstream and +11% downstream on their network. The NCTA also mentioned that early weeks of the pandemic showed downstream peak traffic growing 20.1% • More time spent streaming hi-quality videos or gaming online. As an example, in the UK the increase of watching media represented 90 minutes more each day at the height of the lockdown than a year before As a result, the connected home infrastructure – networks and consumer premises equipment (CPE) -- has become more critical. The biggest challenge for NSPs is to ensure continuity of their service. They need to make sure that they provide not only powerful broadband connections and but also high-quality WiFi services within the homes. ZTE: Apart from the APAC region, the world has less than 30% of fibre coverage, and the existing DSL speed can’t meet with the rising demands from home offices. With the development of wireless technology, wireless broadband can offer much faster network speed and less set-up cost and time than traditional DSL technology, making MBB devices ideal for home scenarios. ZTE has been dedicated for many years to the development of CPE/uFi core functions and user experiences, accompanied by a significant increase in demand for LTE-A devices, ZTE has doubled its MBB shipment compared to last year, demonstrating a strong demand for wider bandwidth resulting from home offices. Forecast: Voice assistants to overtake population by 2024 A report from Juniper Research forecasts that consumers will interact with voice assistants on over 8.4 billion devices by 2024; overtaking the world’s population and growing 113% compared to the 4.2 billion devices expected to be in use by year end 2020. The research, Voice Assistant Market: Player Strategies, Monetisation & Market Size 2020-2024, finds that automotive voice assistants and those connected to TVs will have the highest rate of growth, largely thanks to the ability to use voice assistants through peripherals, rather than new hardware. However, this depends on changing consumer behaviour; less than half of TVs capable of voice assistant functions will actually use the function, even in years’ time. The research notes that while several voice assistant vendors are pivoting towards productivity and office usage, this will be a relatively small market. Less than 354m PCs will have active voice assistants, particularly following Microsoft shifting Cortana away from being a full voice assistant. Juniper Research recommends that voice assistant companies targeting the PC market emphasise voice as part of a wider ecosystem of device and data management, with more automation than consumer voice assistants. Will smart speakers and other digital assistants increasingly be integrated into service provider CPE? AirTies: We are already seeing a number of home gateway CPE devices with integrated digital assistants such as Alexa, but this just meets the demands for one room in the house where the gateway is positioned. Other devices will also need to offer the service, not only consumer electronics but also WiFi extenders in a point to point or Meshed environment. CommScope: Yes. We see the rise of far-field voice driven assistants in the set-top box (now evolving into smart media devices) for rooms with large screens and the addition of audioonly smart assistants in other rooms. These three things are important for the service provider to play here: • Add their own unique ‘wake word’ and skills for their services • Leverage other assistants in the same device • Focus on privacy in these solutions as they are controlled by the service provider, not the assistant cloud provider Netgem: Voice control will continue to develop as a key enabler of various services in the home. We invested very early in ‘Voice control for TV’ by launching one of the first service-controlled via a native Alexa Skill across EETV, and Netgem TV in the UK. We continue to enhance the Voice control commands, with for example the recent addition of the ‘Most popular shows’. SaH: This is definitely something we are actively working on with our clients. Our software is integrated in Orange’s Djingo Mini and DT’s HALLO Magenta Mini. The Remote Control of Orange is also powered to enable voice recognition. We have strong requests from operators for future STBs to integrate voice assistants. It actually makes more sense to have it on the STB rather than on the Home Gateway as the STB is a media device and controls audio outputs. Technicolor: A growing number of operators are now interested in voice-enabled services and many have announced the launch of a voice remote control, leveraging Google Assistant in the Android TV world. To grasp the full potential of voice-enabled services and devices, NSPs are more and more looking to integrate a far-field voice control feature to their CPE. This is critical today as it enables service providers to deliver the most engaging user experience by providing hands-free search and content discovery possibilities as well as enriched Smart Home functionality. However, providing subscribers with a high-quality experience, getting best-possible voice interaction and service performance requires a complex integration entailing numerous technical challenges. Voice enabled devices are not all equal in terms of quality. Furthermore, design and execution of implementation are determining factors of experience satisfaction. Working with technology partners in possession of the required knowledge, skills and experience is critical. The combined expertise and established track record of Technicolor and its partner 3SS in this important emerging area. Both companies have grown their combined knowhow in hardware and software over time to propose significant added value for both providers and their subscribers. ZTE: At the moment, most service provider CPE still functions as a network throughput channel, but with the evolution of the relevant ecological chain, the market will see a much more diversified trend. Service providers will strive for more differentiated services such as video, voice and smart home services. What role can service provider CPE play in monetising the home and/or cutting churn: targeted advertising? IoT management? AirTies: Service providers recognise the 12 EUROMEDIA