Technicolor’s Roberto Salermo Discusses How Latin American Service Providers Can Integrate Broadband and Wi-Fi Services to Enhance ARPU

27 February 2017

  • The successful integration of the Cisco Connected Home business has made Technicolor Connected Home well placed to win in the challenging Latin American market.
  • Many Latin American homes present a challenge to Wi-Fi — essential for a good video experience — and broadband service providers are inundated with customer complaints regardless of whose video service the customer is watching.
  • Technicolor is laying the groundwork for success in the Latin American Connected Home market by deepening its relationships with its service provider partners so as to understand their issues today and facilitate their plans for the future.
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  • The successful integration of the Cisco Connected Home business has made Technicolor Connected Home well placed to win in the challenging Latin American market.
  • Many Latin American homes present a challenge to Wi-Fi — essential for a good video experience — and broadband service providers are inundated with customer complaints regardless of whose video service the customer is watching.
  • Technicolor is laying the groundwork for success in the Latin American Connected Home market by deepening its relationships with its service provider partners so as to understand their issues today and facilitate their plans for the future.

Roberto Salermo, President of the Latin America region for Technicolor Connected Home, explains how Technicolor Connected Home is growing market share by developing deep relationships with the region’s broadband service providers to understand their issues and priorities and by providing solutions to enable reliable delivery of video into the home.

Roberto, we are celebrating the beginning of a new year and in the wake of the integration of the Connected Home business of Cisco. What does the new Technicolor Connected Home 2.0 bring to the Latin American market in the wake of this merger? What do we have to look forward to?

Salermo: As you know, I came from another company after the integration had started, but I’ve had the opportunity to be part of integration teams at other companies and, to be honest with you, this is one of the smoothest integrations I’ve ever seen.

Now the teams are focusing on developing our business relationships with all those clients and seeking new opportunities for us to deliver not only set-top boxes but also broadband devices, and to develop other growth opportunities in the region.

One of the hallmarks of the integration of Cisco and Technicolor in this category has been the integration of resources, particularly some of the technical resources. What impact has that had on your business as you look at the opportunities to get traction in today’s market?

Salermo: This market – Latin America – is challenging to say the least, but we have brought in a tremendous amount of good talent. The people we brought on are smart and capable, understand the market and the products, and have an exceptional amount of agility, so we could fit people in easily. As a result, it was a seamless experience, not only within Technicolor, but for our partners and customers as well.

As you pointed out, we’re in a difficult market in Latin America. What does this mean for Technicolor’s commitment to the region and how are you — at the helm of Connected Home Latin America — responding to what is quite a difficult economic time for this region?

Salermo: I like to call it challenging. I see this as an opportunity for us to demonstrate Technicolor’s commitment not only to the market, but also to our clients. Our clients are looking for partners, not suppliers.

Suppliers come and go. We have demonstrated that we are a true partner, not only by providing our clients with services and products, but by being their partner through thick and thin.

We are starting to see a lot of feedback, and the results show. Our market share has grown in the region, and our clients’ commitment to working with us has grown. Forging a prosperous future is what we are doing right now: planting the seeds for that future with our partners.

Let’s talk about some of those seeds. Some specific technologies and services are emerging. We know, for instance, that the wireless in-home environment is important in other markets around the world. What are we doing to connect the dots between the video services, the broadband services and that in-home experience via Wi-Fi? How important is that to the Latin American market?

Salermo: Wi-Fi is extremely important. The way homes are constructed in Latin America is very different from the way they’re built in the United States. The materials are different. We use a lot of concrete and steel and that creates a lot of obstructions, especially for Wi-Fi.

So if our service provider clients want to provide a great end-user experience, they need to be creative. They need to provide the right equipment. As a result, we have gone from just selling products to providing solutions to our clients, sitting down with them and educating them not only on the devices, but on the performance of those devices.

We’ve explored the experience they want to provide to their audiences, and it has been enlightening to see how they have reacted. We are starting to lay that groundwork now, and we will see the results very soon.

As we noted, we’ve had economic challenges here in Latin America. So we’ve had to be creative in our solutions, but these solutions are now laying the groundwork for what will hopefully be a very bright future when it comes to delivering high-quality video in the home regardless of the device. Those networks and those relationships are being created today.

The Latin American market does have a surging middle class. What do you see on the consumer front that’s driving the services the users demand from the service provider community?

Salermo: People are starting to consume video differently. It is not about the TV anymore. It’s about the device in the home and which device they are going to use to watch that video. Whether it is an iPad, a Samsung tablet or an iPhone, they still want to get a great experience when they connect to a video site.

So we’re working with our service provider clients to identify exactly what customer-premises equipment (CPE) they need to install inside the home. We want to make sure the right software is on those devices and that the providers have ways of measuring and being proactive with their customer service.

Right now about 95 percent of calls into their call centers are Wi-Fi related. So if you talk to service providers today and ask what is keeping them up a night, apart from the economic situation, it’s Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi.

Regardless of whether their customers are watching a Netflix video or a YouTube video or streaming some over-the-top (OTT) content service, service providers are responsible for that OTT service, because the customer will call them eventually.

You mentioned Netflix and OTT services. Is that a growing trend in the region, and does that represent an opportunity for our partners and for Technicolor?

Salermo: Video consumption is changing. OTT is getting bigger than ever in Latin America. We see Netflix growing strongly in Latin America. We see our customers integrating Netflix and YouTube and other OTT services into their set-top boxes. I think they have leapfrogged the United States. I know Comcast has started doing something, but our partners have been doing it for more than a year.

We are starting to see that engagement from our partners with their end users. They are trying to stay in the middle, to own the experience and the relationship with their end users and having all that streaming video coming through their CPE.

How do we help them? We make sure they have the right plans, the right products and the right services so they can provide the right experiences to their audiences.

You have managed to grow market share in Latin America, despite the difficult situation. I see from your comments that we’re staying current with technology and helping our service provider clients stay on top. What comes next? What can we look forward to in terms of plans you have, either to deepen relationships or to help our clients take the next step? What is the plan for 2017?

Salermo: I think we have to start widening and deepening our relationships with our clients using the assets we have at Technicolor, such as our chief technology officer and staff, and our product and engineering people.

We need to deepen our conversations with our clients about their plans for the future, ask whether they want to provide 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Long-Term Evolution (LTE), plus other services and technologies that will let them to grow their businesses and secure their customers.

Churn is a huge issue right now in a lot of these countries, so maintaining their end users and keeping them happy is a big deal for service providers. This makes it paramount for Technicolor to ensure that our partners can differentiate themselves, provide great service, and reduce that churn.

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