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What every home worker dreads: Netflix and school holidays

By April 12, 2017 No Comments

I work from home. I do a lot of skype calls. I run presentations and webinars over webex. And I dread school holidays (at least when I’m working). Netflix is the curse of many a home worker. It’s the school holidays, you’re logging onto an online webinar or training session and you can’t get on – or if you do, the response time is rubbish. You know exactly what the problem is. But most home workers cannot stop their kids from watching Netflix during the holidays. It’s their home. The fact that you also happen to work in the same house doesn’t really cut it.

No doubt, many a home worker has tried to ban Netflix during working hours. This only leads to the inevitable arguments and general ‘but we live here as well’ type discussions. But service providers have a potential solution to avoid this and provide a workable fix to this 21st century problem. It’s prioritising devices. At home everyone uses Wi-Fi. So why not give the customer the option to prioritise which devices get the strongest signal? So in a house the priority list could be:

  1. Dad’s / Mum’s work laptop
  2. Dad’s / Mum’s mobile / tablet
  3. Home laptop
  4. Smart TV in sitting room
  5. Kid’s mobiles / tablets
  6. All other devices

We’ve seen some service providers offer self-service controls via their app for fixed broadband control. These include parental controls and the ability to nominate a device to receive a boost for downloading content – e.g. nominate a device and for the next hour this device gets priority – so that movies can be downloaded quicker.

The logical extension of this is to enable device prioritisation to cater for the scenario I’ve described above. Most service providers have apps to enable mobile network controls – e.g. parental controls, sharing / gifting data, managing limits, etc. As we live in a FMC world it could be interesting to combine mobile network controls on the app with fixed broadband controls (usually managed from the home router).

Last week I went to the Policy Conference in Berlin where I had several chats with service providers about policy for FMC. Wi-Fi and TV / video have blurred the lines between fixed and mobile.  Customers expect seamless transition from TV to devices over Wi-Fi when at home and to then go out and use public or private Wi-Fi or 4G to continue to watch video. So it would seem sensible to extend controls to cover all services – regardless if they’re fixed or mobile – that a customer uses – and put the customer in control via a self-service app.

Elsewhere at the Policy Conference there was a lot of excellent discussions. There was a lot of talk about virtualisation and the move to cloud native. My colleague Shira Levine gave an excellent presentation on policy and the virtualized network. Also the issues of interworking with OTTs and the need for agreement (if not standardisation) on a single API for policy provoked a lot of good discussion.

That’s the policy conference over for another year. Now just to get through the Easter holidays without any major broadband arguments…..

Martin Morgan

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