Telefonica Digital: “It feels like we are at a crossroads”

Martin Harriman,  Digital Home Director, Telefonica Digital

Martin Harriman,
Digital Home Director, Telefonica Digital

Martin Harriman, Digital Home Director, Telefonica Digital, tackles the fourth round of questions in our interview series in advance the Digital Home World Summit

IP&TV News: Hi Martin. If I could start with a general question – could you tell us a bit about how you foresee the interaction between the digital home and connected entertainment developing in the coming years?

Martin Harriman: I think that it is in the DNA of our industry to try and get ahead of itself.  Whilst it seems entirely logical in our minds to link the security of your home with your TV service – both could well use the same high speed broadband connection – the home owner may well view them as two separate and distinct services.  I think the challenge for our broader industry is to show the value of combining those services from both a commercial and customer experience perspective.

And could you tell us about Telefonica Digital’s latest advances and services in these areas?

Telefonica has been involved for some time in various projects that form part of the overall digital home proposition – from security through to energy management services.  We continue to view the market as nascent but exciting and will look to move forward with trials later this year.

What do you see the main contending factors are in this ecosystem at present?

Usability (customer experience), device cost and business model all need to be improved if we are to give the end customer a compelling proposition.

Are telcos/digital home vendors focussing too much on technology and market structure rather than delivering the right customer experience? What defines the “right” customer experience here?

Absolutely, but we always focus too much on technology, it’s in our DNA.  I don’t know if we know what the right customer experience looks like yet, but I think the advances made by Comcast and AT&T in the US are starting to give us some strong pointers as to what it is that the customer wants.

You’ve said this isn’t a “one size fits all market” – could you tell us about the different viable approaches and contexts in this emerging market?

I think that there are differences within markets as well as differences between countries.  Within a market the proposition for a homeowner with children may need to be different to that offered to a young single person renting an apartment.  Between counties, living styles, GDP per Capita, social trends etc make differences.  I think that means that a variety of propositions will need to exist to suit those differing needs, so a flexible solution is key.

What’s the most exciting thing currently taking place in the digital home?

That the market is at last seeing traction.

Is this an especially important time for this year’s Digital Home World Summit? What the advantage of coming to an event like this?

Totally, it feels like we are at a crossroads, when we look back at 2014 I think we will see it as the year where the inflexion point occurred.  The event brings together people from different industries with differing perspectives – I’m personally looking forward to sharing Telefonica’s perspectives and having them challenged by others.

Martin Harriman will be appearing at the Digital Home World Summit (3-4 June). For booking and more information go here

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