This article was originally published to the Nokia blog by Laszlo Gyalog on April 26, 2019.

Remember those futuristic predictions of domestic life we saw in movies and cartoons from the 1950s and 60s? All flying cars, robot servants and remote-controlled everything. While there were varying degrees of (in)accuracy about them, there is one thing they all got right.

No wires.

Everything and everybody connected and controlled through thin air.

Connected homes are still in their infancy, yet every modern home already depends heavily on wireless connectivity. As our future catches up with past predictions, our dependence on in-home Wi-Fi is growing exponentially. And so those providing our in-home Wi-Fi better deliver!

So what are the trends that service providers need to watch for in order to keep their customers satisfied and, more importantly, loyal?

Updating your home without the renovations

woman looks at smart home tablet screen

Homeowners are clearly enjoying the convenience and potential cost savings of home automation. New products and services are hitting the market at a growing rate, from nice-to-have heating, lighting and grocery apps to life-enhancing medical analysis and aging-in-place services. In fact, the global smart home market is expected to grow at around 10% per year to reach $107 billion by 2023.

The other major trend is the growth of video streaming, gaming, virtual and augmented reality applications that are pushing bandwidth consumption ever higher. With Gigabit broadband available in many countries, it is now the in-home network that is the bottleneck, throttling a customer’s ability to consume.

As smart home apps become more sophisticated and coupled with growing bandwidth demand, only Wi-Fi will be able to meet customers’ connectivity needs. What’s more, as smart home applications pass from useful to essential, Wi-Fi connectivity must provide more than just bandwidth. It must also move from best-effort to mission-critical.

Broadband providers have an opportunity to offer a managed Wi-Fi service that delivers the quality of service customers will increasingly demand.

Smart home, smarter networks

This is where service providers come into their own. As purveyors of five-nines reliability and highly-secure broadband networks, they have an experience, expertise and reputation that can extend to the in-home network.

Broadband providers have an opportunity to offer a managed Wi-Fi service that delivers the quality of service customers will increasingly demand. Firstly, that means advanced performance characteristics; not just Gigabit Wi-Fi throughout the home but with the reliability and security that essential smart home services will need.

Secondly, service providers will need to own connectivity all the way to the device in order to monitor, maintain and troubleshoot in-home connectivity issues. This, of course, raises privacy concerns. But here again, broadband providers have a unique value proposition by using network slicing and secure tunnels to protect data traffic.

By owning a trusted, reliable in-home connection all the way to every device in the household, a broadband operator becomes the perfect partner for smart home providers, from utilities to security to healthcare providers.

Broadband providers usually get blamed for poor Wi-Fi, whether or not it’s their fault. So by providing a five-nines Wi-Fi experience, there are immediate gains to be made through customer loyalty, decreased churn and increased ARPU. And by going further, creating an in-home network that is uniquely positioned to serve the smart home of the future, broadband providers can become the only game in town.