IPTV, Internet Protocol Television, is defined as “multimedia services such as television/video/audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP based networks managed to provide the required level of quality of service and experience, security, interactivity and reliability” by the International Telecommunication Union. What makes it interesting in the perspective of mass customization is its interactive nature, which leads to the creation of superior customer experience. This paper intends to analyze and assess how mass customization concepts can be applied to IPTV as a product and to give recommendation.
Applying Mass Customization Concepts: The Three Capabilities
ROBUST PROCESS DESIGN
In such cases providers of IPTV service utilize already available digital contents such as already aired TV programs, they are able to flexibly accommodate customers’ change of orders or requirements without incurring additional costs. It is important to note that suppliers are heavily dependent on IT infrastructure and digital contents to reliably and efficiently deliver the service. Providers of IPTV service require IT infrastructure namely high-speed Internet connection to deliver the service and digital contents database to provide resource efficiently.
To achieve this providers use the platform as marketing tool; the customized advertisements as source of revenue. Moreover scaling up the infrastructure is relatively simple considering that they already provide similar services in the Telephone and Internet space.
Supplier dependency and Supply Chain Issues are minimal because big players such as Ericsson provide the hardware, while the content is from broadcasters who have more to gain from aligning with IPTV providers because of their innovative marketing tools and ability to flexibly adapt to customers’ behavioral patterns. Horizontal integration benefits are considerable in this regard.
IPTV minimizes choice complexity and makes search process enjoyable with the following features.
- Assortment matching: Viewers of IPTV are able to choose from a variety of channels and programs regardless of the airtime of programs. Also it offers packages categorized per viewer purposes such as education, movies, sports etc.
- Fast trial-and-error learning: The easy-to-navigate menu design facilitates trial and error learning process by inviting customers to actively express their preferences and opinions by transmitting signals back to the content provider.
- Embedded configuration: IPTV “understands” or analyzes stored customized data of customers’ previous selections on channels and programs so that it could recommend contents. In addition to stored data of contents selection, IPTV stores in its database customers’ past clicks of advertisements on IPTV.
As per its interactive nature, IPTV recognizes viewers’ preference by the selections made by the viewers and modifies its recommendations and also by real-time evaluation and critic function made by viewers.
SOLUTIONS SPACE DEFINITION
Mass Customization in a communications services context means giving the customer the ability to control their service experience. It means enabling customers to select and change the services and options they buy, allowing them to tailor their service experience to their own unique interests at anytime. This creates a compelling buying experience for consumers because they are in complete control of their own experience and it creates freedom of choice by removing common barriers that currently create a less than satisfactory customer experience.
IPTV networks, which send information over secure, managed, high capacity networks, empower IPTV service provides to deliver the personalization that customers desire. For example, IPTV providers can offer customers channel personalization and network technology, such as a return channel, and presents entirely new ways for customers to personalize their viewing experience and interact directly to influence their quality of service.
It is even possible to enable customers to interact directly and make real-time purchases of items seen while watching their favorite program. Such technological capabilities can deliver customers the choice and interactivity they need to make real-time selections of the services and options that are tuned to their specific needs at that specific time.
The convergence of every aspect of the ICT industry on the customers TV and the device independence in viewing content anywhere and anytime, presents unlimited marketing opportunities beyond the traditional channels existing today.
As IPTV emerges as a true alternative to traditional home entertainment services, it is becoming clear that this new service type has the potential to deliver a vastly improved customer experience. But growth of IPTV revenue streams and gains in market share will not be based solely upon the customer personalization capabilities delivered by IPTV network technology.
An IPTV provider’s ability to enable customer personalization across its whole customer management and service delivery systems and processes will play a critical and differentiating role. Every interaction must provide the customer with a personal and involving experience to build trust in their brand, generate service uptake and ultimately grow revenues.