Media outlets have been reporting for almost a year about the push from cable Multi-System Operators (MSOs) to enter the $33.25 billion domestic electronic security industry. The move is a natural fit for cable MSOs as they look for new ways to lock subscribers into bundled packages.

One of the reasons it makes sense to enter the market is because cable MSOs can make use of their vast hub and spoke distribution systems to handle the new Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) visibility. The other reason of course is their ability to make use of their broadband capabilities to integrate the various PC, mobile, security and home management devices to provide seamless monitoring and subscriber alerts.

How Cable MSOs can use their CPE Distribution Network

The new CPE consist of sensors (door, window, motion, lighting etc.), wireless keypads, touch screens, cameras, thermostats as well as the cable standard of modems and routers. The key for cable MSOs is to be able to track all CPE movement starting with the OEM and following it as it moves through the national supplier then regional and local warehouses to technicians and finally to subscribers.

The Role of Cable Warehouse Management Systems

To do this efficiently and effectively MSOs must have a cable warehouse management system capable of:

  • Tracking all CPE containers from the OEM.
  • Tracking CPE in breakdown units (smaller containers and boxes).
  • Tracking CPE assigned to technicians and customers. The final stages of inventory control are critical to avoiding CPE theft.
  • Distinguishing, tracking and billing of inventory sold versus inventory leased to subscribers.
  • Tracking returns and CPE at repair vendors. Cable management has to know where all repair CPE or returns are.
  • Provide real-time reports identifying where all inventory is at all times. This includes current inventory, serial number, transaction status and reconciliation reports.
  • Forecasting inventory based on min/max levels to minimize inventory costs and speed up delivery times.
  • Tying it all into a cable billing system such as Amdocs, CSG and ICOMS.
  • Being hosted and maintained by a software vendor with a core competency on cable software development.

Without a cable warehouse management software system to handle all of the above, service subscriber satisfactions falls, CPEtheft increases and operating costs skyrocket.

How Home Security Fits into Cable Product Offerings

By offering electronic security installation and monitoring, cable MSOs are able to offer another package that can bundled. With 20% of American homes having a monitored security system, the market is wide open to growth as well as biting off competitor’s market share by meeting consumer demands for one-stop shopping.

The one-stop shopping is important as Cable MSO‘s entrance into the home security market taps into the consumers desire to keep technology simple to use. The ability to monitor your home from a Smartphone, laptop, or other remote device is just the first step to ultimately controlling all home electronics over network.

By providing the gateway (Internet) access to monitoring, cable MSOs control the future of electronic integration and monitoring. This will leave them less vulnerable to cord cutting and cable technology changes. All in all it is a good move by cable MSOs.

Cable’s Operating Challenge

With every new product comes a risk and challenge to execute the plan. In this situation, the biggest challenge for the cable industry is going to make sure they can deliver the service as promised.

Successful implementation will require the training of technicians and additional management layers. Most importantly, success will require cable leadership to find a way to avoid having dysfunctional silos develop that prevents one product (business unit) from talking to another.

Subscriber satisfaction and revenues will plummet if the subscriber has to deal with multiple personnel to resolve problems.