Digital Home Services: Carriers, Retailers, and the Customer

This report provides both consumer and industry insight on the drivers for digital home support solutions. It profiles more than 40 companies in the digital home support value chain, and provides more than 60 primary consumer data points. The report provides U.S. forecasts for digital home support services, including remote and on-site troubleshooting and in-home PC installation and set-up through 2011.

“Consumers have been very consistent in expressing both their frustration with the complexity of today’s digital home products and services and their willingness to seek professional assistance to solve these issues,” said Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates’ vice president and principal analyst. “We view the customer service and support area as not just a critical challenge for retailers, manufacturers, and service providers to overcome, but also a significant revenue generating opportunity for forward-thinking companies.”

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The Bottom Line

1.0   Notes on Methodology and Overview of this Report

1.1 Consumer Data

1.2 Definitions

1.3 Why Digital Home Services and Why Now?

1.3.1 Customer Satisfaction as a Key Metric

1.3.2 Customer Care in New Areas

1.3.3 Knowledge Databases as Key Solutions

1.3.4 Goals of this Report

2.0   The Digital Home: Opportunities and Challenges

2.1 Service Providers and the Digital Home

2.2 The Increasing Complexity of the Digital Lifestyle

2.2.1 Where is the Consumer Pain?

2.2.2 The In-Scope/Out-of-Scope Problem

2.3 Digital Home = “Do-It-For-Me”?

2.3.1 The Purchase Process Grows More Complex

2.3.2 Consumers and their Do-it-Yourself Mentality

2.3.3 Consumer Purchase Trends Key in on Additional Support Needs

2.3.4 Installation and Support Needs for the Digital Home

3.0   Requirements for Enhancing Digital Home Customer Care

3.1 Embracing the Entire Customer Support Value Chain

3.2 Identifying Key Solutions

3.2.1 Installation/Configuration/Management

3.2.2 Remote Management Solutions (RMS)

3.2.3 Preventative Maintenance/Automated Fixes

3.2.4 Metrics-driven Solutions

3.2.5 Home IT Support

4.0   Enhancing Customer Care: Emerging Opportunities

4.1 Security Improvements

4.2 Automated Diagnostics and PC Performance Enhancements

4.3 Storage and Backup Services

4.4 Home Network Configuration and Management Tools

4.5 Remote IT Support

4.6 On-site Technical Support

4.7 Installation, Configuration, and Training Services

4.8 Digital Home Advisor Services

4.9 Value-added Services: Attaching Applications to Connectivity

5.0   Forecasts: Digital Home Support Services

5.1 Home IT Support (Remote and On-site)

5.2 Home PC Installation and Set-up

6.0   Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1 For Service Providers

6.2 For Retailers and Home IT Support Companies

6.3 For Digital Home Product Vendors

Resource Book

Section I: Consumer Data

Background into Research

Understanding the Problem at Hand

Research Goals

Overview of the Research

Topline Recommendations

Which Solutions First?

Targeting Early or Later Adopters?

Multimedia Habits and Interest in Enhanced Internet Services

Key Findings

Driving Broadband Satisfaction

Internet Security

Additional Broadband-related Value Added Services 20

Interest in Automated PC Maintenance Functions: “Dashboard” Solutions

Interest in Subscription-based Monitoring, Protection, and Customer Service Solutions

PC and Internet Problems: How are they Resolved?

Home Networks

Recent and Planned Purchases: The Role of Installation and Support Services

Section II: Company Profiles

Remote IT Support

Ask Dr. Tech

BT – Home IT Call and Home IT Install

Geek Squad


Netopia (Motorola)


SingleClick Systems


Help Desk Remote Support Solutions

BOMGAR™ (Formerly NetworkStreaming)

In-Store/On-site Tech Support (National)

Best Buy

ctrlcenter™ (OfficeMax)

DigitalPlumbers (U.K.)

EasyTech (Staples)

Firedog (Circuit City)

TechPro (CompUSA)

In-Store/On-site Tech Support (Regional/Local)




Carrier Provisioning/Management/Help Desk Solutions

2Wire Inc.

Friendly Technologies

Motive Inc.

Netopia Inc. (Motorola)

Nokia Siemens Networks

Peak8 Solutions




inPC-IT (U.K.)

Microsoft (Windows Live OneCare)

Trend Micro Inc.

Residential Gateway Solutions

2Wire Inc.

Ashley Laurent (Cisco Systems)

Jungo Software Technologies (NDS Ltd.)

Texas Instruments

Home Network/Consumer Electronics Management Solutions

Friendly Technologies

Enure Networks

Gteko (Microsoft)

Nexort Corp.

Pure Networks

Sereniti Inc.

Home Network Management/Security Hardware

Bsecure Technologies


Wireless Home Network Configuration Software

Affinegy LLC

McAfee Inc.

SingleClick Systems

The Bottom Line

Source from Which Home Networking Equipment was Acquired

Service Provider Deployment: Digital Lifestyle Services

Key Statistics: Consumer Technology Pain

Key Statistics: Home Networking Offers Frustrations

Average Time for DIY Home Technology Resolution

Key Home Technology Problems

Broadband Service Providers: Call Center Metrics

Cost Analysis: Home Networking Support for BSPs

Customer Support Costs: BSPs and Home Networks

Convergence Can Bring Complexity!

Product Reviews and Consumer Information as Critical Educational Resources

The Purchase Process for Digital Televisions

Percentage of Product Owners who Sought Advice from Friends and Family Before Making Purchase

Who Installed Home Networking Equipment?

Recent Purchases, by Category: Support Features Purchased

Recent Product Purchases: Warranties Purchased

Next PC Purchase: Likelihood of Buying Support Features

Which Customer Support Features of CE Products Might Influence a Particular Brand Choice?

Next CE Product Purchase: Likelihood of Professional Installation

Key Categories and Solutions: The Customer Support Value Chain

CPE Installation/Configuration/Management Solutions

Remote Management Features

Remote Management Vendors

Frequency of PC Maintenance Functions         

Companies with Preventative Maintenance Solutions

Devices Connected in Home Networks

Residential Gateway Solutions

Major On-site Tech Support Services

Remote Support Service Players

Customer Support as a Value-added Differentiator

Digital Lifestyle Applications Categorized

Consumers and Internet Security: Quick Stats

Willingness to Pay for a Third-party Security Suite

Frequency of PC Maintenance Functions         

Interest in Automating Routine PC Maintenance Functions

Interest in an Online Storage Solution

What Additional Offerings are Important in Considering a Home Networking Offer from a Broadband Service Provider?

Consumers and Remote IT Support: Quick Stats

Interest in Subscription-based Troubleshooting Services

Willingness to Pay for Unlimited Technical Support

Interest in Professional Technical Support for Digital Home Problems

Consumers and On-site Technical Support: Quick Stats

Consumers and New Product Purchase Support: Quick Stats

Consumers and Digital Home Advisor Services: Quick Stats

In What Ways Would Professional Home Networking Technical Support be Most Helpful?

Key Assumptions: Home IT Tech Support Forecasts

Remote and On-site Home IT Support: Key Assumptions

Annual Revenues: Home IT Support

Home PC Installation and Set-up Services: Key Assumptions

Annual Revenues: Home PC Set-up Services  

Annual Revenues: Digital Home Support Services

Resource Book

Consumer Needs for Managing the Digital Home

Overall Interest in Digital Home Management Services & Solutions

Interest in Digital Home Management: Newer Broadband Subs and Intenders

 “Concerned” with Internet Security Threats: By Length of Time Respondents have had Broadband

Willingness to Pay for Optimized Internet Service for Entertainment

Interest in an Online Storage Solution: By Monthly Multimedia Habits (U.S.)

U.S. Broadband Customers: Rating Satisfaction with Provider

High and Low Satisfaction: U.S. Broadband Carriers

Broadband Service: Important Factors in Driving Satisfaction (U.S.)

Factors Influencing Satisfaction with Broadband Provider: Top Five (U.S.)

Respondents Experiencing Security-related Maladies

Percentage of Respondents Concerned with Internet Security Threats (U.S.)

Percentage of Respondents Very Concerned with Security Threats

Profile of Respondents Concerned about Internet Security Threats (U.S.)

What Internet Security Solutions are Used?

Percentage of Respondents Using ISP-provided Security Solutions

Rating Internet Providers on Responsiveness to Security Issues

Rating Individual Internet Providers on Responsiveness to Security Issues

U.S. Internet Users Offered/Accepted Internet Security Services from ISP

Figure 20 Interest in Security Service Suite

Interest in a Suite of Internet Security Services from Third-party Provider

Willingness to Pay for a Third-party Security Suite

Would the Availability of Security Services Influence the Selection of a Broadband Service Provider?

Respondents’ Attitudes Regarding Internet Performance (U.S.)

Respondents’ Attitudes about Internet Performance, by Carrier

Willing to Pay for Optimized Internet, by Multimedia Activities

Interest in a Third-party Online Storage Service

Interest in Online Storage Solution from Third-party Provider: By Monthly Multimedia Activities

Willingness to Pay for an Online Storage Solution

Frequency of PC Maintenance Functions         

Interest in Automating Routine PC Maintenance Functions

Interest in Subscription-based Troubleshooting Services

Willingness to Pay for Unlimited Technical Support

Willingness to Pay for Software and Support

Willingness to Pay for Whole-home Protection Service

Would a Computing Maintenance and Monitoring Service Influence the Selection of a Broadband Service Provider?

Home Technology Problems Reported (U.S.)

Major Categories of Home Technology Problems

How were Internet Security Problems Resolved?

How were Internet Performance Problems Resolved?

How were Home Computer Hardware/Software Problems Resolved?

How were Peripheral Problems Resolved?

How were Home Networking Problems Resolved?

How were PC Set-up and Configuration Problems Resolved?

When Would Respondents Consider a Professional Service? (U.S.)

Most-valuable Applications for a Home Network (U.S.)

Penetration of Home Data Networks

Offered and Accepted Home Networking Offer from BSP: U.S.

What Factors were Important in Accepting a Home Networking Offer from the Broadband ISP? (U.S.)

Reason for Lack of Interest in Home Networking Offer

Interest in Broadband-provided Home Network (U.S.)

What Additional Offerings are Important in Considering a Home Networking Offer from a Broadband Service Provider?

Percentage of Respondents w/Networks Experiencing the Following Problems

Interest in Professional Home Network Technical Support

Willingness to Pay for As-needed Professional Home Networking Support

Willingness to Pay for Subscription-based Professional Home Networking Support

In What Ways Would Professional Home Networking Technical Support be Most Helpful?

Recent Purchases, by Category: Additional Services Purchased

Likelihood of Purchasing Additional Services

Which Customer Support Features of CE Products Might Influence a Particular Brand Choice?

Three Most Important Factors in Considering a Professional Installation Service

Consumers and Planned Television Purchases: Professional Installation Probabilities          

Consumers and Planned CE Purchases: Professional Installation Probabilities

Consumers and Planned Higher-end Systems Purchases: Professional Installation Probabilities

Ask Dr. Tech Services

Geek Squad Remote Support Solutions

HiWired Solutions

Netopia (Motorola) Solutions

PlumChoice Services

SingleClick Systems Online Solutions Services

Tech24 Services

BOMGAR Solutions

Best Buy Services Overview

ctrlcenter Overview

DigitalPlumbers Overview

EasyTech Overview

Firedog (Circuit City) Overview

TechPro (CompUSA) Overview

GeeksOnCall Overview

GeeksOnTime Overview          

Examples of OnForce On-Site Services

2Wire Solutions          

Friendly Technologies Carrier Provisioning and Management Solutions

Motive Solutions

Netopia (Motorola) Solutions

Nokia Siemens Networks Solutions

Peak8 Solutions Overview

SupportSoft Solutions

GoldenRAM Overview

inPC-IT Overview

Microsoft WindowsLive™ OneCare™ Overview

Trend Micro Overview: HouseCall

Customer Support Features of 2Wire Residential Gateways

Ashley Laurent Overview

Jungo Overview          

PIQUA™ Overview

Friendly Technologies Home Networking Solutions

Enure Networks Product Offerings

Gteko Solutions

Nexort Solution Overview

Pure Networks Overview

Sereniti Overview

Bsecure Overview

Pie Overview

Affinegy Products

McAfee Product Profile

SingleClick Systems Solutions

Publish Date: 2Q 2007

Pages: 187

Authored By:

Executive Editor: Tricia Parks
Published by Parks Associates

© June 2007 Parks Associates
Dallas, Texas 75230

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America. 

Parks Associates has made every reasonable effort to ensure that all information in this report is correct.  We assume no responsibility for any inadvertent errors.

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