A few weeks ago, I had the honor to attend the annual Xfinity Analyst Day event in Philadelphia located at both the Four Seasons Philadelphia hotel and the Comcast Technology Center. Thank you to Joel Shadle and team for inviting me and for the insanely wonderful hospitality. As we think about consumer needs and wants, the instant economy demands innovative customer experiences that cater to individual and contextual personalizations, and this is exactly what Comcast is doing with a suite of solutions, products, and services around broadband, WiFi access, Mobile services, and Content. I will share a few highlights of the day's activities below.
Dana Strong, President Xfinity Consumer Services, kicked off the event and shared a great summary of the Comcast/Xfinity innovation journey. Xfinity's primary focus is to push for differentiation around product innovation. It was clear throughout the event that Comcast is fully focused on positioning Xfinity Internet as its primary product; and counts around 26 million residential customers for the service as of Q219, compared to 22 million video customers and 1.4 million Xfinity Home customers. The trio of innovation areas include speed, coverage and control for broadband. Upcoming and new solutions include bringing Hulu to X1 customers in the first quarter of 2020, along with innovation around WiFi with Xfinity xFi Pods WiFi Extenders and a home suite that is fully integrated and searchable by voice with options for adding home security (#smarthome 1.4M home security customers), and innovation around the X1 cloud DVR and remote services. X1 is a platform of platforms with companies such as Cox, Shaw, Rogers all using it as the foundation for their video products.
In addition for homes today, it is all about speed as we are consuming more streaming video than ever. In fact Dana mentioned Xfinity customers used 6 billion video on demand hours along with 9 Billion voice commands in 2018 alone. Innovation is also an area being explored within Xfinity Mobile, where the company serves 1.6 Million mobile lines and is currently expanding LTE with their partnership with Verizon. Family Gig packs (Unlimited and By the Gig packs) or bundles allow payment plans and options to add in home monitoring for existing broadband customers. It is important to understand that only Xfinity Internet customer can get Xfinity Mobile services.
A great amount of innovation is centralized around the entire entertainment experience, which requires robust broadband and tools that can be leveraged with voice automation and an open system with access to services such as Netflix, Xumo, Pluto, Amazon Music, iHeartMusic, Amazon Prime video, YouTube, and again Hulu coming in Q1. Customers can use voice search across the entire ecosystem, not just linear tv, while search results default to free/complimentary and displays where you left off and recommends based on your history.
This innovation around entertainment does not happen without a sound high-speed broadband experience. Tony Werner, President of Technology & Product at Comcast Cable, shared additional innovation details around its broadband and WiFi solutions. With 17 different speed upgrades over the course of 18 years and a strong portfolio of patents with 400 currently pending and 20 million WiFi hotspots, the company is well positioned to leverage these assets to a strong base of residential customers and drive business to the B2B market moving up market from a strong SMB base. A great stat was shared...there are currently 58M homes today that have access to 1Gbps broadband by Comcast today.
Other innovation details shared by Patti Loyack (VP of IP Services) and Rui Costa (VP of Product, Design and CX) include some of the following:
Lastly, I will wrap up by sharing more around innovation specific to customer experience (cX). Charlie Herrin, Chief Customer Experience Officer for Comcast Cable, shared additional details around making the customer experience their best product. He shared four main components to personalized automation (Xfinity Assistant) including IDENTITY, INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION, PROACTIVE 2-WAY DIALOG, and CLOSING THE LOOP. Both self-care and administration are areas where Mr. Herrin is building out services and solutions.
Some highlights include:
These short-list (many others taking place) of improvements have brought about tens of thousands of predictive recommendations produced via IVR for better servicing customers and reduction of calls into the call center, along with billions data elements captured daily. Many customer issues have been contained in the Xfinity Assistant, which has reduced agent handled chats substantially. This customer-first and simplicity approach is sure to enhance the overall customer experience and drive retention for residential clients.
This summary does not include all the interactions and sessions attended, but provides a great review of things to come and the innovation in process and coming down the pipeline. It was clear throughout the event that Comcast is fully focused on positioning Xfinity Internet as its primary product; and counts around 26 million residential customers for the service as of Q219, compared to 22 million video customers and 1.4 million Xfinity Home customers. As part of this analyst day, we were also treated to product demos, Comcast Technology Center Tour, the Universal Sphere experience, and a great networking reception and dinner with showcase labs and interactions with executives. Thank you again to Comcast and the Xfinity team of executives and team who prepared and put this event together. I look forward to witnessing continued innovation and enhancements across the Xfinity portfolio.
Written by: Stephanie Atkinson, CEO of Compass Intelligence
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