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Consumers want networked devices -- but whose network?

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Tech-savvy consumers would like to have a single networked service to support their many digital devices but they are also demanding a high level of customer service and aren’t certain that telecommunications service providers are up to the challenge, according to a new survey by Accenture called “Telecommunications Competitive Future Research: A Consumer Perspective.”

The study surveyed 600 global consumers described as “heavy users of digital devices and services,” and found 87% believed that most digital devices, whether portable, in the home or in the car, would be networked. The preference among 81% of those surveyed was for a single company to provide that networking and customer support.

“Certainly the likelihood of device proliferation into a lot of different verticals is a long-term trend,” said Andy Zimmerman, managing director of Accenture’s Communications industry practice. “These early-stage adopters are suggesting they are ready to move quickly. But they have core concerns around controls and management -- managing the interoperability of devices and data. They point to some form of control, we call it a soft panel, that would serve to integrate some of these devices and experiences either through a common Web site or widget they could drop into a personal control panel.”

The same research data shows, however, that consumers rate Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft ahead of telecom players as most likely providers of this networked digital device world, followed by consumer electronics companies and retailers, who ranked last.

There’s a certain irony in that, Zimmerman said, because while those surveyed said customer support was tantamount – 85% listed it as the most important criterion when choosing a provider – they seem to favor companies with no record of providing that support.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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