Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Kbro seeking to expand foothold in IoT market

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Kbro Co (凱擘), the nation’s biggest cable television system operator, yesterday said it is considering offering voice control services on Android-based set-top boxes later this year, its latest effort to build a stronger foothold in the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

Kbro is aiming to be one of the early adopters of Android-powered set-top boxes that deliver voice control services as cable TV system operators try to squeeze more profits from their existing broadband networks.

“We hope it [the Android-based set-top box] might be available some time in the second half of this year,” Kbro chief technology officer Alex Hsieh (謝明益) told reporters yesterday.

“As voice control technology becomes more mature, it is time for us to embrace the IoT era,” he added.

Kbro is still studying which kinds of voice control services would be more appealing to its users, he said.

The services are likely to be bundled with Kbro’s broadband service, he said.

“As Android is an open system, it will be easier to deliver new functions on the boxes,” Hsieh said.

The company has not yet set a timetable, as it is still seeking partners to introduce the new services, including suppliers of Chinese-language recognition platforms and set-top boxes from the US, Europe or China, Hsieh said.

Kbro also plans to roll out smart community services this year by providing smart surveillance services that could include time-lapse videos and a license plate recognition system.

To support its new businesses, the company has budgeted about NT$2 billion (US$68.3 million) capital spending this year for the deployment of new networks and set-top box procurement.

To address the growing IoT market, Kbro is stepping up its efforts to expand into the smart home and smart building sectors, the company said.

The company aims to grow its smart security subscriber base by 50 percent to more than 60,000 users from 40,000 last year, Kbro president Steve Wang (王鴻紳) said yesterday.

The home security system service is available now for an extra charge of NT$99 a month for Kbro broadband subscribers, he said.

As well as households, the company plans to expand its reach to shopping malls and stores with no staff, such as claw machine stores, allowing store owners to access a remote security system from their smartphones or other devices, Wang said.

Kbro has set a goal of boosting its broadband penetration rate to 50 percent this year from about 40 percent last year, Wang said.

That would see half of its 1.1 million cable TV system subscribers stream TV channels on its broadband network.

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