Will the youth of today even know what a landline is?

November 7, 2014
3 min read

I recently saw an episode of Ellen, where she did a segment with two young children, maybe eight years old. She brought out technology that was common when we were their age…landline phone, typewriter, an answering machine (with an actual cassette tape in it). As expected, they were confused and the whole scene was quite amusing. So the question begs to be asked…will landline phones exist in the near future? Surprisingly, they just might.

While emergency service and fax lines may be keeping landlines afloat, newer services can make the landline feel more technologically advanced. These include video messaging and video conferencing at resolutions that take advantage of the higher internet speeds available at home (as compared to via cellular speeds). Bundling cellular service with landline service as households continue to seek out savings on cellular plans offers another means of keeping home phone service sticky. Other services likely to sway those on the fence between cutting home lines and keeping them include free international calling, or services that offer better quality audio for calls, while still enabling calls to be started or completed via cellular handoffs.

But perhaps the most important shift for home phone service should be a shift in the point of contact from a device with a screen solely large enough for caller identification, to the increasingly internet-connected household televisions. This transition could vastly increase interest in video calls and video messaging.

Pay TV service providers already aim to make the household’s set-top box as technologically advanced as possible. Building home phone functionality into that set-top box could allow for a variety of functions, including sending messages to other members of the household in other rooms, or offering the ability to use an avatar as a virtual presence during calls, based on real-time motion in front of the television. Increasing the extent to which the home phone can feel like a cutting-edge piece of technology could make it fun to use, in addition to potentially providing the ability for third-party software services to build apps for it.

To learn more about bundled communication trends, click here

Billy Hulkower is a Senior Media and Technology Analyst at Mintel. He heads the Tech and Media subscription for Mintel’s syndicated reports team, including topics such as consumer electronics, digital entertainment, social networking, digital marketing, pay TV services and online video. He has a particular emphasis on cellular services and mobile hardware and software.

Billy Hulkower
Billy Hulkower

Billy Hulkower is a Senior Analyst, Technology and Media, at Mintel, specializing in consumer electronics, digital entertainment, pay TV, online video and mobile.

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