Whirlpool Corporation, Cisco, HP, Microsoft, Direct Energy, Bell Canada and Others Announce Results of The 2008 State of the Connected Home Market Study



    
    Study shows that the Possibilities are Endless, but Convergence is Key

    
    LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6 /CNW/ -- CES -- This week, hundreds of gadgets, all
promising to make our lives at home easier and more comfortable, will be
launched here at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show. But,
according to the results of a new and comprehensive study into the state of
the smart home, the one thing consumers want most is convergence.
    

    
    Funded by Whirlpool, Bell Canada, Cisco Systems, Direct Energy,
Hewlett-Packard Company, Legrand, Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc., Microsoft
Corporation, Procter & Gamble, the Z-Wave Alliance and Zensys, The 2008 State
of the Connected Home Market Study was conducted in April and May 2008 by
CABA's Connected Home Research Council, a non-profit research group.
    

    
    Those attending CES will be able to get a full briefing about the results
of the study at the NextGen Home at Booth #26062 in the Las Vegas Convention
Center's South Hall.  An executive summary of the study may be found at
http://www.caba.org/Content/Documents/Document.ashx?DocId=32664   The full
report may be purchased at http://www.caba.org/estore for $3,700 for members
of CABA and $4,200 for non-members.
    

    
    According to the study, the number of US online households that consider
the idea of a connected home--a home where independent systems, like lighting,
security and entertainment, are linked and centrally controlled--"definitely
appealing" has held steady since 2005. However, more people than ever before
find it appealing and product convergence is the biggest opportunity for
growth.
    

    
    "This report confirms our understanding that consumers do not want to
'automate their homes' as much as they want to use connected home technologies
to solve life's small problems, save themselves time, energy and money and
provide peace of mind," said Mary Miller, Director of Marketing,  Zensys,
makers of the Z-wave wireless chip and a study participant. "Our mission, as
an industry, is to provide consumers with seamless and interoperable
solutions."
    

    
    "What consumers want most is an easy, seamless way to integrate their
smart home devices--their mobile device, their TV, their appliances, you name
it," said Carol Priefert, senior manager, Whirlpool Corporation, the study's
lead participant.
    

    
    For instance, smart phone users report positive responses from using
mobile devices in the kitchen, not just for communicating, but for scheduling,
managing grocery lists and listening to audio.  By providing consumers with
real-life benefits via their cell phones to other smart home solutions, demand
should increase like never before.
    

    
    Another opportunity exists among those living in states where energy
costs are high and utility costs could be controlled with careful monitoring
since they report being open to the idea of a smart home.
    

    
    "With volatile energy costs and an unpredictable economy, people have
never been more interested in finding ways to use energy in their homes more
efficiently and effectively to save money," said David Dollihite, Chair of the
Connected Home Research Council and Vice President of Product Development for
Direct Energy, a North American retailer of energy and related services that
took part in the study. "Our study reveals that energy management in the home
is a rising priority for consumers and may be one of the best opportunities
for addressing the North America strategic concern of energy independence. The
study goes further to recognize the need for cross industry collaboration in
delivering a consumer-friendly solution to integrated energy management within
the connected home."
    

    
    In addition to convergence and energy monitoring, consumers are
interested in specific product solutions such as a wireless memory card for
digital cameras (so their camera can 'talk' to their computer and printer) and
a personal multimedia player that offers a range of video capabilities
including 'download your favorite shows'.
    

    
    "As highlighted by this market study, the proliferation of IP devices in
the home and increasing consumption of digital media creates abundant
opportunities for the broader connected home ecosystem to work together to
deliver the seamless experience that consumers are demanding," said Tony Wan,
Director of Marketing, Cisco.
    

    Following are some of the study's other key findings:
    --  87% of those surveyed have broadband Internet at home
    --  58% have two or more computers at home
    --  43% have a home network that allows computers and other devices in the
        home to communicate with one another
    --  Top computer activities are checking news (72%) and instant messaging
        (49%)
    --  90% of online households in the US say they have used a computer
        recently for entertainment purposes--playing computer games, watching
        videos, listening to music, burning CDs, etc.
    --  34% report engaging in online social networking via sites like
Facebook
    --  People are cutting the cord:  12% of consumers in the US are using
cell
        phones and 8% are using VoIP (voice communication over the Internet)
        rather than landlines for home service
    --  57% of online households use cell phones in the kitchen on a regular
        basis
    --  Audio activity is climbing thanks to portable devices and computers
but
        multi-room home audio installations lack traction
    --  51% of workers who use a computer regularly at work feel they have
some
        or complete freedom to choose from where they work, up from 43% in
2005
        and working outside the office is up significantly since 2005, from
29%
        to 38%


    
    "This is one of the most important and comprehensive recent studies into
the smart home space and we applaud these leading companies for
participating," said Ronald J. Zimmer, President & CEO of CABA, the
not-for-profit North American technology industry association of which the
Connected Home Research Council is a part. "These companies could certainly
conduct this type of research independently, but they all recognize--and the
research confirms--that collaboration and conversation in this space are
essential."
    

    About the 2008 State of the Connected Home Market Study
    
    The 2008 State of the Connected Home Market Study was conducted by
Zanthus, a high-tech market research firm, to investigate consumer attitudes
and behaviors with regard to the connected home.  Zanthus conducted a series
of Web surveys among both primary market consumers, defined as consumers who
adopt technology as products first come on the market, and mass market
consumers, defined as those who wait for prices to fall or to assess a
product's popularity before making new technology purchases.  Previous waves
of the study were conducted in 2003 and 2005.
    

    About CABA's Connected Home Research Council
    
    CABA's Connected Home Research Council, formerly the Internet Home
Alliance, is a cross-industry network of leading companies engaged in
collaborative research to advance the connected home space. The Council's
research projects enable participating companies to gain important insights
into the connected home space and leverage those insights into viable new
business opportunities. The Connected Home Research Council is part of the
Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), a not-for-profit industry
association that promotes advanced technologies for the automation of homes
and buildings. For more information about the Council, visit
www.caba.org/connectedhome
    

    

    
    Media Contact:
    Hilary Abbott for Dynabrand
    (770)-753-8144
    (404)-444-9977
    abbottcom@mindspring.com



    




For further information:

For further information: Hilary Abbott for Dynabrand, +1-770-753-8144,
or +1-404-444-9977, abbottcom@mindspring.com  Web Site:
http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com

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