European broadband users are ready for a ’Connected Life’

MUMBAI: Broadband users in Western Europe are more interested in living The Connected Life than their US counterparts, according to a research study from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

Ninety per cent of European broadband users expressed an interest in a connected life service - anytime, anywhere access to all household digital media content - compared to only 77 per cent in the US.


Furthermore, 42 per cent are willing to spend €3.5 per month to enable easy management of and access to their household digital content; yet they struggle to find the right innovative solution that is simple, quick to install and highly secure.

This was part of the findings from the Cisco IBSG Connected Consumer study for Western Europe. To conduct the study, researchers selected a hypothetical service as part of a broader connected life service offering and then canvassed the views of 1,500 broadband users across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

The connected life service would enable the storage, management and use of all of a household’s digital media and content via any device, and at any time or place. The suggested household content includes TV, films, the household calendar and address book, digital photos, video clips and music.

While the concept of ubiquitous connectivity has been discussed for more than a decade, the study shows that the cumulative impact of technology over this time has created a change in consumer behaviour that has primed the market for today.

Not only do nearly 90 per cent of broadband consumers enjoy technology, investing in various devices such as mobile phones, personal computers and MP3 players, but 43 per cent credit this technology with giving them the freedom to live their life the way they want to, and 52 per cent believe technology helps them to be more productive and organised.

With the average respondent spending more than four hours each day on the go, away from work or home, the ability to communicate with others, enjoy digital entertainment, and access electronically stored information is highly valued. Collaboration anytime, anywhere is essential with 56 per cent of respondents indicating that they want to stay connected to family and friends at all times and 78 per cent of the respondents checking their e-mail wherever possible.


Cisco IBSG MD service provider Simon Aspinall says, "It is clear that European consumers are changing the way they live and play. They are carrying laptops, PDAs and mobile phones as productivity tools and MP3 players for listening to music, whilst using wireless networks to stay connected.

"Europeans are also adopting these advanced technologies and new media applications even faster than US consumers. As Web 2.0 offers more open and collaborative technologies, the demand from European consumers for ground- breaking connected solutions has now reached a critical mass"

From the research, behavioural change with end users includes an increased reliance on the Internet for video entertainment purposes, with the average Western European broadband consumer now spending an average of 21 hours a week on the Internet, as compared to only 11 hours a week watching television, and 69 per cent downloading or watching a video from the Internet in the last month.

Today, watching video is typically a home-based experience, even in the case of Internet video, but the study shows growing evidence for video-on-the-go. In fact, nearly 12 per cent of broadband consumers view television and video whenever and wherever possible, and 23 per cent chose video as the content they most want to access whilst away from home.

Video is on the cusp of becoming more important, and people are going to invent new ways of using, editing, interacting, and even collaborating with it. As all content effectively becomes available and manageable via multiple devices using the network, they will also expect a truly connected solution, where everything successfully ‘talks’ to each other. Consumers are ready for this enhanced way of distributing, viewing and collaborating with video.

Other key findings in the research provide a valuable snapshot of the current technology and lifestyle habits of Western European broadband subscribers:

* Most are also willing to be exposed to advertising in return for access to free connected life services. When different fee-based and advertising-based pricing models were tested at various price points, more than 70 per cent of those interested in subscribing said they would receive advertising to defray the monthly cost.

* In addition, 32 per cent share pictures or videos from their mobile phone, 27 per cent access the Internet from their mobile phone, 41 per cent listen to music online, and 32 per cent write or post content to blogs or other community sites.


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