Massive growth in home networking predicted

3 Sep 2004

The growing penetration of broadband worldwide will lead to a proliferation of home networks, says IDC. The tech analyst predicted that the worldwide installed base of households with a network to grow from 37 million in 2003 to nearly 111 million in 2008.

Splitting a broadband connection among personal computers and sharing files and printers has driven home networking adoption to date, and these will continue to be the main home networking applications through the forecast period.

However, networking is quickly becoming an integral feature for many consumer electronics devices, such as stereos and telephones, increasing the value of both the device itself and the content stored on or played by the device.

Technology adoption has always been driven by applications, and home networking is no exception, says IDC. People adopt home networking in order to accomplish some other task, not for the sake of networking itself. As home devices such as games consoles and music players become easier to connect and more powerful in capabilities, new uses for them will emerge, just as the Internet led to new and more applications for personal computing.

“Home networking will reach its full potential as incumbent services and systems incorporate connectedness into their existing offerings. In the long run, the majority of households with home networks may not even consider themselves a home network household,” says Jonathan Gaw, research manager for IDC’s Consumer Markets: Home Networking program.

“Rather, they will use connected devices as a matter of course, a natural evolution,” Gaw concluded.

By John Kennedy