Europeans more interested in ‘connected life’ services


13 Dec 2007

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Europeans are more interested in connected life services – ubiquitous access to all household digital media content – than their American counterparts, research from Cisco has found.

The research from Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) found that broadband users in western Europe are more interested in living ‘the connected life’ and are willing to pay for the service.

Some 90pc of European broadband customers expressed an interest in this service compared with 77pc of US users. Some 42pc of Europeans polled said they were willing to spend €3.50 a month to enable easy management and access to their household digital content. They are, however, hampered in this by their inability to find a simple, secure and easy-to-install product.

The findings came 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.

Cisco believes the market is ripe for this type of service to take hold, following the cumulative impact of technological advances over the past decade.

The average survey respondent spent more than four hours each day on the go, away from work or home, and valued the ability to communicate with others and enjoy digital entertainment and information wherever they were, Cisco said.

Some 56pc of respondents indicated that they want to stay connected to family and friends at all times.

“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,” commented Simon Aspinall, managing director, Service Provider, Cisco IBSG.

“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.”

The survey confirmed previous reports that consumers are spending more time on the internet than watching television. The average western European broadband consumer spends an average of 21 hours a week on the internet and 11 hours a week watching television, according to the Cisco report. Some 69pc had downloaded or watched a video from the internet in the month prior to the survey.

The research also found that most broadband users are 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 70pc of those interested in subscribing said they would receive advertising to defray the monthly cost.

It was also found that 32pc share pictures or videos from their mobile phone, 27pc access the internet from their mobile phone, 41pc listen to music online and 32pc write or post content to blogs or other community sites.

By Niall Byrne