Pace Research Into UK Networked Home


WEST YORKSHIRE, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 11, 2001–British consumers are eager to explore the range of services that will be made possible by home networking technologies, reveals research issued today by Gallup on behalf of Pace Micro Technology…

Handheld devices that enable consumers to send and receive emails (38%) top the list of home networking services that interest the British public. Hand-held devices, with a touch-sensitive display, wirelessly linked to the set-top box can provide access to a range of interactive services (home shopping, banking, email access) so far only available on the TV screen or PC.

Over a third (35%) of respondents reported a preference to order groceries over a hand-held device than via a TV screen, followed closely by 34% who would access online banking services and look up information about TV programming (31%). All these services were most popular amongst the younger age groups (49%, 48% and 44% respectively) but even amongst the oldest group, the over 65s, one in five (20%) selected the handheld option for buying groceries. Surfing the Internet using a hand-held device as opposed to a TV screen was preferred by just under one third (30%) of respondents. However, there were significant differences between the younger age range (16-24 and 25-34) at 42% and 38% respectively with just 18% for the over 65s.

Slightly lower on the list was the playing of games over a hand-held device, which appealed to some 26% of respondents. Even among the age range most likely to play games regularly (16-24), the hand held device appealed to just one third (38%). This suggests that the size of the screen is seen as crucial for game playing.

Despite books and clothes being the least popular items to buy over a hand held device, it was still voted for by a quarter of respondents (25%).
When it comes to controlling electronic devices around the home via the set-top box, some two fifths (40%) of people surveyed confirmed an interest. This was voted for most strongly by the younger generation, aged 16-24 (65%) and 25-34 year (45%), but even amongst the over 65s, almost one third (28%) were keen. Interestingly, remote control operation also appeared popular among the most affluent socio-economic group, the A/Bs (45%), second only to those in the lower groupings, the C2s (48%).

“This is major published research that explores what UK consumers want from the networked home,” said Andrew Wallace, marketing director. “Considering there has been little marketing or education to the public about services which use home networking, our results are positive and clearly demonstrate a strong consumer desire for further knowledge and experience.

“Indeed, we believe these results should prove encouraging for all those involved in the development of home networking technologies,” he added. “For Pace in particular, it is positive news. We are leading the development of the networked home, with our evolution of the digital set-top box into an interactive gateway. This gateway will be positioned at the heart of the networked home, acting as a `hub’ that communicates wirelessly or over existing wires with household electronics, delivering audio, video, voice and data into, around and out of the home.

“Pace’s development of hand-held devices forms part of our home networking strategy. We aim to reduce competition for the main TV screen by networking interactive services away from the TV and onto hand-held devices that can be used anywhere within the home. This concept makes for a better consumer experience, leaving the main TV screen for those activities best suited for a larger screen. The interest expressed towards using hand-held devices, within the research, is further encouragement for our on-going development of these and other home networking technologies. In addition, integrating hand-held devices with digital TV is cost-effective – – the processing power and memory reside in the set-top box, keeping the cost of home networking technology low.”


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