Consumers are ready to embrace the Internet of Things

This year's International CES is awash with products and services all promising to connect fridges with microwaves and vacuum cleaners with smartphones, and while many of these products will never move beyond the concept stage, a new survey shows that there is a rapidly growing demand for those that do make it to market.

In particular, consumers are ready to buy connected devices focused on home security, energy management and in-car infotainment.

That is according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, which this week published the results of a survey investigating smartphone- and tablet- owning consumers' thoughts and feeling on the subject of connected devices, smart homes and the internet of everything.

The findings are overwhelmingly positive. Three quarters of the 1000 US consumers questioned believe that all homes will soon be equipped with smart technology and 93 percent believe that having full remote control of the appliances and systems in their homes will have a positive impact on their daily lives.

In fact, whether or not an appliance is wi-fi-enabled has become a purchasing criterion for a number of consumers -- over half have already bought devices other than computers, smartphones and tablets that can connect wirelessly to their home internet network. And, when it's time to replace an existing major household item, such as the television, the lighting or even the car, 77 percent of respondents said that wi-fi connectivity will be an important consideration when choosing a new model.

For consumers it seems that wi-fi is the key to adoption and potential complexity the only obstacle -- an issue raised by 84 percent of respondents. Consumers want to be certain that connected home or smart devices all link to an existing home network, with 91 percent saying that they would be more likely to purchase smart products if they sync automatically to their home wi-fi.

"There is no question that Wi-Fi will be a major connection for smart home and automotive applications," said Phil Solis, Research Director, ABI Research. "Wi-Fi has a massive installed base of more than four billion products and is expected to surpass ten billion in 2018, and a legacy of interoperability which will ensure it will play a strong role in the Internet of Everything."

For many, greater connectivity will be coming sooner rather than later; 73 percent of those surveyed said that plan on buying a wi-fi enabled device in 2014.


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