According to a new study by Forrester, as reported over at GigaOM, only one third of online Americans have home networks. Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. I thought back when wireless networking gear took off that pretty much everyone would get networked at home. The old reason for setting up a home network – sharing files between PCs – was suddenly supplanted by one that seemed much more compelling: removing the shackles of a wired Ethernet connection.
As it turns out, however, wireless networking wasn’t a true tipping point, and this is great news for operators. It means they have something new to offer. AT&T and Verizon have already waded into home networking waters with video, using HPNA and MoCA technology respectively. And Verizon has even begun to connect with users’ PCs through the Home Media Manager software. But there is a great deal more connectivity to come; connectivity between devices, networks, and even subscription services. You don’t necessarily sell it as home networking, but rather as something more specific. The ability to access DVR recordings on any TV in the home. The ability to pull up a nanny cam feed on the kitchen TV. The ability to port photos automatically from your camera to the big screen in the living room. The ability to switch seamlessly among broadcast content, personal media files, premium music and video services, all from a single location.
Of course, operators have a lot of priorities to pursue at the moment, but home networking will likely get more and more attention over the next couple of years. Not least of all because of the surge toward IP delivery of everything.