These days it’s neither incredibly difficult nor outrageously expensive to fill a home with interconnected devices and set up seamless content-sharing across an array of gadgets. Modern consumers are looking for cross-compatibility, and, further, studies are reinforcing the fact that televisions aren’t just for watching Seinfeld anymore. In fact, a study released last week finds that the most popular form of content-sharing between devices is viewing photos via TV.
With the advent of cloud computing, exponentially increasing broadband speeds, and expanded accessibility to 4G mobile network connectivity, consumers are now able to surround themselves with machines that not only achieve each of their own individual functions — they also serve to enhance and complement one another. Central to the study — Connected Devices, 2014; published by YouGov, a London-based research firm — is a somewhat understated statistic that indicates a sea change for the home media world: more than a quarter (26 percent) of adults have shared media and/or content across separate devices via their home Wi-Fi network. Furthermore, more than a third (34 percent) of adults specifically look for devices they can connect to their existing devices across their home network. And while looking at photos via TV is the most popular form of this content-sharing, close behind is streaming music from a smartphone, laptop or tablet to a home speaker system.
We’ve closely followed the wireless home audio trend — recent data from CEA projects an extremely rapid increase in popularity for synchronized multi-room audio systems. Some companies are even designing audio devices that tie in lighting, security and other home automation technologies, hoping to create an all-in-one Internet of Things-connected household.
It’s important to look at these rapid transformations from a behavioral standpoint, too. YouGov’s study finds that, behind all of these industry changes and technological advances, there lie new methods of interacting with media. More than half (56 percent) of adults now watch TV while browsing on the Internet, and more than one in five (21 percent) start an activity on one screen and continue it on another.
These changes all seem to be converging toward a specific end goal: the seamlessly interconnected home in which all media is easily accessed and immediately available on any device — it’s a reality we may see sooner rather than later.