Wi-Fi Hits Home

Ipsos-Insight Survey Reveals Rise In Awareness Of Wireless Fidelity, But Lack Of Knowledge Still An Obstacle

Wi-Fi Hits Home

New York, NY - The hype and media attention surrounding wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology and `hot spots' have made an impact on Americans' awareness levels, according to a survey by Ipsos-Insight, the global marketing research firm. Wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, is a technology system that creates a wireless connection between a device (such as a laptop or PDA) and a network or the Internet, either in private (such as at home or the workplace) or public spaces (a coffee shop, or even at the beach). Six in ten Americans (59%) aged 18 and older are aware of Wi-Fi--when described as a technology that allows people to wirelessly connect computers to the Internet at high speeds--a significant jump over last year's results, when only four in ten Americans (41%) said they were aware of Wi-Fi technology. The awareness of wireless home networking (an application of Wi-Fi technology that allows you to wirelessly connect computers, printers, and other devices at home) has also increased: over seven in ten Americans (72%) report being aware of wireless home networking, a significantly higher proportion than in last year's survey (58%). "The growth in awareness over the past year demonstrates that Wi-Fi is poised to move beyond the `early adopter' segment of the U.S. population," said Mike Bellmont, Director with Ipsos-Insight's Technology & Communications practice, "but while awareness is on the rise, there remains a considerable lack of familiarity with wireless home networking." Among those aware of either Wi-Fi or wireless home networking, only 8% describe themselves as `very' familiar and another third (34%) describe themselves as `somewhat' familiar. Most of those who are aware of Wi-Fi have just heard of the name only (55%). For those aware, familiarity remained constant with 2003 levels (38% very or somewhat familiar, 57% heard the name only). The study also revealed that the use of wireless home networking is currently limited to a small segment of the U.S. population. One in twenty Americans (5%) said they currently have a Wi-Fi or wireless home network installed in their home. Last year, the proportion was 3% of the total population. Barriers to wireless home networking also remain. "Manufacturers, retailers, and marketers will now need to focus their message on the benefits of this technology and address misconceptions in order to have an impact on future adoption," added Bellmont. "Specifically, the perceptions of security risks, cost of installation, and slow speeds are issues that continue to limit the wide-spread adoption of Wi-Fi." Among those who do not currently own a wireless home network but are aware of the technology, less than one in five say they are likely to add one in the next six months. Similar to last year's results, half of those aware of Wi-Fi agree that it is too costly to install at home (50% strongly or somewhat agree). Four in ten (37%) believe that Wi-Fi access is slower than a broadband connection. Less than half agreed that Wi-Fi networks are secure (44% strongly or somewhat agree). So what applications will drive the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi? While business use in the home may have been why many acquired a wireless home network, personal use represents the majority of current Wi-Fi use and will likely supply the next wave of new customers to this technology. The vast majority of wireless home network users say they currently use their network for personal reasons, as opposed to work (75% personal, 10% work, 15% both equally). Also illustrating the personal applications of this technology, among those aware, the intent to purchase a Wi-Fi system is significantly higher among households with children (26% very or somewhat likely) compared to those without children (14%). In addition, among current and likely users, the ability to move about the house wirelessly while staying connected to the Internet was most often chosen as the most attractive benefit of Wi-Fi (38%), followed by the ability to wirelessly connect two or more PCs within the home (27%). Using a Wi-Fi enabled laptop in public places outside the home and being able to use a laptop outdoors held less appeal. Despite lower appeal for using Wi-Fi outside the home, current and potential Wi-Fi users are interested in a variety of hot spot access points. The majority of current and potential Wi-Fi users said they were somewhat or very interested in Wi-Fi access in hotels (80%), outside areas other than immediately outside the home (70%), airports (69%), and coffee shops or restaurants (57%). Methodology Data were gathered using the Ipsos U.S. Express from February 2-4, 2004. Interviews were conducted via telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults age 18 and older. With a total sample size of 1,000, one can say with 95% certainty that the results are accurate to within +/- 2.95%. 2003 results were gathered using the Ipsos U.S. Express from January 24-26, 2003. To view the results from last year's study on consumer awareness of Wi-Fi technology, click here. For more information, please contact: Mike Bellmont Director Ipsos-Insight 612.573.8506 About Ipsos-Insight Ipsos-Insight, the company's flagship marketing research division in the U.S., specializes in research for companies in the following industries: agrifood; cable, media and entertainment; consumer packaged goods; energy and utilities; financial services; health; lottery and gaming; retail; and technology & communications. Ipsos-Insight provides custom and tracking research services to domestic clients, as well as U.S.-based multinationals. It also offers concept and product testing, package testing, attitude and usage studies, omnibuses, tracking systems, brand equity, volume forecasting, marketing models, advanced analytics and global research. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos-insight.com. About Ipsos Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research group, with revenues of 569.7 million euros in 2003. It offers a full suite of research services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies in advertising, marketing, public opinion and customer loyalty research, as well as forecasting and modeling. Member companies also offer a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos.com. Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris Premier Marchй, and is part of the SBF 120 and Next Prime Indices as well as eligible to the Deferred Settlement System (SRD). Euroclear code 7329, Reuters ISOS.LN, Bloomberg IPS FP

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