Connected Device Use Grows


Devices that provide Internet connectivity continue to become more varied. That’s the takeaway from a recent survey of U.S. consumers, which also shows people are more often becoming multi-screen users, spreading their connected experience across multiple devices.

There are currently 425 million connected devices in U.S. homes, says The NPD Group, The research firm’s Connected Home report indicates although many people still turn to computers for connectivity, other devices are increasing in prominence. As the computer declines in relevance, devices such as connected gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and HDTVs are advancing. Additionally, smartphones and tablets continue to show strong growth.

The top category of connected device by number of installed devices is desktop and laptop computers, followed by smartphones in second place and video game consoles in third. NPD Group says smartphones have an estimated 133 million users, and tablets represent another 31.8 million.

NPD also says is it is seeing a shift toward more screen-sharing among devices. In this case, content from a smaller-screen device such as a tablet or smartphone can be viewed on the TV. NPD says this could result in more over-the-top content being watched on TVs, as opposed to more traditional cable TV systems.

Many companies are battling for control of the TV screen, which represents a major portal for content in the home. By providing a simple means for users to watch content they have streamed or downloaded to mobile devices via the TV screen, content providers could open up new opportunities. Connected set-top boxes are a category that continues to see new entrants as more companies—from major tech firms like Apple to the smaller players like Roku—look to provide a means of connectivity for the TV.

NPD Groups says it’s important for service providers to keep the technology simple to use, as consumers are looking for the right content on the right devices. This has been a trend across the technology landscape, and multi-screen users are likely to want an easy means of transferring content from one device to another. With so many categories of connected devices in play in U.S. homes, simplicity will only become more important.

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