Researcher looks at home networking overseas

Parks Associates (Dallas, TX), a market research firm long known for future-gazing at residential technologies and services, is now looking at similar issues overseas

Parks Associates (Dallas, TX), a market research firm long known for future-gazing at residential technologies and services, is now looking at similar issues overseas. Digital Lifestyles @ Home: Europe, a study due this year, will examine the western Europe marketplace for home networks, information appliances, and Internet-enabled homes.

The study will focus on European consumers and the growing market for home networking in this new frontier. With both personal computer and Internet use on the rise in western Europe, it could rival the U.S. market-projected to reach an end-user value of $5.6 billion by 2005, according to Parks.

But, the firm maintains, while the prospects for home networking in Europe will create excellent business opportunities, the market also holds significant challenges for companies that hope to capitalize on these emerging trends. Parks Associates warns that even the expression "home networking" may have different meanings from one continent to another.

"Although European households lag behind their U.S. counterparts in terms of PC ownership and Internet usage, they are quickly gaining ground," says Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates' vice president of research. "This bodes well for PC-centric networking solutions, but it is unclear what solutions and applications will resonate with European consumers. Furthermore, we believe that Europe exhibits different trends when it comes to wireless Internet communications and home control solutions. This may very well mean that, to a European, the networked home may look entirely different from the home envisioned for the U.S. marketplace."

The study will focus on six nations: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It will cover topics including ownership and use of consumer electronics and services; interest in home networking and related applications; Internet-enabled homes; and information appliances.

More information on this and other Parks Associates studies is available at www.parksassociates.com.

-Patrick McLaughlin

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