Mobile cloud services could challenge smartphone home network: report

NEW YORK ― New mobile cloud services may provide even easier access to consumers’ media content, ABI Research has reported.

“Wi-Fi Direct enables a device to connect directly to another device without a wireless network. DLNA-certified devices discover other certified devices, eliminating the need for a consumer to configure the connection,” said ABI Research senior analyst Victoria Fodale. “Both programs help mitigate the difficulties that consumers often face when connecting devices at home, and both bring wireless technology further into the mainstream market.”

ABI Research expects that both Wi-Fi Direct- and DLNA-enabled smartphones will grow strongly, at compound average growth rates of 63 percent and 23 percent respectively, through 2016. However, home networks will grow at only 4 percent — which shows a clear disconnect between smartphone capability and use of home networks.

“Although Wi-Fi connectivity is ubiquitous in smartphones, and the number of wireless home networks is growing steadily in developed markets, network configuration remains challenging for the average consumer,” Fodale said.

There may be an alternative: the new cloud services offered by Amazon, Google and Apple allow consumers direct access to both user-generated and licensed media. “If they are easier and more convenient for consumers, mobile cloud services could completely bypass the need for integration with home networks or entertainment equipment,” said mobile device practice manager Kevin Burden.

A new ABI Research study, “Smartphones in the Connected Home,” examines key market and technology trends for the integration of home networking capability in mobile devices, and highlights market issues that influence integration initiatives.