(BPT) - Americans have spent more time at home in the last two years than ever before. This is a huge shift, but thanks to modern technology, being home doesn't mean being alone. Internet home connectivity brings people together, facilitating work, school, hobbies, special events and much more.
Connected devices in the home help families continue to live well and do the things they love. In 2021, nearly a billion unique devices connected to Wi-Fi in Xfinity xFi households - a 12X increase from 2018. Americans continue to rely on home connectivity to pursue the most meaningful aspects of their lives. According to Xfinity xFi research, the top trends in home connectivity typically fit into four categories: wellness, work, parenting and entertainment.
Health became a top priority - and the fastest growing device category - in 2021 as Americans continued to place greater importance on their wellness. It's likely you or someone you know has a health device such as a smartwatch, fitness tracker or connected exercise machine like a stationary bike. Compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2018, smartwatches/trackers connected to WiFi in Xfinity households has increased 39X for a total of 49 million. Exercise equipment connected to WiFi also increased 93X for a total of almost 841,000 devices in the same amount of time. With more time at home, people can prioritize their health, and these types of devices empower the individual's health journey.
Remote work continues to be a reality for millions of Americans. Working professionals saw a major shift in priorities as they transitioned from the office to their own homes - something that would not have been possible without reliable Wi-Fi. Internet connectivity will continue to be important, with companies announcing plans to continue remote or hybrid work for employees. However work schedules evolve, connectivity makes many careers possible as well as supports businesses and the associated economic growth.
The connected home continues to give options to parents who want to use the internet to help their kids learn, grow and play. Virtual learning is possible thanks to connected devices, not to mention provides kids the ability to stay connected to friends and family via video chat and online messaging.
However, there is also a time when these devices need to be turned off so kids can focus on other things, such as family time or getting ready for bed. With xFi, a digital dashboard set up to help Xfinity customers manage their home Wi-Fi network, parents have visibility over internet use and the ability to set parental controls like pausing connectivity at any time. In fact, parents hit pause on their Wi-Fi nearly 100 million times in 2021. In the same year, more than 477,000 customers created a total of more than 1 million 'downtime' schedules, with the most popular moment being bedtime - followed by homework and dinnertime. With the ability to pause devices at a moment's notice, parents can gain greater control over the relationship their children have with technology.
As the pandemic continues, home internet has made it possible for Americans to do many activities, whether it's following along with a video tutorial to cook a new recipe, meeting up with family for a special virtual celebration or streaming a favorite movie.
Gaming is another category that continues to grow as a main form of connected entertainment. Surveys show that more than three-quarters of the U.S. population viewed themselves as 'frequent gamers' who play at least once per week and there were more than 36 million gaming consoles connected to Wi-Fi last year, a 15X increase from 2018.
Despite all the different ways you can use Wi-Fi at home, most Americans (41%) identified themselves as 'streamers' in 2021, confirming this was their main form of Wi-Fi usage during the year. In fact, streaming devices represents the 2nd fastest growing device category with approximately 119 million devices connected to Wi-Fi - a 14X increase from 2018.
'The ecosystem of connected devices in the home and the applications running on them has exploded over the last few years, driving a shift in consumers' perceptions on what truly is important to their connectivity experience,' said Sophie Ahmad, Chief Marketing Officer of Xfinity Consumer Service, Comcast Cable. 'Unbeatable Internet that provides the best connection, complete security, faster speeds and the best tech is now integral to how Americans work, exercise, parent, and entertain.'
The connected home is the home of the future, providing opportunities for people to thrive and enjoy what's most important to them. Learn more at Xfinity.com.