Devicescape, the WiFi offload company, today unveiled results from its first quarter 2012 WiFi Report, which illustrates WiFi's extensive reach into all aspects of our lives. The survey queried thousands of users in the Devicescape virtual network of a variety of ages, professions and locations about their opinions on topics ranging from the use of WiFi in the home and office to its role among tablet users.
Key findings from the "Q1 2012 Devicescape WiFi Report" showed:
*Devicescape offload network grew 21 percent from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012 with 6.8 million curated hotspots.
*More than 62 percent of respondents point to slow 3G/4G networks as the main cause driving them to connect to an unsecure WiFi network.
*Almost 61 percent connect their mobile device to WiFi while at work.
*Sixty-six percent of respondents say their employer has no policies in place to govern the use of WiFi.
*With 91 percent of respondents having WiFi connectivity at home, 84.4 percent are proactively connecting their smartphones to it.
*Almost 59 percent say WiFi is their preferred method of connectivity for their tablets.
*When choosing a tablet, the 3G/4G service feature is of importance to 56.4 percent of respondents.
Continued Network Growth Exceeds Expectations
The Devicescape Offload Network has been growing significantly since the beginning of 2012. Starting the year with approximately 5 million hotspots in the curated virtual network, the number of qualified hotspots has reached close to 7 million through the end of the first quarter.
WiFi Use Extends to Work, Home Environments
Past WiFi Reports have highlighted the pervasiveness of WiFi use in cafés, retail outlets and so on, illustrating its growing popularity and our general expectation to have it available in public places. In this quarter's WiFi Report, WiFi use for work inside and outside of the office has emerged as an additional high-use scenario for WiFi, especially in the case of a slow 3G/4G network. The majority of our respondents -- 62.1 percent -- indicated they would connect to an unsecure WiFi hotspot for work-related tasks as an alternative to the lagging 3G/4G network. Even with potential security risks using unsecured networks, employers seem less focused on WiFi use and policy: Sixty-six percent of our respondents say that their HR or IT departments have no policies governing the use of WiFi.
WiFi is increasing in use at home, as well. The vast majority of respondents, over 90 percent, have WiFi in their homes, and 84.4 percent use it for smartphone connectivity. Laptops are the second-most WiFi-connected device in the home. Tablet use, which is increasing in popularity, is gaining ground in third place, with 51.1 percent of respondents connecting their unit to WiFi.
"It's becoming clear that most users connect to their home WiFi in preference to using their 3G/4G connection," said Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape. "We expect this trend to use WiFi whenever possible, to continue given the mobile operators' moves to throttle and cap data plans."
WiFi Popular Among Tablet Users
The tablet market is indeed growing: Recent research from Forrester forecasts that U.S. consumers will buy 292.5 million tablets during the 2010-to-2016 time period(1). This quarter's WiFi Report supports this, with 36.2 percent of respondents planning to buy a tablet device in the near future and another 26.1 percent considering it. Such growth will make WiFi a necessity, as our respondents indicate they plan to use their devices to browse the Internet, watch movies and videos, and gaming -- straining 3G/4G networks. Because of this, our respondents say their preferred method of connectivity is WiFi (58.8 percent).