When we set out to prove a business case for building Windows Home Server we scoured all of the existing secondary research data and decided to focus on households with a broadband connection with 2 or more "active" PCs that are sharing the internet connection. Back during the initial planning stages for the product in mid-2005, we discovered that there are over 15 million of these households in the USA, and over 40 million worldwide. The numbers have continued to grow since that time.
We have done a lot of research on these homes over the last 2 years to uncover additional data, and also see if they were ready for a "home server" product. Here are a few of the things we have learned:
- On average, these households have 3 "active" PCs with the majority running a mix of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional
- Over 90% of these households own a digital camera
- Over 95% own a color printer
- 70% own a game console
- Less than 20% feel they have a good backup solution
We did several primary research studies and had familes and home-based businesses rank a set of scenarios for functionality that could be included in a potential home server product. We have used this data extensively in our decision making processes to build a product to help consumers in multi-PC households. We learned early on that "automation" is key and that we should not ask any unanswerable questions. We also learned that acronyms can mean a lot of different things to different people and it is always better to use simple words and phrases to avoid confusion. Does PC mean "personal computer" or "politically correct" ??
Our goal is to build a product that "enthusiasts" will love, but that is also easy-to-use and approachable for the "enthused followers". As we know from the research that only a little over 1/3 of those broadband connected households with 2 or more PCs actually has an "enthusiast" that lives there.