Why The Digital Home Matters

A look back at the digital home by Michael Wolf, and a look forward with a new report from GigaOM Pro.

In 1998, I had just started as a networking analyst for In -Stat and was writing my first report on the fascinating topic of ATM chipsets. While I found the topic of ATM itself to be eye -glazing, I was fascinated by a new technology I read about called home phone networking. The technology, developed by Tut Systems , allowed devices in the home to connect over common twisted pair phone wiring at the blazing speed of 1 Mbps. Before long, home phone networking had its own standards alliance and another company, called Epigram, had announced an even faster technology that would allow devices to connect at 10 Mbps over that old twisted pair wiring.


Just as intriguing to me as the technology was the interest in it by technology giants. Intel, AMD and Texas Instruments were all eager to get involved, and Broadcom, the leading cable chipset provider then and now, soon swooped in and acquired Epigram.

All of this excitement had me wondering: Why the interest in a little technology that can connect two devices over phone wire?

The more I thought about it, the more it became clear. As devices in the home connect, services can be delivered to them. Media - no matter where it actually resides - could be delivered over the network and consumed by the connected device.

It was an epiphany. It was then I realized that the network was the platform for the future digital home.

In the decade since, this theory has proven itself out. While phoneline networking never took off, plenty of others have boomed, and the proliferation of cheap and easy -to -connect network technology has ushered in the age of connected media, services and devices. While the world of physical media is still no doubt significant, the consumer marketplace of the future is digital and networked, as will be those companies that sell services, devices and media to the consumer.

Which brings me to Daniel Taylor's new report, "The Ongoing Battle for the Digital Home." Daniel, who himself has been covering consumer technologies for a decade at such companies as Yankee Group, Aberdeen and Giotto, shows why his new company is aptly called Big Picture.

In this report, he systematically lays out the strategic battleground that is the consumer technology marketplace, showing why media companies, service providers and hardware platform providers are all looking to ensure their place in the home. Daniel shows how these different ecosystem players need each other at the same time as they are competing with one another; the traditional lines between these categories and their companies is blurring, and the No. 1 goal for all players has become owning the consumer relationship.

I am very excited to share this report with you, so please - dive in and join the conversation.

Read more: http://pro.gigaom.com/2009/08/why -the -digital -home -matters/#ixzz0OH1EokN6

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