In the end, Parks Associates believes that the PC and standalone consumer electronics platforms will both play key roles as distributed hubs in the home. Reprinted from the November 17, 2002 edition of "Parks' Points"
Both technologies will be better positioned to thrive if coexistence schemes currently being developed are broadly implemented. In addition, cost-effective combo 802.11/Bluetooth solutions should play an important role, as there are clearly situations where device vendors ideally need to support both technologies in a single host device for different applications.
In the end, the infrastructure that a service provider creates to reach the shell of a home will be the catalyst for manufacturers, service companies and others to create the automated products that may one day make the home automation market what we always thought it could be.
Potential commercial applications include distribution of wireless audio, video, and data over local area networks (LAN) for home, office, and boats. In addition UWB has the unique ability to resolve global position location to centimeter accuracy as a byproduct of sending and receiving data between multiple UWB devices.
Caveats and concerns aside, the next two years promise to bring significant development in the field of connected entertainment. Growth will come from partnerships between platform developers and service providers (think set-top boxes), new forms of content, emerging business models, and a growing awareness and acceptance among consumers for these applications.
If you're a consumer living in a small town or in rural America, get ready for a big surprise. If you live in rural Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Georgia, South Carolina, upstate New York, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, or pretty much any other rural state, your phone company is about to provide a range of services that no other provider will be able to, if it isn't already. If you live in the big city, eat your heart out!
Don't blink now or there'll be another wireless networking technology to keep track of. Sorry, you blinked!
The capabilities now are bountiful; one's imagination is the only limitation. We tell our clients that if the load is connected to the system, we are 99.9% certain that we can program same to their specifications. (We haven't been stymied yet.) We also urge our clients to ask for the impossible, you never know!
Our evaluation is that the rate of growth in the next few years will be sufficient to give viability to well conceived investment planning. Up-to-date technology, feasible training policy, competitive costs, liveliness and a good purpose in mind are the main characteristics imposed to newcomers.
Clearly 2001 has been a mixed bag in the areas discussed above with the number of bright spots being equaled by instances of postponed growth. The depth of this technology industry downturn has been unprecedented by most metrics. It has reinforced the belief that the tech industry despite its allure is cyclical beyond just the semiconductor segment. Nevertheless over the long-term the technology industry, as an aggregate, should post healthy positive growth.
In an office setting, printers are not replicated in everyone's office. A printer's capabilities are distributed by networking it; thus multiple users can share one device. Home entertainment networking is analogous to the office printer scenario, permitting multiple users to share the capabilities of entertainment devices and providing benefits to both the consumers and service providers.
The business model in terms of total available market (TAM) for information appliances may have to be clarified.
Ultimately, the consumer will win. The various technologies and functionalities will converge. Within the next two to five years, you'll see large deployments of residential gateways that will consolidate functions and deliver valuable services that are simple and affordable. You'll find you can be entertained, keep an eye on the kids' TV viewing habits from the office, control the pool temperature, and preheat the oven for dinner as you commute home - all with a single, easy-to-use gateway device.
In this last of a three-part series, I will explore some of the Social and Demographic trends that are driving the development of the Networked Home. The first article covered Science and Technology Trends, and the second focused on Market and Consumer trends. As always, your comments and suggestions are encouraged.
So how do we stay afloat in this sea of acronyms? We all gather, organize and analyze information in our own unique way. But there are a few common techniques you can use to help separate fact from fiction, meat from gristle, hype from news…well, you get the idea. Here's my version of the RAAT (Redundant Acronym Analysis Tool), a series of questions you can ask yourself to help you qualify a new acronym.
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