Living the digital life, today

Faster than anyone really expected, we have become fully immersed in a digital lifestyle. We would sooner leave our homes without our wallets than without our cell phones. TiVo has changed the way we watch television. Our music buying and listening habits have been completely altered by iTunes and the like. E-mail reaches us no matter where we travel. More and more homes are outfitted not only with broadband connections but also with wireless networks. We have become always-on, always-connected people.

Yet as consumers of this technology, we're swept up in a tsunami of change. Business technology companies such as Dell and HP are pushing into consumer electronics. Consumer technology companies such as Sony have become firmly established in the PC business. New companies such as Akimbo, Sonos and Roku have stepped into the middle.

As old brands re-invent themselves to compete in the converging consumer electronics and computing markets, and new brands work to establish themselves as innovation leaders, there's little that is certain as this new market seeks its definition. Will products be computer-centric programmable platforms? Or will computational power and electronics be hidden behind slick designs and minimalist user interfaces? Can technology solve vexing digital rights issues, or will old business models trump consumer choice and flexibility? Will IP networks usurp carriers as the delivery platform for voice, video and data?

The digital life is pieced together from many parts, which we're attempting to assemble in a special Living Digital showcase at Demo@15!, the 15th anniversary of the Demo Conference, to be held Feb. 13-15 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Here's what we think belongs in the digital home:

Broadband Internet: Internet connectivity that delivers the best throughput and value.

Home networking: a wireless network that delivers reliable, manageable broadband throughout the home.

Digital media consumption: the display, controllers, audio systems and other components that let us manage and enjoy digital entertainment.

Digital media creation: a complete workshop for home photography, video, and music creation and sharing.

Home office: technology that lets us work from home as easily as at the office.

Home control and automation: state-of-the-art technologies that manage and secure the home.

Integrated communications: balancing the value of VoIP solutions with the familiarity of traditional phone systems, e-mail and voice messaging.

You can experience this digital lifestyle for yourself at Demo@15! And if you can't join us in person, tour the Living Digital showcase online. For more information, click here.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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