The digital home is getting serious, but I don\u2019t mean what you think. I mean the technologies we\u2019re using to build the fun stuff, the work-from-anywhere stuff, will be the same ones to revolutionize our healthcare systems and Third World economies in the coming decades. The wheels are in motion. But first, we need to figure out how to work the remote.\u00a0The Connections 2004 conference, hosted by market research firm Parks Associates in Dallas recently, drew more than 800 vendors and visionaries, most with entertainment on the brain - digital rights management, HDTV, personal and digital video recorder devices (PVR\/DVR), online movie services, media servers, anywhere access to personal digital music stores, and, of course, the remote control.The remote is a huge deal to these folks, some seven-headed Hydra that\u2019s scaring consumers away from buying digital home devices. That we have half-a-dozen of them on the coffee table and our babysitters don\u2019t know how to change channels or record shows is keeping a lot of people up at night, I found.In his keynote, John Sculley, former PepsiCo president and Apple CEO, provided a 20,000-foot view of the industry. The digital home market will mimic the PC market in its development by going through three phases: curiosity, useful and indispensable. Today, the market has made it to the \u201cuseful\u201d stage and is struggling to enter \u201cindispensable\u201d; to come up with products and services consumers can\u2019t live without. The next cell phone, the next iPod.Sculley is now on the board of OpenPeak, a start-up that\u2019s developing a simple homogeneous software interface for connecting and managing all our devices. He argued that because all the hardware is becoming commoditized, \u201cinnovation will be about the intangibles\u201d\u00a0- like a seamless integration between devices OpenPeak promises. (Never mind Apple\u2019s iPod, a hardware device, vaulted the digital music services industry.)When Sculley said OpenPeak is focused on changing consumer behavior in connecting devices, my colleague Keith Shaw leaned in to whisper, \u201cThey want to change my behavior.\u201d His tone was ominous, so you can bet Keith\u2019ll be writing about this in his new HomeLAN Adventures column (see editorial link below).\u201cIt\u2019s a badge of honor for me that I know how to use all my remotes and program all my devices,\u201d he added.Many speakers like Tony Weiss, the president and COO of CompUSA, argued that consumers won\u2019t buy digital home gear because they\u2019re afraid, uncomfortable and overwhelmed by the technology. But maybe that\u2019s not it at all. Maybe they just don\u2019t want to, don\u2019t have the money, or have other things on their minds?As for me, I\u2019m not so interested in remotes, and like Keith, I\u2019m fine with managing multiple interfaces. And I know too much about the cool stuff that\u2019s coming in six months that I never buy anything today. But I am intrigued by the work Intel and others have begun in the areas of elder care and telemedicine, as well as ways Wi-Fi phones can boost developing nations, which I\u2019ll tell you about next time.