• United States
Contributing Writer

A digital nerve center in your home

Feb 06, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* You'll never want to leave the house

Everything I’ve read lately suggests that service providers, carriers, software makers and device manufacturers have a common target: the home network.

They are working hard to make sure that every household has a so-called digital nerve center. This nerve center will be a repository for gaming, video and music files, videoconferencing, audioconferencing, home bookkeeping, the security system and more. Basically, everything but the kitchen sink would be thrown into the mix.

The trick is creating a unified system that works via wired or wireless networks, that suits everyone’s tastes, and that provides interactive resources without jeopardizing personal information. Tough job, to say the least.

But some of the biggest names in the industry are on the case: Sony, Microsoft, TiVo, Pioneer, you name ’em.

At the heart of this is the fight for e-dollars. The thinking is that the more you allow people to access, the more they’ll access. For instance, if you make available their favorite movie, they’ll pay for it. If you allow them to purchase a ready-to-use compilation of their favorite artists, they’ll buy it. If you let them engage in hours of gaming with people from around the world, they’ll pay for it. Everything involved in the home digital nerve center could be translated into dollars.

And rather than homeowners becoming mini-network managers, the service providers are ready to swoop in and offer a soup-to-nuts installation-to-management package. That’s going to be the bread and butter for these companies in the future. Right now, they are all scrounging around for the killer applications to offer over these home networks.

It won’t be long before these home networks will be fully tied into the headquarters at work, too, allowing secure, partitioned access to the corporate network for every member of the household.

Think this is unrealistic? I’m convinced that it won’t be long before we see the complete melding of home office and home theater and home entertainment and home phones and work phones and work office, etc. combined into one unit within the home.

What do you think? Let me know at