When Will the Digital Home Tip? And What Will Tip It?

I’ve been personally quite interested in the “digital home” for decades.  Yes, I’m one of those X.10 geeks.  I put Tut Systems IP-over-POTS cards into my equipment in the ’90’s.  I use Sonos.  All of the above and more.

Professionally, I’ve been wondering what’s holding back the Digital Home?  What I mean is: there are multiple networks in lots of homes today — WiFi for data, service-provider cable or FIOS or whatever for Internet access and video, maybe dedicated audio for home theater et. al.  When will this all be tied together?  When will vendors rush to equip homes with servers, converged networks, NAS/SAN, cloud backup, media servers, and every bit of kit you’d think you’d need for a home.  What’s stopping homes from being like SMBs, in a word?

Well, obviously consumers/households think about capital investments differently from SMBs, but not all that differently, if truth be told.  My guess would be that SMBs are being tipped because of the need for a web presence and the lure of ecommerce.

What will drive households is probably video.  Video is increasingly used where text was before: for news, for communciation, for entertainment, for instruction.  And current video plant in the home is ripe for tipping into something that converges networks and systems.

One bet would be that the first generation of connected TVs somehow causes a massive tipping point in the way households consume video, which will necessitate new networks, new network gear, and new kinds of servers.

What do you think?


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