THE CONCEPT OF THE NETWORKED HOME fully wired for home theaters and wireless Internet connections is becoming as popular as a three-car garage. But for builders, networking a home remains a complicated proposition, especially when such hurdles as standards incompatibility and conflicting wireless software codes still need to be overcome.
Relief may be in sight, though. This summer, Nokia, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, and others founded the Digital Home Working Group to develop guidelines to establish interoperability between networked devices.
And in September, Home Director Inc., a Livermore, Calif.-based provider of technology to the home networking, announced that it had been awarded contracts from KB Home to install networking technologies in 4,000 homes in Northern California. Home Director's wholly owned subsidiary, Digital Interiors, will provide and install the security systems, audio systems, video services, utilities, personal computers, and Internet to homes that KB is building in the San Francisco Bay area. The contract is worth approximately $5 million.
Suppliers continue to push their vision of the living room as the hub of the networked home, tapping into cable and satellite feeds of on-demand movies, games, and other content delivered via the Internet and using Wi-Fi technology to carry the content elsewhere in the house. One trend poised to affect the move toward the digital home is e-health, in which high-tech gadgets are being tested for assisted living. Another is the opportunity for enhanced kitchen appliances with radio-frequency identification tags and remote diagnostic systems.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA.