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Consumers Want More Home Networking

Here’s a little article from InformationWeek about consumers’ desire for more interoperability and networking options for their various personal gadgets.  Hahaha!!!  Well … in terms of networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, TCP/IP are just that.   All of the devices I have that use these protocols I can see on their respective networks.  When I remove DRM and other barriers I can push and pull data between these devices over their respective networks, too.  However, I would imagine for those that are not inclined to explore or are technically challenged, all of this networking stuff is daunting.

Because the electronics manufacturers want to lock consumers into their product ecosystems, the manufacturers are not inclined to make their products open to consumers.  Of course this never really works.  Successful products like the iPod work with a great many accessories and other non-Apple products and crafty people have come up with ways to “crack” the iPod so users can get around  DRM and reclaim the music they have purchased.  These products also tend to have a bunch of third party companies that make accessories and software for the devices.   Of, course it takes market dominance to begin with to have cottage industries pop up around a product.  iPod can thank the mp3 format, USB, and great product design for their success.  The glue, though, for interoperability are the mp3 file format and the USB hardware interface.  iPod took advantage of protocols that were already well established as universal.

So it seems to me that the foundation for device interoperability already exists.  It’s simply a matter of making it such that ordinary people can communicate with their devices over the common networks.  Centralized network devices like home servers and the third generation consoles like the xBox360 come close, now, to knitting everything together.  The problem is that these devices are not accessible to the lowest common denominator of consumers.  The wii comes closest to a device that is very accessible, but its hardware and software are not capable.  Continue reading Consumers Want More Home Networking