Dan's Guide to the Home of the Future
2:10 PM -- BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Step into tomorrow's world of wireless as your TV, cars, refrigerator and, er, more TVs seamlessly work together to help empower your m-life.
Yeah, yeah, stop me if you've heard this one -- the industry never gets tired of the wireless concept home, does it? I've been hearing about how you could control your fridge from your phone since 1998 if I remember right. Yet no one has ever really successfully explained why you'd want to. ...
Nonetheless, here we are again in Barcelona for yet another connected home demo, from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), GSM Association (GSMA) and KT Corp. As usual, we're focusing on mobile entertainment, mobile home security and m-health, all laudable applications of wireless technology. But, overall, the m-home appears more like a way to seamlessly remove marketing budgets from large companies.
The problem is, these places always feel like they're designed by people who spend their lives living out of hotels to design wireless show homes for tradeshows. There's almost never a kitchen, and mostly just a shell of a bathroom. Apparently the connected home expects you to shuttle between car and sofa being spoon-fed by your devices. Oh, wait! Anyway, step with me into the slideshow of the future and see for yourself:
You gotta pay But the real elephant in the corner of the connected home is how will we -- as consumers -- pay for it all?
Do carriers and gear providers expect you and me to add $10, $15 or more for each connected device added on top of our current payments? And that doesn't even get into the cost of the devices themselves. Clearly at some point that model improves for the consumer in a home where every device can talk to each other, yet carriers want to sell more devices to existing users so they can boost revenues in a saturated marketplace. There's a tension there I'll try to explore more at the show.
Of course, that's not the only way you might pay for an ultra-connected life: Perhaps, in the future, your wirelessly connected fridge will endlessly pump out adverts for the latest high-fructose treats because it's the only way to cover the data plan. But every time you get tempted by the gooey delights and reach into pandora's ice box, the mobile blood pressure monitor in your phone (mandatory, if you want to get an m-health insurance policy) shrilly beeps out a warning. ...
Future's so bright, people.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile