Are consumers ready for the next-generation home network that will transform how all of us will interact with our home entertainment systems, as well as our home's security, energy, health monitoring and environmental systems?
Many technology watchers have predicted the arrival of the automated smart home - that home owners will seek out and install the latest, coolest gizmos that will make a house truly smart. Well, it ain't gonna happen that way.
Instead, powered by ZigBee RF4CE - a low-power, low-data-rate version of Wi-Fi, this new network is the choice of the world's cable companies and service providers as the way to introduce new services and applications to the home. Cable companies have realized that is not enough to provide high-quality video and web connectivity. If they want to engage their customers and keep them as subscribers in a web connected world, they already have the total infrastructure in place to provide a wide range of other services.
RF4CE powered set-top boxes and remote controls can provide the central control point for all the home's entertainment, automation and smart applications.
It is the cable companies of the world who are launching the new smart homes centered around the ubiquitous set-top box - not the TV makers, not the home after market or security device providers.
At CES 2012, Comcast, one of the largest service providers in the world said it is moving to ZigBee RF4CE with their new Xfinity set-top boxes and remotes.
"We are moving to support ZigBee RF4CE standards-based remote controls and set-tops because they improve the user experience for navigating all our services in the home, while allowing us to make the transition to RF technology in a very cost effective way," said Ted Grauch, Vice President, Video Premise Equipment for Comcast.
Comcast is not alone. Every other service provider in the world is also testing and planning on moving to RF4CE for their set-top boxes and remotes. In addition, several of the world's leading consumer electronics and home entertainment manufacturers are planning on using RF4CE. In Japan, Sony is already using RF4CE in their televisions and remote controls to enable viewers to easily purchase items they see on their TVs.
Within a few years, maybe five, how everyone communicates with their home entertainment and monitoring/control systems will change.