Friday, 2 September 2005

The digital home (Economist.com)... here we go again. It's always a sign that technology innovation is flagging when tech companies start talking 'Jetsons' and homes of the future. Best quote, from a CTO at Microsoft: "The home is much more exciting than the workplace." Possibly, Mr Mundie, because it doesn't have Windows computers in it. The problem is that the premise for doing this is not to better consumers' lives, but to saturate them with as much revenue-generating media as possible. Screens in car steering wheels! Safety be damned, let's pummel them with our media.


What this industry needs, in these flagging innovation times, is a refinement cycle: a phase where these innovations are refined and hardened for broader appeal. Marketers would do well to remember the adage that "an englishman's home is his castle". People expect the hard sell at work and in the shops, but selling in the home is viewed at best as a necessary evil (TV adverts), and at worst an object of ridicule (door-to-door selling). Technology adoption, at the domestic level, is driven strictly by necessity, and is almost always by invitation only.

The upside to all this is that consumers, unlike corporates, do not tolerate multiple standards for long. So maybe it will force tech companies to behave themselves... the only 600lb gorilla in the ointment being Microsoft...!

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