Monday, June 15, 1998

Big Players Show Their Interest in the Future of the Connected Home

Today’s buzz in the technology world surrounds high-speed Internet access. What external networks will be in place? What types of gateways will receive data? What types of devices will use high-speed Internet data, and how will that data travel around the home from device to device? These questions, as well as issues of in-home networks supporting other applications were the foundation for CABA and Parks Associates’ second annual conference, CONNECTIONS ‘98. About 200 industry players attended the conference from diverse company types and from all over the world.

In her welcome, Tricia Parks, President of Parks Associates, issued a challenge. Her challenge was to use this conference to determine how to increase the number of new homes being wired for our information-heavy future — drastically and quickly. Parks noted that in 1997, only about 55,000 new starts in North America included structured wiring out of a potential 1.6 million new homes. "Every new start without broadband wiring capabilities is a lost opportunity," Parks said, "What can the industry do to ensure a dramatic increase in the next two years?"

Throughout the two-day conference, presentations rang with the need for in-home networks capable of handling video transmission and for effective, speedy, reliable radio frequency and power line-based networks. Some view wireless networks as the only way to penetrate the more than 100 million existing North American homes based on the cost and inconvenience of adding new wire in existing homes. Parks Associates agrees that wireless in-home networks are important but does not expect to see a broadband wireless solution for in-home networks in the foreseeable future.

CONNECTIONS ‘98 demonstrated that key technology players agree it is time to reach inside the home with broadband capabilities. Leading off in Session I were Intel, IBM, and Microsoft. They were followed by other giants including Southern Development Company, Ontario Hydro, and Bellcore. While Ed Arrington of Intel focused on radio frequency development efforts being supported by his company, he challenged the audience to help Intel ensure that EVERY new home has structured wiring in the next three years.

Highlights from the conference include Intel’s concepts for in-home network devices; Intel is developing prototypes to encourage the appliance, consumer electronics, and computer industries to rev up their efforts for the home. Mark Schmidt displayed IBM’s view of upcoming residential environments — complete networks with lots of smart devices — and spoke of its Professional Home Director™ which will be introduced to installing dealers in August. Joseph Mouhanna of Microsoft explained Microsoft’s cooperative initiatives to develop wireless home networks and more powerful gateways. Aziz Khadbai of Nortel predicted that "what is happening now outside the home will dramatically impact what happens (to product) within the home."

The conclusion from this is that home networks have hit businesses’ radar screens, and activity will continuously accelerate over the next two years

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-owned and woman-led internationally recognized market research and consulting company, specializes in emerging technology solutions serving the consumer and small to medium business (SMB) markets. Celebrating its 35th year in 2021, Parks Associates is a partner to companies navigating the changing consumer technology landscapes through data-driven market insights, extensive consumer and industry intelligence, custom marketing services, and executive networking experiences and conferences.

The company's expertise includes home automation, control systems and security, digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, internet and video services, connected health and independent living solutions, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer electronics, and energy management solutions.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, and Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media.


Parks Associates' 25th annual CONNECTIONS™: The Premier Connected Home Conference features multiple virtual sessions hosted throughout 2021 focused on the adoption of technology including smart home, security, connected health, energy, home automation and entertainment solutions.

Bringing together more than 1,500 senior executives, CONNECTIONS™ provides networking opportunities combined with visionary keynotes and virtual sessions. The Parks Associates analyst team leads all conference sessions, which are focused on technology innovations, consumer adoption and trends, product and service forecasts, and the evaluation of new business strategies, partnerships, monetization opportunities, and value-added service design.

Throughout the event, sponsors offer demos during virtual networking events, spotlighting new technology innovations and services for the entertainment, mobile, and smart home market segments.

CONNECTIONS™ 2021 features sessions on March 24, May 12, May 25-26, July 14, August 18, September 22, and November 9-10. For more information, contact, call 972-490-1113, visit

Next: Pre-show workshops at CONNECTIONS™ focus on business strategies for residential energy management, digital media, and connected CE


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