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January 15, 2008

Yahoo Tech's Dory Devlin With A CES 2008 Update on Digital Homes

Even though I could not attend CES 2008, I was happy to say that someone from (what I consider) my personal review team was there: Dory Devlin, Yahoo! Tech's "Mom" Advisor.  All the Yahoo Tech Advisors had something to report back from CES, but I was really looking forward to getting the "moms" perspective.  When I looked at her posts from CES, one thing that jumped out at me was the latest trends in the "Digital Home". Here are some of the Dory Devlin's CES posts related to Digital Homes:

After reading her posts for so long, I was thrilled with the opportunity to talk with Dory Devlin on the phone after she returned from CES. Because I have a personal interest in home automation, I chose the theme of our discussion to be about digital home trends. Here are some snippets from our conversation:

HOME AUTOMATION: She helped me understand that it is important for families to look at automating their home one appliance or system at a time. She explained that many people already have TV remotes, so the next step can be automating lights and shades to save energy (and have lights shut off as soon as you go out the door). She told me about Control 4 , which is a home automation company that also works with utility companies to automate usage management. This may allow home users to manage utility usage from their TV's or computers and companies to control usage during peak times.  

FAMILY MANAGEMENT FROM YOUR FRIDGE: We also talked about the new Whirpool refrigerator with hardware that accommodates snap-on electronic devices for photos, iPods, and a whiteboard. The the Clio Vu tablet PC loaded with Cozi software will also be available on the new Whirlpool. Check out her post for more details. Cozi software is currently available free online and has features such as shared family calenders that sync with outlook and shopping list management. Here is the link to the Mossberg Solution review of Cozi.  Devlin felt the look of the refrigerator and snap-on hardware was
attractive and intuitive.

SOFTWARE LOADED ON DEVICES: She also mentioned that for people who are tired of loading computers up with software, now cameras and printers have their own software.  I added that even back-up drives like Seagate FreeAgent Go have operating systems loaded. And for those tired of plugging in wires to transfer pictures from cameras, Devlin mentioned trying out the Eye-Fi wireless memory card that is now has an agreement with Lexar. And it worked! I told her that I have been looking for the Eye-Fi at the stores and will hopefully have one soon.

DIGITAL PETS: Then we talked about the new "digital toys". At the show, Devlin saw the WowWee and iRobots. Her post has information on not only a Wi-Fi-enabled robot designed to be a remote connection with the home but also on Wrex the Dawg. So it looks like digital homes can even have digital pets.

DIGITAL WALL: But one of the most interesting future tech items was the concept of a "digital wall". She discussed the Panasonic wall sized screen with face recognition software, that can go right to your preferences.  The size of the screen will changes depending on where the user is. She also mentioned that there are decorating features that can change depending on the user. That  made me think of my friend who just finished painting her 4th grade daughter's wall after her daughter decided that pink is out and blue is in. I suggested that it would be nice to control wall color by the computer, then changing wall color will be one button click away, no need to repaint!.

I hope to have future discussions with Yahoo Tech Advisor Dory Devlin (and fellow techie mom), for now - I will be checking my RSS feed for her blog...

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