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Wireless Connected Home Consumer Needs

With the promise of entirely wireless interconnections for personal computers (PCs) within the connected home, interface standards and technology battles are looming, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

Most digital home interconnects are first adopted in PCs and then by consumer electronics (CE) devices, the high-tech market research firm says.

"Like USB vs. 1394, the outcome of the battle between ultra wide band (UWB) solutions will be determined by the PC platform" says Qasim Inam, In-Stat analyst.

The In-Stat research report entitled "PC Wireless Interconnects 2007: Nirvana for PC or Chaos?" covers the worldwide market for PC wireless interconnections. This research provides PC and PC wireless interconnect forecasts through 2011, as well as an analysis of how the market is likely to develop and who will be the winners and losers in the UWB battle.

Connecting device cables is a relatively intuitive process for most people. That said, I believe that the evolving wireless connected home opportunity is now primed for the next level of market development. However, mainstream consumers will require simplified user experiences that many current wireless-enabled products are unable to deliver.

The inherent complexity of the typical wireless home networking device user interface, such as a Wi-Fi access point, is unsuitable for most people to fully configure and manage themselves. The upside opportunity for "guided configuration" utilities is essentially untapped, with most vendors still providing user interface designs that require detailed technical knowledge.

I believe that devices that employ UWB technology must be designed from the perspective of avoiding the mistakes made by the Wi-Fi enabled device pioneers. The UX and the UI is the essence of the product value proposition for mainstream users -- the need for total device usability is therefore paramount.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

- The growth of mobile PCs and other mobile consumer electronic devices will drive the transition to wireless interconnects based on UWB.

- PCs hold the key in determining the winner between the WiMedia and Pulselink UWB technologies.

- Legacy wired interconnects will exist on the PC platform for several generations, but usage should transition to UWB within a very short period of time.

- Despite the growth of Wi-Fi in peripherals and consumer electronics, UWB sales will overtake Wi-Fi volume in the near future.

- In the long-term, Wi-Fi and UWB will continue to coexist in PCs as complimentary technologies.

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