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Day 4 - IFA International

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  • September
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Smart Home With The B3 It’s Cloudy Inside In the Reseller Park in Hall 9, Swedish exhibitor Excito is showing the B3, a personal server that acts as a backbone for the connected home. Based on Linux (the popular Debian Squeeze), the B3 is open-source software, including a wireless driver for WLAN, which is a world first. Inside a case of thick aluminium, there are no moving parts (except for the hard drive) and because of a fan-less design, it runs nearly silent. The B3 can be set up in three easy steps to a fully installed server. Energyefficient, as you would want for home use, this Excito server can consume as little as 8W (depending on configuration), making it one of the most efficient servers on the market. It boasts a 1.2GHz ARM processor and 512MB RAM, but the bigger boast may be its collection of pre-installed software that makes the B3 suitable for a variety of uses, from network router and firewall, to streaming server and groupware solution. The B3 has its own web-based interface so users can easily manage. A wifi version of B3 can additionally perform the duties of a wireless router on a local network. With the B3 personal server, the connected home gains its own cloud-maker. The Excito B3 stores music files and streams them across any network, and the web. An entire music collection is instantly available to all media players in your home, including iTunes and Logitech Squeezebox, and Soundbridge players. Excito B3 features its own web-based music player, so the user can access music files and enjoy them from any machine, with a browser from anywhere in the world. IFA Sets The Pace For Connected Home Connected home has it all — but the market needs you, says GfK By Bob Snyder The future of the connected home — the ‘interconnectedness’ of electronics in private households — will be one of the industry’s major challenges in the near future. But while a smart TV or a home network is a good first step, the connected home is a larger concept that needs industry support. A study from GfK Retail and Technology in Germany shows the vast majority of retailers and contractors expect in the next three years to see increasing sales in the connected-home market. At IFA, you can see the applications in the entertainment and security segments that GfK indicate are the key success drivers. But far more than a few single drivers are at stake. Imagine you need to put a single stitch in a cloth. Then consider the difference from a single stitch to sewing together a custom tailormade suit. In a world of manifold devices, the integration and unification of all the electronics in the home is the ultimate destination for the consumer-electronics industry. To succeed, the industry needs to accomplish a variety of solutions: the connected home means bringing together the smart TV, multiroom digital AV technology, digital content delivery, personal computing, wired and wireless telephony, home automation, home appliances and a myriad of personal wireless devices. Many different parts of the CE and home-appliance industry approach the connected home from whatever “node” on the home network that faces their own industry segment. TV makers rush to build smart TVs… Home appliance folks now begin to integrate Internet or Internetcontrol into refrigerators, washing machines and more… The consumer IT segment concentrates on the backbone with home-networking routers and gateways… Home automation makers concentrate on energy, security and lighting… And so on. Along the way, while Internet protocol serves as a common platform, there are industry standards to resolve interconnectedness. It is unlikely that we will see a single standard, but multiple standards that weave together solutions. The many diverse parts of the connected home explain why we have so many standards helping out, including DLNA, MOCA, ITU’s G.hn, HomePlug and ZigBee. As we work to solve the problems of the connected home, the larger concepts of smart grid, smart city and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology will evolve infrastructure to connect the connected home to the world. As impressive as the Internet growth is today, the evolution of M2M Internet will dwarf all that we know. Right now, GfK says, some barriers persevere. Its research reveals that consumers are afraid of being overwhelmed by technical demands, worry about high costs and feel the added value of a connected home is too small. GfK encourages retailers and installers to recognise that, in order to overcome consumer anxiety, they must improve customer service, enforce consistent standards and comprehensibly present the worth and advantages of connected homes. Whatever is on the doorstep for the connected home, IFA Berlin holds out the welcome mat. Jürgen Boyny Global Director Consumer Electronics, GfK Europe “Imagine you need to put a single stitch in a cloth. Then consider the difference from a single stitch to sewing together a custom tailormade suit” www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Monday 5 th September 2011 19

IFA International