I have been waiting my whole life for the Jetsons’ life-style. The cartoon, developed by Hanna Barbera, promised a utopian future. It was set in sky-high Orbit City complete with elaborate flying spacecars, instant transport tubes, robotic contraptions and whimsical inventions – all designed to make your life simpler, better and easier. George Jetson’s life was comically leisurely because of dozens of labor saving devices. His 3- hour work day consisted of pressing a single computer button…
I am very fortunate in that my work many times gives me an exclusive insight into the future. Andy Schmidt, my consummate Best Buy Guy, allowed our camera crew at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to bring to you a glimpse of the future. Well, Jetsons – all of you: George Jetson, wife Jane, daughter Judy, son Elroy (and even Rosie the Robot), eat your heart out! Now we too can be part of the one-button-Jetsons’ lifestyle. How? Via the new collection of technologies called ConnectedLife.Home. Best Buy decked out an RV to show you what you can do in your home! Here’s the video report from YouTube.com
“There’s No Place Like Home.
Actually Dorothy, There’s No Place Like The ConnectedLife.Home.”
And here’s why. Andy showed us how all the technology – from the television to the security, sound, and lighting systems (and even the revolutionary oven) – can easily be programmed/controlled from touch panels in each room, or via a secure Internet connection from anywhere – across town or halfway around the world. When you log in via your laptop or cell phone, you see the same easy-to-use screens to control surveillance cameras, lights, thermostat, and even DVR scheduling. Forgot to set up that must-see game on TV? No problem! A specialized software, Life|ware™, (www.life-ware.com) allows you to control everything with a pretty friendly user interface!
A Day in the Life Of…
The ConnectedLife.Home system is designed to go with the flow of your day. Pre-programmed “hello” and “goodbye” commands know all the things you want to do, but instead of having to remember them all and do them – it takes one button- just like Mr. Jetson! As you are walking out the door, your “goodbye” command would turn off all the lights, the iron, record your favorite TV shows, turn down the heat,… (Remember those impossible to use programmable thermostats? For get-ta ‘bout it! They are a thing of the past!)
On your drive home from the office, your pre-program personalized “hello” command turns on certain lights, starts the oven to get the casserole cooking, and launches your musical playlists. You can listen to CDs, MP3s and internet radio; store your music collection, including digital music from your computer and rock the house without ever touching another CD!
Had a hard day? Need a mellow mood? Push the button for your easy listening playlist… Got a long night of work ahead? Need to get pumped up? Pick your Motown Mojo, Classic Rock n’ Roll or try Your Dance-Reggae-Latin-Hip-hop tune playlist. Maybe you are planning a dinner party? Just hit your dinner party serenade playlist. Watching your favorite movie and want to hear the sound track as you are serving up hors d’oeuvres? It’s easy. You search on the sound track, it brings up the album and cover art, you hit buy and the theme from Top Gun is ringing from the rafters! Your need; your mood; you choose!
And after dinner you might want to record live TV and play it back later. Or maybe you are getting sleepy and you want to pause live TV in the living room and resume the same program up in your bedroom TV. No problem! And you can record and view separate programs simultaneously.
Did You Print Out Those Pictures from Last Year Yet?
Picture this. You are unofficially the family photographer. Each holiday you are the one who takes all the pictures. And now the family is on your case because the photos are still in your digital camera. Having the best of intentions, you keep promising to print them out for the next holiday gathering… but who has time? You started way back when in 1995 with one of Kodak’s first digital cameras (DC40).
With over ten years of digital photos and years of home videos, how can you get the family off your back? It’s easy. Connect your camera or the memory card into the ConnectedLife.Home system. You can crop photos, adjust contrast and fix red-eye–all on the TV screen.
What better way to reminisce than seeing 10 years of little Anne – from when she was a wee babe to her excitement as she rips the wrapping paper off her new bicycle? Or granddad, still excited by his 20th pair of new slippers. This system provides you with an automatic slideshow with all your photos and videos — and plays it on all your TV screens throughout the house accompanied by your holiday music playlist… Being a DJ was never so much fun! And if there is one photo someone can’t live without, you can upload/archive it to your photo album on the web, burn them a DVD – or even print photos from the TV!
What’s Served Up With The ConnectedLife.Home package?
A Hewlett Packard Digital Entertainment Center (including an HDTV, DVD player/burner, FM Stereo, memory card reader with 300 GB of storage), Xbox 360, networking kit, wireless router, lighting, wireless thermostat, two surveillance cameras and keypad controllers… The cost? Around $15,000- depends on exactly what you get. So if you are cooking in the kitchen and are wondering if Johnny is doing his homework or if the baby is up, you can check via the surveillance cameras.
Sunblock? Sandals? Beach Towel? That’s what you want to worry about when you are on vacation. Not whether you forgot to record Desperate Housewives or Gray’s Anatomy. And if you decide to come home early or, better yet, extend your vacation another week, the remote access allows you to adjust lighting and thermostats, spy on your cat or even your teenagers.
And while you are away, if you meet some new friends and want to brag about your kids? You can access those photos and videos you had at your holiday party! And once back home, you can monitor your vacation place. The remote access service does come with a $20 monthly fee, but the peace of mind is well worth it because the uses are endless.
But Do I Need To Be A Rocket Scientist To Install /Use The System?
Nope! Look Mom! No Wires! While that might sound like a lot of stuff that has to be wired – you don’t have to read the directions, pull out a screwdriver or a drill, or be a rocket scientist to make all this happen. Why is this a significant change? Historically home control systems were reserved for high-end, new home construction. That’s because it was easier to wire the controls into the house as it was being built. However, wireless technologies, eliminating the need to rewire, are transforming the idea of the connected home into an immense potential market.
In fact, consumer market research industry expert www.ParkAssociates.com states systems like the one by Best Buy, HP and Life|ware™ have dramatically changed the marketplace. By packaging the technology in a seamless, easy-to-use system they have transformed the industry from one “only the rich can afford” to one within reach of “everyday homeowners.” With the increase in accessibility to the mass-market, Parks Associates predicts the industry will reach the $3 billion mark in 2007. And by 2010, more than 30 million U.S. households will have entertainment and security interconnected systems. And I don’t know about you, but I hate all those unsightly wires, cables, connectors – and what about the 20 remote controls… half of which are lost in the cracks of the couch? All are truly things of the past!
So what about installation and service? The ConnectedLife.Home system comes with Best Buy’s expert installers and service! A technician will fly to you — no matter where you live in the U.S. — and install the whole system. And if you forget how something works, all you have to do is call! They have a great support system. If you get confused about how something works (I doubt you would because the user interface is really simple!), you can tell the person on the phone. They log into your account, walk you through the steps, or do it for you via remote access.
And while this might not be everything the Jetsons had… a car that folds up into a suit case, a 3-day work week, supersonic skate boards that can travel 1000 miles in 1000 milliseconds – it is certainly a start! Whether you are a homeowner or a contractor, if want to know more about the connected life, you can go to www.BBFB.com/ConnectedLife or write to me and I will get you hooked up with Andy! He is the MAN! (email@example.com)
Next year we hope Andy will stop by LA and pick me up on his way to CES 2008 in a decked out, Jetsons’ Lifestyle ConnectedLife. Home system RV! That would be the ultimate ROAD TRIP! We could report to you from the road about all the great people we meet along the way and get their comments about the new Jetson’s lifestyle… Kodak, Sony, Panasonic… we might need some new still and video digital cameras to document our road trip!!!
Oh, and Ricky Martin, we need a new road trip song… Instead of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (“Livin’ the Crazy Life”), now that we have a one-button life—we’ll be singing “Livin’ the Connected Life”. Maybe Britney Spears has some extra time on her hands to write us a tune? Anyone? Anyone?
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Written by Dr. Nat