Rovi Chief Evangelist, Richard Bullwinkle had an afternoon session at SXSW 2010, dealing with convergence in the living room, “From Hulu To Yahoo Widgets: Will The Internet Transform The TV?”
He started the session with the statement “It is difficult to upgrade your television because it is affixed to a wall.” With computers, you can go to a new website, such as moving your social network from myspace.com to facebook.com. With a mobile phone you can delete the location centric Loopt app and load Foursquare or Whrrl. But your
television cannot be updated and it is typically maintained by someone who put it on the wall.
With the American market being spread out over thousands of miles, broadband penetration and the speed of those connections becomes the next issue. Music and streaming television is not a problem with existing bandwidth; be it via cable, to the house or Wi-Fi within. As we get to HD quality, few have the capacity to our homes to achieve this rate. I know of this pain point personally and have solved it by running three networks at the house, one for devices like the iPhone and Chumby at 2.4 GHz and the others for high definition video distribution over Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11N at 5GHz.
Maps and directions are available on cell phones, PDA’s, GPS units, Onstar, or heaven forbid: actual paper maps. This doesn’t stop people from getting lost from time to time, so Google is partnering with gas companies to embed the Google Maps application into gas pumps at 3,500 gas stations across the United States starting next month.
The newly teched-out gas pumps will feature an Internet connection and the Google Maps application. By providing this at the pump motorists will be able to both fill up on gas and get directions to their destination. The participating gas stations will likely get a boost in business from drivers too stubborn or embarrassed to ask for directions from anything other than a shiny, all-knowing machine. This sounds like a win for retailers, motorists, and Google alike.
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hotel suite while at CES for a demo of the latest Parallels Release Candidate, focusing on
Coherence mode. If you are a Mac user, this is one to watch.
iControl is at CES this year showing off their home security and automation service. iControl’s technology networks various third party home security and automation solutions and provides a hosted gateway to access them over the web or via a cell phone.
The promise of iControl is knowing what’s happening at your house, and being able to control other home automation products. The only downside to this technology is that because its a hosted solution you have to fork over $15 a month for this convenience. It might be worth it depending on your solution, but if you are interested, check out some of the non-hosted solutions offered by Control4 which might be slightly more expensive, but won’t cost you month after month.