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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Unifying The Home: An Interesting Space?


Inspired by an ad I saw in Wired, I snooped around on the Living Homes website (www.livinghomes.net). This company is taking a green approach to building houses that are modern and efficient. This picture is of their flagship model.

The mission reads: “We work with leading architects to create lines of homes that feature modern form and functionality and an unprecedented level of healthy/sustainability materials and energy systems. We're using high volume, factory production to increase the quality of our homes as we reduce their cost, schedule, and construction waste, compared to those that are similarly constructed on site.”

Somehow this “efficiency” concept got me thinking outside of conservative appliances and materials and more along the lines of the entire home operation in general. With the impact of Home Entertainment and increase in popular technology devices, I wonder if there is an interesting space unoccupied by any companies yet. In regards to this trend, Tom Gardner writes in Fortune:

“This past winter holiday season, one out of every four gifts was a consumer electronic device, and spending in the category topped $21 billion. The industry has prospered over the past decade, in large part because you and I want to transform our living rooms in to Cineplex Odeons, complete with six-foot-wide flat screens, surround sound, and the full integration of PCs, iPods, Wiis, TiVos, and DVD players. To my eye, there is not clear end in sight to this trend. Video-on-demand is just around the corner, and consumer will enjoy an embarrassment of programming riches via the Internet.”

Combining these two thoughts, I wonder if utilizing consumers’ increasing desire to simplify, customize and “go green” in our society opens up a space that electronics companies can consider. I’m thinking along the lines of a home device that simply controls all electronic aspects of the home in an efficient manner. Lights, music, all the Home Entertainment components, computer and internet devices, appliances, security system, etc. seem like they could all be easily managed and efficiently controlled from one central location – preferably some sort of mobile hand-held device.

This sort of product/service appears as an opportunity for something interesting in terms of positioning and branding. If appropriately developed and marketed this sort of item could satisfy an array of wants from the consumer with a green spin. I haven’t been able to find companies that seem to be doing something like this (through a however menial google search), which makes me wonder if this is an interesting opportunity unclaimed.

2 comments:

David MacGregor said...

Interesting post. I read somewhere that the little standby lights on electronic devices are energy vampires. We assume the machine is off so it can't be using power - Right? Nope; gives you a bigger carbon footprint than Sasquatch.
I have long thought that a control that turns everything off except the fridge and waterheating would be a good idea. Little things are easier to achieve than replacing one's home with a new factory made one - especially someone will move into your old one making no change at all.

czechjesus said...

Man, how awesome would that be to have complete control of the house with one hand held device? it would be like an iHome. Ha ha...ha..ok not funny.
As I'm lookin all I find out there are devices specific to one portion of the house...lighting, home theater, or security. Or a big clunky remote that you can program for 6 various tasks.
The comprehensive house remote you mentioned in your post has great potential and I hope to see it out there soon as I'm sure we all do so we can beef up our pleasure pads