h1

Radio Technologies of the Past and the Future

December 4, 2008

For us technologists, it is easy to assume that a good technology will find market success based on its technical merits alone. Sadly, this is not the case – otherwise we would all be using Amiga computers (yeah, not Macs).

I was at Forrester Marketing event in Dallas a few weeks ago and was invited to a tweetup event. The 80 or so business cards I brought for the trip were gone that night before the event started.  For the next two days I had to exchange information in a very primitive way. What happened to infrared (IrDA)? Back in 2001 I could beam by vCard to everyone at the Palm Developers Conference. IrDA is a well defined standard, the radio is super cheap (less than a buck, I am pretty sure) the vCards are well defined standard. What happened? lack of customer adoption combined with a need to save power?

Then this past weekend at home we changed the arangement in our living room and we got new furniture. The cable box is now slightly behind a sofa. My wireless remote (infrared, coincidentally) is no longer useful. What? this is 2008 – the 21st century! Where is Zigbee?

Zigbee is a super low-power and low-cost RF technology ideal for industrial and home control applications. It has been available for years. Now that most people are buying $1,000 40+ inch LCD TVS it would add a few cents to the cost of the TV and remote. Or maybe not because it would save the cost of infrared. Customers would enjoy longer-range remote controls and would not have to point the remote at the TV or would not even have to have line of sight. Your cable box and stereo could be in a closet and things would still work.

So I went to the ZIgbee alliance website and looked for a remote control – they have to have one. Sure enough, there are a few, like this Niles iRemote, but they are super-high end remotes costing $1,000.

As an entrepreneur/marketer, where I spot an unfulfilled need I see opporutnity. Hello, Logitech, Sony, anyone?

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Unfortunately US market is still living in the 1990’s environment. I was in Japan and attend the meeting for several days so I decided to rent some of their cell phones. Did you see what recent IrDA does? Cell phones are replacing not only PDA and smart phone but also works as fitness equipments or cameras. I simply take a picture of business card and the phone automatically stores it as a data. It also functions as a pedometor and can synchronize the info using IrDA to monitor the fitness assessment. They have a new version called “IrSimple” and this one is really fast. Within a second, you can send pictures, data and even movies to other devices. I really hope that some US phone manufacture will pick up on this IrDA feature. I will but it for sure! Chek IrDA website http://www.irda.org to see some of the demo video.


  2. Unfortunately US market is still living in the 1990’s environment. I was in Japan and attend the meeting for several days so I decided to rent some of their cell phones. Did you see what recent IrDA does? Cell phones are replacing not only PDA and smart phone but also works as fitness equipments or cameras. I simply take a picture of business card and the phone automatically stores it as a data. It also functions as a pedometor and can synchronize the info using IrDA to monitor the fitness assessment. They have a new version called “IrSimple” and this one is really fast. Within a second, you can send pictures, data and even movies to other devices. I really hope that some US phone manufactures will pick up on this IrDA feature. I will buy the phone for sure! Chek IrDA website http://www.irda.org to see some of the demo video.


  3. irda stack complexity = high cost to implement and support (parts are cheap but software stack is complex)

    bluetooth vs irda rhetoric caused confusion (marketing dept says we don’t need irda now with bluetooth)

    bluetooth security issues cause too many clicks to engage (customers turn bluetooth off or only allow known devices (headset)

    zigbee vs zwave rhetoric cause confusion so now
    zigbee = industrial applications
    zwave = home control applications

    home control setup not easy so consumer adoption weak but it is happening in the home of nerds

    Check logitech for latest in wireless RF

    you need this; http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/devices/374&cl=us,en

    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/remotes/universal_remotes/devices/378&cl=us,en



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: