RealTime IT News

Cisco Introduces Open Platform for Internet Homes

Cisco Systems Inc. Thursday joined a number of technology giants at the Consumer Electronics Show to put a renewed emphasis on expanding home networking.

Cisco (CSCO) exhibited its plan to build high-speed, home networks that support increasingly popular integrated data, voice and video services.

Cisco's strategy is focused on delivering high-speed Internet access to the home market through cable, digital subscriber line and wireless service providers, while enabling devices within the home to connect to each other and to the Internet. This technology will help consumers use the power of new Internet activities throughout the home, such as downloading recipes on a built-in oven or securely monitoring their home from work.

"An Internet home presents a limitless array of possibilities for how families can use the Internet for home computing, entertainment and education," said Don Listwin, executive vice president of Cisco's consumer and service provider lines of business.

"We believe that an open, standards-based Internet Home Gateway will help create a new category of Internet-enabled devices that offer consumers a more personalized Internet experience. This new category is the future of consumer electronics."

Cisco has also forged alliances with GTE Corp. (GTE) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) to offer consumers a complete package of products and services that transform any home into an "always on" Internet home. In addition, Cisco announced an agreement with Whirlpool to help build Internet-ready home appliances, and plans to work with homebuilders to construct future Internet homes.

The companies are demonstrating the "connected family" environment at CES this week and plan to begin field trials this summer.

Listwin and Cisco are not the only company to try to persuade people to make the Internet the heart of the home. CES keynote speaker and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Officer Bill Gates walked the crowd through exhibitions of Microsoft's WebTV platform, and software that lets dwellers use a PC to see who is at the door control the stereo and broadcast music throughout the house.

Gates said personal computers will evolve into a hub for private networks that will run homes in the future.