By the way, it's not your enlightenment we're talking about here. (Say amen again.) Nope, those pesky CXOs and business unit managers who for the life of them can't understand why you can't make IT work flawlessly 24x7 (I want it now, right now!!) are gonna finally see just how brutally tough your job is. And all in the comfort of their own home (albeit a digitally unintegrated one).
Yes indeed the convergence of computing and consumer electronics in the home is gaining the big mo and the industry (I'll repeat it - THE INDUSTRY) is lining up and taking a number at the cash-in counter. But it's pie-in-the sky stuff and the fully converged/networked home as a reality today is hogwash. (But let's not tell anyone.)
Let's put the technology issues to one side for a moment. I am much more interested in the impending moment of awareness that is coming like a bolt of lightning to your company's non-technical executives - the ones who keep rolling their eyes at the IT folks because they're sick of paying for integration and not having things work right out of the box.
Why doesn't it work like my home theatre, they ask. I buy any DVD player, any stereo, any TV and any set of speakers. I connect the plugs. They work. I rent a movie from any store. It works. What is wrong with you guys that you can't get the hang of it?
Well, brothers and sisters, their Dawn of Enlightenment is peaking over the horizon. With this new world of digital convergence in the home, they are going to be buying systems that don't work with their old systems. (Think replacing legacy systems at work; now think throwing out the 7-year-old Bose stereo at home.) They are going to be trying media that doesn't move from device to device (You mean my SONY memory stick doesn't fit in this printer?) They are going to need experts to come in and hook up their bloody TVs - who will undoubtedly be just as reliable as all the craftsmen we waste hours waiting for.
We are rapidly moving from a very well integrated home entertainment environment to one that requires adapters, networks, service, storage, new media, technicians and, inevitably, call centres in Bangalore.
I know my car is sporting a new bumper sticker: "Forget payback. Playback's the bitch!"
PS Did you notice that CIO is bigger this month (dimension-wise)? Call it the seven-year itch, but I felt the need for a change.
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