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February, 2011

From space-saving designs to the latest in sophisticated style, our design tips are made with you and your dream bathroom in mind.

Your Future: The Digital Home

Your Future: The Digital Home

The digital movement in the home began with now commonplace items like the garage door opener and the TV remote control. Now, digital technologies provide consumers with more convenient, user-friendly options for everything from the home security system to the shower. But the key to earning consumer interest is creating a product which provides a true benefit; and isn't overwhelming to use.

According to research from Iconoculture, a leading cultural trend research firm, "Consumers are looking for enhanced convenience in the home, and they'll roll out the welcome mat for a product that can truly create a more streamlined experience. We've seen a number of tech-torqued products that are supposed to make life easier, but end up only bewildering and frustrating the user (how is life simplified by a mind-boggling 200-button remote?). To be user-friendly for geeks and non-geeks alike, techno-enhanced products should deliver on intuitiveness and simplicity."

Wondering what easy-to-use, tech-torqued products and services you can add today, that may become standard amenities in the future?

     - The International Electrotechnical Commission is advancing efforts to enable home appliances and health and fitness equipment to "talk" to AV equipment and PCs. In the not-so-distant future, the TV may tell you when the laundry is done. The standard is already being put to use in Japan, where Toshiba's Femininity appliances, including refrigerators and washing machines, are linked to the Internet and controlled through a TV, computer or mobile phone.

     - ListPro (www.iliumsoft.com) keeps track of shopping lists on a computer and/or PDA. It allows users to add items as needed and cross them off when acquired, as well as archive past lists.

     - The ioDIGITALâ„¢ system from Moen (moen.com/iodigital) easily brings technology into the bathroom by letting you dial in and maintain both temperature and flow for your shower or bath with electronic precision, and it's as simple to program as setting your car radio presets. An optional remote control even allows you to activate your ideal shower or bath from up to 30 feet away – or while still in bed.

     - Computers are creeping into every corner of the home, and the iRiver Wave Home (http://iriverinc.com) combines digital, internet-based phone service, video conferencing, media streaming, Web surfing, alarms and calendars, making it a great all-in-one communications and multimedia hub for the home.

     - Get rid of that old file cabinet and send off paid bills, receipts and anything else you want to keep into a prepaid envelope and mail to Pixily.com. Within a few days, all of the documents will appear on your online account for easy access, organization and emailing.

The ways rooms are utilized are also changing, thanks to the growing presence of technology in the home.

     - One-quarter of all U.S. households have at least one HDTV, with more than 5.5 million households recently making the purchase this past holiday season, according to Frank N. Magid Associates, a research-based strategic consulting firm

     - According to the Internet Home Alliance Digital Kitchen Study, 33 percent of homeowners watch TV in the kitchen, with 43 percent of homeowners wanting to watch TV in their ideal kitchen

     - Twenty-nine percent of homeowners and 43 percent of those remodeling their homes want to surf the Web while in the kitchen, as reported in the Internet Home Alliance Digital Kitchen Study

     - By 2013, gaming consoles will be the focal point of many digital homes, as the industry is expected to be a $68 billion business by 2012

     - There were more than 87 million wireless networks in homes in 2007

     - According to an In-Stat market study, by 2012, shipments of consumer electronic devices with Wi-Fi are expected to reach more than 938 million

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