We spend a lot of time talking about “computers in the home” as part of our Digital Life theme. Over the past year, I’ve heard the phrase “Home Networking” with increasing frequency. It made the rounds a while back (anyone remember when it was called a HAN – home area network) but seemed to fade into the background for a while. I’m not sure what caused it to show up at our party again (although I’m suspicious that it is Windows 7), but it’s back.
My mother doesn’t know what “home networking” is, nor does she care. And she is an example of a typical user. Virtually any home that has a broadband Internet connection now has a HAN because of the router involved in the broadband connection. These routers are generally wireless at this point so people now have wireless networks in their house, whether they realize it or not.
When I time travel and find myself in 2015, I notice that every electronic device in my home is “network enabled” and connected to the Internet. For example, I just bought a new Withings Connected Body Scale which connects to my “home network” via Wifi (and subsequently to the Internet.) Yeah, I get all the old cliches about my refrigerator being connected to the Internet, but as the Jetson’s have proved over and over again, the future that was envisioned in the past often eventually arrives.
Calling this stuff “home networking” is kind of like calling the electrical closet in a house a “home power plant.” While I realize that make the technology disappear into the background is part of the mission, I’ve always felt that “getting the words right” as things go mainstream also matters. All of us nerds (and our marketing friends) playing around with “home networking” probably have another shot to get the language right. I’m going to spend more time talking to my mom, Amy, and other non-techies about what they call it other than “that fucking computer shit.”