CES Offers Plethora Of Home Networking Opportunities

This year's CES, slated for Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas, will offer more IP- and convergence-related products than in past years,good news for channel players expanding their businesses into the burgeoning digital market.


D-Link plans to expand its wireless home networking

offerings at the show, including its i2eye VideoPhone.

"Historically, CES was what its name implied: a consumer electronics show," said Michael Schwab, vice president at D&H Distributing, Harrisburg, Pa. "[But this year] I would say that half of the attendees and vendors will have more of a solution provider flavor and business model."

Solution providers can expect a raft of products,including digital TVs, LCD and plasma displays, media servers, central control devices and audio/video software,from a variety of vendors ripe for higher-margin integration and service opportunities.

Jeff Moody, CEO of Ping Technologies, a Waco, Texas-based solution provider serving the digital home and business environments, said he expects sales and integration business to pick up as more products are released.

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"We're convinced that more devices and systems will come onto the network and drive the home market," he said.


Mirra's Personal Server is among a new breed of appliances.

D-Link Systems, Fountain Valley, Calif., plans to expand on a new wireless version of its i2eye VideoPhone at CES with appliance products targeting the digital home. "We've been focused on the digital home for a while," said Daniel Kelley, D-Link's director of marketing, "but we'll be doing a relaunch of the entire digital home concept at CES."

Solution providers at the show can also expect to see three LCD models from BenQ. "The show is bringing more solutions together than last year because of all the convergence going on," said Charlene Wan, BenQ's director of marketing.

Tying solutions together are products from companies such as Mirra, Mountain View, Calif., which plans to showcase its Mirra Personal Server, and Niveus Media, San Jose, Calif., which will show its Blackbox Personal Server.

Despite low margins initially, solution providers still plan to dip their toes into the home integration waters. "We're taking advantage of all the technologies and staying on top of the trends," said Nat Khwaja, purchaser and principal at National Electronics, Port Washington, N.Y.

MARIE LINGBLOM & EDWARD F. MOLTZEN contributed to this story.