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What is the digital home of the future?

June 22, 2004 10:34 am

Step into the specially equipped Hattan villa in Emaar’s Street of Dreams and you are confronted with the latest in digital home technology courtesy of Intel Corporation and top manufacturers.

Indeed, a confusing array of equipment supplied by the top global manufacturers is on show in every room.

‘Intel innovation is taking the PC through a significant evolution to allow users in the Middle East to enjoy digital music, photos, videos and games on PCs and other devices around the home,’ explains GCC General Manager Sam Al-Schamma.

Essentially an enhanced Intel platform handles the entire multi-media requirements of the household from one PC, and wireless technology allows this media to be enjoyed anywhere in the house, or even out in the garden! But do you need a PhD in IT to really understand how to use it?

This correspondent stupidly gave up an early course in computer science at school to go to help old ladies with their gardens, and thus remains a rather better gardener than IT technician.

In any case, Emaar’s villas come fully wired for IT with connections for the Internet and TV in every room, so the idea of wireless technology is not that interesting to most residents. Moreover, Emaar’s Sahm Technology people appear to have been specially trained to deal with the less technically savvy, which is just as well in some cases.

Thus it is perfectly possible to have a digital home supplied by Sahm without having to master the next frontier of technology offered by Intel with its digital home in the Street of Dreams.

However, for those who want more than a standard package, or do have a genuine interest in state-of-the-art IT infrastructure for the home then this installation is well worth seeing.

At a presentation to journalists, Mr. Al-Schamma showed us how you could listen to music in one room beamed wirelessly from another room, while at the same time playing the most advanced computer game yet devised. There was even an impressive looking gizmo that indicated the extent of usage of the central processing unit, which occasionally flashed perilously close to 100%.

This will pave the way for High Definition video, 7.1 surround sound and robust file protection for office and home users. A trio of new Intel Express chipsets power this multi-media experience, allowing multiple digital functions at the same time.

Some of this may be a bit absurd. A wireless connection so that you can watch a monitor in your garden, is surely taking things too far. But the digital home is here to stay and it is a matter of deciding what suits your needs.