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The Internet of Everything…A Small World After All?

It’s summertime. For most people, the warmer temps and holiday weekends are the perfect excuse for a vacation. But have you ever traveled to an amusement park or exotic destination only to wait in line for hours for the hottest ride or trendiest restaurant? Or perhaps your coolness factor would skyrocket if you didn’t have to keep track of ticket stubs, receipts and maps? Well, the ups and downs of amusement park experiences may be able to be saved for the roller coasters. Could the Internet of Everything be changing how we experience…experiences?

Just recently, I stumbled across an article on All Things D by Bonnie Cha titled, Tomorrowland Today: Disney MagicBand Unlocks New Guest Experience for Park Goers. The article highlights new technology that Disney World Resort in Orlando has been using in trial phases and hopes to have broad implementation soon. The technology, called MagicBand, is a connected band (bracelet) designed to be an all-in-one device connecting park goers to everything through Radio Frequency technology. Visitors will be able to access the theme park and hotel rooms, purchase food and souvenirs and add extra options via My Disney Experience website.

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What an Orchestra and a Mobile Device have in Common

Orchestras are often used as metaphors for all sorts of things--organizational structure, planning sessions and even families.

Have you been to the symphony recently? Musicians sit in a regimented ordering around the stage. The concertmaster sets the tune. The conductor lifts the baton. And then, with the pull of a bow across a string, or breath across a mouthpiece, the music begins. Throughout the performance, each section of the orchestra plays a specific part – either separately or together – to create a harmonized work of art.

The prestigious Czech National Orchestra, known for its versatility, lived up to its reputation during a recent performance (for a new BNP product called Hello Bank!). They put their instruments – some hundreds of years old – aside in favor of newer, more common instruments: smartphones and tablets.

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Home networking changes home entertainment

June 24, 2011 at 8:59 am PST

Guest Blogger: Ted Kritsonis

Experience Entertainment with Lastest Networking Devices
Experience Entertainment with Lastest Networking Devices

Ask anyone you know what router they have, and it’s likely that they won’t really know. The router, for all intents and purposes, is not the sexy piece of gear that turns heads when people walk into a room, it’s the functional device that ensures everything in its wavelength looks and plays nice.

Take that impression and apply it to how your router can augment your home entertainment setup, and you may have started a small revolution in your living room.

Consider this: television didn’t really change all that much for decades. After colour became ubiquitous in the 60s and 70s, there was no change in both screen resolution and aspect ratio. Colour saturation and TV sizes certainly improved, but the whole evolution of home entertainment has only really become radicalized in the last five years.

The biggest reason why is because content is way more free flowing than it’s ever been. Who says you have to stick to physical media like DVDs and Blu-rays if you don’t want to? Maybe you’d prefer to rip your whole collection and stream it from your computer to your TV using a game console or media player. I know I did, and I’ve been doing that since 2006-07.

But the difference between then and now is speed, range and power. The routers of that time just couldn’t offer the kind of pipelines today’s units can. Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless-N, and now 3x3 technology (courtesy of the E4200) have all helped make it more than possible to stream just about anything. Media players like the Apple TV, Western Digital Live TV Hub and Asus O!Play are dedicated set top boxes devoted to playing back media content to an HDTV.

If you have a network attached storage (NAS) drive, basically a big fat hard drive that is connected directly to your router, then you’ve got a home server that feeds you the content you want on demand. But routers now also increasingly have at least one USB port in the back specifically for plugging in an external drive so that users can access it from anywhere in the home network. Why not watch a movie in the upstairs bedroom when the router and drive are nestled in the basement? Convenience and simplicity at its best.

Use a switch or a hub and you can plug in even more devices and storage drives to increase the scope of the home entertainment setup. Media players and game consoles are increasingly supporting third-party content services like Netflix, Vudu, Facebook and more. Why go out to rent a movie when you can just browse and pick from the comfort of the couch.

The fact is, today’s consumer isn’t willing to wait to watch something they can access already. It’s the same reason I don’t have cable or satellite, but instead use a combination of digital antenna (for free over-the-air HD channels), a NAS with a media player and my iPad or laptop. And even with all that, I still have shows I need to catch up on.

All of this is possible because your Internet connection is being distributed better. Ever notice a difference between the router your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you and one you can buy off the shelf, like the lineup Linksys offers? The difference is obvious once you start to see how much faster downloads and transfer rates are when you’re moving files around from one device to another over the network.

 But you also see it when streaming wirelessly to your TV, laptop, tablet, smartphone or whatever other device you’re looking to watch from.

A good home network requires a good Internet connection to start, and a good Internet connection requires a good router. A radical home entertainment setup requires all of the above to make it what it truly should be.

Guest Blogger: Ted Kritsonis

Ted Kritsonis is a technology journalist and video personality covering the wonderful world of consumer electronics. He writes, blogs and appears in a number of publications in Canada and the U.S. including the Globe and Mail, WhatsYourTech.ca, CBC.ca, Huffington Post Canada and Digital Trends.  Ted does this and more from the comfort of his home in Toronto using an E4200 for maximum performance. Follow Ted on twitter:  @Teddy__K or at: http://whatsyourtech.ca

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