Sample Essay

┬áCevdet Ugur and his wife, Sarka, had a problem. TheSan Diegocouple’s six-month-old firstborn,Torun, had never seen his paternal grandparents. Ugur’s bakery business kept him local, and his parents’ advanced age made it difficult for them to travel fromTurkey. He looked into PC videoconferencing, but his parents were leery of the technology.┬áDuring a trip to Best Buy Co., he discovered a solution: Vialta Inc.’s Beamer Videophone. Sold in sets of two for $500, the stylishly designed gizmos look like picture frames. Beamers are loaded with software and video chips, but use conventional phone lines to link up. Ugur set his up in the living room. A friend traveling toTurkeyrepeated the setup at Ugur’s parents’ home. After making a call, at the touch of a button, each could see the other in color video — and the quality wasn’t bad. “It was basically dumb-proof,” Ugur says. “They saw the baby for the first time, from thousands of miles away.”

In short, the home increasingly is where high-tech is. To get a sense of some everyday applications now rolling out, BusinessWeek interviewed residents of digital homes around the world. Not surprisingly, we found consumers who say they crave technology, but only if it’s no-muss-no-fuss. They should control the technology, not have it control them. It should “just work,” make life easier, and even help free up time to do something else. Here are some snapshots from the digital home

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