VCs Should Invest in Connected Home Technology

With the introduction of smartphones and tablets, we have the ability to stay connected at all times, whether working remotely, in the car or at a baseball game. People want, and increasingly expect, to be connected and have access to content anywhere, at any time on any device.

The definition of connected is expanding. It’s no longer just about having the Internet in your pocket via your mobile, but about all of the devices you engage with being connected to the Internet. This is significant because if all of the devices in your home are Internet-connected, it opens doors to accessing and sharing content across devices.

No one has completely cracked the code yet on making this easy and seamless for the average consumer to figure out, so there’s an opportunity for venture capitalists to invest in this area and capitalize on its potential.

There are many solutions available for connecting your devices together and gaining access to digital content either online or within your home, which we’d consolidate into a couple of categories: manufacturer ecosystems and standards-based devices.

Some devices work great together, but only if you buy into an ecosystem of a particular CE manufacturer (such as Apple or Sony). Since replacing all of the electronics in your home is cost prohibitive for most people, the true connected home really has to become more about how to make what you already have work together.

Standards-based products compliant with UPnP or DLNA theoretically work with all other devices that meet the same standards. The challenge is that this often isn’t the case. Devices built to the same standards don’t actually work together and content can’t be played/shared across them. It’s complex and confusing for consumers, which is slowing the adoption of digital home technologies.

Beyond the direct issues with devices, the industry also faces the challenge of a lack of clear definitions for this sector of technology. What exactly is a connected home? Is it a smart home where everything is controlled by remotes? Does it mean items in my house connect to the Internet? What do I do with devices once they’re online?

We see the next frontier of investment as a race to win out in the digital living room or connected home. The company that brings that streamlined devices and technology that are easy to understand, afford and access will be the winner.

As devices such as tablets and smartphones become more mainstream and the development of media apps increases, the room for growth and innovation in the digital living room market will continue expanding.

There is still an opening for small, different thinking startups. This sector is in its infancy at best, with large corporations already proving they are unable to manufacture and provide a clear path for consumers.

Our bet is the company able to make sense of all of this, bring the devices and content creators together, and make it easy to understand and will turn this industry on its head and blaze a new, clearly defined path.

In the end, the investors in this technology won’t be the only winners; consumers will win as well.

Osama Al-Shaykh is chief technology officer of PacketVideo. He can be reached at The company’s website is at