Small Form Factors for Home TechnologiesAuthor: Thinagaran PerumalThe rapid miniaturization and cost reduction in the sector of consumer electronics has created opportunities for equipping our homes with inexpensive sub-systems that manage and configure various tasks.
The home has been gradually becoming a media-centric entity with many heterogeneous application and services. At the same time, consumers are adopting new technologies for their multimedia entertainment, music, videos, and more. This trend requires increasing needs for storage solution for digital media and automation programs. Most home users use a combination of desktop PC with their respective home devices. Nevertheless, these devices are already overwhelmed by the volume of services flowing into their home.
To accommodate the growth of services in homes, integration and configuration of home technologies must be able to facilitate customizability and extensibility. Unlike industrial application, typically configured by skilled professionals, home systems interface and program should be understandable by home users. This will ensure easy integration and scalability for more services that is desired by home users. Often, dedicated services for home systems are either deployed or associated with user's desktop PC. An example application is the media server for home entertainment. Although desktop PCs continue to grow in terms of performance with better clock speeds, multiple cores of processors, gigabytes of memories, it is important to highlight that most of the mentioned resources are optimized by user interfaces, operating systems and graphics together with video-intensive applications. Availability of high performance processors leaves in their wake slower units with low power requirements called as small form factor systems. Small form factors refer to new class of smaller sized computer and have all the identical features of a desktop PC. Small form factors are low priced and have achieved a level of performance that is more than required for wide range of applications. Applications for small form factor systems include data loggers, test equipment, robotics, industrial control and home systems. Originally intended for industrial solutions, small form factors are now slowly making their way into home scene as more multimedia services are changing the nature of home systems in managing digital contents.
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