But this year, media streamers ceded the spotlight to more business-oriented networking hardware: IP cameras primarily for use in remote surveillance of small businesses and homes. All major network vendors now have an IP camera line, and at the show at least three of them--D-Link, Netgear and DropCam--were showcasing newer models that support night vision.
Vendors are also diversifying their related cloud offerings. Typically, vendors will let you access at least a couple of live camera feeds for free via a browser or mobile app, but charge service fees for extra cameras or for recording and/or storing video.
The explosion in network adoption in homes and small businesses is luring new vendors to the category. For example, longtime scanner vendor Plustek now sells routers designed to work with their IP cameras, along with the cloud services to go with them. Plustek plans to sell the product and service on a whilte-label basis--that is, to vendors (such as telecommunications or cable operators) who will market them under their own brand name.
A messy wired networking market
While Wi-Fi is fairly well entrenched as a worldwide wireless standard, at least some vendors are still fighting over non-ethernet wired technologies. HomePlug and MoCA currently dominate for powerline and coax networks, respectively, but the HomeGrid Forum continues to promote the development and deployment of products based on the International Telecommunications Union's G.hn standard for all wired network types (i.e. powerline, coax, home phone line and plastic optical fibre). G.hn stands for gigabit home networking.
The goal is to support and ensure compatibility between all types of wired networks, and supporters include AT&T, Intel, Marvel, Motorola and others with an interest in addressing compatibility issues that continue to plague wired home networking technologies. At CES, the HomeGrid Forum was showing adapters from several chipmakers and vendors--but facing fierce opposition from current wired-home networking vendors, who have little motivation to switch from whatever current technology they support to yet another new solution, G.hn will likely have an uphill fight.