The idea behind a central “home server” that allows consumers access to all of their digital content from one location in the home took a while to catch on but as product in this category continues to improve today’s “always connected” consumers are beginning to take to this technology.
One such product that is beginning to make a big play in this space is the Microsoft Windows Home Server, a “stay at home” server that, according to the company, “delivers the benefits of powerful server technology used by many people at work within a simple, easy-to-use solution for the home.” Each night it automatically backs up home computers running Windows XP and Windows Vista, provides a central place to organize various digital media, and includes a free Windows Live Internet address to access the home server from virtually anywhere and share content with friends and family.
The Windows Home Server also monitors the security status of home computers and can stream media to other devices in the home, such as the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, allowing people to enjoy digital music, photos and videos on their television.
Microsoft also recently introduced the new Power Pack 1, a software upgrade that delivers a range of enhancements that includes a new way to protect data, in case of a disaster such as a fire or theft, by enabling the backup of a home server to external storage. In addition, Power Pack 1 improves its remote access features by providing a simple way to upload multiple files, presenting photo thumbnail views and enabling more control of remote user access.
“We believe that Windows Home Server will spearhead the growth of an important new product category,” explained J.P. Gownder, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “The proliferation of consumer digital assets creates a need for the functionality of a home server. And multi-PC households are growing rapidly, along with home networks.”
It will certainly be interesting watching this category grow and develop further and imaging retail should be keeping a close eye on its progress. Consumers with better organized image and video collections are consumers that are far more likely to bring those memories in to retail to do something with.