By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Austin, Texas— The Wi-Fi Alliance, in a departure from its role in certifying interoperability of IEEE 802.11a/b/g equipment, is developing a specification to make it easier for consumers to secure information going over their Wi-Fi networks.
The Simple Config initiative will develop a Wizard and autosensing capability to standardize the steps that consumers must make to turn on security settings, said alliance managing director Frank Hanzlik. "Right now, Wi-Fi is secure, but you have to turn it on," he said. "Only a few [vendors] make it easy, but they do it in different ways," he noted.
The standard could be final by early February, followed by the start of certification testing by the alliance in August or September, he said.
New York— Known for its cellular and landline networks, Verizon will add its name to home networks in the spring when Verizon-branded equipment made by Belkin turns up at retail.
Under a licensing deal, Belkin will produce and ship broadband networking equipment and offer customer support, Verizon said. The products — including wireless routers, desktop and notebook cards, and USB adapters — will be available in retail outlets that already sell Verizon's Online DSL service.
The launch marks only "the first step in a licensing strategy Verizon has introduced to expand the Verizon brand into new markets and reach new sets of consumers," said Verizon brand management director Catherine Stanley. She said the strategy "will complete the solution" for Verizon's customers and that "by bundling broadband services and products together, Verizon will make it easy for consumers to get what they need in one store visit."
Las Vegas— Wireless ZigBee adopter Control4 has adopted Wi-Fi to stream music wirelessly around the house.
Having used ZigBee to control home automation systems, the company is expanding its network portfolio with the Wi-Fi-enabled Speaker Point, which incorporates wireless and 2x50-watt audio amplifier for connection to any speaker system, and the Mini Touch Screen, a touch-screen controller with audio decoders for wall or tabletop mounting.
The products are priced at suggested retails of $449 and $799, respectively.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.