Motorola executives are said to be considering alternative packaging formats for femtocells. Combining a picture frame with a femtocell could help improve its positioning and performance. Rather than being tucked away in a closet or in the basement, it would be given prime location in the main living areas.
What other packaging formats might be worthwhile considering?
We've considered combining femtocells with multiple other gadgets in
the home before, such as your TV/satellite receiver/media streamer/PVR etc. Having considered that each of these elements may require frequent upgrades to keep up with advances in technology, this didn't seem such as good idea.
But combining femtocells with other electronic (or even physical) features or capabilities opens up some interesting possibilities. Mobile phones have combined everything from torches (popular in developing countries and areas where there's no street lighting), cameras (more digitial cameras are now embedded in phones than as separate items) and of course MP3 players. Perhaps some features could be included which would bring the femtocell out of the closet.
Here are some suggestions for Motorola (or any other manufacturers) - feel free to comment with your ideas below!
- iPod/MP3 docking station. Plays music and automatically mutes the volume when a call comes in/out (similar to some in-car systems).
- Picture Frame. Not just a fixed large one as Motorola were suggesting, but an LCD version showing your latest and greatest pictures in slideshow format. Automatically updated each time you return home.
- Video display relating to incoming call. Automatically brings up a picture of the person your talking with. Can be used with Caller ID to show who's calling. Doesn't need to be an actual picture of the person/business, can instead be something associated with them.
- Map display, showing where your child/partner/relation actually is calling from.
- Advertising. More relevant when femtocells used in public areas. Shows ads which can be bought via Google or other ad agencies.
- Office campaigns. Communicate your message to staff in the office through large LCD displays on the walls. Combine this with femtocells to give great in-building coverage.
- Battery charger. Keep your rechargeable batteries in peak condition.
- Bookend. Keep it on a bookshelf, looks like an ordinary book too.
- Coffee machine. Automatically makes a coffee when certain people call you because its knows its going to be a lengthy call.
One minor issue is that femtocells really do need a physical, hardwired cable connection. Running cables through the house isn't everyone's favourite hobby, and they can be unsightly if not done properly.
Secondly, femtocells when combined with DSL or cable modems can be pre-configured to work out of the box. When routed via an existing broadband router, its one more technical hurdle that can go wrong.
But it opens up an interesting set of possibilities.