Electrical and telecommunications equipment manufacturers at the Electronic House Expo, held March 2-5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, were among the 90 exhibitors showing their wares, hoping to reap profits from the burgeoning home networking equipment and residential gateway market.

This market is expected to grow from more than $600 million in 2000 to more than $5.7 billion by 2004. To put it another way, more than 50,000 homes per year are currently networked with structured wiring. Experts expect that number to grow to up to 100,000 homes per year by 2004.

Vendors, presenters, and attendees agree all aspects of the connected home, including communications, entertainment, and home systems management will fuse together using refined software protocols, such as LonWorks or CEBus and Internet technology.

A number of manufacturers, such as IBM, Morrisville, N.C., Siemon, Watertown, Conn., and Ortronics, New London, Conn., displayed their version of a modular wiring hub for networks supporting computers, telephones, entertainment, security/surveillance, along with lighting and HVAC control.

Cutler-Hammer, Moon Township, Pa., showed its Smart Convenience-Pak, which offers integrated home control. It includes a programmable Energy Control Center; Power Manager (a module installed in the main circuit breaker panel); solenoid-operated circuit breakers; and controllable switches, which provide dimming control of lights and on/off control of outlets, fans, motors and appliances by sending signals over home power lines.