Home LAN / Automation Business

These notes were a first pass at sketching this business. A more recent, much more expansive business plan is here.

The following are a set of notes that start to define a business plan for the market for networking and automation in private housing.

Products / Services

There exists a substantial opportunity for installing and servicing networking and automation systems (hardware, software, services) in single-family homes. This opportunity is especially advantageous for new house construction, so the initial target market will be builders of new houses.

This is based on several observations:

There are several burgeoning industries targeting this market (high speed modems, appliance-type routers, structured wiring, X10 home automation, smart controls, security systems). Consequently, there is a plethora of affordable, usable hardware. What is needed is the software and service organization to bring these pieces together.

I see the product as:

The actual product configuration will vary significantly from house to house, depending on costs, the house design, and the buyer's personal needs.

There will also be services associated with this product. Services to end users may include: maintenance, remote monitoring and troubleshooting, help desk, training.

New housing is particularly interesting, because:

New houses would typically be sold with a warranty and service contract on the installed equipment, which the buyer can renew as needed.

Business Model

There would be three levels of business organization: Initial financing of the umbrella organization could come from venture capital, but all franchises would also be allowed (required?) to invest in the umbrella organization, so that over time the umbrella becomes a co-operative, effectively controlled by the franchises.

The franchises are permitted to engage in other business, and maintain their own identity. Franchises may to some extent specialize (e.g., construction phase and post-sales service may be done by different franchises), so long as there is adequate local coverage.

I expect that most franchises will be formed as partnerships between a local Linux consultant and someone already engaged in local construction trade. Financing for franchises may be available, but I'd prefer to see a record of previous business success.



Workable systems are (in principle) available now, so there is no need for a preliminary development phase. Initial work is to collate what is already available, and to start deployment into real world systems. This begins an iterative feedback process of refinement and further development.

Software Development

Software development should be broken down into reasonable modular components, and organized as public open source software projects; e.g., under sourceforge.net. (The umbrella organization is not a software company; its function is to evaluate, integrate, and market. In doing so it will stimulate and contribute to software development, but will not attempt to own or monopolize that software.)

More Information

I've collected some links.

From local discussions, a list from Mark Jacobs.

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