Printed in an improved version in Supplement volume 35 of " Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology" © 1996 by Marcel Dekker Inc., Pittsburg Penn. USA, 1996

Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics & Automation

Kresten Bjerg,

Experimental Home, Psychological Laboratory,

University of Copenhagen


From outer space to inner space
What is so special about Home-Informatics ?
The future 'electronic habitat' and "the information highway"


A. Home automation

1. Single products and optimising their functions
Time-saving -Cleanliness - Comfort - Security - Energy-saving - Ecology
2 The question of linking several products

B. Home information systems

1. Input Media
2. Storage Media
3. Output Media
4. Software

C. Home telematics

1. More of the same, or.
2. Interfacing to the outside world through the computer
3. The World Wide Web (W.W.W.)
4. Privacy



1. Direct mail in marketing.
2."Electronic malls " on a WWW basis

B. Tele-control

C. Telework


1. Being overwhelmed
2. The need for an informational life-raft
3. The merging into one multimedium


A. A fully and coherently contextualised interface ?
B. The Intra-Domestic Level
C. The Personal Level
D. The Inter-Domestic level: HOME-LINK



A. A political choice




A. The change of basic premises
B.The change of centering
C. Shareware and pirating
D. Images of Value








The purpose of this article is to delineate a growing field of crossdisciplinary concern, which more and more aspires to a nuclear role in the "transformation of life" which goes with the transition to a full fledged information society.
A number of innovations within all levels of society are - and will ever more be - converging on the private homes of citizens. Access from homes to two-way traffic in new infrastructures of telecommunication is announced as politically desirable. The advent of powerful domestic multimedia home computers, digital cash, digital TV, cellular laptops and video telephony will force us to re-consider the nuclear role of the private household in an utterly new light. Suddenly also an unexpected range of other technical inventions, previously only conceived in terms of the needs of professionals, will gain a new kind of relevance.

From outer space to inner space

In the industrialised world, the last 2-4 generations have seen their habitat equipped with ever new technical inventions, - each, in their time, adapted, adopted and more or less slovenly integrated in a new everyday life, at the very core of personal human existence: tap-water, cold and hot, water-closet, gas and electricity, stove and sewing machine, vacuum cleaner and electric iron, central heating, telephone and radio, camera, record player, refrigerator, TV, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, coffee-machine, food-processor, microwawe-oven, VCR, CD-player and home-computer [1].
With the presence of this array in the proximal interior architecture of a totally man-made environment, the home is today, for a large number of citizens in the western world and beyond, like a grounded spaceship. As households we are as crews, in continuous intrafamilial and extrafamilial cooperation, communication and navigation in a world of growing complexity and incessant change.
Each home is in this sense both a permanent construction-site, a vehicle in orbit, a ferry to shuttle between morning and evening, evening and morning with entertainment on board, and a cultural museum and warehouse [2].
Each home is a process constituted by ecological embedding, techno-cultural heritage and human agency.
The home-consumer-market has stimulated a global competition to exploit an ever wider range of technological advances for purposes of profitable marketing [3]. Paradoxically it has been the inventiveness of research in outer space, with its focus on miniaturisation, which has released the ultimate flood of consumer electronics now trespassing all national and cultural barriers.
For the home-vessels, being grounded as they are, in place of navigable extraterrestrial space a navigable cyberspace is expanding.
But peculiarly enough the target for all this inventiveness, the internal spaces of the home, and the mental spaces of the crew, is not yet being considered for over-all useability and navigability through weeks, months and years of human co-existence by those, who develop the products. In fact one can say, that we lack a valid paradigm for "the domestic bridge", and its tools for reconnaissance in the travel of life.

What is so special about Home-Informatics ?

Even when application-context is crucial, as in the construction of space-ship-interiors, such applications can be developed through iterated prototype testing with a small number of professional users in one or a few sites.
One reason that this can be done with success is, that the work to be performed with the appliances in such cases has a semi-public character, and therefore can be monitored without significantly disturbing its inner coherency and authenticity. Another is that the user can be conceived as relatively impersonal: "anybody, with relevant formal qualifications", who should find the application useful, user-friendly etc.
But these conditions do not apply to the private sphere.
Homes, households and life-forms are extremely different. The subjects, the selves, the needs, ends and endeavours, ongoings, states and events of the household members are unaccountably varied and cannot be subsumed under a unifying goal-structure, as can presumably those of a formal organisation, be it a commercial or a public enterprise. Already this puts the problems of technological innovation for the home-sphere in a class of its own.
But this class of problems is even more unique.
The most basic private growth- and life-conditions and the sustaining cultural life-forms of the basic cells in the societal tissue (the private households) have already been deeply affected and transformed in lasting ways by the introduction of technologies. For urban citizens in western countries the only reality we can be grounded in is one where a major part of these gadgets and their use is taken for granted and woven into a major part of our endeavours. Most of the technologies here involved are well described and analysed under separate headings, in this and other technically or policy-oriented publications. This also applies to many aspects of the evidently relevant questions of man-machine interfacing and interaction. But, whereas applications for use in other settings than the private homes can most often be adequately developed and studied in isolation, relative to demand-specifications related to specific, goal-rational ends to be met by users in their professional work, this does not hold true for the domestic applications.
Especially the last generations have, by adopting the telephone and the TV medium as significant and time-demanding elements in everyday life, been brought into a peculiar placelessness, and an exposed, receiving relationship to external fiction, report and persuasion.
We assimilate and adapt through tapping and zapping, continuously reorienting and updating, finding ourselves in a global flow of commercials and contemporary and historical knowledge and fiction, heavily decentered outside the home. Thus our senses are extended to reach from the home all around the globe and beyond, and we are daily witnesses to events and narratives in an inexhaustible wealth of natural and artificial realities in the multiverse of the massmedia [4].
Psychologically and sociologically all these many devices and their operation are part of a modernity, which few of us would prefer to be without. They are used as tools for sustainment of social relations, entertainment, knowledge-acquisition, orientation, identification and the routines of the general everyday survival and recreation.
With the advent of VCRs, answering machines, video cameras, home-computers and modems we first experience these as "more of the same". But with cellular telephones, lap-tops, CD-Rom's, INTERNET, ideas of hyper-multi-media and virtual reality, optical character-recognition, speech-recognition and speech-synthesis, it becomes evident that a new domestic reality awaits us around the corner.

The trends of technological innovation which are converging in the field of Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics and Automation [5] [6] are linking and merging technical developments within

The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it goes to show, that the potential resultant-space, when the immense variety of primary and secondary needs emerging across the life-ages of a household are taken into account, must exceed all imagination.

The future 'electronic habitat' and "the information highway"

No wonder, therefore, that notions of the future "electronic habitat" are cultivated and that model homes-of-the future are built.
Frame-programs and consortias are established to develop standards for "Home-Information-Networks", which may eventually tie together the interests of the producers of white-goods, consumer electronics, telecommunication and entertainment.
No wonder that huge investments are put into ensuring more widespread general access to information-highways and development of home-oriented information services. And no wonder that these attempts fall far short of developing an imagery of a future home, with which the private citizens can positively identify themselves.
The effects of the invasion of technology into the home in terms of immediate physical comfort, saving of manual labour, ease of communicative reach and wealth of entertainment is indisputable. On the other hand its effects in terms of information overload, external manipulation, rupture of sociocultural patterns and extreme individualisation are equally apparent.
Evidently a coherent picture of the whole mess is difficult to frame and present. "Home Oriented Informatics, Telematics & Automation"(HOITA) as a cross disciplinary, international field of research has hardly come of age [5]. And the rate of innovation is so fast, that thorough empirical studies of the appropriation of these technologies are more or less outdated before they reach the press.
To convey a coherent and sufficiently contextualised understanding of the relevant dimensions of this field I have found it necessary in the following to make a few conceptual extrapolations into the near future, which, to my knowledge, have hardly found their way to the professional literature. In so doing I shall introduce 3 concepts: the virtual home, the virtual body, and the virtual neighbourhood as logical and necessary constructs for grounding a coherent notion of the demands to future domestic information technology.

In the following pages, I shall first go into more systematic detail in illuminating the strands of the threads, from which the fabric of the future virtual home will be woven.


. A. Home automation

A lot of automata are already present in our homes. Few will recognise a clock as an automaton. Its existence and use have already been woven into our culture as taken for granted 1). Vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines, central heaters etc. have also won widespread accept and use, been appropriated by a very large part of private households in the industrialised countries, arranged themselves in our lives, and provided us their use as more or less taken for granted.
What is not so evident is that more and more of these machines are turned into computer controlled equipment. This applies to almost all modern apparatus, from the steam-iron to the micro-wave-oven and the CD-player. The general idea of putting CPUs in all these gadgets is primarily related to the differentiated control of their functioning through feedback from built-in or external sensors and the offer of choice between a range of specifiable routines. In discussing the innovations we can distinguish the question of single products and optimising their functions and the question of linking several products.

Single products and optimising their functions

A full taxonomy of the areas involved is hardly possible, but we can distinguish some major groups:

It will, as we shall see, be a little arbitrary, where we draw the line between home automation, home information systems and home telematics. The moment we approach for example the ranges of solutions for compensating physical or sensorial handicap, or body care in general, we are at once involved in questions both of information systems and of telecommunication. The marketing actors - and these have been backed up by several large scale field and market studies e.g.[7] - are staging their campaigns on the basis of conceptualisations around the catchwords: time-saving, cleanliness, security, comfort ( climate, health and exercise), energy-saving and ecology.

Time-saving Whereas the time-saving aspects of whiteware always have been much advertised, several studies have shown that the saving in household time by the use of the several household machines turns out to be minimal.[8] This speaks heavily to the point that simple calculation on a rationality like the one at work in organisations outside the household, is of little relevance for the home.

Cleanliness. The development around washing-machines is a case in point: Being relieved from the heavy chores of former days washing, the frequency and amount of washing has grown 10 times or more, and sorting of categories has become a critical issue The widespread use of both washing machines and dishwashers implicates the users attention to demanding sorting processes of the differing categories of objects. This burden tends to centre on the shoulders of one (usually female) specialist, excluding the rest of the family from operation of the machines. Concomitantly the human capacity for traditional manual routines are eroding. One may wonder, how it comes that so little inventiveness is unfolded toward the chores of cleaning the floors and the windows. We still have had no news of automated vacuum-cleaner-mice or automated window-polishing spiders.

Comfort The use of thermostats in the automation of heating systems tends to provide an invariability in room-temperature which puts ever less demands to the exercise of physiological regulation of body temperature. The use of remote controls reduce the demands to mobility. Hence the so called Ôcouch potatoesÕ.

Security The fate of especially American cosmopolitan and suburban living areas with increasing lawlessness and anarchy has stimulated a strong concern for security. The insurance firms have also quite a large stake in contributing to this concern, with the result that more and more flats and houses are adopting various systems to lock and control access, and give alarms both on burglary, fire, water, broken windows, etc. The technologies involved, for example the use of Infrared cameras which can detect movement of animal warmth in a room or simple photocells detecting crossings of barriers and the use of distributed video cameras or microphones are here typically only used and integrated in the security system. As freely addressable information-sources they might be drawn into other functions by the inhabitants.

Energy-Saving The energy crisis is stimulating a concern with better exploitation of fuel and electricity. This goes into renewal of isolation and building materials, altered controls of the flow of heat and, most importantly: introduction of alternative sources of energy, like windmills, sun-panels and biogas-systems. This is a development which is only at a very preliminary stage, as seen from the vantage point of the ordinary citizen. A coherent consideration of the energy-saving potentials, and the ways to get them to flourish is an intricate topic, which can be approached from many angles. I will return to the topic in later paragraphs. Here it shall only be noted, that

1) distribution of low-current voltage to many appliances is currently taking place through a growing number of small heat- producing AC-adapters

2) the possible role of dynamical feedback to users of their own distribution of consumption is generally neglected.

3) Whereas automated regulation of light-sources to simulate the presence of the inhabitants to possible intruders is becoming more common, and means for coordinated programming of the distributed light sources are being marketed, there are no generally available means to automate the switching off of lights in rooms, when they are not populated.

Ecology New worries are coming up because of concern for limited water-supplies and polluting waste. Techniques are now being developed and matured to recycle water within the individual home: It is no great problem to recycle water from bath, washing machine and kitchen in the water-closet, - and even within reach to rinse most used water in the household to fresh drinking water, as well as using waste (biogas) for heating.
Yet the necessary incentives for the development and adoption of such globally attractive applications are not yet present. The same applies to systems of trash-separation. Some of these issues shall be taken up in a later paragraph on "Virtual Neighbourhood".

2 The question of linking several products

There are strong concerns across the industries to capitalise on the idea, that all or a major part of the automata in the home can be meshed into a common control-network.
As the general-purpose personal computer is arriving in the home it can be considered as a candidate for a superordinate control of these automata. The big consortia are conceiving of the meshing as standard modulisation, so that all electronically controllable outfits, including the light-sources, the security-sensors etc. can be tied together in a common so called electronic bus. In this way it will be up to the single producer to commit the individual product, with its various internal "devices" to various degrees of control and controllability to and from their own built-in controllers and panels as well as from and to controllers and devices in other products.
We see several sets of enterprises to establish the necessary standards: In Japan the HBS-standard, In USA the CEBus and Smart House standards, in Europe the Esprit Home System.
As a process in a liberal consumer-society this trend has its own built-in growth potential. The emergence of modulisation invites extensions and upgradings of innumerable gadgets promising an abundance of business-opportunities. Some such enterprises are commonly subsumed under the heading: "the intelligent home", and there are even attempts to apply "artificial intelligence" to coordinate regulation of domestic appliances, in such ways, that the system will not only learn the preferences but also detect the habits of the users and autonomously deduce predictions, permitting it for example to start preparations for heating the water for the shower, or reducing room temperature.
Unfortunately the major part of what is coming out of this is conceived in terms of the cheapest reductionist views of (commercially attractive) consumer types[9].
Considered in isolation the imagery of distributed intelligence in dedicated appliances which communicate together, with the outside world and with the users may have an immediate appeal of powerfulness: If not a Golem it may masquerade as the discrete butler, who remembers, anticipates, takes care and prepares for its masters' thus supported sovereign life-indulgence in safety and security, comfort and commodity, privacy and communicability. And in profound technical ignorance.
What goes unnoticed are the long-term consequences in terms of increased vulnerability. Socialising the young to be utterly dependent on vulnerable highly automated "intelligent" commodities means that crucial cultural survival skills go into oblivion.
If central systems break down, all controlled functions will be paralysed. Wars, disasters and deep recessions may draw the carpet away under nations, which have put all the trust in having machines administer and perform all the basic chores of a household.

There is a strong need to restructure the whole concept of home automation in a more global and long term ecological, social and humanistic perspective. The notion of "electronic cottage" might gain some meaning, if it could be applied to sustainable technologies adaptable to a variety of cultures and less privileged economies. But it is worth noting, that a major part of households live in flats, and that many of the involved problems - especially those concerning alternative energy and recycling - should find their solution in new kinds of electronically supported cooperation between neighbouring homes. One area, where the tying together of domestic controls makes primary sense, - and where many efforts are under way, is related to the needs of the handicapped and the aged. I shall return to this topic in a later paragraph.

B.Home information systems

To orient ourselves adequately relative to Home Information Systems, it is necessary to step back a few steps in order to gain some historical perspective.
Remember the broadest perspective of predominantly oral/face-to-face culture.
Then think of the long historical transitions from belonging to tight congregations attending - through a millennium - authoritative interpretations of text from the pulpit into becoming actors and participants in a growing textreading and handwriting literate public with its "Gutenberg galaxy": the massive output of newspapers, journals and books.
Remember then, how face-to-face- orality was supplemented - and to some extent replaced- with telephone-orality.
Remember how live oral narrative was first supplemented - and then replaced -with "Radio-days".
Remember how they transformed our lodgings through the closeness of other voices, other rooms, often resounding between the tenant flats in badly sound-insulated homes. ?
Then think of how many western households have domesticated a whole lot of older and newer tools and tokens of literacy: paper, pens and pencils, the ball-point pen, rulers and scissors, glue, clips and stapling machines, folders, drawers, book-shelves, billboards and tacks, even typewriters. And how books and other paper-materials are piling up in still more homes.
Be aware of the sedimentation of cameras and of photos, slides and home-movies and of the incompatible other assembly: phonographs and records. This world was already divided in TEXT - PICTURE - SOUND when TV-days arose, with their audio tape and cassettes, VCRs and videotape, and now even CDs, portable video cameras and home-computers.

An avalanche of increasingly complex and multipurpose information-apparatuses is now piling up in western homes, as is also generation upon generation of storage media. In the midst: persons and families in love and care, often overloaded by attractive and imperative information in all these media, and often overwhelmed by demands and obligatory commitments to a workplace and a multitude of extra-familial relationships. To gain a valid perspective we will have to detail the multitude of input, storage- software- and output-media, while being on the outlook for possible future synthesis.

1. Input Media

From generations of typewriters to keyboard on computers. From pens, pencils and easels to joy-sticks, mice, track-balls, writing tablets and ( colour) drawing pads, - even pressure sensitive. Soon also touch-sensitive screens. And datagloves. From pianos and other instruments to cheap, even impact-sensitive, music-keyboards. Microphones, soon wireless. Not only to audiotape, but also to sound-digitalising, - and voice and word-recognition. Wireless telephones. Portable video cameras. TV and Video-picture frame-grabbing for digitalising. Optical scanning devices (as in telefax-machines and hand-scanners and flatbed-scanners), - and Optical Character Recognition. The reading pen, the handscanner and the miniature camera/ are mobile input-media, which offers such advantages in the domestic information and knowledge flow, that they may be expected to transform many intellectual and cultural processes
Add to these: sensors for monitoring of indoors and outdoors climate, the above mentioned IR-sensors for movement of animal warmth, and sensors for monitoring body states. The latter may turn out to be "the cat in the bag": the galore of biotelemetric input: cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, cerebral.(2 )Not to speak of inexpensive eye-tracking.

2.Storage Media

Spread in millions of homes , extending the various formats and accumulations of printed books, magazines, newspapers and other paper documents, as well as the family-albums, we find today :

We are talking of varieties of informative objects piling up, and, for the oldest: travelling away from their potential decoding or use, because, unlike the book or the painting, it takes working electronic equipment to access or - for the last category -: even to identify them. Old machines are ever becoming obsolete and rare, and the knowledge of their operative systems even hard to retrieve.

To restore a sense of continuity we must give the utmost consideration to the transition-problems, instead of blindly heading towards the "Ultimate Intelligent Home" of our nightmares. And we must be aware of the imminent merging of VCR and PC technologies, - because it may put users in control of information at an entirely new level. The transition - or bridging - between analogue and digital, as well as between bitmap and vector graph -not to speak of bridging the storage-formats used by different operative systems is hastily growing its own wilderness, but there are reasons to believe, that solutions to these problems will have to arise out of the needs of telematic interfacing,

Dilemmas exists as to the fate of the analogue audio and VHS stored data and the bridging between the re-writable magnetic digital storage - Read-only optical media ( CD and CD-Rom ) to rewritable optical media. In any case it is evident, that the storage capacities for digital content in the private homes most unexpectedly will be in the gigabyte class.

The documentary powers of a citizenship with such storage potentials fits few political philosophies. And as the nature of the mass-storage now can be such, that it can be offered for access from outside the home: for the household members across alternative homes, or from mobile phone/laptops, or even from home-pages in cyberspace, a whole new epistemology of the virtual world will have to be evolved.

3 Output Media

We must remember, and have within our perspective, that this transition, which started with gramophones and radios, telephones and typewriters and suddenly swelled into black and white TV, then to colour TV, is going to continue for quite a while, as old and new generations of audio-visual display and print-equipment are spreading in the homes across the continents: colour computer-screens, wireless earphones, surround-sound loudspeakers, interactive screens, telefax ink-jet and laser printers, projections screens, HDTV etc.. The presence of paper-output media in a multitude of homes implies, that these machines will be used to produce printed pages There are many reasons to draw attention to the cultures related to the paper outputs of domestic multimedia. There has been no attention to ways of handling paper-outputs in private homes. We must expect new ways of dealing with paper: perhaps we shall come to see systems of output-input loop book-rolls and/or rewritable paper. Also the development of miniature formats, like post-its and A6, A7 and A8 size must be expected. The propensities of outputs should both fit the pragmatic demands of everyday life and the sedimentation in biographical depth of relevant information within the domestic matrix

4 Software

All this gains a new perspective, when we realise, how it can be integrated in a domocentric reorientation with the option of creating 3-dimensional animated screen dolls,( drawn, constructed or video photographed) and the option of placing, moving them and routing them on a virtual 3-D model virtual home/doll-house / doll theatre, and let them both write and draw and talk in (simulations of ) 3-dimensional living-spaces. We shall return in detail to possible syntheses around a notion of "Virtual home".

The avalanche of electronic goods and software-tools to the private home

( We are sorry, that we have not yet figured, how to manage the illustrations in an esthetically satisfactory way)

C. Home telematics

Again, it is hard to draw a clear line of demarcation between the previous two headings and this third.

1. More of the same, or.....

We have already in the previous section outlined, how the introduction of telephone, radio and TV has catapulted us in the western world, and surely already many, many millions out there, into an entirely new kind of information dynamics.
We are already in a culture where the conversational partners do not have to share the same locale, and where external narrative, imagery and "information" of all kinds is in abundance[10]. This abundance is growing at an exponential rate with satellite and cable TV, leaving the consumer a multitude of zapping choices in this vast range of competing channels.
The advent of digital TV and HDTV will be augmenting the number of choices yet more and more, as the number of channels to be expected to western homes may amount to perhaps 500 before the turn of the century.
The capacity of cable systems for future use not only in broadcast but also in two-way-mode - opens new vistas of pay per view transmissions and subtle ways of coding and pay for decoding. This ties in with innovations of telephone systems being digitalised and upgraded to carriage of higher frequencies, like the 2x 64 kb ISDN standard, or even new ATM standards. There are at least the following notable facts about domestic telecommunication:

1) The penetration of the telephone answering machine has given some new freedoms for the use of telephones, permitting a certain screening and self control of timing of answering to calls.

2) The growth of teletext-systems permits a more individual timing and selectivity of textual information via the TV-medium.

3) the increase in consumer control possible by the use of VCR-recording, making the user independent of the time of transmission, is a valuable tool It gives him possibilities of scanning fast through self-recorded material, skipping commercials and personally irrelevant content. But this tool is as yet in its crib, so to speak, as it still lacks the means to empower its user for quoting, annotating and indexing recorded materials according to personal relevance and spontaneous impulse

4) The advent of online interactivity: that the consumer may get possibilities to choose among alternative language channels to the same pictures, or choose specific branchings or viewing angles to the same program.

5) Interactivity in digital TV implies, that names, sounds or photographic elements, generated by the consumer, can be used in transforming an impersonal interactive broadcast to a highly personalised edition. The persuasiveness of a seducing salesman, apparently knowing and verbally referring to the name, age, sex, and most personal preferences of your 2 year old daughter, while you are out of the room may give the reader a paranoiac hint of the dystopian scenarios which might lie in store for us. But your own facial physiognomies dubbed unto the heroes and heroines of Casablanca or your favourite soap may be hard to disregard.

6) There are reasons to believe, that the technology of DECT (Local area broad band wireless transmission) will develop to form the future of the distributed internal domestic network by turning it into a largely wireless affair, supporting all kinds of wireless microphones and cameras, body sensors, scanning devices, drawing pads and keyboards. We can from this expect a mobile ubiquity of the user input, which then may be given from any position in the home. This development will necessarily extend the known concepts of remote control almost to the border of telepathy.

7) We may take note of the fact that also a developmental trend is under way to create a literal physical extension of the interface to a distributed sensitivity to user presence and automatically timegeographically stamped and retrospectively indexicable user input within the framework of the actual domestic geography.

2.Interfacing to the outside world through the computer 3)

The emerging use of telephone lines for communicating other than voice has been preceded by the introduction of the Fax-machine, essentially a combined electronic scanner and printer. Also, we see a rapid development of the so called "interactive telephone dialogue" services, where the user, by simple pushing the telephones buttons, can browse her way through branching to specific informations, place messages, orders and number values. Modem-based Services.
However, the use of modems, permitting telecommunication to and from the home-computer, is today where the most hectic development is taking place. From previous specialised use relating to a few electronic Bulletin Boards, the provision of services from more or less public, more or less exploitative host servers, in systems like Compuserve, Minitel, Diatel etc. is growing rapidly. Such systems will most often have basic subscription rates, various classes of connection-time prices, and - billing either through the telephone-bill or - what is being developed now- options for direct money-transfer. The basic offers, which may overlap with offers on text-TV and offers via interactive telephone-dialogue, will typically be

* Information services for consulting directories, catalogues, timetables, agenda's for events, product information files, governmental information files, etcetera.

* Transaction services for electronic shopping, banking, paying fines, acquiring personal documents from the government.

* Conversation services for electronic communication, interactive distance education, interactive consulting of a physician or a fortune-teller, collaborative decision-making processes.

* Registration services for theatre reservations, subscriptions to periodicals, applying for membership of an organisation, give notice of address changes, to register to the public authorities.

* Monitoring and control services like alarm and security systems, remote control of devices, safety systems for elderly people.

* Supporting services for the use of distance facilities like the computer in the office and for teleworking.

* General e-mail access is presently mostly arranged through the commercial host-servers. The user will have his e-mail-box there, and will have to make a call in order to gain information of whether new mail has arrived or not. As incoming e-mail partly may originate from the users joining diverse mailing lists, partly may be unsolicited junk-mail, and partly may contain highly relevant personal communication, the "hometaking" of ones e-mail may become a problem, if for nothing else: the connect-time necessary to evaluate, what is worth retrieving, and the connect time necessary to download from the server to the home-computer. It is therefore important, that programmable mail-clients ( like Eudora) can be taught to screen the mail, exclude mail stemming from uninteresting sources or containing expressions revealing trivial commercial content.

Software to perform content and pattern recognition on extensive sets and streams of digital documents is for the user a way to place sentinels, custom-agents and doormen at the electronic gates of the home. They can be authorised by the user to execute logging, selection and rejection of information based on content, and can thus also be developed to compose your highly personal newspaper or cross-disciplinary journal through instructed browsing on INTERNET.
This type of application belongs to a class which is generally referred to as: electronic or software agent. A field of domestic software assistants is under creation, which, considered as a field of freeware server-client development will be a rich potential for virtual home-virtual neighborhood-projects-
The commercial markets may try capitalizing on such assistants, but there may be important side-benefits from a free-ware market in increasing the demands for all types of sensor and effectors and effective mobilisation of grass-root urban ecology, which may encourage technological policies favoring the freeware - horizontal distribution.

* Various types of connection to the global internet- structure: There exists allready many thousands of special interest electronic discussion groups, and thousands of electronic libraries on more or less freely accessible servers. These resources are searchable through rather intricate hierarchical menu-structures ( Gopher, FTP etc.) However facilities exists to search across almost all sites with the use of single search-words.(Archie), and to handle a pragmatic personal use of discussion groups ( Netnews). However the progress from pure command language operation, over the use of menu's to more object-oriented user interfaces like Windows and Macintosh has recently introduced a wholly new concept for organising data in Client-Server systems:

3.The World Wide Web (W.W.W.)

is a network standard permitting each information-provider to arrange text, graphics and sound as one integrated hypertext/hyper-media interactive structure, a so called homepage. Such a user defined accessible "Homefront" can contain any multitudes of internal links, permitting vertical and horizontal browsing and retrieval for the customers "visiting" the site (The "Home-page") with the use of a WWW client program like Mosaic or "Netscape". There are two aspects of such arrangements, which are important to note:
1) That a Home-page may not only contain links to files on the same server, but, equally, may contain links to other homepages under other servers, and to documents at any access-permitted level within these.
2) That any user client in principle can construct his/her own home-page, and use it for accumulating and organising links both within own electronic documents and with documents found on other servers (through the use of so called bookmarks).

Such a "private" home-page does not equal the commonly accessible home pages on the internet servers: The modem-connected home computer will ordinarily be generally inaccessible for uninvited more or less virtual outside guests. But systems already exist, which permit fax via telephone to activate the home computer, and store the fax - content there, and ISDN and/or access to upstream use of local coax-cable systems for broad band telephony is approaching. We must consequently expect externally accessible interactive hyper-media home-pages to provide an alternative to the telephone answering machine in the home, and as an indexicable backdrop for future video-phone-type connexions.

4. Privacy.

The dimension of information-security does of course to some extent coincide with that of physical security, discussed earlier. But setting up systems at home for responding to incoming communications initiatives makes the home vulnerable for risks of unwanted and malevolent electronic intrusion. The screening of electronic calls by the use of electronic agents has already been mentioned,
Further the structures of the telecommunication systems are such, that information sent and received can not be conveyed without considerable risks of interception by outside parties. The issues of encryption for the ordinary citizen is presently receiving much attention. There are national and federal interests to insist on legal limits to encryption, because full and specialist-safe encryption will impede criminal investigation. The so called "clipper" episode in U.S. illustrates these dilemmas. But the invention of systems using a combination of public and private keys seems to solve so many problems, that a larger number of states probably will permit it.


There is no doubt, that the field of home telematics will expand ever faster as the liberalisation of the telecommunication market takes effect, as capacities of telephone lines are augmented with ATM, as cable-systems are spreading, and as DECT, cordless telephony and cellular phones are proliferating. And there is no doubt, that this will have a dramatic impact on society and individuals.[12] It permits new kinds of arrangements between authorities and citizens- It establishes new possibilities for learning and teaching. new possibilities for health-services new possibilities for informal exchange new possibilities for marketing and sale. new possibilities for control of the home new possibilities for the organisation of work. I shall here briefly identify the last three sets, postponing the treatment of the former to later paragraphs


The most evident present aspect of telemarketing is of course TV-commercials. The use of broadcast advertising is permeating radio and TV media to such an extent, that it now also includes the broadcast channels' incessant commercials for their own transmissions. The new forms of electronic mail, and the increased use of customer-databases favours the use of so called

1. Direct mail in marketing.

This means, that minutely selected segments of the population can be reached by unsolicited adds and offers, tailored to their individual consumer profiles. This is already taking place via "snailmail" and now also increasingly via telephony, where it can be totally automated with pre-recorded speech and use of speech-recognition. It will be very complicated to build electronic agents for screening telephone-calls on the basis of content. But new digital telephony at least permits screening by callers' code. Convenient blacklisting of electronic doorsellers (solicitors, hawkers)) may become a necessity to protect privacy from events on the global telephony-net.

2."Electronic malls " on a WWW basis

In strong contrast to direct mail is the development of virtual marketplaces, to be visited through modem or cable or wireless interactive TV as a part of a generally accessible cyberspace:.

They are already under construction, and will probably attract many home shoppers, as the telematic services are dimensioned to transfer the pictures of their objects for sale sufficiently fast, as the rates for on-line connection are reduced, and as electronic money-transfer gets organised.

They will probably be designed as navigable town-like structures. They will attract their domestic visitors through a mixture of shops and galleries, freak-shows, pornography (virtual sex and ordinary hooking), entertainments and ideological pushers, newsstands, competitions and games.

One thing is certain: They will do whatever is possible to attract visitors and to empty their electronic purses.

B. Tele-control

Other applications for telematic linkage to the home are monitoring and control services. In principle all automated functions in the home can be accessed from anywhere if the devices are connected to the external communications network.. From distance people can interrupt and change programs of devices at home or ad hoc switch functions on or off. Examples of such applications are the remote controlled answering machine, security and alarm systems, safety systems for elderly people etc.

A particular development is Tele-monitoring of resource consumption. The crisis of extinguishable resources has actualised a strong drive to encourage reduced consumption of electricity in peak hours. This can be done by time-stamped bookkeeping of the actual consumption, and differential pricing according to the timing of use.

The advent of technologies to permit using the mains electricity network for data-transmission, as well inside the singular home as upstream to the provider, has led to the development of so called tariff-computers for tele-metering, which can be used by the providing companies to accomplish such monitoring for billing purposes.

It is notable, that little weight has been put on developing devices, which can display such information to the inhabitants, to make them fully aware of the economic consequences of their choices of consumption..

It is a shame, since this undoubtedly could be developed as instructive dynamic representations for TV-display, in formats inspired by the visual metaphors of meteorology and economics.

Undoubtedly such a strategy would have its desired effects with lesser economic sanctions necessary to stimulate the energy-awareness of the consumers.

The most effective monitoring feedback would of course be one, which would display the hourly/weekly distribution-profile of consumption for each and every energy-drain in the home.

As the mains, as mentioned, can be used also locally for data transmission, such a far reaching solution only takes the invention of a sufficiently cheap transmitting sensor to be built into every outlet and/or plug.

C. Telework

One of the much discussed aspects of Home Telematics is Telework: the possibility for more and more work to be performed from the home, either as autonomous offering of individual services or as partner or employee in organisations, be they public or private, profit or non-profit, concrete or virtual.[13] [14]

Much valuable work is being done to investigate how effective electronic cooperation between employees or partners can best be supported and managed.

This is being publishedunder the heading of CSCW : Computer Supported Cooperative Work.

One of the catchwords in this area is that of "The virtual organisation". The idea is, that the ubiquity of the organisation, the place-less-ness, of what is going on, poses severe problems of orientation for the teleworkers. A two or three dimensional idealised architectural graphical model of the organisation can now be constructed, electronically accessible for all of its teleworkers, and permitting informational objects to be stored, displayed and retrieved in a common recognisable "social space" and even permitting individuals to figure, as so called avatars, be it merely by name, by photo or in a more graphical form.

We must expect that the concept of Home-office, which is presently much publicised, will imply the virtual presence in the home - at least some part of the day - of the information-dynamical context of the organisation for which domestically-situated telework or educational homework, is performed.



A.Being overwhelmed

We can expect the sum total of these developments to transform personal lifestyles, domestic and family life, inter-domestic relations and social life in general rather radically [15] [16]

We will get

· new contexts for daily life activities,

· new forms of domestic coexistence,

· new dimensions to the existing structures between families, friends and social groups,

· new bases for mutual support and help, sharing and recycling of cultural resources and heritage.

In the merging of different media an integrated 'information environment' will have to tie together existing cultures for expression, superposing a meta-level for information storage and processing and for communication, and integrating the means for relocating thematic contents of engaged, responsible personal life, The relative penetration of such innovations will evidently be unequally distributed in favour of the affluent and privileged households in the affluent countries

We cannot permit ourselves to neglect the vicious circles, which stimulate and are stimulated by actual trends in technological growth and profit-motivated development of the mass-media and information-markets..

In the midst of these vicious cycles we must identify our own strivings to maintain identity, to engage in love, care and self-chosen endeavours within a literate culture. We are still carriers of a narrative/pictorial/ musical heritage: the fairy-tales and pictures our mothers and fathers conveyed to us, the songs, which we knew, the music, we cherish, the content of our intimate diaries, the letters and books we keep around us, the pictures on the walls, the types of messages, we leave for each other, what we put up on our home-bulletin-boards,etc. etc.

The internal information-dynamics in the home is expanded and augmented through the new media, enriched in turning multimodal, expanded through new storage media.

But the information-problems which the household has to face are also multiplied. The messages on the answering-machine, the junk mail and junk e-mail, the offerings from cable and local TV, the satellite TV "wastebasket from the skies" - and the distribution of convergent and divergent interest among family-members concerning the offerings of these channels.

One's head soon starts to swirl, faced with such multitudes of dimensions and potentials, and a total alienation from the joys and cares of our own household-lives seems imminent.

Resilience to this vulnerability to "overload" and to being washed away can only be gained through development of new notions of competence, tied to notions of personal and familial purpose within a new culture of domestic computer literacy.This is a competence anchored in potentials for looking at ones past and to make informed choices pertaining to what one wants to bring into ones, or mankind's, future.



B. The need for an informational life-raft

Under the threatening overload of external information-bombardment and an ever increasing rate of cultural and social change, the average western household confronting modernisation is in need of something like a home-grown gyroscopic stabilisation, a nucleus of basic coordinates, dimensions and directions. And a life-raft, at least, through which a sense of purposeful navigation through life can be developed and maintained.

A lot of external interests will be devoted to offer, sell and exploit each their set of dogmatically priorized interactive systems for self-administration, offering each user-household their special orthodox metaphysical dimensions of existence and interest.

We can predict, that the need for "guidance" will manifest itself in many willing victims to the producers of such "soul-uniforming almanacs", offering their church or their party or their organisation or their school or their metaphysic as a seductive life-raft. Each system offered and marketed will of course see its more global appropriation as a potential source for and core of resiliency and constructive integration. Be it Astrology, Tarot, Catholicism, Islam, Scientology, Sex-Pol, Freemasonry or the multitude of Integrated Services, which will be marketed into the home. Still, they all can be predicted to add to the facets of vulnerability:

It is urgent to be aware of the many types of alienating and anti-socialising marginalisation all of this implies for already underprivileged groups of the population. Could we develop concepts for virtual neighbourhoods, from which these new powerful tools might come to be of use not least to the underprivileged neighbourhoods, which the transformation of the local cable-nets to two-way, point-to-point as well as local server-use evidently will facilitate.?
And it is most urgent to be aware of the present vanity of it all, compared to the very needs of the third world's citizens. Cant we get into tracks which could lead to concepts, from which also the third world might be advantaged.?
With these prospects in sight, and thinking of the household and personal everyday life and socialisation in our own home as the most reliable foothold and first perspective necessary, we will have to look further into the need for precisely a home-grown gyroscopic stabilisation, a nucleus of basic coordinates, dimensions and directions which can be tested to be trustworthy.

From a humanistic viewpoint there should be a need and a use for an informational life-raft, on board of which a sense of purposeful navigation can be developed, without this purpose being planted from the outside. And what better life-raft can we think of than that which is safely rooted in the vessel of the home as

a) a structured aggregate of inhabited rooms and spaces, with a wealth of coherently and pragmatically distributed tools and informative objects.

b) a "virtual mirrors-of the home-theaterstage" as a coherent unmarked contextualising background for touch-button intentional (phenomenological) text & multi-media diary-keeping from the actor's perspective

c) a basic spontaneous, indexicable identifiable reference to all kinds of intrasystemic events for the inhabitants in all types of pragmatic contexts.

d) an implicit embedding of the present household's symbolic universe in its very own sedimented information-soil.

e) a means for each household to structure its own heritage and self-sedimented hyper-space of accumulated knowledge, expectations, commitments and values

Such a life-raft may be the only resilient alternative to a multitude of "systems for self-management" and "mind-body multimedia work-out programs" We must expect forceful ideological competition in a growing market of spiritual and commercial offers of cheap teaching and training, support, expert advice and peddling of panaceas from the entertainment industries and the medical industries across media, when direct electronic access to and from the home is developing.

B. The merging into one multimedium

We will be witnessing the merging of previously compartmentalised expressive cultures: The verbal cultures, the object producing and money-exchanging culture, the chireographics and paint-cultures, the newspaper, journal and book print cultures, the music-cultures, the dramatic and choreographic cultures, the toy- cultures: Lego, Mecano, doll-theatre, comics strips, animated movies - all converging now with - and within - the basic nuclear domestic culture. And the citizens will slowly be empowered to step into the role as producers of their own narrative to themselves, and to a possible future: The merging of these into one, integrated domestic multi-medium is not a question of replacing the old, separated expressive cultures, but sooner that of

The very personal associative structures of relevance for the users can be radically supported through establishment of that peculiar coherency, which is bound to originate in the individual home as virtual home and its already sedimented and forever sedimenting distribution of informative objects and instruments within the finite 3-dimensional closed space of the home-environment along a particular biographical path in its history.

The implication of all this is, that the control of editing audio-visual animation will make it possible for us to "replicate" ourselves and our family, fellows or friends into simulated screen-bodies, enabling us to re-present our previous, actual and potential positions, trails, endeavours, activities, states and state-changes in their historical and biographical particularity, foremost contextualised within and relative to the closed space of the home-environment, and/or the virtual 3-D screen-simulation of it.

The thought can be difficult to swallow. How can transparency of the most private be desirable, except for purposes of creating the ultimate Panopticon for institutionalised control ? To all the threats to privacy, is this the ultimate voluntary "Big brother watches you" paradigm ? Will it be off-the-shelf disneyfication ?

Or can it bee seen as legitimate tool of decentralised information-power?


Several developments around Virtual Reality [17] may converge in their relevance for an emerging virtual home concept.

A 3-d and graphic walk through, (jump and zoom and survey from any angle) electronic theatre of mirrored actual interiors, with updatable details in all modalities is appearing as attractive to the management of harbours, the teaching of knowledgeable skills, games and edutainement, the teaching of flying a vessel or navigating the inside and the outside of a boat, the production of animated movies, the production of cartoons, and, what is presently considered to be "the killer application": the production of commercial games in headset-and gloves version of Virtual Reality. As the goal groups of such interactive games can be the least priviledged children of the smallest age, and young people without much of a supporting social network, the impact on the minds of new generations of thousands of hours of commercially developed quasi-reality , with all its commercially seductive possibilities, is painful to imagine.

But, as the availability of extradomestically produced Virtual Realities is bound to explode, both in CD-Rom and Interactive TV contexts, we might ask, whether the unavoidable can be met most forcefully, if the basics of virtual reality, and the basics of distinguishing the only virtual from the not-only-virtual is taught from the first years of life within the one and only context, which we know to have the highest stability and recognition-value: the matrix of the particular and personal domestic universe.

Whether children are involved or not, one should think that to start to examine the powers of Virtual Reality will best be done in the domestic testbed where continual access to the reality being virtually rendered is familiar and continually available.

If this is so, the virtual home ought to draw considerable attention, because it will be an extremely generic application, which also will tend to suggest its own grassroots demands to/for

a) interfacing the extradomestic world in the cheapest way, and

b) a corresponding demand for a shareable virtual neighbourhood,

c) a demand for a homelink system for interfamilial intercourse

d) a demand for appropriation of tools to reflect the virtual body and its timegeography in the virtual home

I shall return to these topics in later paragraphs.

An exponential growth in demand for a multitude of new products is beyond doubt. We should not postpone to make an examination of the possible role of a virtual-home simulation of the unmarked and the marked in private households.

Members of a household representing their own life-spaces, for retrospection and reflection, for keeping track, and for prospecting and ordinating this doll-house option may constitute more than a nightmare, if properly prepared and applied.

Put to authoritarian use, from within or from without the household, it unveils itself as the ultimate big brother realisation.

Put to emancipatory purposes, it may contain keys to strengthening household coherence, cultural and ethnic continuity and individual knowledge-handling capacity, democratic participation and ecological awareness.

A. A fully and coherently contextualised interface ?

The virtuality option, which is one front-end of what interactive multimedia may come to mean, will of course be put to use in all kinds of narrative entertainment and local fantasy.
But from a psychological viewpoint it is crucial, that by ensuring the members of a household a permanent reference to the solid ground-level of their own particular domestic timegeography as a generic, archetypal virtuality, a personal grounded and rooted stem of self-reference can be grown, that could be made to function as a convenient core and anchorpoint of further personal orientation and reality-testing.

The means are coming within reach to re-present in detail the totality of the domestic environment, the proper system of spatio-temporal relations, with which the system itself is dealing, and within which the system itself is being operated.
This implies the emergence of a new, coherent potential of demonstrative identifying reference to re-identifiable individual things and event-types in the private life-world, according to their personal relevance.[18, 19] This potential may provide us new means of self-reflection, evaluation and ordination of actual and possible identifiable and indexicable operations, states, informative objects and persons.

We can today predict, that households in a few years will be empowered to coherently simulate, survey and scrutinise events in their own biographies in browseable doll-house files. Such a meta-class of tools can be misused. But it can also be cultivated according to on-going needs of a particular household- with the view, for example, of explaining oneself and ones environment better to each other and to oneself.

As regards the role of the virtual home within domestic information dynamics, it implies the notion of having access to a relatively coherent spatiotemporally contextualised and contextualising interface intimately connected to the usually unmarked tacit domestic knowledge.

This notion has four interdependent levels: The intra-domestic, the personal, the inter-domestic and the extra-domestic.

B. The Intra-Domestic Level

The virtual home can be envisaged as the household's collective screen-stage, materialised in actual printout on a bill board, or as a rolling paper-belt system, readily accessible, annotable and indexible, at a 24-hour basis, through direct manual/gestural/or voice marking as well as through remote controls, keyboards and pointers to screens and projections.
It may serve as a structured platform for intrafamilial messaging and mutual annotation and demonstration., as well as for familial prospection and ordination. The sedimenting recycling of interactive book-rolls will accumulate as time-geographically situated multimedia-diaries of the family, virtual roots and instruments of coherent orientation and identification. And they will still be useful, if all the machines burn down, and no electricity is available.

C.The Personal Level

So to speak "inside" (and from each person's own temporally and spatially indexable corners of such a shared context of collective household-conversations) are the uses of this pandemonium by the individual person.

The person can here contextualize and repossess his/her own lifespace in an interactive reflection. The dimensions and their layering, colouring, framing, indexing, iconizing and shadowing of this personal level must be up to the single, unique and particular person and his/her historically and biographically changing particular sets of values, commitments, relevancies, native semiotics and choice of imagery and metaphor.

We may welcome new rituals around maintaining such very personal multimedia diaries, constituting inheritable cultural spaces for afterthought and forethought. Such situated diaries will enable a more coherent inventing and scheduling of the future and "faraonic" (5) powers to the household member, alone as well as together, for retrieving from the information-composting of the past, as well as going into close encounters with a) the proximal ecology b) the personal physiology (body-meteorology) In both of these respects we will have to think of an articulation in terms of more levels:

Such a concept can be cultivated for a variety of purposes. The above mentioned potentials of biotelemetry brings it so to speak "under our skin", and highlights the potential intimate, bodily closeness of this "personal level". Configuring body-state-representational tools for personal state-reflection or expressive messaging is a little-noticed potential, mainly cultivated in circles working with the concept of bio-feedback. But seen as the personalised foundation and key to a sane health-education, such tools of self-knowledge may reveal a strong prophylactic potential, and thus be worth adding to the domestic tool kit. We shall return to the implied notion of "virtual body"in a later paragraph.

In the horizon arises a concept, which will compete with that of the TV, and eventually subordinate what TV from cable, local ground-TV and satellite TV has to offer, under a superordinate concept of a "PROXIVISION", some new hybrid of an interactive domestic multimedia bureau, navigation-bridge and electronic AV-organ.
The choice of metaphors for its interface to the user will belong to the user. But the need for coherency points to the interior architecture of the home as the safest delineation of an anchoring-level in a domestic medium for orientation, identification and individuation.

The domestic information systems must be seen as reflexive media, as a new kind of dynamic time-perspective-mirror-on-the-wall, contained in a "hyper-home-page-gallery", wholly particular, personal and private from the start. It will contain powerful new tools for self-representation both

a) in intimate self-confrontation
b) in intimate exchange among family-members
c) in inter-domestic sharing dialogue
d) in diverse levels of extradomestic context and communication

This points to their potential function as means of personal and household orientation, identification and individuation.

D. The Inter-Domestic level: HOME-LINK.

Taking a broad view of the trends in telecommunication for domestic users, they seem essentially to be oriented towards a vertical one-way channeling of information, down to the citizens from a high-tech elitary and bureaucratic superstructure.

There should be some consumer-political support for an intensified development of "the bi-directional horizontal dimension", the canalising of information within the home, from home to home and within the local community.
The horizontal dimension may be approached directly from a local community level, as has been realised in a number of field experiments.
But it may also be approached so to speak from below and inside.
Having previously familiarised ourselves with the concepts of the emergence of an intra-domestic and a personal level of information dynamics we will be ready to recognise the peculiar demands and potentials of a third, and only slowly emerging level:
The coherently contextualised and contextualising virtual home interface between households in close mutual relation.
This may constitute the sanest starting-point, if genuine consumer-interests shall be drawn into telematics. It points to the cheapest services, the maximum of short-cuts, and the safest grounding, coherence and continuity.
It attaches itself directly to the vital social processes of the family, the clans of befriended households and neighbourships, in short to the already existing structures of mutual support, sharing and recycling of cultural resources at a non-profit/mutual profit / mutual help - level. And it may fit well to their green, moral and immoral information economies and ecologies. If vulnerability shall be diminished, the contextualised home-to-home interface may turn out to be a more humane source in designing the domestic telematic interfacing than what may be derived alone from the vertical model.
At the same time it constitutes a level, from which the construction of the next, horizontal, level, that of the virtual neighbourhood, gradually can be unfolded.


Before we turn to the higher level of organization, constituted by the virtual neighborhood, we may turn back to the personal level. What has been said about the potential for making interactive, indexicable 3-D maps of the Home, applies equally to objects and bodies.

This implies not only, that interactive representations of sculpture and of the visible body, its positions and movements, including paths in the home, can come within reach for common citizens, as well as for caretakers in need of communicating about particulars of the man-environment interactions of the physically handicapped.
It further implies, that , built upon common, physiological 3-D mapping of the human body, the inside of the body, equally with the inside of the home, can be interactively virtually rendered/ mapped, "walked through" , updated, and indexed in a variety of ways. It could - although nobody as yet seems to have implemented this, be indexed with time-stamped icons and phenomenological text, as well as expressive colours and/or sounds, with possibilities of retrospective playback and temporal integrations from narrow, episodic to lifetime windows on the personal bodily biography.

It is difficult to anticipate, to which types of domestic cultural uses such a new medium of bodily awareness will give birth. Seen from the vantage-point of public Health education it would constitute a much needed tool for bridging between the aquisition of abstract physiological and health knowledge, from pre-school to adult education, and the concrete observations of the functioning of the persons own body.
Personal multi-media diaries will afford the means to represent the bodyrelated entries in the diurnal and weekly cycles, in their situational contexts of stress or boredom, insomnia, intakes of foods, medicine and intoxicants and under shifting regimes and indulgencies.
It will encourage the users to assume a privileged researchers role concerning the uses and phenomena of their own body, and create a very new kind of mirror for self-reflection.
It may converge with the cultures of Sculpture, Ballet, Painting, Music, Poetry .
But, staying with the healthrelated aspects, it may converge with medical uses of biotelemetry, and expand to , publicly unexpected, widespread domestic uses of biometric sensors, from which analogue diurnal, or systematically sampled, data of selected variables ( e.g. respiration, heartrate, bloodpressure) can be projected as colour or sound annotations to the virtual body, as well as to icons and texts and videoframesequences.

This potential may, from a professional medical vantagepoint, be considered primarily for a more systematic empirical patient-cooperating approach to identifying the comings and goings of symptoms. Also it could afford doctors a new kind of possibility for ad oculos demonstration of apparent causal relations in the functions of this particular body, especially in the later part of life, where all the complaints are coming up.
But it would fit equally - or better - in a prophylactic scenario - where it could be introduced in the schools, as part of the physiology and health curriculum, to make pupils enlighten themselves about the ecology of their own body in its everyday domestic or neighbourhood contexts. A number of new input gadgets and corresponding programs to the electronic school-satchel (A theme to which we shall return in a later section).


One of the most conspicuous characteristics of telematics is the introduction of a virtual placelessness: territorial distance can be bracketed out, and what is distant can be interacted with as if it were very close.
This is part of what McLuhan and Alvin Toffler referred to as "the global village".
As this placelessness makes navigation and overall orientation very difficult, much effort is now put into the development of some kind of metaphorical landscaping, permitting users the means of employing mechanisms of spatial orientation in locating the available information-resources in some kind of symbolic territory: cyberspace.

We have already introduced two aspects of such efforts, the virtual organisation and the virtual mall. In both of these instances there are no necessary ties between concrete territoriality and the symbolic territoriality. A very different situation applies, as can be understood from the preceding paragraph, to the virtual home.
The virtual home must, at its base-level have a veridical, isomorphic structure situated in a particular ecology, with its particular boundaries and barriers, external sources and drains for matter, energy and information.

It was convenient in the preliminary exposition of the virtual home concept to found it on the singular household cell matrix, and from there to proceed logically to the option of the interdomestic sharing of virtuality.

But as soon as these figure of thought are established, it is evident that the virtual homes, in terms of virtuality are as much cells in a potential virtual neighbourhood as physical and social homes are a part of a physical and social proximal neighbourhood.
Images of virtual towns are proliferating, My Brighton, Your Roskilde etc. If nothing else they can inform tourists and school children. But images of virtual neighbourhoods are only very slowly starting to crystallise. It is evident, that it takes a critical mass of neighbouring inhabitants to take the initiative. (6)
I am referring to a brand new sort of possibility - totally neglected so far - for organising local interaction and community (intradomestic, interdomestic as well as among the occupants of a local housing area) in a coherent Local Area Network of a particular kind.[20]
Home-to-home telephone connections can support picture telephone and computer network functions, and can make it possible to tie together people on the network, via the TV-screen or the computer screen (and their private and common databases), in common graphical orientation structures, mirroring actual rooms, various types of (more or less fictitious) meeting places and workshops, objects and persons: an electronic counterpart to the actual housing area -and further out to the municipal level.
As to the proximal shared indoors and outdoors territories, the virtual neighbourhood map must have the same basic verisimilitude to actual concrete reality as one may wish for the virtual home to have.
But at the same time this "veridical" virtual territory can be copied into various types of irreality-levels: The retrospective neighbourhood history will reside as ancestral layers, whereas all kind of outlining of desired conditions and wishfully planned and anticipated constructions, endeavours and serials can sediment in futuristic parallel layers.
Such platforms for local futures will provide new ways for accumulating and retrieving individual creative activity and contribution to the benefit of common, shared purposes of local self governance. The capacities for further decentralisation can in this way be linked to the democratic development of ecologically sound and sustainable (as well as humanly agreeable) physical and social self-structuring of living responsible communities. In virtual neighbourhoods persons in their own homes and persons in a actual local data centre may join the same shared rooms in a more or less shared world, draw on the same resources, supplement and support each other and engage in long term shared projects in the housing area as well as in relation to the surrounding world.

These are not to be understood as functions that might or should replace the real social contact and physical interaction. On the contrary they can be conceived as a set of opportunities for the mutual visualisation of people. Enabling persons to discover each other, and to find out whom to associate with and where and when to meet about what.

Besides the concept of virtual neighbourhood involves a flexibility: It will be possible to engage in dialogue and "socialise" even if you have displaced temporal schemes or for some reasons - age, disease or handicaps - are prevented from moving outside your home.
It is substantial that the interfacing of the virtual home, the virtual local community and the virtual local data centre/server can facilitate the establishment of family communities and occupants' communities.
And it is essential, that the cooperation in such communities may take place across the various functions, into which the users are involved, such as teleworking, tele-education, telemedicine, entertainment and games, hobbies, urban ecological experiments as well as initiation of commercial activity.
The virtual neighbourhood concerns a local, collectively developed common space and interface involving the occupants, the housing area (including a possible real physical data centre) and various shared projects and a shared calendar. All occupants should have access to the virtual workshop from the possible real physical data centre and from their own computer/ screen/ telephone. All interested occupants, children and elderly may consequently figure and "act" as "virtual persons" whether or not they feel like visiting each other or the physical data centre. They might isolate themselves in protected privacy as well. They could let their own real and/or virtual home or study enter as an office in the virtual data workshop or they could keep their real and/or virtual home more or less closed and inaccessible.

In a network organisation such as this there might be possibilities for development of flexible modes of organisation in relation to unpaid and paid task solutions. Moreover, it would be possible to develop and work with new economies separated from the proper monetary economy, for instance with a view to the development of new "third labour market - labour categories".- a topic to which we shall return in a later context.

A political choice.

The development of horizontal home-to-home multimedia networks and an organisation of virtual local communities in which the virtual homes should be seen as cells,will be controversial in the wake of the deregulation of telecommunications.

It is a political choice whether an infrastructure is constructed, that gives priority to the informal communities and the locally distributed culture, or whether the development of an information society will privilege the interests of the vertical suppliers.
It would be a significant political choice to start optimising the network capacity on a local home-to-home level, so that the local population can use the new technologies at low expenses. The network capacity - among its other purposes, could be arranged to circulate the decentralised knowledge and the texts, tones and pictures already distributed in a fertile way.

In fact it might be possible to introduce a rate policy, which makes the use of a local horizontal network autonomous and free of charge within a local neighbourhood as some areas in theUSA, where telephone use within the local zone is free of charge as much and as long as you want.

There are a lot of conflicts involved in this: conflicts of copyright, conflicts of protection of privacy, conflicts of encryption and authentication, conflicts of network ethics, morality, power and dominance in local democracies. People are not saints, and local networks, virtual homes and virtual local communities will be the scenes of conflicts and quarrels, conspiracies and mobbing as well.

It takes a lot of experimenting and development work involving researchers from many disciplines to achieve useful models, that will be thoroughly prepared and tested in a sufficient way.


Many thoughts and many fantasies are invested in construing the use of computers and telecommunication in education. There are many notions of virtual classrooms, master classes on-line or on tape or CD-Roms in more or less interactive forms. And many notions of organising the transfer of questions, exercises and documents among teleteachers and telepupils, as well as notions of guiding the telestudents into forms of telematically and computer supported mutual cooperation in the processes of their studies.

What seems to be lacking is a genuine concern for the personal informational households of the pupils, - disguising perhaps as a respect for their integrity.
This corresponds closely to the lack of concern for the full range of the Domestic Information Dynamics on part of the current providers of Home-Oriented Information technology.

Assuming now that new generations will grow up in familiarity and personal cultivation of the virtual homes they are living in, they will have already there a strongly interconnected stock of very personal cultural knowledge, as related to consecutive phases of personal relevance. One might assume, that such children will possess their personal laptops, which they will bring to school as electronic school-satchels. In these they may come to be carrying from the outset their private version of their own multimedia diaries on the backdrop of their parents virtual home.
As they are introduced to disciplines and knowledge sources through the new setting of the school, and thus assimilating to some extent the virtual school, their potentials for embedding new knowledge in old knowledge may be considerably enhanced.
I am drawing forth here one single overriding dimension in future tele-education.
There are others:

The advent of so called edutainement materials on CD-Rom is certainly one. Another emerging dimension will be knowledge and educational content not offered in ready packaging from the teachers, but appearing as ubiquously searchable resources in virtual libraries in the neighbourhood as well as on global Internet. But both of these must be understood and dealt with in the light of the pupils' potential rooting in a lifelong sedimenting stock of personally organised and domestically grounded basic knowledge.
Instead of focusing on the class-room, and prior to the focus on teleteaching, we can see the private multimedia-equipped home as the best candidate for a new humanistic socio-anthropo-psycho-socio scientific and cultural pedagogical paradigm.
I have thus advocated [5], that in the educational system Home Economics might be a fitting frame for further developments in this direction. I have suggested, that Experimental Home Laboratories for training and demonstration could be installed in teacher colleges and schools, and that the relations between the future electronic school-satchel and any virtual body,virtual home or virtual neighbourhood could be best developed from this basis.


There is presently a strong trend towards increasingly sophisticated technologies centred on advances in information and telecommunications technology.
This has the potential to support the tasks of everyday living and provide the means for reducing the reliance of the elderly on external services.
Adaptable smarter home technologies, for example, enable electronic devices, communications networks and control devices to be configured to meet the individual requirements of elderly and disabled householders. They can be adapted to the changing circumstances of the home occupants, and remote access into the home (via public communications networks) for social services and medical purposes can be provided. This is the potential; but is this what the elderly really require?[21] [22]

I shall go in no particular details about the multitudes of electronic and mechanical gadgets to replace the senses ( Hearing - Eyesight etc), compensate motor capacities , including extensive remote control of lights, faucets, windows and doors, and establishing communication with those elsewise "incommunicado.
The efforts to develop, for example, ways for old and handicapped living by themselves to interact with caretakers via two-way video on a screen is just one of many lines of development. Systems to activate synthetic speech or written output with single switches, controlled by the tongue, a toe or an eyebrow are others.
The wealth of solutions, which can be created, - and the multitude of obstacles encountered, when such solutions are introduced in the homes of the individual users, fall far beyond the scope of this paper. Richardson & Poulson in [67] focussed the importance of considering user needs in the developments of products for the elderly, and also in the importance of involving other relevant parties eg care providers in this process. They have identified a variety of issues important for home technology systems to be successfully introduced with the elderly.:
The needs

The needs

In this light we can point to the relevance of the constructs of the virtual home, the virtual body and the virtual neighbourhood for he problems of the elderly .
We may here think of these as coming to constitute a tool for autonomous user-accountability for spontaneous homelife-processes. A tool with which particular situated domestic practices and experiences can be contextually documented and annotated. Such documentation can be done, vicariously, by helpers or relatives, but will, under a wider time-perspective, have to be construed as a long-term sedimenting process, which will afford the elderly with a lasting personal frame of reference relative to the deteriorisation of the body, the pulsating ecology of the everyday week, diurnal and seasonal cycles, - and the distributed persons, remedies and tools within the domestic sphere, - and eventually the surrounding (virtual) neighbourhood and virtual homes of relatives and acquaintances.
There are good reasons to believe, that such a tool

There may be interesting possible benefits for the most severely impared and disoriented patients by using a non-transparent set-up, where local process-control could be exerted through the medium of the familiar virtual home, thus relying on the contextuality of intentional structures as more lasting and durable than the improvised re-orientation in a new and unfamiliar proximal environment.


It is evident, that the economy of a full fledged information society not only will change the economic mechanisms of such societies, but also will transform the whole concept of economy. The abundance of reflections to this end discourages dilettante pondering. Envisaging widespread unemployment and a re-centering of work in the private homes, served through telematic markets and malls, we must however confront at least a few angles of the future economy, which become especially prominent from the vantage point of Home informatics.

A. The change of basic premises

One angle adheres to the anachronism of maintaining an economy developed for a society, where all the means of production and all the goods produced and consumed were expensive both to re-produce and to transport.
As a growing part of the means of production (software) and goods produced (digitally stored information) now in principle can be globally reproduced and transmitted at negligible costs, the adherence to the previous economic mechanisms evolved in response to the needs of industrialisation, becomes a paradoxical restraint on an else wise unprecedented potential for distribution of production and knowledge produced.[23] [24]

B. The change of centering

To the extent that functional hardware gets installed in a majority of private homes of the citizens and domestic telework and enterprise, tele-education etc. becomes more widespread - saving time, pollution and energy waste from commuting - we must expect the economy to become more home-centered, driven in a higher degree by the emerging patterns of domestic coherence and synergy sooner than the business-centred economies of the past few centuries.

C. . Shareware and pirating

It is from home-informatics that the economical model of "shareware" has grown. In view of the minimal price of reproduction and transmission, and the immense number of potential consumers, many producers of software distribute their digital goods for anybody to download without pay or at a price only covering the price of the physical re-production.
If the consumers find it useful, they are asked to send an amount, often just $ 10, to the producer. This construction may seem trivial. But it suits the peculiar characteristics of the new product category "software": That its use-value is very difficult to describe adequately, and that its useability in various hardware and operative-system contexts, all the time upgraded and modified, is impossible to predict.
Another strategy is to disseminate "demo's, with a single, crucial function incapacitated, - or building in a date of expiration. Still, most software is distributed as traditional goods, priced within the range of $ 100 - 500 - sometimes, but rarely, with a built in copy-protection.
The result is, that the isolated buyers must pay a lot, whereas other users, who belong to a user group, have many computer-literate associates or modem-connection to internet will have access to oceans of shareware and/or "pirated" software.

D. Images of Value.

The idea of money has had a most crucial role in the growth and development of terrestrial civilisation, so much so, that their existence is taken more for granted than the existence of God. From economies of of goods-exchange, we have moved to economies where value-tokens:are received in exchange for goods and services, first: amounts of salt, gold or jewels, later: Coins and paper bills, with graphics of sovereigns of state or national symbols.This constitutes our present sphere of human activities and culture.

Before that, most exchange took place in intricate and more or less transparent local neighbourhood systems of informal exchange of services and objects- They were centred either feudally or, as in the Greek Oikos, around large private households, with a number of variously related household members, more or less specialised in pursuit of special productive functions from sowing to food-preparation, from agri- and horticulture to carving the wheels of the wagon.

Industrialisation, urbanisation and the money market has gradually undermined this nostalgic- at least sometimes coherent - type of household system in many western countries, and a major part of productive functions have been "outsourced".
As households are getting smaller, with a majority of "nuclear" and increasing numbers of single parent families, and as money to buy resources has come to be paid with time outside the home, the remaining productive functions: cleaning, cooking, child care etc. ( which most economic theories, even Marxism has not considered a part of production, but only as "re-production") are becoming more and more awkward to integrate in the world of social exchange, where their value amounts to "leisure time".
There are good reasons to reconsider to which extent the previous money-economy is to be paralleled and merely extended in the virtual economy of digital cash.
When the road now seems to open to move an increasing amount of societal work back to the home, when unemployment from paid work is increasing and when the value-tokens are about to immaterialise to mere digital information, new patterns of "insourcing" and exchange in the local community can be expected to arise. [25] [26].
Can the coincidence of the predominant production-tools and production-goods being information (in principle infinitely reproducible at marginal costs) and the value-tokens turning into mere encrypted number-information, be made to make sense in new and more wholesome ways? :
- as the trend of ex-domestication is turned back,
- as the local neighbourhoods are being re-populated in daytime hours, and
- as questions of natural resources, waste, renovation, education of the young, care of the elderly and mutual mind- and body care are demanding local action and communal local enterprise,
- and as technological aids to these purposes are gradually turning up.

Or shall we let the inertias of obsolete material economies postpone the creative democratic rennaissance, which seems to lie in store for this planet ?

While much ingenuity is being put into the development of anonymous digital cash, another trend, being perhaps a forerunner of an alternative de-centralised electronic economy, is the development of so called "LETS" (Local Exchange Trading System) [27] where services, home-grown and recycled goods are paid with new, exchangeable tokens, symbols of obligations to deliver other services or goods. In such systems, all member households are free to issue such obligations, with whatever temporal limits deemed adequate.
Such systems of exchange can only function among reasonably trustworthy, easily identified persons or households. It is not meant as a replacement of the traditional money-economy, but to handle precisely such transactions, which might not take place, if money had to be involved. Thus is created a "green" local market, which may be particularly attractive to a population of unemployed.
This may be considered a certain threat to traditional professional enterprises and it is of course highly problematic seen from the tax-side, as it is particularly unsuited to VAT and income-taxation, and therefore tends to be treated correspondingly as a method of tax-evasion.
Seen in a broader angle and on a wider time horizon, which considers the new species of goods, and their basic and essential properties, as well as the new networks of transport and communication in the exchange, such systems may still deserve further consideration. Some kinds of exchange for "authenticable" non-monetary "obligations" within a virtual neighbourhood - and even beyond- may afford vital and ecologically sustainable growth-potentials, which traditional monetary systems are curtailing, to the benefit of the very money-sphere.

One may speculate, whether a digital LETS-economy, where the value tokens instead of being anonymous are particularised, authenticated veridically as obligation to delivery of a particular good or service, may not constitute a way to regains some of the qualities of exchange characterising the un-formalised and un-tokenised exchanges of the Oikos.
The intrusion of the arbitrary abstract monetary unit in everyday life has tended to deform the sense of values, as goods are not priced according to the value they have for the consumer, but according to the value which can balance supply and demand on an open interest market in favour of the producer. Whereas such systems may have had their time, they are especially inadequate in an information society, where they tend to restrict the dissemination of information-goods. In a networked virtual neighbourhood there will be possibilities for development of unprecedented modes of flexible organisation in relation to exchange of goods and services in a context of local enterprise.
As the conditions for symbolic exchange are radically changing and "money" in the traditional sense is re-constituted as merely a currency-category of specially qualified "protected bit-codes", the emerging of parallel, otherwise qualified, currencies of "protected bit-codes" will easily flourish.
Thus it will be possible to develop and work with new, locally initiated autonomous token economies separated from the proper monetary economy. Such economies can in principle be proprietary to the single household. In view of the distance-reduction of telenetworks, they can also be established across territorial borders of all kinds. But there are good reasons to believe that they will be especially suited in the medium range of local neighbourhoods and towns, because they may offer incentive and be instrumental in the constructive development and use of new "third labour market - labour categories".


If the assessments of HOITA potentials and vulnerabilities shall issue in a better, more humane, more democratic and more ecologically responsible consumer-oriented product-development and transition policy, it is necessary to develop concepts of a new order, like some of those which have been indicated in the preceding paragraphs..

It will be necessary to develop prototypes which can be tested in genuine inhabited homes over longer stretches of time.

It will be necessary to conceive of subsequent generations of field-experiments, involving groups of homes and circles of acquaintances.

It will be necessary to have in view that the production of public encyclopaedias and public-service databases, public libraries and teleeducation may have to take into account an entirely new understanding of future user needs.

Current producers and service providers may come to reconceptualise their notion of, who and what will be at the receiving end in which kinds of domestic studios.
In particular the potentials of unobtrusive virtual-body representation may attract the various technicians of the body, the administrators of knowledge of the body and its monitoring, because domestic access to dynamic self-reference concerning the flow of body-states may point to important short-cuts between health-education, prophylactics, early warning systems, self-diagnosing and autonomous decentralised domestic health-administration.

Also we should point to new tasks turning up for consumer-organisations: The vulnerability of consumers to overwhelming multitudes of information-offers, woven into intransparent contracts and administrations of price-setting, taxing and billing-systems, will necessitate a new coherent view of domestic cash-flow-control, probably far removed from the wishful thinking of the exploitation and profit-oriented vendors of self-obsoleting services and self-obsoleting tools. Much is to be expected from an ecology- and consumer-oriented visualisation of proximal value-flow which can be used in households and virtual neighbourhoods to reflect the fates of multi-dimensional proper values between all kinds of sources and drains..

To see HOITA (Home-Oriented-Informatics, Telematics & Automation) in a sane Research & Development perspective is to see HOITA as networking in a strongly inter-disciplinary community, bent on construction, transition-enabling, experimentation, prototyping, field-experimenting.

There may be 2 opposite reasons to be afraid of HOITA-research:

a) Because HOITA may be developed as a repressive tool, to implement social and mental psychosocial control and pacification, homogenisation, "harmonising" and exploitation. Further development and miniaturisation of telemonitoring, AI and robotics may sooner or later be put to such uses, and concepts may be designed for home- and self-administrative patterning along the guidelines of coercive totalitarian cultural mythologies

b ) Because HOITA ultimately can point the way to decentralisation of documentary power, recycling of information in green communities, re-empowering of grounded and culturally rooted citizens and democratic spread of grassroots research and grassroots solidarity.

Instead of making enemy-pictures between potential HOIT-consumers and HOIT-producers and vendors, we might try out the hypothesis, that consumers and producers may in fact have some common interests in the (very) long run.


Earlier attempts fall far short of developing an imagery of a future home, with which the private citizens can identify themselves. And, on the other hand - if we look across the breath of innovations in store, we must be astonished, realising that the potential resultant-space, when the immense variety of primary and secondary needs emerging across the life-ages of households are taken into account, must exceed all imagination.

To avoid an unhealthy intellectual vertigo facing these enormities we can stress that although the potential resultant space- especially when we are thinking across diverse cultural life forms and building forms - really will be tremendously complicated, the potential resultant space for a single household with advantage can be understood as a relatively coherent, timegeographical, reflexive, map updating, interactive, few-user-system.

When applying the name "virtual home" to such an artifact, an entirely new category seems to be proposed. But, figuratively speaking, everyone's own imagination is already handling such a device, a - more or less abstract - more or less vividly conjectured - mental map of the domestic scenery and the household-processes, with their props, their actors, their events, their scripts, proceedings and serials, their entrées and sorties, their front stage and their backstage aspects.

The innovation which technology can offer is a strongly facilitated externalisation of such imageries, and their personally relevant sedimentation over days, months and years in a retrievable and indexicable form. There are reasons to believe that the reflexive and narrative powers thus in store for an ever increasing segment of the global population, shall enable citizens in their homes to constructively narrate themselves, primarily amongst themselves, and guided by their own particular cultural and biographical relevances. This may sound as an extremely "domocentric narcissistic purpose", which could hardly motivate financial investment. But it lies at the core of a necessary grassroot redistribution of information power.


Domestic multimedia systems may -with human advantage -be construed and constructed with a prior view to their vital functions for personal orientation, in a world of increasing complexity and accelerating change.

The notion and term "Domestic Information Dynamics" may be used as an adequate framing for an evolving field of decentralised "Domestic Space research".

This implies an anticipatory concept of the common home as more of an experimental home and the common citizen / critical user / as more of an idiographic researcher.

It is important to be aware of the imminent quantal jump in representational power, (dynamic interactive 3-D virtual representation) and its possible use in tying together, in one cognitive figure, the use of the whole material and symbolic domestic tool-aggregate through the development of a figure-of-thought called the virtual home.

The notion of such a domestic multi-user self referential system and instrument/interface has to be further developed.

The virtual home can be used as paradigm for an enculturable tool for users' autonomous existential orientation and lifespace navigation from a domocentric perspective of personally/familiarly organised, evolving thematic relevance-structures. And it can be evaluated on the criterion of its helpfulness in reinstalling the household members as masters of their shared and individual, inherited and acquired information resources.

The development of basic strategic concepts of the duplex virtual home interface invites to prototyping experiments in enriched more or less broad band inter-homes telecommunication (HOME-LINK), - and to the possible application of "shared graphics" field experiments on "virtual neighbourhoods"[20]

We may come to witness the coherent embedding of virtual bodies in virtual homes as local cells in emerging virtual neighbourhood s in the virtual world of a global cyberspace.

Future philosophers will have to ponder about the ontology and epistemology of the prospective virtual worldmakings and the ethics and pragmatics of virtual terrestrial and domestic ecologies or gods.

We, as a generation, must face the necessity of explicit cross-cultural solidary value-commitment if we will prevent the emerging virtual world from running amuck in homeless anarchy,- while obsoleting the personal and local stocks of historically developed cultural resiliences and creating irreversible breaks in cultural continuities..

I have therefore in [28] suggested the following objectives as significant signposts and criteria of success in the future development within the field of Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics and Automation:



[1] Miles, Ian, Home Informatics. Information Technology and the Transformation of Everyday Life , Pinter Publishers, London 1988
[2] Lorentz, Roderique, A more human history of homes in: Altman, I., Werner, C.M., Home Environments, Plenum Press, 1985
[3] Miles, Ian., Rush, H, Turner, K. and John Bessant, Information Horizons - The Long-Term Social Implications of New Information Technologies, Edward Elgar, Hampshire 1988
[4] Lull, James, World Families watch television, Sage Pub. Newbury. Park 1988
[5] Bjerg, Kresten & Kim Borreby, HOIT 94, Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics & Automation. Proceedings from an international cross-disciplinary Conference, Oikos, The Experimental Home, Psychological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, 1994
[6] Rijn, F. van & R. Williams (eds) Concerning Home Telematics, Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1988
[7] Mackintosh International, The Interactive Home Vol.I- IV, Mackintosh International Ltd: London 1986.
[8] Hagelskjær, Elin: Bringing modern times into households. In: Felix van Rijn & Robin Williams (eds), Concerning home telematics, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1988.
[9] Amphoux, Pascal, L'intelligence de l'habitat , Domotique 88. Proceedings from Premiere Conference europeenne sur l'habitat intelligent. Paris, 1988.
[10] Meyrowitz, Joshua, No Sense of Place. The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behaviour, OUP, New York, 1985
[11] Rijn, Felix van, Bjerg K. and Frerk,G., Perspectives on Home-Oriented Informatics and Telematics in: Education and Society - Information Processing 92, vol.2, Elsevier Science Publications, Amsterdam 1992
[12] Silverstone, Roger and Hirsch (eds.) Consuming Technologies. Media and Information in domestic Spaces. Routledge, London, 1992
[13] Hodson, Noel et al., The Economics of Teleworking, London and New York, John Wiley 1993
[14]Haddon, Leslie and Silverstone, Roger, Teleworking in the 1990s: A View from the Home, SPRU/CICT Report Series, 10, University of Sussex, 1993
[15] Vitalari, N.P.: Information technology in daily life. In: J. Berleur et al., The information society: evolving landscapes, Springer Verlag, New York/Heidelberg & Captus Press Inc., North York, 1990.
[16] Silverstone, Roger and Morley, David, 'Families and their Technologies: Two Ethnographic Portraits', in Putnam, David and Newton, Charles (eds.) Household Choices, London, Futures Publications, 74-83, 1990
[17] Rheingold,Howard,Virtual Reality, Mandarin, London 1992
[18] Schutz,Alfred & Luckmann,T: The structures of the Life-World, Heinemann, London 1974
[19] Strawson, P. F.: Individuals, London 1959
[20] e.g. Alan Shaw, Four Corners Project in Boston.Unpublished.
[21] Richardson S, J, and Poulson D F, Supporting Independent Living Through Adaptable Smarter Home (ASH) Technologies, In B Glastonbury (Ed): Human Welfare and Technology, Papers from the HUSITA 3 Conference on IT and the Quality of Life and Services, Maastricht, Netherlands, Van Gorcum, Assen,1993
[22] Richardson S. J, Poulson D F, and Nicolle C, User Requirements Capture for Adaptable Smarter Home Technologies, In E Ballabio, I Placencia- Porrero and R. Puig de la Bellacasa (Eds:) Rehabilitation Technology, Strategies for the European Union, Proceedings of the 1st TIDE Congress, 6-7 April 1993, Brussels. IOS Press, 1993
[23] Bates, B.J., Information as an Economic Good, in Mosco, V. and Wasko, J.(Eds:) The Political Economy of Information, University of Wisconsin, 1988
[24] Wise, Richard, A Cybernetic Paradigm for a Cyberspace Economy in [5]
[25]Lehmer, Gisela: Theorie des wirtschaftlichen Handelns der privaten Haushalte - Haushaltsproduktion und Informationstechniken im Wechselspiel, Køln 1993.
[26]Lehmer, Gisela, Using Modern Information and Communication Technologies in the Home - Breaking the Mold of the Economy of the Household in [5]
[27] Michael Linton: Money and the Sustainable Economy, 1995, not in print but obtainable from
[28] Bjerg, Kresten: Private Homes and Neighbourhoods: Agenda for a Long-term Information Policy in [5]


The constitution of HOITA as an identified crossdisciplinary field has a short history. In 1986 Mid Eighties IFIP's Technical Committee on the Relationship between Computers and Society (TC 9) concluded that it should pay attention to the impact of new technologies on households. This resulted in a successful and very lively and stimulating Working Conference in 1987. The proceedings of this conference were published in 1988 by North-Holland under the title 'Concerning Home Telematics'[6]
As a follow up after the conference, and on the initiative of its organizer, Felix van Rijn a new Working Group on HOIT (WG 9.3) was established to offer a platform for discussion, exchange of ideas, cooperation, stimulation of surveys and studies, promoting public and interdisciplinary debates, and other activities.
Out of the transactions of this widely distributed group came, in 1992 a newsletter (Oikos Issue 1), summing up the status of the field.
A new international conference took place as HOIT-94 at the University of Copenhagen.The original complete proceedings of this conference are out of print, but partially made acessible in this WWW-site, as Vol.1 of Oikos-e.
As a window and door to and from the still for many researchers not easily accessible WWW , WG.9.3 has established a moderated usenet discussiongroup (Comp.home.misc) from which the - yet few - postings are circulated to a list, to which anybody in possesion of an e-mail adress can subscribe 7 The papers of the HOIT94 Conference, as accessible through WWW are here set up as a separate reference list:

[5] Bjerg, Kresten & Kim Borreby: HOIT 94, Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics & Automation.Proceedings from an international cross-disciplinary Conference, Oikos, The Experimental Home, Psychological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, 1994


[29].Kresten Bjerg: Introduction

Trends, Policies & Macromechanisms

[30]Rijn, Felix van, What is HOIT about?

[31]Cronberg, Tarja, The Social Construction of Home Technology

[32]Burgelman, J.C., Convergence and Trans European Networks: some policy problems

[33] Dholakia, Nik and Dholakia, Ruby Roy, Multimedia Technologies in the American Home:

Prospects and Challenges ahead

[34]Venkatesh, Alladi, Cultural Dimensions of Household Technology Adaption: The Case of India

[35]Stodolsky, David, Computer-network based Democracy: Scientific Communication as a Basis

for Governance

[36]Hansen, Finn, Social Construction of Home Electronic Worlds Based on a Historical Case

[37]Cawson, Alan, In Search of the Interactive Consumer: The Design and Development of

Compact Disc-Interactive

[38]Christoffersen, Mads, User needs and telecommunication service provision in Denmark

A new Production

[39]Wise, Richard, A Cybernetic Paradigm for a Cyberspace Economy

[40]Storgaard, Kresten, Patterns of future Telecommunications

[41]Lehmer, Gisela, Using Modern Information and Communication Technologies in the Home

-Breaking the Mold of the Economy of the Household

[42]Brenner,Walther and Kolbe, Lutz, Future Business Spheres Arising from Computerized

Information Processing in the Private Household

[43]Reese, James W., Global Telework Using the Internet for the Home-Based Business

[44]Zimmermann, Hans-Dieter, TeleCounter: A Case Study on Integration of Private Households
in Telematic Services

[45]Day, Peter and Horner, David, Convivial Teleworking for Social and Economic Development

[46]Bakke, John W ., Teleworking on the Domestic Scene

[47]Metselaar, Carolien and Poultlan, Marieke, Effects of Telework on Women's Positions in
Organizations - a comparison of Case Studies

[48]Gatzke, Monika and Lehmer, Gisela: Women as Entrepreneurs in using New IT in the
Domestic Context

A new Consumption

[49]Bedrosian, Alex and Bedrosian, Michael, Technology in the Home: A Benefit/Cost Analysis

[50]Szentivanyi, Tibor, Consequences of New Telematic Services and Information Flood
reaching Homes

[51]Gips, James, Bringing the City into the Home: Trends in On-Line Services

[52]Jæger, Birgit, The Social Construction of Videotex in Denmark

[53]Gatzke, Monika and Monse, Kurt, Beyond Technological Competence. Boundaries of
Technological Penetration of Everyday Life

[54]Tokmakoff, Andrew and Billington, J., Consumer Services in Smart City Adelaide

[55]Ling, Richard and Brekka, Ragna, The Effects of Catalogue Information on the Perceptions
and Use of Norwegian Premium Rate Services

[56]Casimir, Gerda, The Influence of Telematics on the Household

[57]Steinhardt, Gerald, The Domestic Computer: Computer Usage by Adolescents in Everyday
Life Sociocultural Impact and Implications on Design

[58]Taylor, Jeff, Multimedia Design for IT Impact Assessment in Education, Research and at Home

[59]Jokanovic, Dusan, Mediators in Home-Oriented Information Delivery Systems

[60]Penner, Robin, Goldman, Robert P. and Kimball, John, Agent-Based Systems for the Home

[61]Carlsen, Niels V., Dieterich, H. and Schneider-Hufschmidt, M., A Multi-Modal Evolving
Personal Information Manager

On the Inside - Domestic Spaces

[62]Silverstone, Roger, In the Eye of the Storm: the Domestication of Information and
Communication Technologies - Present and Future

[63]Haddon, Leslie and Silverstone, Roger, The Careers of Information and Communication
Technologies in the Home

[64]Avram, Christopher P., Availability, Useability and Utilisation of Information Technology
in Australian Homes

[65]Ludvigsen, Børre,The Digital Family

[66]Rasmussen, Terje, Communication Technologies and the Contextualization of Daily Life

[67]Poulson, David and Richardson, Simon, Is Home Technology the Answer to the Needs
of the Elderly ?

[68]Villumsen, Helle, Schultz-Larsen, Kirsten, Ambrose, Ivor and Gottshalk, Georg, The Elderly, Communication Technologies and Housing: A Scoping Project

[69]Bjerg, Kresten, Domestic Information Dynamics and the Virtual Home

[70]Nake, Bjørn, Cyberspace and the "Lived Space"

[71]Westman, Bror, Home: Recharging and Creating Symbols - Two Time Aspects of the Home

[72]Punie, Yves, The Diffusion of Information and Communication Technology in the
Micro-Context of the Home: a User-Led Approach and Conceptual Issues

A New Construction

[73]Fanshawe, David, Home Systems

[74]Skinner, David, Computerized Homes: Visions and Realities

[75]Wilpert, Gregory, Meyer, Sibylle and Schulze, Eva, Smart Homes: On the Development,
Acceptance, and Consequences of Integrated Systems in the Household

[76]Rossel, Pierre, From Intelligent Homes to Intelligent Cities - the Interactivity Threshold

[77]Maguire, M. C. and Butters, L. M., Usage Behavior and Attitudes in Operating Home
Electronic Devices

[78]Riolo, Joseph, Interactive TV: Looking Into the Future

[79]Colazzo, Luigi and Molinari, Andrea, A Prototype for Distance Education Using Hypertexts

[80]Stork, Adam and Long, John, A Planning and Control Design Problem in the Home:
Rationale and a Case Study

[81]de Vries, Pierre, Home Information Systems and Services

[82]Gritzman, Michael, Kluge, Anders, Lovett, Hilde and Bechmann, Trond, Design Principles
for the Human-Computer Interaction on a Screen-Based Telephone

[83]Brandt, Åse, The Telephone for All

[84]Strøm, Georg, The Integrated Multimedia Terminal

[85]Sloane, Andy, Homelink: Technical Considerations and Proposals

Here and Now

[86]Skude, Flemming, A Presentation of the Villa Vision - Ecological House of the Future

[87]Bjerg, Kresten, A Presentation of the Experimental Home of the 90's

[88]Danish Ministry of Finance, Committee to look into the Information Technology Society

[89]Bjerg, Kresten, Private Homes and Neighbourhoods: Agenda for a Long-Term
Information Technology Policy

Position Papers (ommitted here)



[90] Arterton, F.C., Teledemocracy: Can Technology Prtotect Democracy ?, Newburt Park, California, Sage Pub., 1987

[9] Bachelard, Gaston , La Poetique de l'Espace, PUF, Paris 1957

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1The personal failures of winding the clock have, however been replaced by the failures of batteries and the failures of the mains supply.
2 cfr. the later discussion of "the virtual body"
3 Here and elsewhere I am drawing heavily upon (11)
4 Taylor,in [5]
5 An unexpected term, for sure, but adequate in that the autonomous command of electronic hieroglyphs, virtual blackstones and dynasties of inbreeding inheritable electronic slaves does represent a new dimension of consumer-power.
6 It could also be problematized whether such initiatives should not perhaps start as a common free service, offered through a collaboration between the municipalities, the housing companies , the cable owners and the telecompanies.
7 by (only) placing the command: subscribe home-l in an e-mail to
8 htttp://