Ursula Drost, Managing Director Business Consulting Network International

May 27, 2010. Mr. Smith comes home. The webcam at his front door registers his approach and the computer greets him by name: “Welcome home, Mr. Smith. Please identify yourself.” He places his index finger on the touch screen. The computer thanks him, and the front door slides open noiselessly. The robot butler glides up and offers its services, stowing Mr. Smith’s shoes on the bottom shelf and placing his slippers in front of his feet. The master of the house places his coat across the outstretched sensor-equipped arm of the butler on wheels. This is its signal: “Did you have a nice day, Mr. Smith? Your veggie drink is waiting for you in the day room. You had three calls while you were away. Would you like to review your messages? My display is at your disposal.” Mr. Smith touches the screen and sees a 3D hologram of his computer technician, who wants to reschedule his appointment. His sister appears as an avatar and asks when he’d like to come to dinner again. The third call, much to his annoyance, is just a simple voice message. It’s his father, of course, a technophobe who still clings to his old smartphone.