For retailers, home networking is a value-add, an opportunity to sell new products and services, or promote the networkability of a premium product. But, boy, is it going to be messy--at least for a while.
Home networking standards are still in flux, their utility being explored, and the market is still being defined. The computer industry, consumer electronics and communications industries are waging polite holy wars--working together to support standards in some areas, working resolutely apart in others.
Look at a list of home networking-related industry working groups and one sees that those in the computer camp--Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM and others--have been very aggressive in developing home network standards and technologies such as home wireless RF networks, power-grid and phoneline-based networks.