Replacing the wires ...
...well, replacing most of the wires anyway. You can't replace the power wires unless they can make Tesla's work on wireless power very safe. But many of the other wires, like communication wires, are being replaced. Will this bring additional problems? Or will it be the ultimate solution? I don't know, but it's here to stay. Either way I know it will keep me employed. :-)
I've been working with others on a new home automation project called OpenRemote. One thing that's been made very clear is that wireless is a must. It's expensive to run cables and if a cable can be replaced by wireless technology then all the better, but it better be inexpensive.
Sometimes things are easy to do, you can replace 10Mbps Ethernet with WiFi (802.11b or g) or you can replace 100Mbps Ethernet with 802.11n (now, if they would only finalized the standard). To replace cables such as RS232 is a bit more difficult. Sending data at various speeds can be handled by WiFi and a terminal server but at an expense. Terminal servers are not cheap the lowest cost models are around $100 (US). Now, what if you need to toggle the control bits of an RS232 port for something like an IR dongle. Well this get a bit more complex. I am aware of a few ways of doing this but lowering the latency could be very important to doing this properly. Let say you need to turn on and off a bit (that's two commands) such as DTR or CTS really fast to generate the correct IR signal. It might take 50+ ms (about 100 Hz, remember on _|- and off -|_) to send each such command via a network at 9600 bps (64 bytes frames). In networking there can be a lot of overhead to send that one command. If such a command gets behind a large frame it could be delayed even more as you have to wait until that large frame gets done. This is not to say it can't be done it's just that it needs to be properly done.
Anyway, I've decided to look into this technology. I'm currently purchased four of the TI EZ430-RF25! 00 devel opment boards. It says it can do 200 kbps and I'm going to see if I can learn to communicate point (a master) to multi-point (multiple endpoints). This should be quite a challenge.