Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Excite@Home in Soho

The two and a half day showcase held by Excite@Home peaked Wednesday night, May 16, at their Cocktail Party held at the Sky Loft in SoHo. The penthouse apartment where Jerry Seinfeld was married last year served as a model of how a house can be enhanced by the use of broadband. The space was modulated to include products by various vendors, including HP, Sharper Image and Infinity. Downstairs, a jazz singer straddled the side of a baby grand piano and cooed out sultry songs, while guests took refuge on the massage recliner and greeted the arrival of fellow guests. Alison Bowman, PR director at Excite@home, challenged me to a race of connection speed, that is-we each tried to log onto "The Cyber Scene" Web page the fastest. Using only a dial-up, I knew I had the disadvantage, but even I was surprised to see how slowly the page loaded. Regardless, I remained a good sport, and allowed Alison to show me around upstairs. The roof-deck patio and second floor were jumping with people more interested in the DJ spinning old-school riffs than in the broadband capabilities for future dwellings. I said hello to Bernardo Joselevich, who was outside by the pool, while I talked to Jeffrey Hearon of Global Broadband Strategies. He was predicting the winners and losers of the industry space. I found Chris Kelly, chief privacy officer of Excite@Home, inside at the oxygen bar, taking a quick hit of Oh La La before jumping on a conference call to California. He swore that the administered gas was giving him the second wind he needed to get through the night.