The home, its technology and its inhabitants are now becoming more and more connected. Many of us now have WiFi networks in the home. We can sit with notebooks on our laps, wireless routers connected to our internet connection allow us to connect entertainment systems, iPads and other network appliances, printers, external drives, Smartphones and more.
Many other devices are now being developed that also offer the benefits of connectivity. For example Internet TV is almost here with products like Google TV being right on our doorstep.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Arthur Anderson offices in Chicago for a glimpse of the future. An example was an intelligent fridge with a bar code reader that created a shopping list and could automatically send the list to the local grocery delivery company.
Bill Gates had a master plan of having a Windows CE engine in home appliances, creating an intelligent house. Smart Appliances will I’m sure be in the home soon and the idea Gates had was that if they all used Windows CE, they would all have a common platform to communicate not only with each other and with your mobile computer, perhaps your home appliances.
The European Commission has perhaps seen the light in setting up The Hydra Project. “The Hydra middleware allows developers to incorporate heterogeneous physical devices into their applications by offering easy-to-use web service interfaces for controlling any type of physical device irrespective of its network technology such as Bluetooth, RF, ZigBee, RFID, WiFi, etc. Hydra incorporates means for Device and Service Discovery, Semantic Model Driven Architecture, P2P communication, and Diagnostics. Hydra enabled devices and services can be secure and trustworthy through distributed security and social trust components of the middleware.”
This has the potential to reduce the risk of being tied to specific brands of computing, communications and other technology by providing middleware that everyone can work with. Of course the home is only one place that can benefit from this concept. It applies equally to telemedicine (monitoring patients in the home), business automation, security, agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing and pretty much any industry you can think of.
Once again Science Fiction is about to become reality. It’s taken a while, but looks like we are getting there.
The following video shows an e-home controlled by voice or even by your X Box Controller and of course you can control it from your iPhone:
I had a quick look around The Home Show http://www.aucklandhomeshow.co.nz/ after helping out Navman on their stand today and there are a couple of stands displaying intelligent home controls. Well worth a look, especially if you are building or renovating.