IBM is ready to enter a new market: building smarter houses for connected communities. Using a mix of wireless and wired tecchnologies, these homes will be remotely controlled over the Web. NewsFactor tells us more.
At the Village at Tinker Creek, a 170-unit housing development constructed in Roanoke, Virginia, by Commonwealth Builders, each home features an integrated system with "smart" technology for remote management of heating, air conditioning and security systems, as well as a customized portal with access to community information. Residents also have wireless local area network (Wi-Fi) access throughout their US$200,000 homes.
This is the first community of its type in the country, says Gene Cox, director of mobile solutions for IBM's pervasive computing division, and serves as a template for future housing developments. "We have stitched together an ecosystem with our partners so that the wireless local area network access points are installed as part of an intelligent infrastructure," he told NewsFactor.
The partners -- CP Technology of Taiwan and China-based SVA -- are using IBM's WebSphere pervasive-computing platform to offer Web and mobile access to household controls as well as to neighborhood information, local news, shared calendars, and security and utility management.
IBM thinks that homeowners will benefit from reduced energy and insurance bills as well as improved security.
For example, if a person gets to work and cannot remember if he or she closed the garage door when leaving the house, that individual can log on to a personal portal, view the garage via a Webcam security system and verify that the door is closed -- or remotely close it.
And IBM has other grand plans for the future.
IBM foresees a day not too far off when self-reading utility meters are directly linked to billing services, appliances can sound an alert when the equipment is about to fail, and online security systems become more common.
Source: Jay Wrolstad, Wireless NewsFactor, April 7, 2003
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