Posted: Wednesday January 19 2011, Blog Tags:
Your smartphone, that small, portable device you carry with you everywhere you go will take on an even more important role in your life in the future.
It will connect you to your home appliances, let you keep an eye on your house (and naughty dog) while you are out, and give you control over almost any digital device you or your friends own.
And while it might seem like some distant fantasy out of a science fiction movie, the technology to power these interactions is already on its way into your household.
During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, electronics manufacturer LG introduced their line of "Smart Products" - connected appliances that can be remotely activated and controlled with your smartphone.
"With the monitoring and control functions of LG Smart Access consumers can oversee their household chores regardless of their location," said LG in a January 11 blog post.
"Using smart phones or tablet PCs, they can see how much longer their food has to cook, check temperatures and contents of the refrigerator remotely. Consumers can even remotely start their robotic vacuum cleaners to clean up or watch over the house while they are out."
LG is not the only manufacturer working to connect your life to your smartphone.
Car manufacturer Ford announced a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile at CES that will connect to their forthcoming electric car. MyFord Mobile users can remotely unlock the car doors, customise the driver settings based on who will be driving the car, plan their trip, determine the best time to charge their car, or monitor their eco-friendly driving behaviors from their smartphone.
The app will also make suggestions like remotely switching on the heater before you use the car if the outside temperature drops.
Smartphones will take control of your in-car radio too. Oxygen Audio's O'Car system ($349) is the world's first iPhone docking system designed to integrate your iPhone in the car. It virtually turns your smartphone into your stereo giving providing you with hands-free calling, internet radio, GPS navigation and access to videos and songs in your iTunes library.
While you are out and about, snapping pictures on your new camera, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance)-technology will enable you to instantly share photos and videos with your smartphone so you can upload them to the internet from wherever you are.
Samsung's newly announced SH100 WiFi camera, $199.99, is a great example of this technology.
Smartphone apps like Mobiscope ($9.99) and Dropcam ($199 for the webcam, free app) already connect your in-home video surveillance cameras to your smartphone, so you keep an eye on your house while you are away.
French company Withings launched a series of "smart" products at CES including a Smart Baby Monitor that lets you watch your baby from your smartphone and a Blood Pressure Monitor that connects to your smartphone to track your blood pressure.
TV and home theatre manufacturers are releasing applications that replace your remote and let you control your appliances with a few swipes of the finger on your multitouch smartphone screen.
At CES Motorola unveiled a powerful smartphone called the Atrix 4G. The smartphone transforms into a fully functioning netbook when it is plugged into a Laptop Dock accessory, becoming the brains and brawn behind the 11.6-inch screen and full keyboard.
According to a November 18, 2010 report by clean technology market researcher Pike Research, consumer interest in smart appliances will be fairly low over the next few years but by 2019 the industry will represent an annual market of around $26.1 billion.
"Appliance manufacturers have been working with utilities and other technology vendors on pilot projects and, from a technology perspective, have now demonstrated that it is relatively easy to produce a home appliance that achieves utilities' goals for energy management. However, the market is still grappling with business model issues, questions of user privacy and control, technology standards development, and consumer acceptance," said Bob Gohn, a senior analyst at Pike Research.
The Independent (UK)