Nokia’s going out on a limb with their latest product, the Home Control Center, which will tie in a variety of home functions including electricity usage monitoring, remote device activation, and security functions with your phone or computer. Conservation is going to be a big part of this project, as German energy provider RWE has partnered with Nokia to make sure homeowners will be able to properly guage their power use and keep it as low as possible. There are already a couple of services getting into the home control via phone business, like Unify4Life and SlingBox, but the Nokia Home Control Center should be more of an enabler than competition, as their platform will allow third parties to plug right in.
“We see there is growth potential in the smart home market,” said Teppo Paavola, Vice President, Head of Corporate Business Development, Nokia. “The home of today has intelligence everywhere, but to date there has not been a solution that is interoperable with wide range of home systems that can easily be controlled. We want to create an open solution where external partners can develop their own solutions and services on top of our platform. We believe that the mobile device is an ideal interface to control home intelligence, especially when the user is not at home.”
Sounds promising, no? What kind of home functions would you like to have from your phone? The conference call outlined one really cool service called PhoneBell, where you recieve a phone notification when someone rings your doorbell, sends a picture of the person if you have a security camera set up, and even lets you remotely unlock the door for them. Pretty snazzy. The main areas the Home Center will focus on are:
- Energy & efficiency
- Construction & real estate
- Premium home automation
Nokia is aiming for a European launch in late 2009. Taking a quick look at the hardware specs, we can see that the actual product will be an N-class Wi-Fi router, with USB, ethernet and SD card slots, and optional GPRS connectivity. It will also include native S60 3.1 support for all those out there already with Nokia handsets, although any handset with a mobile browser will be able to access functions, and open APIs will allow other manufacturers to plug in. For more info on the project, listen in on the audiocast presentation, or check out nokia.com/smarthome.