Home, smart home

Home, smart home


The humble house will be transformed into a media hub with intelligent devices

Let’s leave our bricik and mortar homes and move into digital homes. Your humble home will soon be transformed into a digital and media and entertainment hub. All appliances will be intelligent, transforming your experience by having things work radically simple, together.

In the forefront of this revolution is HP which believes that  every analog process will eventually become digital, virtual, mobile and personalised.

Says Balu Doraisamy, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, HP Asia Pacific & Japan: “Soon all activity will become services.” The trend, according to him, is to deliver services “wherever, however and whenever you need them”.

HP officials say that the cost of digitising a home is subject to the extent of adoption. For instance, if a consumer were to implement a digital home on a draft standard, then the cost and ease of interconnection among appliances could be high and more complex.

According to HP officials, the International Telecommunication Union, along with over 20 industry players ranging from manufacturers, chipset makers and consumer electronics companies, have created homeGrid G.hn in collaboration towards standradising home network technologies.

By developing a worldwide standard using a unified MAC/PHY for coaxial, phone line and powerline networking, ITU G.hn enables operators to deploy home networks most effectively.

Besides, it enables consumer electronics manufacturers to develop cost-effective connected home equipment for the worldwide market; consumers also get a range of interoperable products.

ITU HomeGridG.hn also has a working agreement with ratified standards such as the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). DLNA began in 2003 when a collection of companies from around the world agreed on compatible products.

HP officials believe that efforts like this will ensure that the barrier to entry to the digital home will be somewhat lower and much simpler.

What will a digitised world look like, say, for the housewife, the executive, the student and children?

The unfolding vision is a world where services meet the physical world, where humans are mobile, devices and services are context-aware, and everything has a web presence, say HP officials. Technology will transform the user experience by making things work radically simple, in concert.

A visit to HP’s Cooltown in Singapore recently provided a fascinating peek into tomorrow’s digital world. Set up in late 2001, the innovation centre provides practical demonstrations of HP technologies for those looking for insight and inspiration.

Cooltown provides glimpses of the products that not only cover full Enterprise IT
hardware and software but also most of the consumer technologies to make up the DNA of a full digital lifestyle at home and work. Two significant areas where HP will lead the way to your digital home are: HP Procurve: Home networking infrastructure (switches, routers, wireless access points and firewalls).

Personal systems: Media storage servers, PCs, notebooks, TouchSmart PCs and imaging and printing products.

Cooltown also showcases the use of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) at home.

According to an HP official, with RFID, an internet of things will be created where products have an identity and you know where they are and it would be possible for one to know what to do with them.

Apart from creating a revolution in supply chain management, it can bring in many innovative applications in the home: an RFID-enabled washer or microwave that will make them intelligent, for instance. Asked about India’s contribution to HP’s tech strides, officials said the conglomerate has a lab in India which has come up with successful products like the Gesture-based Keyboard and Script Mail.

Several HP entities in India have collaborations with leading educational institutions including the IISc and the IITs. HP Labs India has many ongoing collaborations with Indian universities as part of the worldwide focus on open innovation.

According to HP officials, it has strong relationships with IITs, especially IIT Bombay, in areas of web-enabled technologies and quantitative search queries. There is a strong network on multimodal interactions and there are numerous universities such as all the IITs, the IIITs, IDC Mumbai, NID Bangalore and Ahmedabad which are working closely with HP Labs on this.

For image processing work there are very good linkages with the IISc. There are special arrangements with IIIT Bangalore and BITS Pilani for PhD sponsorships too.

HP Halo

HP has unveiled its state-of-the-art telepresence solution that brings those attending meetings from around the globe into an environment that gives the feeling of being in the same room.

Designed by DreamWorks Animation in alliance with HP, Halo runs on a private network designed specifically for video collaboration.

CloudPrint

The web services-based technology provides mobile users the ability to easily print documents, presentations, reports and photos to the nearest network printer — in the office or on the road. Sridhar Solur, one of the key brains behind the project, said from London via Halo that the service is “printer-agnostic and driverless, requiring only simple internet access.

The facility is available on Blackberry phones. A whole lot of regulatory and participatory issues need sorting out before CloudPrint turns into a torrent.

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