The first page advertisement in Sunday Times is about Onida pre-cool AC. I have reproduced the advertisement on the left. Here is more information about it.
User can send an SMS (text message) to the receiving device of the air conditioner to switch on the air conditioner from his mobile phone. The air conditioner gets started and cools the room before the user comes home. This is the World’s first pre-cool AC that can be switched on from anywhere by sending an SMS ‘ON’ to the receiving device.
Inaugural offer of Onida pre-cool air conditioner includes a pre-cool mobile worth Rs. 2,900 for Rs. 1,000/- only. Free Aircel SIM card is also provided on purchase of Onida Pre-cool air conditioner.
Why am I suddenly advertising for Onida? Have I changed jobs? No. I love my work too much to leave it. I am writing about it because this advertisement brought back the memories of the whole “smart homes” hype. However, there is a difference. Conventionally “Smart” or “intelligent” homes offer a comprehensive integrated network of all devices inside and outside of the house that can be operated using a uniform operation interface that can be run on various types of devices, including a PDA, PC or a TV screen.
It conjured up visions of homes, where household appliances perform like a practised cast of actors. No, this is not a corny sci-fi movie from the seventies; these are real gadgets communicating with each other through technology. These conventional systems are quite expensive and generally out of the reach of most people.
None of the things I had read about smart homes ever talked about using the simple text messaging technology to remotely control appliances. Every cell phone is capable of sending a text message. And receiving and processing the message will require a very simple and inexpensive processor. This could open up a whole range of remotely controlled stuff. And if that was to be coupled with alarm functions available on most cell phones, we have a whole new and very inexpensive way of automation.
So a busy working woman could set an alarm so her phone can send an SMS at 1.00 PM to a rice cooker so that steaming rice is ready for her children when they reach home from school at 1.30.
Many times, we are worried about something remaining on by mistake. When we are going on a long vacation don’t we worry whether I turned the Mahanagar Gas supply off? It would be nice to send a text message and turn the supply off.
The possibilities are really exciting and limited by our imagination.
What do you think? I would love to hear your ideas. Please comment.