Parks Associates Blog

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nokia introduces Home Control Center

When I joined Parks Associates ten years ago, the "smart home" concept was all the rage. Pretty much every company in our market had some kind of concept center or display house that showed the functionality of the digital home. I remember a visit to GTE's offices in nearby Irving for a tour of a very elaborate set-up.

These digital home mock-ups and very broad digital home strategies fell mostly out of favor after the dot-com crash early in this decade, as companies tended to focus more on tactical solutions rather than the full-blown smart home. However, some of the demonstrations live on - Microsoft has had a digital home in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the past few years. HP has had a mock-up in the parking lot of its Cupertino campus for some time. However, most companies have tended to focus more on one or a select group of connected products (DLNA type of connectivity) instead of the holistic smart home type of concept.

Now, mobile giant Nokia seems to be revitalizing the smart home concept. On November 27, 2008, the company announced that it is developing a smart home platform, the Nokia Home Control Center. The platform, the company notes, will be the "basis for next generation security, smart home solutions and household energy management systems."

The Control Center will focus on electricity usage control, device control, and monitoring for temperature, cameras, and motion. Nokia envisions whole-home systems - such as security and HVAC - being integrated with the Control Center in the future. All devices and systems can be controlled with smartphones and PCs.

Nokia has started working with a number of companies to define and create a solid basis for building the next generation of products that will introduce a new kind of mobile access to intelligent systems at the home. These collaboration partners include Danfoss, Delta Dore, Ensto, and Meishar Immediate Community (MIC) and Zensys. Information about Nokia's smart home initiatives and partners is available at this link.

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