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Nokia: a platform for home automation with mobile phones

Nokia has announced plans for a platform called "Home Control Center" which could open a new era for home automation services and solutions. The Home Control Center designed as a basis for the remote management of security systems, air conditioning and heating systems and appliances.

The platform is open and allows third parties to integrate their services and solutions; the main advantage for the user should be the "plug and play" experience of the solutions provided and the high levels of safety incorporated. All solutions based on the platform in question can be used through a Smartphone or a computer in local or remote mode. The user can check the use of electricity, turn on and off electrical devices, monitor the ambient temperature, the video camera and movement. The systems inside a home can be connected to the telephone platform, including devices for safety, heating and ventilation systems.

All homes currently have a certain degree of automation, but to date no solutions have been presented that are capable of interacting with the various domestic systems and being easily controlled. An open solution, which will allow you to have a platform with which to develop and integrate various types of services and solutions. Mobile devices are the ideal interface for controlling automatic home systems, especially when the user is away from home.

Nokia has communicated the partnership with one of the main European energy companies, the RWE to develop a complete solution for the management of energy consumption and the production of CO2 in homes. With this goal in mind, the first joint Nokia-RWE solution, scheduled for late 2009, will focus on managing domestic heating and will consist of a central control unit and remote control thermostats for radiators. The user interface will consist of the computer and the mobile device. RWE plans to include special offers for these devices in the new energy supply contracts. Nokia and RWE will expand after 2009 the services connected to automatic meters, to provide consumers with real-time information on energy consumption and thus allow control of energy expenditure.

The Finnish company has also started collaborations with several other companies aimed at defining and creating a solid basis for the creation of next generation products, which will introduce a new type of mobile access to smart home systems. Among the partners Danfoss, Delta Dore, Ensto, Meishar Immediate Community (MIC) and Zensys. Nokia's Smart Home Partner program is structured into five key areas that will be developed by creating new opportunities for next-generation home automation: security, energy efficiency, well-being, construction, real estate and home automation solutions.

Details of the solution will be presented at the Nokia World event to be held in Barcelona on 2 and 3 December 2008. The commercial launch is expected for the end of 2009.

(By Mauro Notarianni)