It has been promised for a long time: affordable, easy-to-use technology that lets homeowners use the Internet to take care of their homes. Now a familiar name in technology intends to make good on the promise. IBM just unveiled WebSphere technology that allows owners to connect to their home through a portal from anywhere in the world.
Forget to close the garage door? Log on, double-check and close it remotely. Turn on the heat or air conditioning when heading home to save on energy bills.
Commonwealth Builders (Sterling, Va.) is including the WebSphere infrastructure to wire homes in its development the Village at Tinker Creek in Roanoke, Va. Underground fiber-optic cables run from each home to a home Internet gateway device that manages traffic on a home data network, allowing several PCs to connect to the Internet. Users also can share files in a setup much like corporate computer networks.
IBM is back in the structured wiring business at the right time. A recent study by Dallas-based Parks Associates shows that 20% of new U.S. homes are sold with some kind of structured wiring package combining computer networking, entertainment, security and appliance control.