Envisioning the Future of the Digital Culture

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-06-11 Print this article Print

Conference demonstrates connected appliances that have been talked about for more than a decade. But it also showed remote control security and access, temperature and electricity monitoring, powered shades and blinds, entertainment centers, and a long list of other items.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In the not-too-distant future, you'll be hard-pressed to find any device in your residence that isn't able to be controlled from some other location.

Yes, we are referring to those connected toasters and refrigerators that have been talked about for more than a decade. But we're also talking about remote control security and access, temperature and electricity monitoring, powered shades and blinds, entertainment centers, and a long list of other items.

They all will be controllable from anywhere on Earth through an iPhone, BlackBerry, laptop or netbook.

These were hot topics of conversation at the Connections 2010 Digital Living Conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center June 9 and 10.

For example, if you're out of town on vacation and worry if you left the thermostat up in the house or the oven on in the kitchen, no worries. You'll be able to check on -- and fix -- these things without having to bother the neighbors.

If you want to see who's ringing the doorbell without having to leave your comfortable place on the sofa, you'll just push a button on the TV remote and channel in the security camera above the door to see who it is.

Go here to view a slide show on the highlights of the conference.

If you want to let the visitor inside, simply push another button and the door lock will open for a few seconds. You'll probably be able to check on the person's criminal background before you let him or her in, as well -- although that wasn't discussed at the show.

If you want to change the room temperature at home before you return from work, you'll tap into your home network through your iPhone and make the adjustment. That way you can save heating and cooling costs by having the apparatus off during the day when you're not at home.

The Connections conference brought all these ideas together in one ballroom. Though there were not a high number of companies represented, there were plenty of ideas being demonstrated.

The good news is this: All of these digital living products and services are available right now.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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