Envisioning the Future of the Digital Culture

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

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...