Smart homes 'not far away', says Cisco

Automation of home appliances could be just around the corner, believes network specialist

Tags: Cisco-LinksysUnited Arab Emirates
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Smart homes 'not far away', says Cisco The router is now a computer: Wingo
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 19, 2012

Every consumer tech fair you visit nowadays seems to feature at least one vendor claiming "the smart home is finally here", but despite much noise and ink on the subject, consumers still switch on their lights and oven by hand and some even iron their own clothes.

Cisco believes this all may start to change soon, both globally and in the GCC, because of a device that we all take for granted: the common router.

In an interview with ITP.net, Brett Wingo, global president and general manager of Cisco Consumer, shared his vision of the router-centric smart environment that could soon take shape in homes across the Gulf region.

"As everything in our lives has gone wireless we no longer have the home server or the desktop computer; the router is a computer and now we've put our own software stack on it, you already can have a device in your home that is capable of [delivering] some of these smart features," said Wingo, speaking at Cisco's offices in Dubai, UAE.

Of course these are not just any routers. They are from Cisco's Linksys Smart Wi-fi range and retail at $100 and above. But each smart router comes with a range of software services, app capability and a software developer's kit (SDK) as well as an open developer platform. This allows the tech savvy to extend the router's functionality and deliver a host of extended utilities.

While the kind of features portrayed in sci-fi movies may be years away, Cisco has been steering the debate in more pragmatic directions. As appliances and utilities would ultimately have to be controlled from a single point of access, be it a hosted application or one resident on a mobile device, Cisco believes the infrastructure will be put in place gradually, as consumers discover smart devices and have positive experiences with them.

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