The smartphone as the controller for the home

September 01, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
The smartphone is a key contender to become the central device in controlling the home. It could also conceivably become the instrument by which we conduct the majority of our purchases, especially small denominations.

There is a lot of talk around wearable technology eventually taking over from the smartphone, but this appears to a rather irrational idea. Smartphones continue to push the limits of computing and communications and it is this very power that is needed for many of the tasks required to control the smart home, carry out secure bank transactions and interact with healthcare. In fact, the very fact that there exists an app-centered approach to addressing a multitude of needs makes the smartphone an ideal general computing platform to base everything on.

Wearable technology will have place, but probably more as an extension of the smartphone. It will allow the smartphone to extend its sensing capabilities into fitness, health and so on, whether as a wearable device or in the form of the so-called smart watch.

Further, the trend in smartphone is towards bigger screens, which makes sense when you mesh a pocket device with the idea of a general controller that is easily customized as needed by simply downloading an app.

What about the home? Smartphones are an ideal platform for basing home control of appliances. As it is app based, it lends itself to change and is easy to implement. Buy a new gadget, simply download the app and connect.

To illustrate this point, San Francisco startup Emberlight has collected nearly five times its initial $50,000 funding goal for commercializing what the company promises to be the simplest way to convert any ordinary dimmable light bulb into a remotely smartphone-controlled light source.

Instead of coming up with yet another remotely controllable fully integrated light bulb, such as Philips’ Hue LED bulb or the LimitlessLED, Emberlight offers a universal bulb socket that can receive any type of ordinary dimmable bulb such as Edison screw or Bayonet-based incandescent, halogen, dimmable cold fluorescent lamps or even dimmable LED bulbs.

The adaptor connects to the home’s WiFi router so it can be remotely

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