July 25th, 2006

Text Messages from My Washing Machine?

Remote controlled laundry machine? Whirlpool and Microsoft, among others, are testing the addition of a washing machine and dryer to your home network. It will send you alerts via IM, email or SMS. I suppose there must be a web interface to set all of this up. I imagine adding TV, washing machine, toaster, etc. to my “home appliance buddy list.” However, since I’m a wireless analyst, I won’t imagine it further. What I do imagine though is an overwhelming number of text messages to my cell phone (that I’m paying for) that have a bunch of information that I neither want nor need. I like the idea of triggering home automation with something as simple as a text message though I think it’s more of an alert system.

It’s an interesting idea. Keys to success will include delivering REAL value to consumers and not simply information. Real value to me would be letting me know if it’s flooding. Also, there has to be an easy way to control information flow such that folks are not overwhelmed with messages. Lastly, how do I know if the machine is online? and can find an IP address? and isn’t connected to my neighbor’s AP? and how do I connect to my own that has security enabled? The washing machine experiment is not unique in highlighting some of the challenges of connected (wirelessly) homes.

See press release.

See story on Fierce.

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