Smart homes round the corner

Courtesy: Gulf News

By Scott Shuey, Chief Business Reporter

Dubai: It's not quite the home of the Jetsons, but two companies are lining up to move your home into the future.

The two companies, Eon and etisalat, who has teamed up with Samsung, will soon be bringing Smart Home technology into Dubai's homes.

This technology, which varies tremendously in its uses and sophistication, allows users to control and program everything in their homes from home entertainment to home security.

Leon Beuyukian, CEO of Eon and a founding member of CompuMe, believes that smart-home technology will be in high demand in Dubai. "Dubians are quite early adopters of new technology," Beuyukian said.

"There is the need for the latest technology, and people want home entertainment." The new system that both Eon and etisalat will offer involves the use of IP, or Internet protocol, numbers.

Any appliance plugged into the Internet must have an IP number, and this number allows the object, whether it's a printer or a lighting system, to be controlled by another person with a mobile phone, internet access, or an internet-enabled PDA.

e-studio

According to Beuyukian, the uses are limitless. A person will be able to adjust the A/C, turn on the lights and start the dish washer all before leaving work just by sending an SMS to the smart home.

Beuyukian said that high levels of disposable income and high rate of residential development will also help fuel the demand for Smart Homes. With over 750,000 new units currently either under construction or in the planning stages, the time is perfect to enter the home automation market, he said.

"There's seven per cent growth in the county. The Silicon Valley doesn't have anything life that," he said.

Eon will open its first store, tentatively scheduled for September 18, at the Mall of the Emirates. The store will contain an e-studio, so that customers will be able to see what the products can do for their apartment. Prices vary between 1,000 and 10,000 dirham.

Another company which is getting ready to enter the home automation market is etisalat, who has teamed up with Samsung to provide the new service called Homevita.

Unlike Eon, most of the home automation offered from etisalat will not come from a box. Instead, the company is working with project developers.

Customised solution

"The system is fully ready for implementation, and due to the nature of the system, needs to be installed alongside the physical construction of real estate projects," said Khalifa Al Forah, acting chief marketing officer for etisalat.

"Many property developers have shown interest in this, and etisalat works to customise the solution to the specific needs of each project and developer.

Some off-the-shelf solutions are available mostly for home-level use, but the full customised system needs to be put in place at the development phase of the project itself."