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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 18:27 GMT
Home control from a mobile phone
Spencer Kelly
By Spencer Kelly
Reporter, BBC Click Online

It is a beautiful Helsinki morning, and you have decided to pop out for the day to do a bit of skiing.

You have packed a lunch, you have fitted your snow chains, and you have fed your pet reindeer.

And you are half way to the piste when a thought suddenly strikes you... did I leave the oven on?

Camera
A motion-sensitive camera will alert Markku's phone
Here in Finland, that kind of paranoia could soon be a thing of the past, when everyone has a place like the house that Markku built.

Even when Markku is out, he can control every electrical appliance through a web portal on his mobile phone.

Markku Peittola is the development manager of APTUS. He says: "I can control all my lights, front door, burglar alarms, fire alarms, adjust the heat in every single room."

The secret is a GPRS modem in the closet, which receives the instruction from the phone.

This routes the on/off command to a chip controlling the power supply to the relevant appliance.

But data does not just flow one way.

Thermostats send inside and outside temperature information to Markku's phone, sensors tell him if the doors are locked, and a motion-sensitive camera alerts him if it detects anyone sneaking up the garden path.

Jukka Eklin, MD of Linet OY, says: "When the motion detector detects that there is movement outside the door of the house it activates the camera.

"The camera then sends pictures over an ADSL link to a service provider, and then asks the mobile phone user to connect to that website and download the pictures it has been sending him."

Nowadays we all have busy lives, rushing here and rushing there, and sometimes it is easy to forget the basics, like locking the door or setting the alarm.

These systems represent the next logical step in connectivity - a mobile phone that connects you directly to your home and all the appliances in it.


Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0730 . Also BBC World.

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