Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Smart mobile can turn on heating

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Fancy a cuppa? Call the kettle

A system that could eventually control heating, home security cameras and draw curtains has been demonstrated by phone maker Nokia.

The Nokia Home Control Center is a wireless router which can interface with equipment around the home.

The Finnish firm has partnered with European energy company RWE to manage heating systems and is hoping other firms will sign up soon.

It has been showing off the gadget at Nokia World in Barcelona.

The system is expected to be on shelves towards the end of 2009.

Heating on

The smart box is based on an open Linux-based platform and includes a raft of wireless technologies which allow users to connect remotely via a PC or smartphone.

It is envisaged that third parties will integrate their own services as Nokia vies for a slice of the "networked home" market.

It packs 6GB (gigabytes) of storage, necessary if it is to act as a store for video from security cameras.

It can also work out when conditions change, if such automatic functions are pre-set by users.

So the system might recognise a cold snap when the home-owner is on holiday and turn on the heating to avoid freezing pipes on their return.

Star Trek

"We believe that the mobile device is the ideal interface to control home intelligence, especially when the user is not at home," said Teppo Paavola, vice president of business development at Nokia.

"The rate at which gadgets, features and services are being incorporated into the mobile phone is astonishing," said mobile phone expert Thomas Newton from independent comparison website

"Two or three years ago it would have seemed a bit Star Trek to imagine people playing with their heating on their mobile phone - now it's not only plausible, it's actually in the process of being developed."

The idea of a smart device controlling the technology in the home is not new but until now there has been little success in creating a single device that can operate a wide range of electronic systems.

Experts predict that more and more devices, such as freezers, ovens and even kettles will soon be able to speak directly to a mobile data network.

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