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Local News

Demonstration Plays It Smart with Home of the Future and a Connected Life

Cox Communications uses concept exhibit to provide a high-tech glimpse of what’s to come — and it’s fast

 

With a click on a smartphone, an Internet-connected plug-in air freshener combines fragrance with technology to bring the scent that users want to smell in their home.

An augmented-reality smartphone app makes 19th-century portraits on a wine bottle come to life. The character on the label becomes animated via the app when a phone’s camera is pointed at the bottle.

A pet food bowl is refilled remotely, the owner keeping watch by way of a webcam and operable anywhere via smartphone.

All of the gadgets are working simultaneously on the same Internet connection and controlled by multiple smartphone or tablet users.

Cox Communications recently brought its Smart Home “home of the future” concepts to Goleta.

Cox set up more than 10 interactive smart devices and demonstrations connected to its broadband Internet. The gadgets offered a variety of services, and the devices in the house are available.

The Village at Los Carneros, the site of the tour, is the first residential community in the Santa Barbara region wired with fiber-optic technology allowing homeowners the opportunity to access Cox’s gigabit residential Internet service, G1GABLAST.

The service operates 100 times faster than today’s Internet speeds, allowing users the ability to download 1,000 photos in about a minute, according to Cox, a privately held digital cable television, telecommunications and home automation services provider.

It will be a few years before the ultra-fast service is widely available throughout the Central Coast, acknowledged Kirsten McLaughlin, market vice president at Cox Communications.

“The home of the future will have an increasing number of WiFi-enabled devices, and it will become imperative for everyone in the household to experience the same level of connectivity,” she said.

“Our event brings together innovative, interactive products and services, such as virtual reality and telepresence, with local innovators and organizations, to show the importance of reliable, gig-speed Internet.”

At the touch of a finger, Cox’s Homelife voice-activated security and automation system allows users to monitor and watch their home 24/7 from their smartphones or tablet devices.

In the dining room, CHiP the robotic dog sits on the ground. CHiP is an alternative pet that never has to be fed or walked. The robot dog can be controlled with a tablet device. The small white robotic pup reacts to a human voice and gestures.

“Today’s average household connects six devices to the Internet, from laptops and tablets to gaming and smartphones,” according to a Cox news release.

Each home will have an average of 50 Internet-connected devices by 2020, said Ryland Madison, director of product marketing of Cox Communications California and Southwest.

In the backyard, a WiFi-enabled cooking appliance is grilling sausages. The accompanying app allows the grill to turn on and off remotely, set and monitor a temperature, and cook the food from inside your home.

“You can grill anything — from tri-tip to apple pie,” said Greg Horton, Cox Communications business operation manager who gave the demonstration.

Other devices controlled through smartphone or tablet apps were placed throughout the two-story house.

In the bathroom, a wireless smart pill organizer with sensors can alert users if they’ve forgotten to take their medication.

In the master bedroom, iHealth’s wireless blood-pressure monitor is a voice-supported and WiFi-enabled.

The event also showcased an iRobot Roomba 960 and featured demonstrations from MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation and WorldViz virtual reality.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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