Monday, 21 June 2010 16:36

ip.access and AlertMe demonstrate femtocell-enabled home energy management solution

By Liz Hartney

Cambridge innovators enable energy saving and convenient control of home appliances via the mobile phone

Cambridge, 21 Jun 2010 - ip.access, the leading developer of femtocell and picocell solutions, and AlertMe.com, the pioneer in home energy management systems, have created a demonstration showing how femtocells can be integrated into smart home energy management solutions.

With femtocell integration, the AlertMe Energy service can automatically detect when phones enter or leave the house and can therefore power down lights, televisions and other home appliances automatically when the house is empty. The service can also switch the services back on again when the residents return.

The ip.access femtocell powered service also enables mobile phones to control electrical devices in different parts of the house using a series of commands and automatic triggers.

Smart energy metering and control is the subject of extensive EU regulation over the coming years, and services such as AlertMe Energy, which allows electrical appliances in the home to be controlled via the Internet, are set to become a part of everyone's lives in the near future.

ip.access has combined the AlertMe Energy service with its own femtocell technology. The solution works by allowing electrical appliances to switch on and off automatically in response to the presence or absence of phones in the home. The 'presence' information is routinely gathered by the femtocell but is normally only used to route cellphone traffic and set tariffs.

The AlertMe integration enables this presence information to be used to set personalised light and power preferences which are activated automatically when a subscriber arrives at home. Pre-set electrical outlets can also switch off automatically to save energy a few minutes after the last person has left the house.

The demo also shows how supplementary services codes on the phone can be personalised through the femtocell when the phone is at home, allowing the phone to be used to switch appliances on and off remotely. For example, a subscriber could type *1# on their phone to switch off the downstairs lights and power after retiring upstairs to bed.

'One automatic trigger could be to switch the kettle on as soon as you arrive home,' said Dr Andy Tiller, VP Marketing at ip.access. 'But there is a lot more to this than just tea and convenience.

'Using a femtocell to personalise supplementary services codes is a new and unique idea,' he said. 'It enables the mobile phone to become a powerful controller for all kinds of applications in the home. And because it's a network-enabled feature, it works with any handset - there are no applications to install.'

According to AlertMe.com founder Pilgrim Beart, 'The mobile phone is increasingly the remote-control for your life. Most people carry their handset everywhere they go, making it an ideal control device for the AlertMe Energy service. And because everyone already has a mobile phone, there is no extra cost involved.'

The demo also shows how the AlertMe Hub (the central device that receives instructions via the Internet and controls the electrical plugs in the home) can be integrated inside a femtocell Access Point, receiving its power and Internet connection through the femtocell. In this way, a mobile operator could offer a smart home energy management solution as an integrated option to its femtocell subscribers.

ip.access will be showing the demonstration at the Femtocells World Summit in London from 22-24 June.


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