For those of you who've watched sci-fi Hollywood films showing computerised intelligent homes and dismissed them as being fantasy, you're going to sit up. They're here in India, says KANCHANA BANERJEE.
... In all living spaces.
HOW many times have you been in your car and suddenly remembered that you've forgotten to switch off the light, fan or airconditioner on in your bedroom. Or worse, still wondered if you've switched off the geyser in the bath? These are common slips that happen to the best of us. We promise ourselves to be more careful next time but blame it on stress levels.
Now, you can put all that behind you. Anything that you may have forgotten could just be taken care of by a mere call from your mobile or from your computer at work or just about anywhere. Sounds unbelievable but it's true!
Those of you who've watched sci-fi Hollywood films showing computerised intelligent homes and dismissed them as being the creation of a filmmaker's imagination, are going to sit up. Smart e-Homes have arrived in India. So now all those fantastic homes where lights come on at a mere click of a mouse or where the front door gets locked on pressing a switch are all for real. You can have a finger identification door, or a camera to photograph all visitors who come to your door. You can switch on/off the lights, airconditioner, fan and just about anything in your house by just calling from your mobile. You are taking guests to your home and you don't want to enter a dark house. A call from your mobile will activate the perfect lighting arrangement that has pre-programmed the way you like it to be.
This isn't fiction. Homes in Mumbai and Delhi are going the e-way. Says Veetrag Bafna, MD, Zeos Infotech, that makes these smart e-Homes, "Name a fantasy and I'll be able to provide it for you."
Amit Gandhi, one of Veetrag's earliest clients, has a house that's sure to leave you in a tizzy. The main door opens to the touch of his finger but remains stubbornly shut to that of a stranger's. After Gandhi's fingerprint has been identified not only does the door open, but there's also a friendly welcome ushering you in. Lights come on the moment he enters a room and shut off 30 seconds after he walks out. But Gandhi's favourite fantasy the voice light activator, which allows him to say "Let there be light" and the lights come on is the show stopper. He chats casually, while checking from his palmtop in the study, if the tea is ready in the kitchen.
No digging, no breaking
Control and command ...
You can ask for anything and Veetrag and his team can programme it for you. Want to keep a watch on your children, the pets or the maid in the kitchen? Cameras keep you informed of all that's happening at home. And you can see what's happening at home from anywhere. All you'll need is a computer. If you want the TV to switch off at a certain time so that your children aren't glued to it all day long while you're out, you can do that too. As Gandhi takes you around showing you the wonders of technology one is truly left speechless. Says Veetrag, "We offer a complete wire free setup. So no digging up your floor or tearing down your walls. I can customise my products to what the clients needs."
With dual working couples on the rise, men and women are looking out for time saving and convenient ways of making life easier and less stressful. They don't mind paying a premium if it can buy comfort. But the key motive here is also to possess something that few others have. An e-smart home package for a two to three-bedroom house/flat could cost up to Rs. 3.5 lakhs. But regardless of the price, there are many who are opting for such e-wonders. Nirmal Lifestyle a mega-housing complex that's coming up in the suburb of Mumbai has 100 such e-homes for which Veetrag's Zeos is making the gizmos. A number of other companies have also sprung up offering similar technological wonders. BenQ and Linksys (division of Cisco Systems Inc.) and AEEL (Anchor Electronics and Electrical Ltd) are also big players in the remote control arena.
Microwave oven manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Whirlpool have come out with an oven with enough artificial intelligence to figure out the cooking time of different dishes and set the timer by itself. So if you're the intelligent user of these super intelligent gadgets, you can rest easy. No need to worry about what you left undone. It can be fixed from anywhere in the globe as long as you have a mobile and a computer with Internet connection.
Are our lives becoming more mechanised, more controlled with less human intervention? It certainly is and you don't need a sociologist to tell you that but going by the number of people approaching the companies to have their homes turned into smart e-Homes, it doesn't seem people are unduly worried about living in and being controlled by mechanised computerised homes. AEEL claims to have a long list of Bollywood clients while Veetrag has installed a dozen-odd e-Homes in Mumbai.
That's life for you.
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