EU project to make the smart home more user-friendly

“Smart homes have been talked about for decades, but beyond a few concept houses and a few gadget-happy homeowners, little has been achieved in making them a bricks-and-mortar reality,” reports the EU’s IST Results website. “The TEAHA project team plans to enable all of us to call our house and tell it to start the laundry, fill the bath or crank up the heating.”

“Until now the business model has not been clear, there have been too many different standards, and too many technologies that are not interoperable. And, most importantly, people did not see these systems as being user friendly – they were generally viewed as too complex to use and maintain for the benefits they offered,” explains project coordinator Enrique Menduiña of Telefónica I+D in Spain.

“Numerous obstacles have hindered wider uptake of smart home systems. In part, this is a result of the multitude of different business actors involved when trying to interconnect home appliances with each other and to the wider world. To date, appliance manufacturers, telecommunications firms, utility companies, software designers and system installers have often taken very different paths toward deploying new technologies in the home.”

“The IST-funded project TEAHA brought companies from all those sectors together. The outcome, according to Menduiña, will be the first open smart-home platform to allow any home-device – using any technology and made by any manufacturer – to interoperate seamlessly with the Teaha system.”

Despite the nice talk about user-friendliness, the solution to achieve this ‘seamless interoperability’ seems entirely technology based, and no mention is made of any type of research exploring what users actually want and need. John Thackara formulated a critique last year about the tech first approach in EU research and innovation. This tech driven EU research project claiming to make our lives easier seems to be confirming that analysis.

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One comment

  1. I was involved with one EU KM venture as a lowly nobody, and attended one EU e-Learning workshop, and now found Negroponte quoted on John Thackara’s critique by one reader … well, what else can I say?

    EU is surrounded by US, so called GURUs. My question is, are these GURUs, really gurus, or are they here in EU to make some quick buck?

    I came to know of Negroponte name via the One Child, One lap-top project. It is one of the BIGGEST white-elephant project that I have ever heard of, and is sponging on third world poverty. Even Microsoft does not want to be involved.

    If he is involved with some ICT projects in EU, what do me, as a simple citizen, can expect from him? Perhaps I should point finger at the right direction … the person or persons who invited him to be part of the project .. who are these people? AND how much is their thoughts on EU citizens?

    Most of these people are here to make money. They come up with ideas, perhaps it is good for US, but most of them do not really fit in with EU perspectives. EU has to wake up on what is good for EU, and rid of advisers that bring more harm than good to EU.

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