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September 1, 2008

Nokia white coats nurture Homebird universal remote

HELSINKI, Finland – The minds over at the Nokia Research Center in Helsinki, have just published a report on a new breed of mobile universal remote called Homebird. The idea simply being that you’d be able to control any wireless WLAN device in your home remotely via your Nokia handset, be it remotely scheduling TV recordings, adjusting lighting throughout your home, or controlling any networked digital aspect of your life from anywhere.

Interestingly, the concept for exploring the Homebird concept was born from the fact that three out of the ten most wanted applications on the app wishlist in March 2008 were universal remote controls. I find this encouraging, as it’s great to see the Nokia Research Centre is very in tune with current online user communities and feedback, as well as pursuing research into grander future visions such as Internet of Things.

That said, Homebird is a solution that sits further on the horizon, as part of the report explains:

“Homebird is an example of a remote control for future homes, where devices are networked and bi-directional communication is available. Instead of having to manually configure infrared settings for a universal remote control, the remote control itself can detect what is available and suggest available tasks automatically. The home smart space is brought to the user instead of the user having to create it through configuration.”

There are even plans to make Homebird publicly available at some point, although Nokia Research Center hasn’t stated when that might be.

Read the full report here >>

Does this sort of application interest you? I guess I find myself asking the question, with other technologies such as Near Field Communication and location-based services rapidly creeping in, whether our phones truly can sit at the centre of our personal tech universe. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on a single device, isn’t it? Post your thoughts below.

Photo from Ahmed Zahid