Computer giant IBM promotes 'intelligent home' concept to local property

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 June, 1999, 12:00am

Future homes will give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'couch potatoes'.

That is the promise of hi-tech companies such as IBM trying to sell the concept of a 'smart home' to potential clients, the property developers.

'The big 10 developers have expressed interest,' said IBM service manager Patrick Hung Sing-tak 'Wiring homes individually will cost a lot. But if developers would build in the wiring with the smart home concept in mind on new properties, we could offer the service in large volume and it would be affordable.' Homes would have one remote control for room temperature, lighting and security cameras.

Fibre-optic cables would connect everything from the personal computer and the television to the microwave oven, the refrigerator and even the toilet.

Need cooking instructions? Download from the Internet to your oven, which will carry a microchip as powerful as your current PC.

Want to complain to your neighbour about rising monthly management fees? Log on to the intranet in your estate. Run out of milk in your refrigerator? A memory chip will have kept count of missing items and automatically ordered from the nearest supermarket.

No developer has signed on yet, but Productivity Council system and software manager Clement Tong Siu-fai said the added value offered by an intelligent home would soon catch on in future home sales.

'Developers are running out of extra goodies to attract home buyers,' he said.

The council is helping to publicise the concept.

A spokesman for the Real Estate Developers Association said: 'We try to encourage awareness of new ideas with market potential among members, but it would be up to individual members to use and promote such concepts.' Sino Land, Cheung Kong and Sun Hung Kai Properties did not return calls.