What if you could virtually tour your home from anywhere using the Web? What if your refrigerator knew what it contained and could create a grocery list to restock itself? What if you could remotely check to see if you left your wallet on the bedside table or make sure you remembered to turn the oven off? In, the future this will almost certainly be the case, as every aspect of the modern home becomes Web accessible.
Web-accessible home appliance are not a new idea. Several companies offer kitchen appliances that connect to the Internet. At present these appliances are passive, meaning that they do not have any knowledge of what food items they contain and are therefore not able to actively act to restock. In the future, however, appliance will be much more active. Refrigerators could know what food they contain and what food is needed to be fully stocked and automatically will place orders over the Internet to restock missing items. Also, every appliance in your home might have its own Web page. Through such a Web page, you will be able to actively interact and control these appliances.
The home of future will include more than just smart appliances. Internet cameras, high-speed Internet, and wireless technologies are converging to offer an inexpensive way to virtually visit your home from anywhere with Internet access. You will be able to follow pets to make sure they stay off the couch or search for missing wallet you may have left on the nightstand. Coupled with Internet appliances, you could review your pantry using Internet cameras and your refrigerator’s Web site to create a grocery list. You could have this list e-mailed to your grocery store and then pick up the groceries on the way home.
Could there be a downside to all this? Currently, many people’s computer are infested with Internet viruses and spyware. What could happen if these malicious programs infested your home’s appliances? Would it be possible that your every move in your own home could be broadcast to others over the Internet?