NTT-Neomeit, an NTT subisidiary, has unveiled plans for a convenient and inexpensive service that allows users to remotely control home devices from their cellphones. Scheduled for launch in September, the "U-Consento" service is designed to be compatible with a wide range of existing home appliances, so users do not need to purchase new devices or perform extensive home rewiring.
To control devices, users access a web page via cellphone and select the desired operations. The commands are then sent via the web to a wireless router in the home, which relays signals to an infrared transmitter and remote control power switches. The infrared transmitter, which operates like a universal remote, relays those signals to remote controllable devices such as home A/V equipment. Easy-to-install remote control switches connected to power outlets allow users to turn on and off the power to lamps and other devices not pre-equipped with remote control.
In addition to being able to control the room temperature, blast the stereo and program the video recorder -- all while outside the home -- users can also check the current operating status of each device and view records of how each device has been used. According to NTT-Neomeit, this ability to monitor device usage provides a convenient way for users to keep tabs on the activity of their elderly parents from afar.
NTT-Neomeit plans to rent the home remote control system starting at around 500 yen ($4) per month, and service will initially be limited to NTT broadband subscribers in western Japan. Pilot testing will be conducted in the Kansai area from May to August.