Cisco opens door to pioneer Net home

Yet another reason not to go out: Cisco and 12 partners in the south of Vienna in Austria have unveiled an "Internet house", the iHome, which is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

Yet another reason not to go out: Cisco and 12 partners in the south of Vienna in Austria have unveiled an "Internet house", the iHome, which is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

From the outside, the house looks like a normal prefabricated building. But inside, it is equipped with all kinds of Internet devices.

"The house is, as you can see on the Net, for sale. It costs approximately 1.7m schillings (US$105,000), and in addition you have to count in about 70,000 schillings (US$4,500) for the technical equipment," explained Nina Hoppe, a spokesperson from Cisco Austria. So all in all, the house costs about US$109,500.

Similar projects have been carried out by Cisco in Australia, France and Italy, but the Austrian house is the most complete. "Only here you see things working, that are elsewhere still (experimental)," Hoppe told ZDNet. The house does, however, still need some technical upgrading, Hoppe said.

The central nervous system of the building is the server room on the ground floor. There are notebook PCs in the kitchen and in the living room that are used to control the devices in the house. Recipes can be sent from the Internet to the oven, for example, or a visitor at the front door can be watched before being let in.

A touchscreen on the living-room wall gives the people who live in the house access to all the building's operations. The screen has a Webcam mounted over it, and images from the house are available on the Net.

A mobile LAN means occupants can control the house and get Net access via any device they want--Web pad, laptop or mobile phone--from around the house or in the garden. According to Hoppe, the house is protected by a firewall, so that only the owner will be able to control it remotely.

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