Using your smartphone to check email or play Angry Birds is so yesterday … the next big thing will involve using it for things...

Using your smartphone to check email or play Angry Birds is so yesterday … the next big thing will involve using it for things like turning down your home’s thermostat or switching on the coffeepot while you’re on your way home from work.

Working together, IBM and Vodafone have demonstrated how someone with a mobile device can, say, remotely turn on their washing machine or operate other “smart home” appliances. The system uses Vodafone’s Global M2M (for “machine-to-machine”) Platform running on IBM’s SmartCloud Service Delivery Platform.

By connecting home appliances wirelessly to the internet, M2M technology also makes it possible for devices to feed useful data back to a service provider or manufacturer, which can then be used to enable new functions or enhanced services for customers.

“This collaboration is a great example of how cloud computing can be used for business innovation versus solely for IT efficiency purposes,” said Scott Stainken, general manager for IBM Telecommunications Industry. “Cloud will increasingly be used in new ways that will provide enhanced consumer-centric experiences — especially when combined with mobile communications.”

“The smart home market is now a reality,” said Marc Tastayre, global business development manager for Vodafone M2M. “Security is the first important step for connecting devices to the internet and the collaboration between IBM and Vodafone is putting in place an open, efficient and scalable solution for the consumer electronics industry that will enable it to successfully progress the creation of the ‘Internet of Things’.”

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