Merlot Laboratories, a South Korean start-up, said it has developed a market-ready technology that can control multiple household appliances simultaneously using a smart bulb equipped with Merlot IoT Platform technology.
"It’s not a magic. You can rely on a single bulb to connect all types of household appliances. This is a true smart home technology," Shin So-bong, president of Merlot Lab, described a benefit from using its Merlot IoT (Internet of Things) Platform (tentatively named).
After screwing a smart bulb into a socket, Shin said to Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon Echo, “Alexa, turn on all.” Then the air conditioner, TV and the light bulb were turned on at the same time. "It looks like a common bulb, but it has a microchip inside. The chip makes the bulb a hub to connect all home appliances,” he explained.
The principle is simple: The TV, refrigerator and air conditioner cannot communicate with each other without a medium. So Merlot Lab developed a single communication net that connects house appliances to control them simultaneously.
A user needs to install a Merlot Lab’s smart bulb and provide information of each appliance model set for control to Merlot Lab. And then Merlot Lab creates a control code for each appliance and makes it in sync with the user’s voice-recognition AI (artificial intelligence) assistant and the smart bulb. The user can control home appliances remotely using voice recognition or smart devices.
As it is a prototype service, the system still relies on Alexa but a further application will soon be developed for a domestic AI assistant that supports Korean language instructions, the company said.
By Lee Young-wook
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