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Go Go Gadget House

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] The home automation market in Australia is beginning to take shape, with players Cisco and IHG announcing major plans to reach consumers this week.

Cisco Systems has partnered with government and industry to create a showcase of Internet-based appliances in an iHome, to be built in conjunction with Lend Lease and a large number of manufacturers.

The house will demonstrate smart appliances used for lighting and utilities, home entertainment, communication and security. These will be connected to and controlled using Clipsal C-Bus wiring and a Crestron wireless touchpanel. Residents will be able to control home systems and apppliances remotely via the Web. Cisco has appointed AAPT to provide broadband connectivity for the home.

ASX-listed company IHG, which has been active in the Australian market for around ten years, announced plans this week to take its SmartSUBURBS home lifestyle management products directly to consumers and builders in partnership with retailer Harvey Norman. The alliance gives Harvey Norman rights to market the SmartSUBURBS products to home builders through its commercial outlets in Australia and New Zealand, with the rights to extend the arrangement into Singapore and other parts of Asia. Harvey Norman said it will also retail selected SmartSUBURBS products through its retail outlets.

Cisco Systems marketing director Kip Cole said the company was aware of IHG's activities in the space, but had as yet not formed any partnership.

"Australian consumers still have very little vision of what the Internet can do for them in the home," Cole said. Cisco plans to drive the uptake of broadband Internet access, particularly DSL, and to increase sales of its infrastructure products, including its residential gateway, as a result of the iHome initiative. "Anything that's good for the Internet is good for Cisco," Cole added.



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