Microsoft Research proposes HomeMaestro: the home automation platform

Remember my earlier blog about Domotics? Microsoft Research just released a nice video about their home automation platform; and no surprises here – the Windows Phone is your controller.

Demo of HomeMaestro

More info is at

and my source is at:

Microsoft Research propose HomeMaestro: home automation platform | WMPoweruser

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Domotics is inevitable

[This blog post is a repost of ]

cityIt is a difficult subject, but everybody wants it. And even though it has a difficult word to describe it, it is all about ease of use and personal benefits. The Atos Scientific Community recently published a whitepaper on Domotics. The authors tell us about the big benefits and the wonderful world that awaits us and, fortunately, they are not blind to reality too:

Problem is, reality is much more prosaic. Nowadays, the field of domotics is a complex one, with lots of different proprietary technologies and standards. Installation is not easy for a typical end-user consumer, and even in new homes and buildings, the presence of basic automation capabilities can be rare. All these has tarnished the image of domotics as “expensive toys for geeky / rich users”, and so, many people think it is not essential.

How is that for honesty. The authors, in collaboration with other colleagues, have obviously done their homework very well. They discovered there are other, even more compelling reasons for the inevitable success of Domotics:

Two important lines of action are shaping its future: The focus on an intelligent and transparent user-experience, following the principles of (…) Ambient Intelligence (…). The importance that Energy Efficiency is having in Smart Homes and Buildings, mainly about integration with the SmartMeter/Smartgrid Technology /Energy Efficiencies.

This paints an interesting view on a future that is going to affect us all and there is an interesting conclusion on the applicability and upcoming reality of our Jetson Family-like, futuristic, living environment:

The combination of an advanced user-centered interaction and complete energy efficiency management will drive domotics in the near term, helping move it from a "DIY" affair, towards a more systemic view, where Smart Homes and Smart Buildings are the elementary pieces of bigger order entities, like SmartCities.

The Atos whitepaper can be downloaded here.

Albada Jelgersma Coats of Arms



It turns out there is large amount of family crests that I am associated with. I thought it was a great project to start with Pinterest.

So check this out:

If have additional info on each of my “Pins” – leave me a comment.

Do you understand the world?

[This blog post is a repost of]

Real estate brokers already know this for years; the most important aspect of their profession is location, location and location.

Given the recent boom in providing maps to mobile phones, this aspect of our lives is not just important for real estate brokers anymore. Anybody with a decent smart phone has access to a variety of mapping material, aiding in navigation and, through the addition of a GPS-receiver, location based services.

The impact of this capability to use digital maps is described in a whitepaper by the Atos Scientific Community, which states:

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For centuries, humankind has devoted efforts to cartography (map making) as a means to represent the Earth in order to achieve a better understanding of the world and to solve practical problems (navigation, exploration, planning). The advent of electronic computers and peripheral devices caused another revolution in cartography during the 20th century. However, until the late 1990’s geo-information did not take a pervasive step into other fields. In the 2000’s, geo-information has become popular and is widely used by billions of people around the world for everyday purposes: we look for directions, plan our holidays or check the evolution of news events with the support of geo-information."

And while we are all just getting accustomed to this digitally enhanced 2D world, a new way of looking at this information is emerging: 3D location based services.

Using complex mathematics and new type of sensors, we will be able to enrich our flat maps with depth, height and rotation. This opportunity opens a new dimension (pun intended) in the way we can use the digital maps for more purposes than just finding our way home.

Applications in building-management, tsunami warning systems, climate and weather control as well as looking at relations between human wellbeing and location based data (such as pollution), are now in use.

The new elements coming because of 3D are emerging, so we can track people in buildings, assets in datacenters and generally combine information to create meaningful relationships in data visualization.

Tracing and combining data in 3 dimensions is not only more accurate, it also give more insight in relationships between the subjects. Only now that we are getting more insight in the associated math and have the (real-time)processing capability to calculate complex equations, we are getting insight in the correlations and how they help us interpret the real word around us.

The paper describes multiple examples and explains how the extra info can be expected to enrich our way of using the extra information for location based data.

The key is to connect the available 3D information to this extra information. This combination not only will enrich our lives, but also opens a new business opportunity for information brokers to provide and combine data that without this technology would possibly be meaningless by itself. In order for this additional data to be completely integrated in our daily lives we certainly need more study and technical breakthroughs. Most of this is done in the background, but some research and results are needed in understanding the way that people interpret 3D information.

Google Earth and other similar technology is showing me nice pictures, but does it provide extra value in 3D (on a flat screen…)?

In the end the 3D element will, certainly, greatly influence the way we interact with our world and our understanding how things relate to each other. Understanding relationships, in my opinion, always makes us a better human.

That combined with the new business opportunities, drives both personal and economic growth, so I consider this a good thing.

The Atos whitepaper can be downloaded here.