iRemote – Intelligent Remote in an iPod !?

27 03 2010

My wife recently had an official trip scheduled for Pune – the second largest city of Maharashtra, India and she insisted that I accompany her as it had been some time that we had ventured out of our home city – New Delhi. Though, I am usually very keen in visiting and exploring new places, somehow I was reluctant to go as I was unsure if the city would have enough places of interest for me to explore alone in the scorching heat while my wife would be busy in her official meetings throughout the day.

Just two days before she was to leave, I asked her about the Hotel in which she will be staying in while in Pune, to which she gave me a name – which honestly didn’t ring any bells as I had never heard the name of the Hotel before. Out of sheer curiosity as to what kind of Hotel was this and what were the facilities it offered its guests, I browsed it’s website after searching for it in good old Google. To my surprise, the Hotel seemed to be running successfully in 3 prominent cities in India and offered some unique and interesting facilities like – ‘In Room Check-In and Check-Out’ and ‘Personal Butler and Chef for every Room’ to name a few. Out of all these facilities, the one which was most striking and extraordinary IMO was a device they were offering, through which you could wirelessly control anything and everything of your room. Switch lights on and off, control the air conditioning, turn blinds up or down, control your TV, browse the Internet, access a 5,000 strong movie library, play music of your choice etc. Being Technologically inclined and equally curious, I wanted to see what this device could be like and if it actually did all of the things as advertised on the Website. And, thus I decided to accompany my better half on her official trip.

From the time we left for the Airport to board our flight in Delhi, till the time we checked into our Hotel room, I was constantly trying to imagine what this device could be like but was also fearful that I would be heartbroken if the device turns out to be just one of those cheap Universal Remote controllers which are available in every other electronics store nowadays. But, to my relief as well as my disbelief, the device was NOT a universal remote control, it was an 3rd Generation Apple 8GB iPod Touch with an APP (application) named iRemote installed in it which did all the work. The application utilized the WiFi (Wireless) connectivity of the iPod to connect to a PC located in the room which acted as a Server to centrally control all of the Room’s features like the Room temperature, TV, Audio, Web browsing on TV Screen etc.


Apple iPod Touch

When the iRemote application is launched on the iPod, it presents a screen with 7 different icons in a circular grid, namely – TV, Drapes, AC, Lighting, Bill, Entertainment and Internet. The application worked almost flawlessly as I could control every aspect of these 7 domains with ease, I could even browse the Internet while lying on the Bed with the 42” LCD as the Monitor and iPod Touch as the controller for the pointer as well as the Keypad. Everything worked perfectly except for the Drapes section as when trying to access that icon, a message popped up – “Coming Soon!”. When I enquired with our butler, he mentioned that this feature hasn’t been setup as of yet and will take a month or so more before it is implemented in all the rooms. Although, I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t control the drapes, the other capabilities of this application soon overpowered my disappointment and I spent a whole day playing around to see what all it could do.

After a full day of testing the device, the application and its capabilities, I was thoroughly impressed with the implementation. Though, the Drapes section wasn’t working and I also encountered an error while updating the media library, I would still give the people behind the concept and it’s execution full marks. I would also like to mention that although the application plays a major role in integrating the various aspects of the room into one single device, it’s the devices made by Steve Jobs and company – the iPod and the iPhone which have revolutionized the way we communicate and do things nowadays. They have really TOUCHED our lives and have paved the way for a brighter and better tomorrow.

To see all of the different iRemote Screens, click on the picture below.




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