Texting your smart home appliances

A Singapore firm working with the big tech companies and manufacturers has come up with a service that allows people to text their household appliances. Sara Hemrajani reports.

(REUTERS / AMAZON) – It may seem strange to Whatsapp your kettle or tweet your washing machine, but it’s one way of getting the job done.

Singaporean start-up Unified Inbox has added this new dimension to the smart home – offering a service that lets appliances be controlled by ordinary text messages.

Toby Ruckert, Chief Executive, Unified Inbox, saying

“By basically enabling the end user of the device to talk via text messaging, the operation of the appliance is the same. There is no different app to be learned, there are no different user accounts to be created, or interfaces to be learnt.”

Unified Inbox says it’s also helping manufacturers, like Bosch, develop better relationships with their customers.

And it’s a welcome option for people who prefer a less vocal way of interacting with their devices.

Kamsinah, 22-year old Singaporean, saying

“I don’t like to use my voice, because sometimes they may detect the wrong thing. Like, for example, Google: sometimes you say something, then they will do something else, so it might interpret the wrong thing.”

Amazon and Google are already making in-roads in voice-controlled systems.

But Facebook is also looking at text-operated ones, it too hoping to clean up in a market desperate for ways to manage appliances remotely.

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