Electrolux, Ericsson join to connect homes
STOCKHOLM (IDG) -- Appliance maker Electrolux and L.M. Ericsson Telephone have announced a new joint venture that aims to deliver its first wired appliances for use in networked homes within one year. The companies said they intend to create a "plug-and-use" infrastructure, allowing household appliances to become networked and connected to the Internet.
Scheduled to start operations this month, the yet-to-be-named company will be owned 50-50 by the two Sweden-based electronics makers, the companies said in a statement. Initially, the partners plan to invest 70 million krona (US$8.6 million) in the venture.
At first glance, the two partners certainly appear to have all the pieces needed for building wired home appliances. The partnership aims to combine Ericsson's mobile Internet expertise and appliance maker Electrolux's knowledge of consumer demands to deliver the simple and robust devices that will be needed to make the promise of the networked home a reality, the companies said.
Existing and planned products such as the Electrolux Screenfridge and Ericsson's E-box service gateway will give the new company a head start, the companies said.
Although it is difficult to predict when most home appliances will be connected to the Internet, what makes this cooperation so interesting is that the technology to make it happen already exists today, said Kurt Hellström, president of Ericsson, in an interview on Swedish television. "This is not rocket science," Hellström quipped.
Electrolux earlier this year unveiled the Screenfridge, a connected refrigerator designed to allow users to order groceries over the Internet, but the product has yet to ship.
The new company, to be based in Stockholm, will also work for an open network and service architecture, and it will take an active part in efforts to standardize home networking, the companies said.
Terho Uimonen is Scandinavia bureau chief for the IDG News Service in Stockholm.
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