WHILE there are smartphone apps which remotely control home appliances and arm security devices, most of these are complicated and too costly for the average South African.
This is what prompted second-year University of Zululand (UNIZULU) student Xoliswa Ngcobo to create his own Smart Home App whose cost, he says, will be “dramatically lower” and thus be widely accessible.
It is simple with no complicated installation processes and it only requires a smartphone and internet access. “Current products offer what is normally referred to as high-end solutions which are really expensive and are powered by high-performance and low-level computers that require experts to install and maintain,” he says.
The products currently on the market are complicated and if there is a fault a technician has to be called in and until it is fixed basic functions such as that of switching lights on and off is disabled. This is what Ngcobo has set out to fix.
“This (Smart Home App) system will offer a safety mechanism, it will use simple electronics integrated into existing electric installations and will be transparent to the user.” A demonstration of its functions set the tongues wagging at the recent Zululand Trade Fair in Richards Bay, proving to be among some of the main attractions to the UNIZULU stalls.
However, Ngcobo says, more work is going into perfecting the product stressing that now it is merely a prototype. “I am conducting research on how to enhance the app’s performance, security and data. The electronic circuits are also currently being designed and tested.” Ngcobo’s goal is to see the product on the market next year. “Selling the app and the whole system to the public is my dream … I want it to be really good and beneficial to every person,” says the Computer Science student.