iiNet Working On Home Automation Tech, New Prototype BoB Modem

It doesn't have a final name yet, but iiNet is planning to replace its well-regarded BoB modem/router with a new NBN-friendly design later this year. iiNet is also looking into introducing ZigBee-based home automation services.

iiNet Labs showed off a prototype of the new design at the Tech Leaders conference in Queensland earlier this week. It has built-in support for VDSL, which means that customers using it to connect to an ADSL service currently could also use it to connect to an NBN service if one became available in their area. It doesn't support the DOCSIS standard used for HFC cable connections, though, so if that does become a major element of the revamped NBN, you'll still need a different device.

iiNet research and development manager Simon Watt said that a final release date hadn't been decided, but it was expected out this year. It's unlikely to be keeping the BoB name, though.

The iiNet team is also working on introducing home automation options based around the ZigBee protocol, and is running a limited trial with 200 customers. A home automation service could, for instance, automatically feed data about energy usage into a central console, and allow you to automate switching devices on an off.

That's not such a near-term ambition, however. "It might be another two years before it's embraced," Watt said. "The cost and the simplicity of the devices is key. We won't launch a half-baked product. If we are the first cab off the rank amongst Australian telcos, it's very important to get it right."

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