This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

IBM and Carrier Debut a Cool Idea

Apr 10 2001 08:14 AM PDT

'Pervasive computing' is what IBM calls it - bringing Web access to your air conditioner.

Now there's a strange couple of bedfellows for a technology partnership. IBM announced it is supplying systems, technology and integration services to old-tech company Carrier. So now it can preview in Europe what most of the press were calling a Net-enabled air conditioner, though a close reading of the media accounts suggests that the product will more resemble a subscription-based, wireless-accessible thermostat.

Few outlets could resist a heating-industry pun or two, and most of the stories mentioned IBM's evocatively named Pervasive Computing unit, which issued the press release. (IBM uses the term to include wireless networks and Net-enabled cell phones, as well as connected appliances.) Several reporters interviewed its general manager, Michael Mayer, and few spoke to anyone outside of IBM and Carrier - NewsFactor was a notable exception.

Mayer told the Wall Street Journal (in a story picked up by MSNBC) that pervasive computing will be a $70 billion market by 2003. However, another IBM spokesperson told NewsFactor to look for $230 billion in that same year. Time to get your marketing story together, guys.

Slashdot readers had some predictable fun with the pervasive computing future. One poster sketched his to-do list for a day in 2005. It included such items as "defrag the toaster" and "upgrade firewall on air conditioner."

The Latest Net Appliance: Air Conditioners

Air Conditioners - A Net Appliance?

Ready for Web-Linked Air Conditioning?

IBM, Carrier Set Web-Enabled Air Conditioner Deal (Reuters)

IBM Brrr-ings Net to Air Conditioners

IBM Carrier in Web-Enabled Air Conditioner Deal