|Thanks to a partnership between a South Korean mobile carrier and furniture maker, you may soon be able to check Facebook on your dressing table or call a friend with your couch.
SK Telecom (South Korea’s largest mobile carrier) and Hyundai Livart, a furniture manufacturer, have collaborated on a line of new “Smart Furniture.” This signifies a major step forward in the development of Internet of Things technology, which aims to embed unique computer devices into objects of daily life and incorporate them into existing internet systems.
It’s also the first time that a service in South Korea has combined household objects and smart home technology on the same network. Users who purchase the service will be able to use internet-based features on built-in touch screens around their home, like cabinet doors and coffee tables.
Over their 10-month collaboration period, SK telecom designed a new service platform to incorporate Smart Furniture, while Hyundai Livart designed furniture that could work on the network with embedded touch screens as an interface.
Using these touch screens, Smart Furniture owners can browse top headlines, listen to the radio, check the weather, and shop online. They can even take advantage of smartphone mirroring to project the display screens of their phones and make calls from pieces of furniture.
The furniture pieces can also be incorporated into the functions of the home itself. Smart Furniture users will be able to use their furniture to answer doorbells and monitor visitors before opening doors electronically. They’ll also be able to control temperature systems.
“Before, it was all about comfort and looks; now it’s all about functionality. You have to adapt to the changing technology that’s out there. For example, we’re seeing more furniture that has included space for charging stations. People are looking for sleek furniture with all the gadgets included and I think this is a movement that’s going to start very soon in this industry — it if hasn’t already begun,” says Jose Loor, Sales Manager at Contempo Furniture.
The two companies plan to release Smart Furniture in December to several major construction companies in South Korea before opening the products up to consumers shortly after. Hyundai also announced that 10 more Smart Furniture products should be available by February 2015.
“Our Smart Furniture will be among the first of our IoT services slated for launch in the coming years,” an SK Telecom spokesman told CNET.