WHILE WE are out here in America, we felt it was only appropriate (in an INQ way) to do a spot of humble bragging. Jive Software, who hosted us last week, were kind enough to give us an unexpected glimpse of the future, thanks to our rather swanky hotel suite.
We're not just sharing this to make a big deal of what cool digs we've got, but it also serves to make for a living demostration of what your home is going to look like in a few years, once all these disperate systems settle down and start playing nicely.
So, welcome to the 53rd floor of The Aria resort. We open the door and the door's motion sensor triggers the blind to reveal our view over Vegas and the mountains beyond. And it's stunning.
The lights come on, and so does the TV, playing our favourite music, which it has learned as the trip goes along.
Moving into the lounge, and a tablet has been left out for us. This acts as the master control for the whole suite. But don't worry - there's another one in the bedroom.
As well as room control, which we'll come to in a moment, we can order room service (the menu is built in), housekeeping, maintenance and more extragent services like in room massage.
It also acts as a message centre, telling us we've got mail waiting in the business centre, and Jive representatives will be meeting us in the casino at 7 to take us to dinner.
Incidentally, the three televisions (yes, there's one in the bathroom) synchronise perfectly, something that not even Sky Q has managed yet.
On the desk, there's also every port you could wish for, so you can connect your own devices - whether by Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB, VGA, Lightning, Thunderbolt - it can all be seamlessly integrated into the system.
The minibar fridge works by weight - take something off its pedestal for more than 60 seconds and its charged to the room (which would be great if put to good use, like telling you when you need milk).
As well as controlling individual facets of the room, there are also "scenes" that allow you to configure everything for a particular situation, such as "morning", "romance" or "work".
The heating and air conditioning are all integrated into the system, and because all the different rooms talk to each other, they can use their resources more effectively to keep a constant climate away from the triple digit heat of the Nevada desert sun.
The Aria hasn't gone down the voice control route yet, though we're sure it's a matter of time, but almost all the controls are replicated with wall switches, just in case you forgot put the tablet on to charge.
It's not so much a connected bathroom, but it does contain most of the ostentatious features you'd expect - a whirlpool bath that cleans itself, a wet room that becomes a steam room when you've had a shower, and of course, a jet-bidet toilet that washes, and dries. And keeps the seat warm. And of course there's a phone.
The bedroom is the most important aspect to any hotel experience, and this is where the connected experience really comes to into its own. The bedside tablet can be "taught" your morning routine. After switching to reading mode, the "good night" mode you can settle down for a good nights sleep with the heating automatically turning down to what it has deemed "optimum" sleeping temperature.
The next morning, assuming you've got the same needs as us, you'll be woken up at 7am sharp, with the blinds peeling back to let in the sun, the TV tuned to the least right-wing news channel we could find and a choice of 2000 morning newspapers on the tablet.
Any messages, as well as the weather forecast that have come in overnight can be reviewed, and without getting out of bed you can call for coffee and breakfast (if you're rich and lazy - we went downstairs, after a shower and steam).
Closing the door triggers everything to switch off, if it senses noone else is in the room, and you can choose the colour of the ring light around the doorbell to indicate whether you want complete privacy, or if housekeeping can come and set everything for your return.
If you've read this far and thought, "well this is nothing new", sure, we're well aware that none of this technology is bleeding edge anymore, it's just very clever, but to see it all working beautifully in harmony is a sight to behold.
The wonderful thing is that you can have all this. Now. At home. It's just a matter of making everything work together, and that's what we'll be looking to see more of in the year ahead. µ
Thanks to Jive for giving us the chance to live the high life, to the Aria Resort for having such funky tech and to Dutch firm Crave Interactive, the company that installed and manage what it the worlds' biggest in-room tablet installation.
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