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Next year, Nokia will start selling its Home Control Centre, letting mobile owners keep tabs on their electronic kit while they’re away from home, as well as monitor energy usage, and heating, but next year’s too far away. We’ve been playing with it today!

The Home Control Centre looks a lot like a wireless router, and that’s because it is, but that’s not all that’s inside. It’s a clever little box of tricks all-round.

Inside there’s ultra-fast N standard Wi-Fi, as well as wired network connections for any kit nearby, but it also has Z-Wave technology to hook up to existing home automation kit, like intelligent light switches or remote controlled air conditioning units.

There’s also 6GB of internal storage, presumably for holding footage from security cameras or collecting other data from connected devices.

But it’s not just a fancy junction box. It’s smart enough to know what to do when certain in-home conditions arise. For example, if it gets too cold while you’re on holiday, it might turn on the heating to avoid your pipes freezing and bursting. If it’s dark outside, it’ll know to flick a few lights on and deter burglars. All within your pre-set limits, of course. It’s not going to turn your home into Blackpool Illuminations.

The Home Control Centre itself is as cute as a utility box can be, with interchangeable covers so it’ll suit your decor. There are even options to cover it in fabric if you’re not rocking its plastic looks.

The whole shebang is controlled from a mobile phone. We saw the app on a Nokia N95 8GB, with options for monitoring heating, turning lights on and off and controlling the home’s alarm system while out and about.

It’ll hit shelves around May or June next year, followed by a second version which is expected to have GPRS, presumably as a back-up connection or for those without wired broadband. Check out the photos below for a closer look.

Out May/June 2009 | £TBC | Nokia

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