French telephony and internet provider Orange has introduced a remote-controlled power outlet named MyPlug. The device features two outlets, one normal and the other controlled by text messages. The smart outlet knows five commands: “on”, “off”, “status”, “who” and “consumption”. Communicating with the outlet is done using SMS messaging. It is not necessary to get a special subscription for the outlet as it comes with an unlimited supply of SMS answers that will last for three years. After this period the user has to “recharge” the “SMS-battery”.
The outlet can have up to seven users. Interestingly, the outlet also communicates with keychain tags using Zigbee and every user can have such a tag. When it is in the vicinity of the outlet the tag is detected automatically and a remote user can query the outlet with the “who” command to find out which tags are nearby the outlet and which aren’t. Supposing that the users always have their key tag with them it is possible find out who is at home and who is away.