Sun Microsystems is working with consumer electronics company Whirlpool to develop a home networking technology that will link together home appliances and enable them to deliver services using broadband networks.
Whirlpool plans to network enable its entire product range and the first appliance, a Web connected fridge, will go on sale at the end of the year.
The fridge sports a portable handheld pad with a home base on the door that enables owners to remotely monitor and control all their domestic appliances and gain access to a host of other networked services for the home, including heating, lighting and security.
Patricia Sueltz, president of Sun's software products and platforms, explained: "In the dot com age the network will touch people at home, extending to consumer appliances and devices," adding that consumers will fast turn these Web enabled devices into mass market items.
The Whirlpool home gateway technology will be based on Sun's Java and Jini technologies and Sun will provide architecture and engineering support for Whirlpool's Web enabled range of products and services.
Java enables applications to run across a wide range of products while Jini allows devices to be shared on a network.
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