CHICAGO--During this week's International Housewares 2000 show here, Zilog Inc. and Sunbeam Corp. announced an alliance to develop networking solutions for smart homes and household appliances. The move comes as a growing number of home appliance makers are beginning to launch new initiatives to create smart consumer products with Internet connectivity.
Sunbeam said it has formed a new division, called Thalia Products Inc., to produce smart appliances and services. Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sunbeam is working with Zilog to create a new line of HLT-Smart products. These smart appliances include coffee makers, electric blankets, smoke detectors, kitchen mixers, bathroom scales, and blood pressure monitors.
The Home Linking Technology (HLT) will enable these products to communicate with each other and coordinate tasks, according to Sunbeam. The company also said it has developed three control devices to act as gateways for Internet-ready appliances.
Zilog's Extreme Connectivity solutions are being used in the project to enable networking of appliances in "the average home," said Curtis J. Crawford, chairman, president and CEO of the Campbell, Calif., chip maker. "These appliances are designed to provide new convenience, performance and safety -- as well as Internet connectivity," Crawford said. "Best of all, they are easy to use. Just plug them in and they go to work."