Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. said it will launch in January 2002 an air-conditioner remote-controller called “Telecontroller” that can operate via mobile phones.
The controller will be offered as an option for the six new models of the “Clover” series air-conditioners that will be released beginning in October. This remote-controller is priced at $125 USD.
The Telecontroller exchanges remote control signals with an air-conditioner using infrared rays. When connected to a telephone line, it can control the air-conditioner from a mobile phone or a public telephone. Users can confirm from remote sites the ON/OFF switch position and temperature settings as well as the operating conditions of the air-conditioner when a high-line model is used.
This controller uses an AC adapter, while ordinary remote-controllers use batteries. Thus, it can emit stronger infrared rays. Even if there are some obstacles, the infrared rays can reach the air-conditioner after reflecting from the walls, Sanyo officials say.
Also, for the purpose of controlling more than two air-conditioners the Telecontroller has a radio function. A configuration of one master to control three others will be available. Only one type of controller will be released and can be switched to a master or a slave. The wireless communication among controllers uses the same technology as a cordless telephone.
Sanyo sold a similar product ten years ago but it was unsuccessful in the market at that time.
Because mobile phones are now commonly used, Sanyo decided to put it on sale again. The Telecontroller is usable with the latest models of air-conditioners and others sold from 1994. Sanyo expects to sell several thousand units in the initial year.
Sanyo will lower the price by developing a specific slave controller in the future.
Furthermore, as a master controls the other controllers via wireless signals, Sanyo is planning to embed the slave controller in the air-conditioner to reduce the transmissions from slave to air-conditioner.