Javier Zamora, PhD: “Smart Home” Developer

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Javier Zamora ’98 (PhD in electrical engineering) is General Manager at eNeo Labs, a European company with headquarters in Barcelona that commercializes products and services for “smart homes.” Zamora designed, built and has led this start-up company since its inception in 2002. The company is now widely recognized as the one of the leading European providers of this technology.

The company’s model smart house cleans itself, adjusts to weather changes and cuts energy consumption. A weather monitor on the roof knows the temperature and climate conditions, and can shut off the sprinkler and cover the pool when it begins to rain, or unfurl the awnings when the sun is too bright. Inside, lights turn off automatically when there is enough natural lighting. Vents along the baseboards are automatic vacuum cleaners, and with the touch of a button, will suck up everything in reach. Large television screens are scattered throughout the house and can tap into a central hard drive where movies, recorded TV shows, MP3 files and family photos are stored.

Electronic keys provide access to the home. Security cameras are scattered throughout the house, and owners can monitor any room from the Internet or mobile phone. A trash chute for organic waste leads to a compost pile outside. There are pre-programmed scenarios that automatically provide several services necessary for that activity. For example, the “good morning scene” turns on the radio, opens the blinds, runs a hot bath and starts the coffee pot. The “watch a movie scene” dims the lights, lowers the blinds, forwards calls to voice mail, and prepares the TV screen.

There are two main components to the smart house: an information network, akin to the human body’s nervous system in that all devices inside the house are connected to it, and a “brain,” which coordinates what is inside the home and connects it to what is going on outside the building. “The house will learn from the user’s daily routine,” says Zamora, “and may anticipate what needs to be done. Instead of having five different remote controls, for five different appliances, only one would be needed.

Zamora spent several years at Columbia as a research and development assistant in the Center for Telecommunications Research - Image and Advanced Television Laboratory. There, he was responsible for architecture design and technical development and deployment of Columbia VoD testbed. In 1998, he became Director of Product Development for Xbind, a high technology startup in Wall Street that was a spin-off of a new venture at Columbia that had unique intellectual property and technology in programmable networks. He directed engineering, coordinated marketing, and provided executive reporting on product development.

Since 2006, Zamora has been an invited professor at Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña in Barcelona, where he teaches the class Topics in New Technologies and Business of Master of Science in Information and Communication, based on the analysis of real business cases and the invited talks from leading professionals in IT companies.

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