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Living online: A year in “Internet” house

In the Internet house, daily activities are conducted online by mobile phone or voice command Keystone

A Swiss family has celebrated their first anniversary in an automated "Internet" house.

Just over a year ago, Daniel and Ursi Steiner from Immensee, canton Schwyz, were selected to move with their two adoped children into an Internet house, where aspects of everyday life are conducted online by mobile phone or voice command.

The showcase house in the village of Hünenberg in canton Zug is a project developed by Otto Beisheim, the founder of German retailer Metro, along with other partners, such as US software company Cisco and German electronics giant, Siemens.

Daniel Steiner, for one, is enjoying the new lifestyle. “A lot of gadgets make our lives easier. We save a lot of time, which we can spend doing other things,” he told swissinfo.

Apart from the remote control operating every machine in the house, one of Steiner’s favourite gadgets is the automated lawnmower, which cuts the grass effortlessly on its own and is driven by solar power.

Easy shopping

“Another brilliant thing is online shopping. It is very easy to do as our shopping mall is always open, so we can order things at the moment we think about it,” he said.

Steiner and his wife both gave up their jobs as a computer scientist and teacher respectively and receive a salary for their work in the Internet home. He said he did not miss his job, as he was busy enough in the house.

“I don’t work every single day and this is very good as we can spend more time with our children,” he said.

The Steiners have two more years to live in the house before they will be able to go back to their old home, which they currently use as their holiday residency.

Accustomed to comfort

Daniel Steiner is convinced he will miss some elements of this comfortable lifestyle and hopes that he will be able to get some of the things he has grown most attached to.

However, living life as the Steiners now do is not possible for the average Swiss citizen as the gadgets are either too expensive or not yet on the market.

But once the individual gizmos are available and affordable, the revolutionary father hopes other families will also be able to enjoy this comfortable lifestyle, even though it would not be suitable for everybody.

“It is very individual living. Every gadget has good sides and bad sides and these are not the same for everybody. Everybody will have to find out for themselves what they need and don’t need,” he said.

by Billi Bierling

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR