Who's keeping an eye on the kids when you're not home? If David Nowicki, vice president of marketing for Airvana, has his way, it will be their mobiles. At the Femtocells World Summit held in London last year, unveiled what he called the 'boyfriend buster' - a detector for people who protective parents don't want their daughters to take home when they are not around.
The boyfriend buster is no more than software running on a cellular basestation designed for the home. Being a basestation, this femtocell - named because it covers a smaller range than the picocells used in shopping centres and microcells in city streets - notices which phones come into range and if they are allowed to register, lets those phones make calls through it. The femtocell can, potentially, do more with that information, possibly letting the concerned dad know by text message or email that the wrong cellphone has turned up at the house or that, with 30 strong signals in the house, the family pile may be home to a Facebook party.
The boyfriend buster is just one service that people such as Nowicki think will consumers will use. There will be femtocells that synchronise users' phones as they arrive home, transferring contacts and diary appointments between their handsets and their home computers. Or the unit may turn the hallway lights on as you walk up the garden path on the way home.