Let me reiterate the title of this blog as a question: What is the SmartHome all about? Is it simply about the Amazon Dash button, allowing you to reorder products literally at the push of a button? Or coffee makers that start on a timer so there is a freshly brewed pot ready for you in the morning? When we think about smart technologies, we often think about ways to make life easier, to solve problems – but are these truly problems that need to be solved? Are we really incapable of heading to the store to pick up toilet paper that is running out? Do we have so little time in the morning that we can’t press the ‘ON’ button on our coffee machines?
These days it is more and more important to increase convenience and we seem to be willing to pay a (substantial) price for this. One of the writers at TechCrunch shows how convenient the Amazon Dash buttons really are – and also how expensive, showing us that the Amazon price for paper towels is double that of Walmart. Is spending double the amount of money on daily use household products really more convenient than taking an hour out of your week to do shopping?
One of the most commonly talked about uses of the SmartHome seems to be in power saving technologies – motion sensored lights, remote power on/off from your smartphone, timed on/off of central heating, etc. There are many technologies out there with their own apps that gather information about your household products. However, there is a lack of communication between the devices currently dubbed as “smart” which essentially leaves the SmartHome not so smart after all – in the long run you still have to check each app separately to see what is going on with each different product. While SmartThings, Google, and Apple have infrastructures to connect their devices, they are not yet commonplace in the SmartHome market.
With that said, all the excitement about a connected home must be met with equal caution. Connectivity, as we’ve been hearing about quite frequently in the news recently, inevitably leads to the risk of privacy issues. A Tripwire researcher found some important flaws in current SmartHome tech that could lead to a new type of ‘smart criminal’. Tripwire warns that not only can these flaws allow hackers to disable security systems and unlock doors, they can also allow for access to detailed information from motion sensors and/or security cameras in the home – letting these potential criminals know exactly where homeowners are at any given time.
With the integration and interconnection of smart devices in the home, it will be interesting to see if our future continues to inch towards that of the Jetsons. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
photo credit: Smart Home: Das digitale Wohnzimmer