Written by IEEE | July 14, 2015 | Updated: March 31, 2017
The smart home is now a reality. With a range of products on the market, consumers are more often limited by their imaginations than the technology itself.
The smart home is now a reality. With a range of products on the market, consumers are more often limited by their imaginations than the technology itself. Systems from a range of manufacturers allow us to control doors, lights, appliances, thermostats and security systems from multiple devices, whether we’re at home or halfway around the world. In fact, nowadays the smart home is more about effective device and object management than technology itself, with various brands, connectivity protocols and interfaces vying for prominence.
This begs the question of how smart a home can really be.
For some, the Internet of Things (IoT) is as dazzling as it is daunting. With every fantasy of a completely automated living space comes the nightmare of a connected home in revolt, an apocalyptic vision of machines turning against humans and taking over the world. And while an automated takeover is extremely unlikely, there is an ever-present risk of human interference in the way of hackers and cyber thieves who will inevitably try to compromise systems.
A Balancing Act
All things considered, which is more likely? A physical home break-in or an electronic hack? Do we forego health sensors that can alert first responders in an emergency for fear that our personal health data could be exposed to cyberterrorists? Do we keep money under the mattress or in the bank? It’s all a matter of personal comfort. More often than not, consumers will customize their connected homes to fit their preferences. The important thing is the technology is fully capable of this.
The real power of the connected home lies in its ability to learn and predict our behavior such that our living spaces naturally conform to our moods and cycles. We set the lights one way for when we wake up and another way for when we arrive home at night. We play party music on Saturday nights and chillout beats on Sunday. Or maybe our wearable sleep monitors can adjust room temperature and sound machines to calm a restless mind. Ultimately we have the freedom to manage connected devices and the creativity to bring them into concert. We can put a sensor on just about anything. It’s up to us to decide how to leverage them.
When we think of it in these terms, the connected home is pretty smart after all.