I still remember the first time I heard about a “smart home”. The guy I was working for at the time had too much money for his own good (yes, there is such a thing), and was talking about all of the upgrades he was planning to make to his home, just because he could.
At the time, having a smart home mostly meant being able to turn lights on and off from remote locations, but there’s really so much more that a smart home can do.
I imagine that within our lifetimes, our homes will be able to run themselves. We’ll be able to set our thermostats from our phones or tablets and — to prove how smart they really are — they’ll adjust themselves to keep us comfortable, taking things like humidity into account as well.
We’ll be able to input our menu plan and the oven will preheat to the right temperature at the right time and let us know if something’s getting a little too crispy (a feature I think my family would appreciate!).
Already, I’m able to set the timer on both my washing machine and dishwasher so that those run when I want them to (preferably at night when no one’s trying to compete with the sound of the dishwasher or take a hot shower!), and my refrigerator warns me when there’s been a power outage.
Media is also changing with things like smart TVs, which give you access to on-demand streaming media and internet connectivity, Roku players that let you access Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand and more all from one place, and wireless stereo systems that let you enjoy music throughout your whole home without a built in sound system.
The smart homes of the future — and today! — aren’t just about saying you have something or being lazy; they’re about saving time and money for the things that really matter, a theme I love!
- appliances that run efficiently, taking into account your power company’s peak hours and what else is scheduled to run
- touch-screen and wall-mounted computers or TVs that are accessible to non-techies, children and a busy mom who is juggling lunch preparation, a fussy baby and a phone call all at the same time
- access to media you want — or blocking access when necessary — without expensive cable or satellite bills
- a security system you can monitor remotely from your phone or computer (kind of like this woman, who was able to call 911 and watc the would-be burglars get arrested via her camera feed!)
With products like EnergyHub, the future really is here today, giving you the ability to manage your home’s energy usage from just about anywhere so that you can turn devices on and off, adjust the thermostat (even when you’re not home) and discover areas where you can improve the efficiency to save money on your electric bill.
Maybe one day we’ll each have our own personal S.A.R.A.H., who reminds us when we forget something, automatically checks the door and window locks and turns lights on and off as needed and cracks jokes when we’re having a bad day!
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What smart home technology is already found in your home today? What do you envision for the future?