High tech gadgetry has become part of our daily lives. The people that make up generation Y grew up connected to the internet and each other. Most could not imagine life without gadgets. In contrast the Baby Boomers grew up in an era where the television was a new-fangled device. Yes I am talking about the black and white tube-based version housed in a large cabinet. Even that generation, however, has become increasingly connected to and reliant on high tech devices. This technological development and trend has increasingly found its way into our homes.
Remote controls for things like lighting, fans, gas fireplaces, televisions, in floor heating and other climate control features have become common place in most newer homes and those that have been recently updated. Selecting something from the comfort of your couch without one of these devices is rare in this day and age. Smart phones, tablets and touch screen control panels are now offering new ways to control many different features and settings in homes.
Going a step further, smart phones and tablets now have the capability to control many elements in your home such as the lights, and temperature. The designers of these devices tell us that they are configurable to control other things such as major appliances, fountains, yard fixtures, pool pumps, water heaters and sprinkler systems.
These capabilities also extend to security systems that monitor your home’s doors, windows, motion sensors, water leak sensors, smoke and carbon dioxide sensors and WiFi cameras. Home automation, control and monitoring is starting to become a way of life.
Pet Feeding and Clean Up
Yes there are even devices that remotely dispense pet food and apps that allow a visual confirmation with a camera that the food is available for Fido to eat and drink. How about remote control litter box cleanup for cats? It may be on the horizon.
Programmable alarm clocks and coffee makers have been around for quite a while. Now your smart phone can wake you up and turn on your coffee pot from your bedside saving you the trip to the kitchen to get your day started.
Being able to unlock doors without keys is being marketed as a way to access your home and leave it secure without having to carry keys. They fail to mention that you have to have your smart phone or tablet with you instead. Is this progress? You decide.
Beyond electronic control, some homes are offering a bit of reconfiguration by being able to move a few walls around to change the layout of your home when you get bored. What the gadget maker does not address is who or how the furniture gets rearranged. Likely the old fashioned way.
Floor plan portrayed light switches are now available so that you know which light switch controls what part of the home without having to remember what lights you are turning on and off. Touch screen control panels that you can stick to windows so that the solar panels at the back can keep it powered. How about self-sterilizing UV light door handles? What about an eco-cleaner that uses ultrasonic waves to clean dishes and convert the waste to reusable compost? How about a fingerprint accessed smart board or an intelligent bathroom mirror that displays the news, weather or provides you with some form of audio-visual entertainment while you get ready for the day? Clearly not all and perhaps few of these new devices will make their way into most homes. But most homes will have some form of remote control that can be moved around and taken out of the home in the not too distant future if peoples’ love for their smart phones is any indication. How many times have you seen smart phones appear on beaches during a winter holiday? Not sure why but some people just cannot seem to get unplugged from their electronic devices.
What is next?
What are your thoughts on where all of this is headed? Home automation seems to be here to stay and likely to be part of many new homes built over the next decade. For those of you that can afford a great home theatre system it just seems like the right fit to be able to control the ambience and system from the comfort of your fully adjustable chair that also accommodates your drinks and snacks. Most of our homes will never offer our guests their choices of music, temperature and lighting from panels activated by pins that they wear like the Gates super tech home but is that really necessary or even desirable? The next time you are ready to buy or build a house, think about adding some home entertainment, climate control, ambiance, security monitoring, access control, and device automation ideas to make your life more enjoyable. If nothing else the high tech features and gadgets may entertain and impress your guests with the comfort and functionality built into the home. From your perspective the level of impressive technology is only limited by your imagination and pocket book.