Your home could become a lot smarter in the Programmable World by joining the Internet of Things (IoT).
If your house were a sentient entity, what might it say to you? “Good Morning. Curtains opening and temperature is now adjusted to your morning settings. I’ll get your coffee started.” “There was a package delivered 26 minutes ago. It’s a small box from Amazon. Enjoy.”
Maybe your idea of a smart home is one that caters to your pet’s activities and diet. “I unlocked the cat door so Baxter can take a stroll and observe the morning birds at his leisure. Oh I served up his diet ration of kibbles, three more weeks to go before he gets full rations.”
How about a sexy weatherman personality? Anyone? “The weather forecast informs me it’s going to rain this afternoon. Worst part of the downpour will be around 2:00 P.M. Stay dry gorgeous.”
Or perhaps keeping tabs on your favorite skipper and his or her first time borrowing the family boat. “The boat left the dock at 8:19 A.M and is now by the Sunrise Intracoastal bridge heading toward open waters.”
Imagine you are moving through your smart home, all the blinds raise and your favorite internet radio station gently wakes up your synapses. You are enjoying the sunshine and fresh brew. The bathroom lights turn on as you step in and the shower starts up when you wave a hand under it. You request your system to start recording audio so that you can remember all the great ideas you’re about to have. You tell your smart home to add a few items to your grocery list and to send a text message to your spouse.
When you exit the house, it secures itself, turns on all visuals for your away use and adjusts itself to save energy across all systems. All family members receive a text that the residence has been secured. When you are en route back home, you can tell your house to adjust settings for your return simply by pressing a few buttons on your smart phone.
Your house has your back. Life is good. Is this for real? Yes, pretty much, or is about to be.
What does the future of smart homes hold?
Alex Hawkinson of Smart Things would like your house and everyday things to be a lot smarter than they now are. His vision is to bring your home to life. He is not alone, other companies are developing smart home devices as well. Alex is growing an ecosystem of smart apps used with sensors you place on your stuff, built around a small hub, controlled from your smart phone, that makes it all possible.
Five thousand early adopters signed up on one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns of all time to connect their homes to the Internet of Things for monitoring, control, automation and fun. Connected to the hub are motion sensors, moisture sensors, multi-sensors that track movement and temperature, voice activated power outlets that turn electrical devices on and off, and something called a presence tag, in the owner’s pocket, letting the house know he/she is home or not and initiating any number of events upon entry or exit, among other smart things. Developers are busily adding new apps and installing smarts into our belongings on his open platform.
But what does it mean for you? Why is this a good thing?
Objects communicating with you and each other? Science fiction has addressed inanimate objects becoming animate for decades, with sometimes beneficial and other times scary results. Should objects really become smarter? What if they become smarter than we are as Stephen Hawking has warned? Not to worry, while artificial intelligence has its ominous advancements, smart houses will elegantly mimic our own intelligence by way of programmable devices, just like into our computers, and are unlikely to plot our species demise or plot to take over our world.
With the arrival of the Smart Phone, the door has opened to connect it to our other smart things via apps, using small sensors stuck on or into possessions to communicate with us based on our instructions to monitor, control, automate and entertain. Using the Internet of Things, they can communicate with each other, building out the new frontier, the Programmable World.
Once we get enough of these objects online, we have more than just an on/off device or a data source, we have a programmable system that can be designed, replacing activities we now do one by one with cloud intelligence, blurring the line between virtual and real.
What about smart home security and privacy?
What about the cyber security of our programmed world? Hackers like to crack passwords, and we are usually the weakest link in our own web security. You’ll be glad to know the traffic between smart objects and the cloud is encrypted, therefore not easy to intercept or modify. What about privacy? These devices tell an intimate story of what we do and where. Do we really want to share this information with others? Even family members?
Will the strange new experience of a programmed world and virtually animate possessions be seductive enough to to lull us into acceptance of a totally trackable life?
Will your smart home soon be beating you in every game of Trivial Pursuit or outing you for finishing the last slice of pie?
How smart should a house be to keep us safe and comfortable, but not become intrusive or forcing us to overshare our lives? The more easily adoptable conveniences relate to security, appliance control, child and pet monitoring, maintenance tracking, automation of single or connected tasks, entertainment, virtual connectivity and any and all other object based tasks that can be baked into the hyper-connected home in a Programmed World. To what degree you want to make the occupants part of the Internet of Things and the Programmed World is a very personal decision.
Smart phones won our hearts and have turned into obsessions and now we are offered a chance to live in smart houses.
What smarts would you want your home to have?
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