Is a Smart Home in your Future?

Smart Home

Remember when microwave ovens first hit the consumer market? Folks were scared of them, for the most part. I mean, you can’t blame them. How can something with no visible heat source boil a cup of water?

It might also have had something to do with the fact that they were originally known as “radar ranges,” conjuring up consumer visions of being doused by millions of rads of radiation just by standing next to the contraption.

So, yes, it took some time but today more than 90 percent of American households own a microwave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We are a cynical bunch

New technology either immediately enchants consumers or we take a wait-and-see attitude. That seems to be the case with the new “connected” home technology. While it’s already been adopted by some, mainstream consumer sentiment is slow to form, so, naturally, manufacturers are cautious about rolling it out.

The reason, the experts put forth, is that the public doesn’t fully comprehend what a connected home, or so-called smart-home, is and how it will benefit them. Those same experts do, however expect that the connected home will be mainstream within five years.

What is a Smart Home?

If what the experts predict is true, get ready to start hearing the phrase “The Internet of Things” (IoT) a lot more often. This phrase refers to the development of the Internet to control everyday objects, so that they can send and receive information.

In layperson’s terms it means that you’ll be able to preheat your oven or start a load of laundry from your smartphone while sitting at your desk at work or while stuck in traffic.

Homes will be equipped with a central network that controls everything; a network that requires superfast broadband. This network will not only power the computer, but it turns on the lights, monitors your security system and even allows the refrigerator to tell you when you’re running low on milk.

What to Expect

Many studies claim that “home-energy equipment and safety and security systems, including devices like connected thermostats and smoke detectors, will become popular first, leading the way to broader consumer adoption.”

Last year in Berlin, however, at the IFA consumer electronics and home appliances trade show, MIT Media Lab’s Kent Larson gave attendees a peek into what they were working on with regard to home technology.

Known as “adaptable space” technology, there were dining tables stored in the ceiling and lowered when needed, beds that are released from wardrobes (the return of the Murphy bed?) and moveable “smart” walls. Larson claims this technology is ideal for those who own small homes to better make use of what room is available.

What you can do Now

So if you can’t wait to get your home even quasi-connected, you’re in luck. Best Buy, as a matter of fact, now has a section of its website dedicated to helping folks smarten up their homes. Currently, the retailer is offering smart thermostats, switches, security systems, alarms, detectors, door locks, lighting and home networking solutions to pull it all together.


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