Remember back in the day, when the only way to change the channel on the TV was to stand up, go to the big wooden cabinet, and turn the knob? Channel surfing was much more labor intensive back then. Along came Cable Television, with a box of buttons on the end of a long cord. Surfing was much faster and it didn’t require moving from the couch.
The Wireless Revolution
Eventually the wireless remote came into the home, and we were no longer constrained by a cord. Plus, the remote provided an advance in new technologies and brought the ability to record a show on something other than the VCR. Further advancements now allow us to record multiple channels at once and new technology has given us the tools to create and manage our own experience with our bigger, smarter TVs.
This journey from manual knobs to smart remotes has been more than a transition of convenience, it has brought the cutting edge technologies that enhance our relationship with our television. This is no different than many other areas of our lives, including the increase of connectivity in our homes.
Smart home technology, also known as connected homes, may seem trivial at first. Why buy a Smart light bulb when the ability to turn a light on and off can be done with a timer? What makes this so much different? Just like the transition from the cable box to a smart remote, smart home technology expands the possibilities beyond a mechanical timer.
A smart light bulb can be managed through a virtual timer with unlimited schedules and controlled through a smart phone from almost any location. Like the remote compared to the cable box, we are no longer tethered to manually operating switches inside our home. We are now released from the need to be in the same location as the device we are operating.
Manage More than Lights
While light bulbs are a useful advance in the connected home, there are many more options to make your home smart. Through a connected home, you can open the garage, turn on lights and unlock doors as you pull into the driveway. Need to unlock the front door for your kids? You can do it through your phone. Manage your lawn sprinkler system or thermostat when you are out of town. See who is knocking on your front door while you are away. Can’t remember how many eggs are in the refrigerator? Yes, you can check that, too, through your smart phone.
There are a variety of systems and platforms available today in a rapidly expanding industry. As the new technology takes hold, we will see select platforms become the norm. Like the battle between Betamax and VHS, standards will be set.
This is also an industry where the entry into the technology is remarkably affordable. Smart light bulbs, with a projected life span of 22 years, are an average of $15 each both online and at your local big box hardware store. Some systems work through your own home wi-fi network, while others require a central managing hub, typically running under $100.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart Homes, Connected Homes and the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly expanding into the consumer market. Even Amazon has jumped into the game with Echo and the ability to understand voice commands to turn lights on and off in your home. Expect to see small home builders and later big name builders begin to implement smart elements into their product. Appliances are already taking on a life of their own. With advances the automotive industry, your car will soon talk to your home.
It’s an easy, affordable transition int
o the connected home with elements already making their way our daily lives. With the speed of new technology on the horizon, even George Jetson would be envious of the smart connectivity we will see.
Jim Brown is a Smart Home advocate and full-time Realtor® in Denver, Colorado. He tests and reviews smart products, guides homeowners in implementing their own Connected Home and is on a never-ending quest to make his home smarter. www.JimBrown.me